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inContact Ups Its Game with Uptivity Acquisition

The holy grail of a fully-integrated cloud contact center suite continues to drive acquisition activity. inContact announced Tuesday its intention to purchase Uptivity, a 10-year old company that offers workforce optimization (WFO) solutions. Uptivity is headquartered in Columbus, OH, has 160 employees and maintains 700 customers.

As inContact is publicly traded, there is a level of transparency to the deal absent in recent acquisitions by fellow cloud contact center company Genesys (owned by private equity firms). inContact is paying approximately $45.8 million for Uptivity, $8.8 million in cash and approximately $37 million in stock. Since 2007, Uptivity has grown from $790K in revenue to $19.4 million in 2013, delivering 25% growth in 2013 over 2012.

inContact proactively points out that the acquisition of Uptivity does not mean an end to the company's OEM relationship with Verint. "We're having great success with the Verint WFO solution - our growth continues at an astonishing pace," reports inContact CMO Mariann McDonagh. Verint will remain inContact's enterprise solution for WFO, defined as for customers with more than 150 agents.

With a successful OEM relationship, why buy Uptivity? McDonagh highlighted a few reasons. First is that at the end of the day, there is more you can do to integrate the contact center infrastructure and WFO elements for a customer when you own the intellectual property. Delivering the vision of a "Workforce Intelligent Contact Center" outlined in my April No Jitter post becomes much easier with in-house versus OEM WFO software.

Perhaps the most interesting (challenging?) attribute of Uptivity is that it is a premises-based solution. While some of the company's customers are served using a subscription model, the solution itself was not designed as multi-tenant and cloud-based. inContact outlined for press and analysts a high-level roadmap that shows creation of a "full true multi-tenant cloud for inContact ACD" in 8-12 months and a multi-tenant cloud version for non-inContact ACDs in 1-2 years. While the timelines seem aggressive, current Uptivity offerings, with recurring billing, will be offered immediately.

The stated direction to continue to sell the Uptivity WFO suite to non-inContact ACD customers highlights one of the goals of the acquisition. McDonagh (who worked at Verint for six years earlier in her career) says inContact wants to build a cloud-based WFO to appeal to the, "dramatically underpenetrated mid-sized market." The strategy reminds me of the Genesys acquisition of Telera in 2002, which allowed Genesys sales people to open a self-service conversation with customers that might not be ready for a new contact center solution. Uptivity can give inContact sales people another reason to call on both existing customers and prospects to pitch cloud-based WFO. And perhaps eventually win all the business.

PS: "Upping its game" in my title is a subtle bow to the gamification functionality already delivered as part of Uptivity's portfolio. Gamification has been a hot new area in WFO and Uptivity has been one of its early champions. Stay tuned.

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