Cisco aims for enhanced engagement with IMImobile acquisition

Network technology and solutions giant makes strategic acquisition of cloud communications software and services provider to embed omnichannel engagement into customer experience-as-a-service

Months after the communications software firm’s CEO noted that Covid-19 had forced a collective rethink of the way people work and that business effectiveness was due for a welcome change, network technology giant Cisco has got out its chequebook to make a huge change for IMImobile in a $730m buy out.

Believing that customer experience is the key competitive advantage for consumer businesses, IMImobile provides cloud communications software and services that manage business-critical customer interactions at scale and which are designed to allow businesses to stay connected to customers through enhanced interactive channels including social, messaging and voice.

IMImobile’s Customer Interaction Management (CIM) suite automates, orchestrates and monitors interactions with disparate back-end systems. Its software is used by enterprises and public-sector organisations including AA, Best Buy, BT, Capitec Bank, Centrica, EE, Hermes, IHG, Mercedes, Orange, O2, Vodafone and Walgreens.

Following completion of the acquisition, Cisco says that it will be able to offer customer-facing businesses with an end-to-end customer interaction management solution and rich customer experiences, along with the ability to drive faster and smarter interactions and orchestration throughout the customer lifecycle journey.

Cisco’s offer has been recommended by IMImobile’s board of directors and the acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of calendar year 2021, subject to a number of conditions including IMImobile shareholder approval and certain regulatory approvals. Upon completion of the transaction, the IMImobile team will join Cisco’s Contact Centre business unit which is part of the Cisco Collaboration business.

Speaking to Computer Weekly in April 2020, IMImobile CEO Jay Patel noted that the first early consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic was to establish remote working as a primary operating model.

“If businesses change the way they work in reaction to Covid-19, they may end up, unintentionally, chipping away at the outdated concept of presenteeism, [which] pre-pandemic was all too often seen as a measure of staff performance in its own right,” he said. “Now, organisations are having to explore alternative methods of measuring productivity, such as the ‘objectives and key results’ (OKR) method favoured by some Silicon Valley tech companies.”

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And now one of the Valley’s leading lights has taken Patel’s words to heart and Cisco him at his word, looking to integrated the IMImobile technology software and services to offer a solution that establishes the concept of contact centre as a services (CCaaS) to support the new normal of hybrid and remote working.

The new solution will use AI along the entire customer journey to create super agents and augmented frontline employees, providing contextual customer data needed to personalise interactions. This says Cisco will empower employee collaboration in order to deliver customer experiences that it says can be an order of magnitude better, connecting with customers in their channel of choice whether text, social or voice. In addition, the integrated offer is programmable and will be designed to give businesses the ability to orchestrate workflows and personalise customer journeys.

“A great customer relationship is built on consistently enjoyable interactions where every touchpoint on every channel is an opportunity for businesses to deliver rich, engaging and intuitive experiences,” said Jeetu Patel, senior vice-president and general manager of Cisco’s Security and Applications business.

“We look forward to working with IMImobile to help create a comprehensive CXaaS solution for the market – one that gives businesses a platform to provide delightful experiences across the entire customer lifecycle journey.”

IMImobile CEO Jay Patel added: “We are excited to join Cisco and become part of one of the world’s leading technology companies as they seek to enable great customer experiences.

“We believe there will be a world of dynamic, always-on connections between global businesses and their customers and the combination of our respective technologies will enable to us make every interaction matter more for our clients.”

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