• September 6, 2006
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Intervoice Adds Nuasis Assets to Its Product Arsenal

The latest stream of contact center consolidation continues, but this time, it's an IVR and speech applications vendor acquiring a contact center solutions provider, not the other way around. Intervoice revealed that it has scooped up the products, intellectual property, customer and channel contracts, and other assets of IP contact center solutions specialist Nuasis, which will cost Intervoice just $2.5 million in cash. Intervoice has already hired many of Nuasis's employees, who joined the company effective September 1. The purchase is intended to accelerate Intervoice's multichannel automation and IP contact center product strategy. The acquisition will allow Intervoice to extend its IVR and speech offerings with Nuasis's NuContact Center, its pure IP contact center platform. "Over the past few years we have seen demand for a lower cost, higher quality, and more efficient approach to end-to-end customer service applications," said Bob Ritchey, president and CEO of Intervoice, during a Wednesday investor conference call. "By tightly integrating our IVR and voice portal products with the Nuasis contact center product line we can deliver a fully integrated contact center solution. This solution will be based upon pure IP technology, featuring built-in CTI, an extensible architecture, and it is network and switch agnostic," enabling customers to keep much of their traditional switch and network investments while transitioning to a pure IP contact center solution. "While there is much work left to be done to fully integrate the Nuasis products, employees, and processes, I am very optimistic regarding the strategic fit for the acquisition into our future growth strategy," Ritchey said. Unsurprisingly, the merged companies' rivals aren't impressed. "This clearly marks the tipping point of signaling the end of the standalone IVR era," says Brian Bischoff, vice president of worldwide voice platform sales at Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories. "It's clear that all of the legacy players are scrambling to find offerings that embrace open standards such as VXML and this move validates the approach that Genesys has long taken." "It's been our experience that companies are less interested in siloed contact center products, particularly siloed IP products, and this acquisition further validates the demand for a unified contact center solution," says Mike Sheridan, vice president of strategy at Aspect Software. "Intervoice's challenge with this acquisition will be to evolve their products in a fashion that it won't require their customers to do a rip and replace to move to a new version." However, Daniel Hong, senior voice business analyst at Datamonitor, classifies the acquisition as a great move for Intervoice. "In order to compete effectively in the IVR market, having a comprehensive contact center solution is key. The Nuasis approach to the contact center--the pure IP approach--is something that is innovative." Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst of McGee-Smith Analytics, isn't surprised to see Nuasis acquired; Nuasis had "some very good contact center technology that was built very recently as opposed to older solutions that have been around for a while," she says. But she was a little surprised to see Intervoice serve as the buyer. "Typically, the way we've seen self service companies go through acquisitions and mergers is the self service company gets acquired by a contact center company," she says, citing Genesys's acquisition of VoiceGenie Technologies. But in the case of the Intervoice-Nuasis deal, " it's the self service company purchasing contact center [functionality], which is an interesting twist." While McGee-Smith says that Aspect and Genesys, both of which offer self service and assisted functionality, are very strong players, she says that these vendors should keep a close eye on the acquisition. When Intervoice focused primarily on IVR and voice portal products, it was a different play. "But now [Intervoice is] more likely to be able to go head-to-head with somebody like Aspect [and Genesys] and with very new contact center technology. They're put on notice that there's a new competitor on the block." Related articles: Intervoice Will Purchase Edify
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