Calabrio CEO Goodmanson says Teleopti acquisition makes company channel powerhouse

Calabrio’s CEO talks with ChannelBuzz about what partners can expect to see from the newly enlarged company, which he says now has the largest channel business in the space.

Calabrio CEO Tom Goodman

A month ago, workforce optimization suite provider Calabrio acquired smaller Stockholm-based competitor Teleopti. In a month that saw mega-acquisitions in the enterprise software market with Salesforce buying Tableau and Google acquiring Looker, Calabrio’s deal was much smaller in scale and in scope. For the channel that handles workforce engagement solutions, the deal is a major one however, because it greatly raises the profile of the most channel-focused player in the space. Calabrio CEO Tom Goodman spoke with ChannelBuzz about what this will mean for the channel partners of both Calabrio and Teleopti.

The historical workforce optimization software market has been led by companies larger than Calabrio, whose go-to-market model is basically direct.

“The bigger players like NICE and Verint are much more direct and have chosen to play a different game,” Goodmanson told ChannelBuzz. “Both Teleopti and ourselves are more channel-centric – not 100 per cent channel-centric but we think it’s a great way to go to market. Most big enterprise customers are looking to deal with the manufacturer directly, but we do see a push back.”

Workforce optimization is just one part of the Calabrio suite, while it was Teleopti’s entire focus. Within this segment specifically, both vendors were in the single digits. Combined, they have a much stronger position in a market with many vendors in it.

“In just workforce optimization alone, our share was a low of about seven per cent, and Teleopti about three per cent, and we could be as high as about 15 per cent,” Goodmanson said. “We are well over 100 million of revenue combined. That’s significant.”

Goodmanson  also stressed that following the acquisition, Calabrio is now the largest company in the space that sells through the channel.

“There’s no doubt of that at this point,” he said.

The combined company is also much better balanced globally.

“When we went to the investment committee of our Board of Directors to get funding, we emphasized three things –  people, place and product,” Goodmanson indicated. Their product is something that we already have, but together, we are even better, and we have a vision of what it will be when its all together, around extensive scalability. With respect to place, we were 85 per cent in North America and 15 per cent outside it, and they were the opposite. Together, we are 65-35, giving us a perfect global mix overnight.”

With respect to people, Goodmanson acknowledged that companies that make acquisitions invariably tout a strong cultural fit between the two entities, but said that in this case it really is true.

“If you look at our history, we are non-traditional in the way we go about ourselves,” he said. “I was in Sweden getting ready for the close of the deal, and ran into many of the same people. Cultural fit for us means the way we build software. We have the same focus on customers – and on partners. We have always emphasized building more hyper-focus in the analytics around employees making customer engagement.”

Goodmanson said that there are a few areas where the Teleopti technology will specifically enhance the experience for traditional Calabrio customers.

“There is a handful, but the main one people will see and love is that as a Eurocentric company they bring work rules for different countries that are separate and unique,” he said.

At the time of the deal, Calabrio had about 170 channel partners while Teleopti had about 50. Cisco is Calabrio’s most important vendor. They have an OEM deal, and many of their partners are also Cisco partners. Avaya is their other important vendor.

“We didn’t work with 8×8, and TOPdesk, which Teleopti did,” Goodmanson said.

“The big opportunity with the new company will be for Teleopti partners,” he noted. “They will have three or four new capabilities. Before, they only had Workforce Management, and now they have all the other ones like quality management and call recording.

“For Calabrio partners, the big advantage is scale,” Goodmanson added. “The bigger we get, the more credible we are. That also impacts us globally, for partners with a global presence.

“We are already known for how we can take care of partners, and there will be more of the same and better in this respect.”

Goodmanson said not to look for any changes in the strategy itself as a result of the deal.

“We have had a very focused strategy for the last twelve years,” he indicated. “This just gives us more scope and scale to execute on it. Our workforce management development will happen entirely in Sweden going forward. The platform and quality management will be in Minneapolis, and Vancouver will be where the reporting engines are built. The synergies from the deal will make us really focused and better able to develop our product. Our goal is to use it to make us more focused and driven.”