October 4, 2023
NICE, a firm primarily known for its native cloud contact center or contact center-as-a-service (CCaaS) solutions, just announced a major CCaaS play. It will acquire LiveVox, a firm with over two decades of experience developing data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI)/automation, agent assist and customer experience (CX) tools.
The deal is worth a reported $350 million and will lend NICE access to industry-leading conversational AI tools. All this has significant CX implications, as the duo put a hefty emphasis on CX separately. The merger of the two should only bolster that notion, leading to the convergence of knowledge, data, channels and advanced CX capabilities.
Just this year, NICE was recognized by Gartner in its annual CCaaS Magic Quadrant, being named a leader for its CXone platform. According to Gartner, the CX-centric platform has undergone much innovation over the last year, with NICE adding functionality to its offering, including advanced routing capabilities, integrating generative AI with Enlighten for consumer and agent guidance, and enhancements to its dedicated real-time supervisor application.
We recently compiled a list of 20 top CCaaS providers offering products and services via channel partners.
Business & Service Development’s Alan Quayle
Today, that platform appears to have gained even heftier AI capabilities, although some telecom experts say the move was merely vital for survival. “It’s simply consolidation in the CCaaS industry, as I know they are playing up the AI angle,” Alan Quayle, owner of Alan Quayle Business & Service Development, told Channel Futures. “And that is the fashion. But as CCaaS matures, scale is merely necessary to survive.”
Channel Partner Reaction to the News
Kairos Data Communications’ Lucas Salvage
Lucas Salvage is the chief revenue officer at Virginia-based Kairos Data Communications, a technology advisor that works closely with NICE. He told Channel Futures that the cloud contact center provider could experience harmony when incorporating LiveVox’s outbound calling tools.
“I’m betting that between the conversational AI that NICE has put out there with Smart Assist by Amelia and all this [with LiveVox], they’re probably going to figure out some kind of proactive outreach with conversational AI built in,” Salvage said.
Salvage told Channel Futures that rival contact center software providers may look toward acquisition as a result, looking to make their offerings stand out above the noise.
“I think the market will continue to condense, as there’s a lot of contact center business out there, but I think only four or five are doing it really well,” he said. “And I think there are little pieces and parts of others – like proactive outreach and human clicking technology – that might be attractive to some of the big four providers.”
Viewing things from the perspective of the channel, Salvage believes NICE is one of the “more engaged vendors” in his portfolio, adding that the firm “regularly engages with channel partners like Kairos with market development funds (MDF).”
“NICE is probably on the upper echelon of how they go to market with partners,” Salvage said. “Nothing against LiveVox, but from a partner engagement perspective, they have nothing close to NICE’s resources.”
According to NICE, the transaction should close in the first half of 2024. But of course, deals like these are subject to various regulatory clearances and customary closing conditions such as getting shareholders on board.
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