Spanlink Acquires Calabrio
The workforce optimization acquisition spree continued on Tuesday when Spanlink Communications, a provider of unified VoIP communications solutions and a Cisco Systems partner, revealed that it had acquired Calabrio, an 11-year-old workforce management solutions provider based in Canada. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The deal deepens the Spanlink InteractiveEdge SOA software suite, which includes Spanlink Quality Management for recording, evaluation, and training, by adding Calabrio Workforce Management, which helps contact center managers develop and track adherence to schedules for multisite centers and monitor performance. Spanlink now delivers workforce scheduling, adherence, key performance metrics, and additional reporting functionality to agent and supervisor desktop views, according to the company.
Spanlink has more than 1,000 IP installations and solutions on more than 300,000 desktops, and now 400,000 desktops with the Calabrio acquisition. VoIP and SOA unified communications technologies are fueling a move toward virtualization, placing new requirements on how contact centers manage people and processes, according to Brett Shockley, founder and CEO of Spanlink and former Cisco executive. "Essentially, we need to replace what used to happen with people in the same room with software applications that facilitate people working together as virtual teams across multiple sites and multiple geographies," Shockley said during a Tuesday Web and audio conference.
But at the same time, according to Shockley, Spanlink finds that its customers want to buy their technology solutions from one source--which isn't unlike many other organizations. With the acquisition, "the quality management and workforce management applications integrate directly into the agent and the supervisor applications so that we provide the agent with information on how they're doing and what their schedule looks like," Shockley said. "All the interactions that you might expect with workforce management are tied directly into the agent desktop as well as into the supervisor desktop, so the supervisor also has a window into that workforce management environment. The solutions are really designed and built for virtual teams, [but] obviously [they] can work in a single site environment."
"With this acquisition Spanlink continues to move aggressively into the workforce optimization market with a Cisco-based solution designed to meet the needs of customers looking for a full featured, competitive suite of customer interaction software that is architected for virtual, IP-based contact centers," Paul Stockford, chief analyst at Saddletree Research, said in a written statement.
According to Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst of McGee-Smith Analytics, the deal provides Spanlink customers with the opportunity to have a very nicely integrated solution with what they're already using with Cisco Systems; Spanlink OEMs software to Cisco for the Cisco Agent and Supervisor Desktops, she says. "About half the agents on Cisco call centers are already using Spanlink, so the level of integration with the existing product is very high. [Spanlink] said that they've already integrated Cisco so that if you use the Cisco Supervisor Desktop, they already have integrated KPIs from Calabrio."
McGee-Smith also notes the combination of quality monitoring and workforce management; the acquisition is similar to earlier deals like Witness Systems' acquisition of Blue Pumpkin and NICE Systems' acquisition of IEX. In comparison, "both Blue Pumpkin and IEX were probably more established, more name brands," McGee-Smith says. "But at the end of the day, the package that [Spanlink has] put together is a competitive package."
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