Kana announced that it has acquired Overtone, a key social media and text analytics firm. While this acquisition seems like a good move for Kana (I’ll have more thoughts when I get a full briefing next week), it’s more significant as a sign of bigger trends.
My take: This acquisition is best understood in conjunction with a couple of other acquisitions by software companies that support customer-facing processes and channels:
Last year I published a report called the Eight Customer Experience Megatrends which provided my forecast about how these eight megatrends will play out in 2011:
The HiveLive/Radian6/Overtone moves are clear signs of two of these megatrends:
- Unstructured data appreciation. All of the acquired vendors provide some amount of text analytics capabilities. The acquisitions link these capabilities with a lot of enterprise data — helping to push the envelope on where and how companies will extract insights from unstructured data such as sales notes, emails, and call recordings.
- Social media assimilation. In the long run, it makes no sense for social media to be treated as its own channel (see my post: How Much Does Social Media Matter?). The acquiring vendors will help their clients link social media with other customer-facing processes and channels.
What’s next? I expect to see acquisitions by big vendors like Oracle, SAP, IBM, and Microsoft. A few interesting targets: Clarabridge, Attensity, and Nexidia.
The bottom line: Customer experience management remains an evolving field