The 2011 Service Leaders
We present this year’s class of winners and leaders. Each leader is graded on three criteria—customer satisfaction, depth of functionality, and company direction—in seven categories of support and service. Each winner is joined by three other leaders to complete our choices.
CRM magazine made one significant change from last year. We combined Web self-service with Web interaction management in a new category called Web support. All the other categories remain the same: contact center infrastructure, contact center search, interactive voice response, workforce optimization suite, enterprise feedback management, and outsourcing.
The leaders were chosen based on a rigorous analysis. However, an award is no substitute for a customer’s direct experience with a vendor. So, if you have a story to tell and if a company has not met your needs, we would like to hear about it. Email us at editor@destinationCRM.com. After all, this special issue does not presume to be the final word. In the era of social CRM, this conversation is just beginning.
CONTACT CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE
The contact center infrastructure market used to be simple. A user would install a basic call router and he would be done. Next-generation platforms, however, go far beyond that. They are unified multimedia suites that need to support both inbound and outbound contacts as well as multiple media types, including voice, text, video, and social media.
While many next-generation platforms are being offered as stand-alone applications, it is becoming more common for systems to be deployed as fully integrated suites of contact center applications that feed information into and draw information out of other systems.
According to Drew Kraus, a vice president at Gartner, the market has seen a decline during the past two years after five years of growth. In a recent Gartner Magic Quadrant report, Kraus notes that during the downturn, many companies focused their contact center infrastructure decisions on reducing technology and operational costs. Now, as the economy rebounds, he expects vendors to search for innovative revenue streams.
Within the contact center infrastructure space, telecommunications giant Avaya, following its late 2009 acquisition of Nortel Networks, now lays claim to half of the market’s revenue. However, the acquisition, while giving Avaya tremendous market share, came with a price beyond the more than $900 million that Avaya paid in the deal. The company, which some analysts contend is still the king of the contact center, topped all of its competitors in depth of functionality with a 4.0 score but took a huge hit in company direction.
“There are plenty of pieces for which [Avaya] is unrivaled, but the Nortel deal is still hanging over them as they’re trying to keep customers from both companies happy,” comments Ian Jacobs, a senior analyst of customer interaction technologies at Ovum. Other analysts observe that the company is so mired in product rationalization issues that other vendors now have overtaken Avaya in terms of innovation.
Interactive Intelligence, a market leader in 2010, finished just a tenth of a point behind this year’s winner. Interactive Intelligence was propelled by an industry-leading score (4.2) in customer satisfaction and a 4.0 in company direction.
“If you’re talking about execution, they have been the standout during the past 12 months,” comments Jacobs. “And they’ve been growing faster than any other company in the space.”
“Interactive Intelligence has the wind at its back,” says Sheila McGee–Smith, the president and principal analyst at McGee–Smith Analytics. “Consistent R&D development has given them an enviable suite that they are now leveraging successfully with a communications-as-a-service offering.”
LiveOps was viewed by many industry analysts as having gained traction, as demonstrated by the company’s high marks in company direction. The focus of LiveOps has been on middle-market customers, which is a segment that Jacobs believes the company has served very well. “They’re doing everything they need to for [the customers] they are targeting,” he points out. “They are constantly working with their customers to improve what they are doing.”
Cisco Systems finished the year atop the field in company direction with a score of 4.2. The company, which climbed from its spot on the leaderboard last year, was considered by Paul Stockford, an analyst at Saddletree Research, the industry’s “thought leader” in many respects.
“Cisco is focusing its efforts on the Web 2.0 infrastructure, which I think is brilliant,” Stockford says, adding that the company has “a strong product portfolio and a sharp vision for the future.”
One to Watch
Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, last year’s winner, was dragged down this year by its company direction score. Analysts believe that the moves by Genesys’ parent company, Alcatel-Lucent, to tighten control over the Genesys sales and marketing functions might hamper its innovation efforts. The company also took a hit in customer satisfaction, with many analysts pointing out that Genesys’ solutions often come with a high price tag. But Genesys is not out yet. “In their niche, Genesys continues to shine,” says McGee–Smith. “2011 will be the year when the market will be able to judge whether Genesys’ Compact Edition will help broaden their addressable market beyond complex, multisite implementations.”
INTERACTIVE VOICE RESPONSE
The struggling global economy put a squeeze on sales of interactive voice response (IVR) systems, decelerating growth during the past two years. But the market is expected to regain some of its strength in the medium to long term, as frozen funds begin to thaw. Global Industry Analysts (GIA) predicts that growth will be especially strong in financial services, where many companies are being forced to deal with restructuring, consolidation, mergers, and acquisitions as a follow-up to the recession.
GIA expects growth will not be driven by large enterprises, which it says have reached the saturation point with IVR technologies. While many larger companies might be looking to replace first-generation systems with newer technologies, the real new business generator will be small and midsize companies, according to a recent GIA forecast that shows the overall IVR market reaching $1.9 billion by 2015.
Also steering that change will be a focus on benchmarking customer experiences; the use of more-sophisticated voice portals; advanced speech, touchtone, and multimodal interfaces; and a push toward IVR optimization that will lead to system replacements and upgrades.
The bottom line, analysts say, is that the sluggish economy has not changed the fact that IVRs continue to offer cost efficiencies and superior customer experiences. And with the momentum shift from proprietary hardware and software toward open-source platforms, making those changes will be easier.
Avaya finished strongly this year, posting high marks in depth of functionality (4.7) and customer satisfaction (4.3). According to analysts, Avaya’s users, especially large contact center customers, are pleased with the company’s IVR products despite the high prices. The company’s acquisition of some Nortel Networks assets, while helping the company, could also work against it. On the positive side, “the combination of the Avaya and Nortel product and professional services teams and the customer base gives Avaya a solid leadership position,” comments Sheila McGee–Smith, the president and principal analyst at McGee–Smith Analytics. But, on the negative side, some customers might be left out in the cold when Avaya discontinues some products and services.
IVR has not been a strong suit for Interactive Intelligence, but it made great strides this year, impressing analysts (4.5) with its direction. “They do have great integrated functionality and interesting speech analytics capabilities coming in the next release,” McGee–Smith says.
Voxeo continues to reap the rewards from its VoiceObjects acquisition in 2008, leveraging the powerful and versatile VoiceObjects platform into just about everything it does. It also continues to advance the notion of unified self-service and incorporating VoiceXML to build a single application that works via voice, Web, text messaging, email, and video. According to analysts, the company continually scores high in customer satisfaction, with users viewing the solutions as low-cost, scalable, and well-suited to their needs. The one knock, they said, is that the company has limited visibility outside the United States. But with several new office openings in Europe and Asia, the company does seem to be moving toward expanding internationally.
Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories continues to impress and dominate the IVR space. The vendor, which takes the top spot for a seventh straight year, garnered the highest scores in all categories, including a 4.7 in depth of functionality, 4.7 in company direction, and a 4.5 in customer satisfaction. Of particular interest this year was the launch of the Conversation Manager, a key component of Genesys’ Intelligent Customer Front Door (iCFD) and Genesys 8 platform, considered one of the most tightly integrated multichannel platforms in the industry. Genesys 8 with Conversation Manager helps to create a unified view of customer interactions across multiple channels, including contact centers, the Web, mobile phones, fax, chat, and social media. What could hurt the company over time, though, is a move by parent Alcatel-Lucent to roll Genesys’ sales and marketing functions into the larger corporate Enterprise Services division.
One to Watch
Microsoft/Tellme, another newcomer to this year’s rankings, garnered scores of 4.3 in depth of functionality, company direction, and customer satisfaction. Its lack of new customer signings, though, kept the company off the leaderboard. “Existing customers continue to be happy, but Microsoft/Tellme doesn’t seem to be making great progress expanding their customer base,” McGee–Smith says.
Although CRM magazine has distinguished between Web Self-Service and Web Interaction Management in the past, the editors think it’s now appropriate to merge the two categories into one simply called Web Support. More than anything, this marriage reflects how we expect the industry to evolve. With Web Self-Service nearly functioning as a “fold in” with Web Interaction Management, this year brought some companies head to head in new spaces. When considering the overall industry, Ian Jacobs, customer interactions analyst at Ovum, comments, “The reputation for customer satisfaction is particularly high overall. All of these vendors are getting significantly more aggressive in what they want to accomplish.” He adds that many customers have been buying solutions to solve specific problems.
eGain, a first in the Web Interaction Management category, came on strong with a 4.2 for depth of functionality. John Ragsdale, vice president of technology research for TSIA, observes that eGain’s recent announcement of an intelligent search platform has made the company a contender and has given it best of breed status within knowledge management, incident tracking, multichannel management, and enterprise search.
“You will see a lot more of eGain in 2011—they have the right product at the right time,” Ragsdale says. However, the company middled with a 3.3 in company direction. Kate Leggett, senior analyst of customer service at Forrester, says, “eGain’s product strategy has been to evolve their solution based on customer demand.”
InQuira fell quite a bit from last year’s score in depth of functionality, receiving a 3.3 after last year’s 4.2. To account for the decline in this new space, Leggett explains, “InQuira has a very strong knowledge offering. However, they lack the electronic channels, such as email and chat, to escalate from Web self-service to assisted service.”
The company remained relatively steady in its other scores, though, sustaining a mere 0.1 drop in company direction from 2010. InQuira’s customer satisfaction score remained the same. “InQuira’s expertise for intelligent search has been echoed by big customers, such as Symantec and Yahoo,” Ragsdale says. “They have addressed critics asking for more incident management and multichannel capabilities by forming strategic relationships with the biggest names in CRM [such as] Oracle/Siebel and SAP.”
Parature was named a Rising Star in 2009 and then a leader in last year’s awards. The company’s scores have slipped ever so slightly in customer satisfaction, from 3.7 to 3.6, and from 3.4 to 3.3 in company direction. Depth of functionality saw the hardest hit, falling from 3.7 to 3.0. Nevertheless, Parature held its spot on the leaderboard. As Ragsdale notes, Parature overall is “a good combination of community and multichannel customer service, with expertise in some key industry segments, like gaming.”
RightNow Technologies grabbed the highest score in customer satisfaction, as the only company to receive a solid 4.0. The company’s depth of functionality rose from last year’s 4.1 to 4.4, an increase that seems to sit well with Ragsdale.
“[RightNow is] the recognized leader for customer service in the cloud,” he says. “RightNow’s attention to social media integration, online communities, and other trends has kept them on the bleeding edge of functionality—a rare commodity for such a large, established vendor.” Jacobs comments that RightNow’s initiative to bring Web service to the contact center may be getting too complicated for some customers, which could account for the company’s dip in company direction from a 4.6 the previous year to a 3.5. Leggett adds, “RightNow has a strong, well-rounded product offering. This vendor will need to focus on crisply differentiating themselves from the unified communication vendors entering this space, as well as from Salesforce, Oracle, and Microsoft.
One to Watch
Moxie Software (formerly nGenera) was one of our leaders last year but tailed behind this year’s leaders by a mere 0.8. The company saw a slight increase in depth of functionality, from 3.7 to 3.8, but dropped in company direction, to 3.3 from 3.4. “They are trying to move into the community market,” observes Leggett. “Their strategy is exciting. However, their core business is still multichannel customer service. Their messaging needs to be aligned to their business model.” Ragsdale spoke highly of the company’s customer satisfaction, describing customers as “highly reference-able,” and “represent[ing] very large, complex implementations.” He also found that Moxie’s new focus on enterprise collaboration is harnessing the strongest aspects of social media for real ROI.
WORKFORCE OPTIMIZATION SUITE
Workforce optimization (WFO) took a financial hit during 2010 because of the sluggish economy. Still, many companies saw double-digit growth, as end users realize the personnel savings that these solutions could bring. To speed up those savings, however, the industry has seen growing demand for more sophisticated and real-time analysis. WFO products, available as suites that include analytics, coaching, e-learning, performance management, quality assurance, scheduling, and staffing management, continue to see traction outside the contact center. In addition, the shift has brought new competitors to the space, with Microsoft, SugarCRM, CSG Systems, VoicePrint International, CallCopy, and several other relative newcomers all claiming to offer WFO solutions.
Aspect Software, which analysts credit with having a clear and well-articulated company direction, several strong partnerships, a broad WFO product line, and a reputation for exceptional customer care, keeps its spot on the leaderboard for the fourth straight year. The company collected strong scores in its reputation for depth of functionality (4.0) and its reputation for customer satisfaction (4.0) but was bumped down a notch for having what some called weak speech analytics and recording applications.
Aspect is seen as a “solid performer with a clear vision of where it wants to take WFO,” says Paul Stockford, of Saddletree Research. But its WFO technology “is mature, yet evolving at the same time,” adds Ian Jacobs, a senior analyst of customer interaction technologies at Ovum.
Analysts agree that Calabrio is rising quickly. Though it finished even with Nice Systems in just about all categories, Calabrio did outpace the Israeli firm in one area: customer satisfaction, for which Calabrio received a 4.0. It also scored high in company direction, particularly for the company’s efforts to simplify and personalize the user interface connected to its Calabrio One suite.
“These guys are doing a fantastic job with Web 2.0 infrastructure,” Stockford says. “They have established themselves as thought leaders and are releasing products that back up that thought leadership.”
Nice Systems, also a perennial member of the leaderboard, performed strongly in all categories. The company’s high marks in depth of functionality served as a double-edged sword, however, ultimately hurting the vendor’s customer satisfaction score (it garnered just a 3.4). “Its customers are sometimes overwhelmed because of all of its depth of functionality,” Jacobs explains. He points out, however, that Nice’s strong position and reputation in the security space should propel it in the WFO market for many years to come.
There was no doubt among analysts that Verint Witness Actionable Solutions is the clear leader in WFO. The vendor received a combined score of 4.6, more than seven-tenths ahead of its nearest competitor. Verint again took the leadership position in all categories. The company’s Impact 360 solution is seen by analysts as the gold standard by which all other WFO solutions are evaluated. “Verint is the pinnacle of the WFO market,” Jacobs says. “They do everything there is to do. They do everything you could possibly want. They are the most well-situated of all vendors.”
Stockford agrees. “On the WFO side, nobody can touch Verint,” he says. They are “an established leader with a clear vision for the future and the proven ability to execute on that vision.”
However, despite taking the title in each of the past four years, Verint has not been resting on its laurels. “Verint (then Witness) produced the first fully integrated WFO solution in 2005 with the launch of Impact 360,” says Dick Bucci, senior consultant at Pelorus Associates. “Over the years, the company has continued to make improvements, particularly in the areas of analytics and ease of use. Verint serves all market segments and has a solid reputation for innovation and customer care.”
One to Watch
Autonomy as been known more for its speech analytics than for its WFO products, but the company still earned better-than-average scores in depth of functionality and company direction around its Workflow Manager solution. While limited in its capabilities compared with other vendors in the space, Autonomy offers more of a process automation engine with visual tools, rule-based routing, electronic forms, real-time business activity monitoring, and capabilities for modeling business processes.
CONTACT CENTER SEARCH
Among the judges tapped for this year’s contact center search (CCS) sector, not many changes were noted from the previous year. Information continues to become even more complex, as many vendors turn away from their own search engines to embrace the “Google-ization” of the world.
In 2009, Donna Fluss, founder of DMG Consulting, predicted that many system enhancements would pop up in contact centers the following year, specifically predictive analytics, speech and real-time analytics, and customer experience analytics. “Contact center managers all over the world are demanding solutions that are easy to implement and use, applications that are actionable and deliver rapid results,” writes Fluss. “Some of the vendors are actually listening and delivering.”
Fluss foresaw that 2010 would be a tough year for many contact center search vendors because many contact centers are being asked to do more. Although most contact centers are constructed, ideally, to interact proficiently with customers and identify selling opportunities, Fluss notes that a contact center is only as powerful as its senior management, marketing departments, and sales organizations.
>“The contact center will be instrumental in creating and managing a repository of transactions that provides a holistic view of each customer, regardless of the channel used (including social networks),” Fluss writes. “Very importantly, the contact center will not demand that all inquiries be routed to its organization—this approach has always failed.”
In the coming years, Fluss envisions contact centers evolving into the hub of customer analytics, serving as a foundation for all internal and external departments that deal with data. Nevertheless, she saw 2010 “represent[ing] a new beginning for the mission and culture of contact centers.”
Autonomy Etalk saw a decline in depth of functionality, going from 4.2 in 2010 to 3.3. However, the company retained more or less the same scores in customer satisfaction and company direction (3.5 in each). Last year, Autonomy was praised for “playing in new areas of support and new verticals” by John Ragsdale, vice president of technology research for the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA). In 2010, the company was recognized as one of the “Top Performing Tech Companies” by Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek.
Coveo Solutions scored a 4.0 in customer satisfaction as well as company direction, mirroring the company’s scores for 2010. However, Coveo took a hit in depth of functionality, falling from 3.8 in 2010 to a flat 2.0 this year. Although the company was praised in 2010 for having a social media search component in its contact center-focused product, Coveo functionality was not enough to wow every judge. In 2010, the company was named on EContent’s list of 100 “Companies That Matter Most” for the fifth year in a row. In addition, Coveo was ranked one of the fastest-growing companies in the Deloitte Fast 50.
InQuira was deemed “small” in last year’s roundup of CCS but also “one of the best-performing search platforms available to contact centers.” In 2010, InQuira was recognized with a spot on KMWorld magazine’s 2010 trend-setting product list for the sixth consecutive year. The company also achieved Oracle Validated Integration. InQuira remained steady with a slightly higher score of 4, up from last year’s 3.8, in customer satisfaction. Depth of functionality also saw an increase, to 4.0 from 3.8, and the company jumped 1.3 points, from 3.5 to 4.8, in company direction. Sheila McGee–Smith, of McGee-Smith Analytics, says, “InQuira’s partnership with Alcatel-Lucent/
Genesys gives them access to a broad base of customers looking to coordinate assisted service and eServices.”
RightNow Technologies assumes the crown for the second year in a row, setting a record with solid 5.0s in customer satisfaction, depth of functionality, and company direction. Rebecca Wetteman, vice president of Nucleus Research, says, “RightNow continues to deliver consistent value to its customers and continues to focus not just on developing software but also on thought leadership to help its customers get more value from their software investments.” McGee–Smith noted that RightNow has widened its search capabilities to include newer, even more proficient options. “RightNow has the broadest set of media that work with their search tools,” McGee–Smith says. “The recent addition of Q-Go will expand their reach in this category beyond just support to home page searching.”
ENTERPRISE FEEDBACK MANAGEMENT
The enterprise feedback management (EFM) category was characterized as “young” in 2010 after interactive voice response (IVR) was determined to be a critical component. Conducting surveys specifically through the telephone is a time-tested methodology.
However, many of the top vendors this past year are best known for strength across the channels, especially when it comes to leveraging social media. Bruce Temkin, managing partner of the Temkin Group, believes that, overall, the space has “taken off.”
“I think most vendors had really good years,” Temkin points out. “There is certainly a shift to becoming much more operational with data in terms of putting it to use and people actually acting on the data.” Temkin also notes the increasing use of unstructured data within text analytics—a trend that is expected to gain even more traction over time.
Mindshare, which is an addition to this category, received a whopping 4.5 score in customer satisfaction. Temkin describes the CRM Market Awards newcomer as “[a] really good company at supporting its customers [that] has a strong focus on multilevel franchise as well as retail environments.”
Mindshare’s strong score of a 4.0 in the depth of functionality category was supported by Andrew McInnes, customer experience analyst at Forrester Research, who comments, “One thing in the depth of functionality category that stands out is that they offer a feature where companies actually input standard operating procedures into the system and when a certain type of feedback comes in, it might link to standard operating procedures.”
McInnes explains that this feature highlights the trend in voice of the customer (VOC) programs or enterprise feedback management platforms of not simply collecting customer feedback, but, instead, actually driving action at the ground level.
RightNow Technologies saw a considerable decline in its scores this year compared with last year’s highly esteemed triple 4.0s. The company’s customer satisfaction dipped only slightly, to 3.8, but depth of functionality came in at 2.3 and company direction at 2.6. This marked the second year in a row in which RightNow’s scores have seen a decline in this sector (the company scored a 4.7 in customer satisfaction in 2009).
Nevertheless, Temkin observes that RightNow is “probably the most thoughtful company when it comes to understanding SaaS [software as a service] and their dedication to an entire operating model when it comes to customer service.”
McInnes observes that RightNow’s EFM strength is that the company’s platform is fully integrated into its entire product suite. Having this type of platform positions RightNow to collect customer feedback from a variety of channels, such as the Web, social media, and contact center, without compromising the ability to look at transactional data or the individual customer.
Vovici was named a One to Watch in 2010. Esteban Kolsky, principal and founder of ThinkJar, comments, “Vovici represents EFM.” The company scored a middling score in all categories, with a 3.3 in customer satisfaction as well as depth of functionality, and a 3.1 in company direction.
Allegiance takes the top spot for the third year in a row with a solid 4.5 in each category, having seen a 0.1 increase in depth of functionality from 2009.
McInnes says that Allegiance stands out the most in the company direction category because of a new focus on voice of the customer.
“What’s interesting and right about that is that their focus is not only on customer feedback as primary data but also on more traditional business data and transactional data,” McInnes points out. “They are really moving toward tying those several pieces of customer insight together.”
One to Watch
This year we have a three-way tie: MarketTools, Medallia, and Confirmit all fell just short of the leaderboard, Confirmit having slipped from its leader position in 2009. Medallia is a new addition to the CRM Market Awards, while MarketTools was named a One to Watch last year. Despite Confirmit’s slip, Temkin notes that the company is “building up its platform and becoming much more of a contender.”
There’s no arguing that more customers are using social media both to seek support and to support others. Therefore, it would behoove outsourcers to bring their expertise in customer service to the Web. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening. “It’s a social media world,” says Elizabeth Herrell, principal at Communication Initiatives. However, she adds that outsourcers are “not innovative in supporting new end users and thinking about how customers are contacting companies.”
Effective customer service is not only about putting an agent in a seat with a headset and a script, according to Herrell. It requires “total customer engagement,” she says. As a result, analysts were more critical of outsourcers this year, which is why their scores are lower, on average, than they have been in previous years.
After the recent recession, last year’s category winner, Convergys, made organizational changes to improve the company’s focus and revenue. In February 2010, Convergys named Jeff Fox president and chief executive officer. Fox has been a Convergys board member since February 2009 and was previously chief operating officer of Alltel. The following month, Convergys sold its human resources outsourcing business to NorthgateArinso, a British outsourcer, so that Convergys could focus on its more profitable customer management and information management businesses.
Often, moves like those hurt company direction scores—and Convergys is no different, sliding from 4.1 last year to 3.5. Convergys is “not a standout in terms of what it offers, but it has a good core and does it quite well,” says Peter Ryan, a principal analyst at Ovum. He adds that the company’s decision to scale back its business process outsourcing services and “retrench to its CRM background is a good plan.”
Sitel, which appeared on last year’s Ones to Watch list, edges its way back onto the leaderboard this year, thanks to its high score of 4.0 in depth of services, which ties the category winner. In October 2010, Sitel took an innovative approach to improving customer interactions by partnering with artificial intelligence engine provider SATMAP to match callers to agents based on personality traits.
Last year, Frost & Sullivan recognized Sitel with the 2010 EMEA Customer Value Enhancement Award in Contact Centre Outsourcing, citing responsiveness to customer needs, operational excellence, and added-value technology and services as the company’s strong points.
“There’s a lot of respect among analysts for Sitel in terms of how they do business and what they do,” Ryan says.
Similar to Sitel, West also moved from last year’s Ones to Watch to this year’s leaderboard. West made up for its merely adequate analyst score of 3.0 in depth of services and company direction by tying for the highest customer satisfaction score of 4.0.
The company received the 2010 Frost & Sullivan North American Contact Center Outsourcing Company of the Year Award, which considers growth strategy and implementation, degree of innovation in business processes, products and/or technologies, and leadership in customer value and market penetration.
Teleperformance repeats its 2009 feat as the winner of the outsourcing category. The company is the only one to score 4.0 or better in the three main criteria—one of which is an impressive 4.5 for company direction. During the past 12 months, Teleperformance has had a steady eye on innovation and growth. In May 2010, Teleperformance announced a partnership with RightNow Technologies to provide a Contact Center on Demand hosted contact center offering.
In addition, the outsourcer has expanded its reach by acquiring or building contact centers in Brazil, Turkey, the Philippines, and Costa Rica. Teleperformance has a “fairly obvious and strategic vision, good in terms of reacting to new market realities. It did well in the recession and didn’t slow down innovation, which is very important,” Ryan says.
Another analyst adds, “Teleperformance has a good reputation for quality. They do things right in the traditional sense.”
One to Watch
Sykes fell off the leaderboard to become this year’s One to Watch. The company closed on the purchase of outsourcer and competitor ICT in February 2010 for $263 million—the largest acquisition in Sykes’ history. However, the revenue boost from the company’s acquisition of ICT Group last year couldn’t improve the bottom line for Sykes Enterprises. And, as with many acquisitions, analysts tend to lower their company direction scores until the organizations are fully integrated. Despite that, Ryan maintains that Sykes has a “fairly good portfolio and is responding well to the marketplace.”