Big Data Market Sees CSC Buy Infochimps, NICE Buy Causata

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-08-08

Big Data Market Sees CSC Buy Infochimps, NICE Buy Causata

Movement in the big data market continues apace with CSC acquiring Infochimps and NICE Systems nabbing Causata.

CSC on Aug. 8 formally announced its acquisition of Infochimps, a provider of big data platform-as-a-service for enterprise businesses.

Based in Austin, Texas, with an office in Redwood City, Calif., Infochimps has a team of highly skilled big data and analytics professionals and engineers that will help accelerate the development of CSC's data services platform, enabling CSC to scale its big data business and offer customers as-a-service access to advanced data analytics.

"This acquisition aligns directly with CSC's focus on next-generation technology solutions and services," said Sashi Reddi, CSC's vice president and general manager for big data and analytics, in a statement. "Infochimps' expertise in building industrial-strength data platforms on open source technologies will advance CSC's big data capabilities significantly."

In an Aug. 6 blog post on the acquisition, Jim Kaskade, CEO of Infochimps, asked, "What's a $15B powerhouse in information technology (IT) and professional services doing with an open source-based Big Data startup? It starts with 'Generation-OS.' We're not talking about Gen-Y or Gen-Z. We're talking Generation 'Open Source.'"

"CSC's customers are looking for both deep analytics and real-time correlation through a pre-integrated cloud platform," said Dan Hushon, CSC's chief technology officer, in a statement. "The joint CSC-Infochimps capabilities give our customers the ability to provision their analytic platform, point their data streams and deliver new industry insights."

Infochimps will be able to leverage CSC's global network of 87,000 employees, including technologists, industry consultants, application developers, software engineers, cyber-security experts and infrastructure professionals. In addition, Infochimps will have access to CSC's industrialized global sales, marketing, delivery and solution development teams, the company said.

"Infochimps and CSC share leadership values of intellectual honesty and commitment to excellence," said Jim Kaskade, Infochimps' CEO. "Additionally, the synergy between our companies presents a strong value proposition for the largest Global 2000 public companies."

In his post, Kaskade noted that Infochimps "delivers big data systems with unprecedented speed, scale and flexibility to enterprise companies. … By joining forces with CSC, we together will deliver one of the most powerful analytic platforms to the enterprise in an unprecedented amount of time."

At the core of Infochimps' DNA is its unique, open-source-based big data and cloud expertise, Kaskade added. "Infochimps was founded by data scientists, cloud computing, and open source experts, who have built three critical analytic services required by virtually all next-generation enterprise applications: real-time data processing and analytics, batch analytics, and ad hoc analytics—all for actionable insights, and all powered by open standards," he said.

When CSC begins to insert the Infochimps DNA into its global staff of 90,000 employees, focused on bringing big data to a broad enterprise customer base, "powerful things are bound to happen.," Kaskade said.

Infochimps' big data team and culture will remain intact, "as CSC leverages our bold, nimble approach as a force multiplier in driving new client experiences and thought leadership," he said. "Infochimps will remain under its existing leadership, with a focus on continuous and collaborative innovation across CSC offerings."

Terms of the acquisition, which closed on Aug. 5, were not disclosed. This marks CSC's second acquisition of a big data company, as the company continues to execute its strategy of building out a complete big data solution set that enables enterprise and government customers to benefit from big data analytics. In October 2012, CSC announced its acquisition of 42Six Solutions. That organization, based in Columbia, Md., is a software development concern specializing in big data processing and analytics and advanced applications support for the U.S. Government Intelligence Community (IC) and the Department of Defense (DoD).

Big Data Market Sees CSC Buy Infochimps, NICE Buy Causata

In other big data market news, NICE Systems announced that it reached an agreement to acquire Causata, a provider of real-time big data analytics technology.

The acquisition will allow NICE to offer solutions that provide greater visibility into a customer's activities on the Web and apply the insights from that data in real time, across other touch points such as the contact center.

These solutions are further augmented by Causata's Web-based predictive analytics and machine learning technologies, which, when applied to terabytes of information, enable organizations to improve real-time decision making and guidance. NICE will benefit from Causata's real-time Hadoop-based interaction repository, dynamic customer profiles and Web personalization, the company said.

"The acquisition of Causata demonstrates the high demand we are witnessing for big data applications," said Omer Trajman, vice president of operations at WibiData, a big data applications provider. "Consumers are interacting with brands across platforms, and it is imperative that enterprises deliver a relevant and personalized experience across channels to remain competitive in today's market. Companies like Google, Amazon and Netflix have successfully leveraged customer data to serve their users better, and big data applications are the enterprise tools that can create this dynamic brand experience."

"One of the biggest challenges enterprises face today is the difficulty breaking barriers between the Web and assisted-service channels, such as the contact center," said Keith Dawson, principal analyst at Ovum, in a statement. "In order to truly understand the customer journey and get the most value from that understanding, companies must know what their customers are doing on the Web, as they do it. The key is to then share that insight with the sales, services, and marketing organizations, so that they can act in real time to deliver outstanding, personalized customer service and realize more sales opportunities."

The integration of Causata's Hadoop-based technologies into NICE's Customer Engagement Analytics platform generates new capabilities, including:

  • Creation of dynamic customer profiles based on real-time analysis of current and past activities over multiple channels;

  • Convergence of self-service digital channels, such as Web and mobile, with assisted-service channels to better manage the customer journey;

  • Ability to provide contact center agents with the complete context of an interaction, based on a customer's activities prior to and during that interaction; and

  • Improved real-time decision making, using predictive analytics and machine learning, to guide employees to the next best action.

"Many of our customers interact with consumers in a siloed environment, leading to a disconnect between different touch points such as the company website, mobile app, stores and contact centers," said Zeevi Bregman, president and CEO of NICE, in a statement. "These organizations are looking for the ability to tie together Web-based and contact center interactions for better and more efficient customer service. The acquisition of Causata is another important step in executing on our strategy to help organizations get closer to their customers by providing real-time solutions which address the entire customer journey across touch points."

Paul Wahl, CEO of Causata, said NICE shares his company's vision for "applying advanced technologies to better understand the customer journey in order to address specific customer needs and preferences, as well as to act upon these insights to improve the customer experience and drive business success."

The acquisition is expected to close in a few days, NICE officials said.


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