The 2008 CRM Service Awards: Rising Stars -- Jacada

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Jacada began in 1990 as a provider of unified desktop and process optimization solutions for customer service operations, accumulating customers as nearby as its Atlanta home and as far away as Germany and Israel. Four years ago, however, executives realized they could really push the company to the next level by focusing on a single core strength -- adding by subtracting.

According to company statistics, in the past three years Jacada's contact center solutions business expanded at a compound annual growth rate of 61 percent. But Jacada needed to take one big leap -- and the company opened 2008 by doing just that: selling its application modernization business to Software AG for $26 million, allowing the company to target all its efforts exclusively on contact center solutions.

Sheryl Kingstone, director of enterprise research at Yankee Group, says Jacada made the deal at the right time. "They get $26 million and use of assets, technology, and money to focus more on the contact center, where all their new deals are anyway." Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst of McGee-Smith Analytics, also believes the step was what the company needed. "With that [cash], Jacada can now do marketing or build a sales force that allows [it] to expand its footprint dramatically in a more focused way."

Not all the money is going to be used that way: The company announced in February plans to set aside as much as $10 million to repurchase shares of company stock, a move seen as a show of confidence in the company's business model and long-term prospects. Reseller agreements with Accenture and IBM Global Services are also encouraging.

Meanwhile, the firm's most recent quarter showed some serious worldwide strength, including contracts with three new telecommunications customers -- one each in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Eastern Europe -- and one North American insurance company. And, according to recent filings, total contact center revenue grew 57 percent for fiscal year 2007 to a record $13.3 million, up from $8.5 million. After four years of thought, build-up, and, finally, action, Jacada's future seems bright, indeed.

Snapshot: Jacada

  • Paul O'Callaghan, CEO
  • Founded: 1990
  • Headquarters: Atlanta, Ga.

[Please Note: To see the 2008 Service Awards Issue's full table of contents, please click here.]

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