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Genesys Acquires Gamification Startup nGUVU
Genesys announced today its acquisition of nGUVU to add artificial intelligence (AI)-powered gamification to its workforce engagement management (WEM) suite. Based in Montreal, nGUVU is a cloud-based software provider of gamified solutions that uses machine learning and behavioral analytics to improve employee engagement and performance. nGUVU is privately held, and as is typical of such transactions, financial details of the acquisition weren’t disclosed.
In its choice of nGUVU to tick the gamification box, Genesys selected an existing partner; nGUVU has been part of the Genesys AppFoundry marketplace since 2017. As seen below, in a screenshot of a pop-up I received when I visited the nGUVU website, Genesys customers are a key target market. When I asked Cameron Smith, Genesys VP of product management for WEM, in a telephone interview how many joint customers Genesys and nGUVU had, he answered that 93% of nGUVU customers are also Genesys customers.
For many years, the WEM market (relabeled from workforce optimization by Gartner in 2017) has been dominated by two players: NICE and Verint. Genesys, and before it acquired the company, Interactive Intelligence, each had workforce optimization suites. These solutions were considered good (with the advantages of being part of an integrated suite) but not great, i.e., not as robust in functionality as that of the two leaders. After the acquisition of Interactive Intelligence, Genesys found itself with three workforce optimization suites: the legacy Genesys capabilities, one associated with the initial Interactive Intelligence platform, CIC/CaaS, and a fledging solution being built-in AWS for then PureCloud, now Genesys Cloud.
In my conversation with Smith, he said that the addition of gamification is one part of a broad, multi-year effort by Genesys to unify all WEM development and innovation into one suite. Deployed in the Genesys Cloud (formerly PureCloud), the goal is to serve all Genesys customers, regardless of platform.
The other stated objective of these efforts is to break into the WEM leadership duopoly – for Genesys WEM to be considered on par with the two market leaders. Just recently, they inched closer to that goal. In the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for WEM published in February, Genesys improved its position from niche player to visionary status.
Goals for the WEM suite are also influenced by corporate directions, and by choosing a company that is already incorporating AI into a born-in-the-cloud solution, the acquisition tracks closely with Genesys’ moves across its portfolio. As promised, when Genesys acquired Altocloud in 2018, the AI team in Galway, Ireland, has grown from tens to hundreds of employees. With nGUVU, Genesys taps into a new source of AI talent that is available in and around Montreal. In late 2016, Google opened an AI lab in Montreal, and in 2017, Microsoft acquired Canadian deep learning start-up Maluuba. Later in 2017, Facebook set up its second AI lab outside the U.S. in Montreal. It seems Genesys and its nGUVU product development team are in good company.