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

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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