Verint to Acquire Kana Software for $514M

Verint Systems, provider of analytic software–based solutions for the security, surveillance, and business intelligence markets, has announced plans to acquire Kana Software, a developer of on-premises and cloud customer service solutions. The $514 million deal is set to close in April, and will extend Verint's Actionable Intelligence solutions, which enable organizations to not only collect such unstructured data as voice, video, and some text, but also analyze it and provide actionable insights.

Verint's acquisition of Kana is part of a growing trend to unite insights with decisions or action, according to Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research. "Bringing together customer insights is only half the equation," Wang says. "Companies want to be able to close the loop and take action."

As the rate at which data is generated outpaces the rate at which it can be analyzed, many organizations are faced with the challenge of determining appropriate, timely actions. New channels that contribute to the influx of data further exacerbate the situation, leaving companies to struggle with their goals of developing more customer-centric business strategies. As Verint and Kana join forces, the companies' solutions, which fall on a spectrum spanning from workforce optimization to customer service and support offerings, would tackle some of these issues.

"Verint and Kana's solutions are quite complementary," Ryan Hollenbeck, senior vice president of marketing at Verint, says. "On Verint's end, we've got workforce optimization capabilities as well as voice of the customer analytics capabilities, but Kana's got much more of a customer experience foundation, and we think that together, our solutions are going to deliver an end-to-end suite of solutions to meet a very wide range of needs."

Kana, which services roughly 900 customers and 250 government agencies worldwide, offers solutions that are grounded in bringing together data from a variety of customer-company interaction points, including agents, the Web, social networks, and mobile. With Kana's customer experience focus, Verint hopes to deliver more seamless interactions across channels as the company continues to work to analyze trends and attempt to determine why certain employee and customer behaviors occur.

The deal, which Hollenback calls "the most significant" in Verint history, means big things for both companies when it comes to competing in the CRM space. "So far, Kana has held its own well against the competitive landscape. Kana's long-term history has been about delivering when it comes to customer service by relying on our comprehensive BPM foundation and outcome-focused solutions. When you bring that together with what Verint has to offer, none of the other competitors have such a breadth,"James Norwood, chief marketing officer at Kana Software, says.

"Verint's acquisition will take them past the 1B range as a software company, meaning they'll have the scale needed to compete with other larger software vendors," Wang agrees.

Moving forward, the two companies suggest that they might soon turn some of their attention to social, and how to take the channel beyond the contact center. According to Norwood, Kana has, for some time now, been pushing the idea that social is not something strictly for marketing teams. "The sheer volume of information in the social sphere means you need some form of understanding," he says. "There are lots of listening tools out there but they tend to focus from a marketing perspective. But social is not just for marketing. It can also be a major player in service. "

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