KANA Software (a Verint Company) was kind enough to invite me to their user conference on September 19-20. The event was packed with product, strategy, and customer information. A good number of industry- and independent analysts attended, including Forrester's Ian Jacobs. Here are my thoughts:
- Software categories are ripe for consolidation, and the KANA-Verint combination is well positioned: There are three main technology categories that comprise a contact center: queueing and routing technologies; CRM, or agent desktop technologies and workforce optimization technologies. We have predicted that these technology categories will converge because (1) these are mature markets and vendors will move into adjacent spaces to increase market share and (2) companies are looking to simplify their technology ecosystem in order to improve the quality of service. The user conference did a good job at articulating the value of consolidating these spaces.
KANA and Verint are leveraging each other's customer base for tactical growth: It is still early days for the convergence of KANA and Verint technologies, but both companies seem to be working hard to position each other’s offerings into their respective customer base. One natural cross-over is Verint's VoC product which can be effectively leveraged by KANA customers. Other cross-overs include agent knowledge into the Verint WFO customer base, and lightweight case management and workforce management solutions targeted for the back office. This tactical focus on crossover point solutions, which is being led by customer demand, should have better success than a strategy of broader integration between the company's respective product portfolios.
New products will help bridge the customer-to-agent divide: For example, KANA introduced their engagement analytics that the user conference, which combines customer interaction data, customer service agent desktop activity, agent performance data,and survey feedback to analyze the effectiveness of customer journeys.
Customers have good things to say about KANA. KANA solicited a range of customers in various industries to highlight product usage and the ROI of KANA solutions. Key examples included The Hartford and Salmat, both which rolled out omnichannel agent desktops. The main drivers for these projects were increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, in addition to optimizing efficiency metrics.
The organizational alignment is in progress: So far, KANA has retained its own brand, but its organizational structure is being merged into Verint’s, and the shake-out of this alignment yet to come. KANA's internal processes are becoming more scripted, and will suffer from a loss in agility.
The event gave us ample opportunity to network, with good access to executives. However, the venue and food negatively impacted the event.
The Verint-KANA solution portfolio differentiates the company from its competition. However, most sales opportunities today are not greenfield opportunities: most customers have an agent desktop and a WFM solution in place. This makes realizing the value of the entire value proposition more difficult; and gains may only be made by the adoption of point solutions in each other's respective prospect and customer base.