Qualtrics announced that it’s acquiring Clarabridge in an all-stock deal worth USD 1.125 billion. This is a great move for Qualtrics. In one swoop, it has secured the best-in-class analytics capabilities that will define the future of voice-of-the-customer programs as firms decrease their reliance on surveys and focus instead on understanding customers based on analysis of unstructured data.
We’ve been expecting someone to acquire Clarabridge for at least two years. Based on its exceptional integration and analytics capabilities, Clarabridge was a Leader in both this year’s The Forrester Wave™: Customer Feedback Management Platforms, Q2 2021, and last year’s The Forrester Wave™: Customer Feedback Management Platforms, Q1 2020. Those capabilities made it a highly attractive acquisition target for any vendor seeking to leapfrog the competition and achieve sustainable differentiation.
This move positions Qualtrics to catapult itself to the front of the customer feedback management (CFM) pack. Clarabridge’s text analytics/natural language processing (NLP) capabilities are so advanced that Forrester included the platform in The Forrester Wave™: AI-Based Text Analytics Platforms (People Focused), Q2 2020, an evaluation usually reserved for text analytics pure-plays.
Although Clarabridge always chose to go after customer experience (CX), employee experience, and social media analytics use cases, as well as multichannel aggregation, it checks off all of the boxes required for an enterprise-grade text analytics/NLP platform: multichannel data aggregation and management; multilingual capabilities; knowledge (domain ontologies and linguistic rules) and machine-learning-based text analytics; and advanced natural language understanding functionality beyond the simple topic and sentiment extraction such as emotion, effort, and intent.
Clarabridge brings holistically integrated speech analytics capabilities to Qualtrics’ otherwise undifferentiated speech and speech-to-text offering, analyzing “acoustics” of, say, call center conversations recording for signals that are lost once speech is transcribed to text. Typical advanced speech analytics capabilities include identifying speakers, a speaker’s volume and speed, long pauses (which may indicate an inefficient call center agent looking up information), interruptions, and other emotions derived from the tonality of voice. And the last icing on the cake is Clarabridge’s powerful data visualization/dashboards/analytics capabilities that rival leading business intelligence platforms.
The deal is not without potential “gotchas” that are always concerns for tech acquisitions:
What it means for:
This article was written by Forrester’s vice presidents and research directors Harley Manning and Ian Jacobs, vice presidents and principal analysts Boris Evelson and Brandon Purcell, and senior analyst Judy Weader. The original article is here.
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