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Witness Competitors On The Bat Phone
[February 13, 2007]

Witness Competitors On The Bat Phone

Editorial Director,
Customer Interaction Solutions magazine
The call center industry is like any other...when Something Big happens, the first people you usually hear from are the competitors of the company to which Something Big has happened. There are probably public relations teams in the CRM/enterprise business software marketplace who have red bat phones with business editors and journalists on speed dial close to their right hands to be used should Oracle’s (News - Alert) Larry Ellison sneeze.

News of the Verint/Witness merger has been no different. Scott Shute, president and CEO of Autonomy/etalk, issued a statement yesterday within a very short time after the initial news broke:

This acquisition represents two commodity vendors coming together with overlapping call center technology, leaving customers uncertain about whether both product lines will move forward and if additional hardware investments will be required.

Autonomy etalk delivers an innovative software-only platform for the Intelligent Contact Center that understands the meaning of all customer interactions — more than just the metrics — including multichannel analysis for phone, e-mail and instant messaging.

To assist Witness customers facing uncertainty in the wake of the acquisition of the company by Verint, Autonomy etalk is offering the Witness Protection Program to protect their investments while offering a smooth migration path to the Intelligent Contact Center.

”Witness Protection Program”?! It’s clever, but all I can say is, “Wow!” and “Ouch!” When I spoke with Witness this morning about details of the merger and read part of that e-mail to them to ask their opinion, the words “legal action” were casually uttered. We'll have to wait and see on that one. I'll keep you posted.

I did wonder how Autonomy/etalk would offer such a program when they have no workforce management solution. So I posed that question to them. The public relations layer performed a distracting little jig when I first asked the question. “Autonomy has a different approach to the contact center.” Not, presumably, one different enough to magically turn call recording and monitoring into workforce management, no matter how fast the end user dances.

I asked the question again, and got a response from Roger Wooley, etalk’s VP of Marketing. Said Roger: “Autonomy etalk offers Witness customers a smooth path to a platform that offers the advanced capabilities required for the Intelligent Contact Center while protecting the investments they have made in Witness WFM through an API [application programming interface]. We have existing customers using this in production for tasks such as scheduling information, administration updates for users and groups, and live monitoring for agents that fall outside of schedule adherence.”
Autonomy/etalk certainly offers technology right where the Verint/Witness merger overlaps: in the call recording and monitoring arena. After a merger, the place where the two companies overlap is always its Achilles’ heel.
Curiously, I've heard nothing on the transaction from the newly created Verint/Witness entity’s biggest competitor.
Perhaps they’re being NICE?
The author, who may be contacted at, admittedly deserves every piece of abuse she gets for that last excruciating pun.

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