Kana Buys Overtone; Sign Of Bigger Trends

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

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/brucetemkin

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