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'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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