Aspect Acquires a Winner: Voxeo
Aspect's CMO calls it "the nucleus of a much broader cloud strategy" and adds, "We're not done yet."
Aspect Software announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Voxeo. The purchase price of $150 million makes it the largest of three cloud-centric M&A deals in the contact center market this year. In February, Genesys acquired Angel for $110 million and a few months later SoundBite for $100+ million.
Cloud companies have been a hot commodity in 2013. With the Voxeo acquisition, Aspect gets the requisite cloud check mark as well as "filling-in holes in the portfolio," to quote Aspect CMO Jim Freeze.
* As seen in the graphic, Voxeo brings network operation centers in North America and Europe as well as data centers in all three world regions. This will give Aspect the ability to expand its On Demand offer into new geographies.
* The voice portal capabilities of Aspect's Unified IP Platform, while adequate, have never really been best-in-class. This is especially true when compared to contact center solution leaders Genesys, Avaya and Cisco. The addition of Voxeo's multichannel self service capabilities arguably leapfrogs the offerings of (one, two, all?) these competitors.
* Aspect's design tools have also suffered when compared to those of competitors; Avaya, Cisco and Genesys have all had Eclipse-based service creation environments for years. With Voxeo CXP, based on the 2008 acquisition of VoiceObjects, Aspect adds software for the creation, management, reporting and analytics of multi-channel self-service applications. (The last time Voxeo was discussed on the No Jitter site was in March 2013, when the CXP platform was announced as the Enterprise Connect Best of Show winner.)
* While Aspect has been a leader in outbound voice contact center technology for many years, it has not leveraged that success with automated outbound technologies. Voxeo's strength in this area bodes well for the customers of both companies, who will now have access to a full outbound portfolio from a single provider.
While the points above highlight the product synergies that might be achieved by adding Voxeo components to the existing portfolio, Aspect is being cautious in its approach to merging the two businesses. Freeze said during my interview that while Aspect will certainly be looking for synergies from a system, process and go-to-market perspective, the intention is to name a General Manager and run Voxeo independently for now. Aspect hopes to achieve a balance of continued Voxeo success while leveraging its strengths.
Freeze hinted more than once during our conversation that Voxeo should be seen as, "the nucleus of a much broader cloud strategy." Does that mean that, like Genesys, multiple cloud acquisitions may be in Aspect's future? Perhaps; Freeze's last comment was, "We're not done yet."