The pre-holiday shopping specials must still be hot because the acquisition news keeps rolling, this time with NICE Systems, announcing its intent to acquire LiveVox, a San Francisco-based Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platform that has differentiated itself thanks to AI-powered proactive, outbound engagement capabilities. This is especially important as contact center and service look beyond their norms of tech stacks with clear delineation between inbound and outbound systems to solutions that combine capabilities for a more holistic customer journey-driven experience strategy.

LiveVox cut its teeth on key points of intelligence including health industry and risk intelligence, evolving into a robust communications solution that combines a customer relationship management (CRM), workforce optimization (WFM), omnichannel communications and a broad portfolio of AI-powered assistants, bots and models. There’s even an outbound dialer, cloud PBX and hardware offering to keep an eye on. Integrated into NICE’s open, flexible comprehensive customer engagement platform.

What We Know About the Deal: Growth Positive

According to press releases issued by both companies, this deal has been approved by both boards and will see LiveVox stockholders will receive $3.74 in case per share of LiveVox common stock, placing the estimated value of the deal around $350 million. This is a sharp departure from 2021 when LiveVox was merged into a SPAC valued at over $850 million. Based on recent earnings details from LiveVox, the company has been operating at a loss, which over the past year has narrowed. NICE CEO, Barak Eilam, believes this move gets the market one step closer to the promise of smart conversational AI with NICE. “In joining forces with LiveVox we now have the strongest and broadest proactive outreach portfolio,” Eilam noted in the release. “The era of Digital Engagement is already here and we are excited to enable organizations to propel their Digital Engagement and Conversational AI forward. In joining forces with LiveVox we now have the strongest and broadest proactive outreach portfolio.”

NICE notes that the deal should be cash flow positive and accretive to NICE’s operating income, operating margin and non-GAAP EPS during 2024. The deal is expected to close in early 2024.

What It Means for NICE: Expands the Scope of Communications and Engagement

This acquisition picks up a collection of outbound tools which will allow NICE customers to include proactive points of engagement to their customer journey workflows, not to mention a CRM alternative. This will also be a boon for existing LiveVox customers looking to take advantage of the NICE portfolio of business ready AI tools around automation ranging from robotic process automation (RPA) that can automate mundane tasks that benefit agent productivity to journey orchestration capabilities that will be critical to connect inbound and outbound engagement strategies, workflows and proceses…which again highlights the importance of that CRM offering to keep that close.

It's also important to note that LiveVox brings a customer portfolio that will expand NICE’s footprint in the fast-growing midmarket, addressing Wall Street questions around how NICE can address a slowing market and growth trajectory.

The Bottom Line: Best Practices Will Be Critical

In the moment, this deal will be talked about as an expansion of AI-related capabilities. And yes, that is absolutely going to happen. But looking beyond the AI hypecycle, this also is a clear signal from NICE that the trend of collaborative dynamic communication as the center point for true, holistic CX that focuses on where and how the customer’s experience exists as opposed to where functions, departments of technology exists is the path to profit and growth. This new view understands that customers don’t identify departments…they just identify the contextual experience they want, expect and need. But, best practices that showcase where and how this dynamic customer collaboration can and should bridge the gaps between CX’s frontline of sales, marketing and service are needed now more than ever.

This also feeds into the conversation around what NICE could do as various strategic partners have launched their own CCaaS solutions. While those partnerships continue to be important for all parties, this new holistic offering provides customers a single stop for comprehensive customer communications.