In case you missed it, the VoC technology provider Allegiance was purchased by Maritz Holdings and then combined with Maritz Research (a part of the acquiring company) to form MaritzCX. Carine Clark, the CEO of Allegiance, was named CEO of the new company.
My take: First of all, I like the move for both Martiz and Allegiance. MaritzCX can offer a strong technology platform and a strong services capability. The newly formed company has the scale and capabilities to compete effectively for most large-scale VoC implementations.
Allegiance has been one of the growing class of applications that I call Customer Insight and Action (CIA) Platforms. I coined this term in 2010 while other people were calling them Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) systems. As the dynamics in the market continue to play out, these technologies are looking even more like CIA Platforms. Rather than just focusing on surveys and other forms of feedback, these systems increasingly:
- Incorporate non-feedback data like customer profiles and transactional history
- Distribute tailored, contextual insights across an organization
- Provide alerts based on specific criteria
- Support workflow associated with taking action based on the insights
- Integrate with other applications like CRM and workforce management
The acquisition/merger is an acknowledgement that running a leading-edge VoC program requires more than a technology platform. Recent Temkin Group shows that only 11% of VoC programs within large companies have reached the top levels of maturity. These efforts aren’t easy. This graphic from our report, Text Analytics Reshapes VoCs, highlights some of the capabilities that future VoC programs will need:
To implement a world-class VoC program, companies need to undergo significant change. It takes a combination of:
- CIA Platform for gathering customer data, uncovering insights, and sharing actionable insights across the organization.
- Skills for defining research methodologies, managing the data flow, analyzing data, and building processes for sharing actionable insights and driving continuous improvement.
- Governance for ensuring that the company makes changes across the company based on the flow of actionable insights.
MaritzCX is an attempt to combine those capabilities into a single provider. That’s the same motivation that led Mindshare (renamed InMoment) to acquire Empathica last year (which was a move that I liked for those companies as well).
This acquisition will push other aspiring CIA Platform vendors such as Clarabridge, Confirmit, Kampyle, Medallia, NICE, Qualtrics, ResponseTek, and Verint to strengthen their relationships with services companies.
Will there be more acquisition in the VoC arena? Absolutely. CIA Platforms are a natural extension to CRM and analytics applications, so watch for the big software players (e.g., Oracle, Salesforce.com, IBM, SAP) to get more active into this space.
The bottom line: MaritzCX is a sign of things to come.