Home > Columns > Executive Interviews

Verint® Systems Executive Interview

Ryan Hollenbeck, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing Customer Experience Program, Verint® Systems

To what do you attribute Verint’s strong performance? 

We have an amazing global team here at Verint, rich in diversity and talent.  We are all truly focused on our customers and how they can continue to extract value from our solutions to solve real-world business issues, especially the delicate balance between improving the customer experience and driving operational efficiency. 

Overall, we believe that behind our positive momentum, is demand for actionable intelligence solutions that help customers capture and analyze massive amounts of data and derive meaningful insights.  Our market leadership and competitive differentiation are supported by innovative automation technologies across many specific customer use cases. 

For example, UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company working in Parkinson’s disease and other chronic illnesses.  UCB announced a new mobile app equipped with a conversational, virtual health assistant named “April,” powered by Verint’s Intelligent Virtual Assistant solution. April utilizes artificial intelligence technology to offer continuous support and encourage patient adherence, transforming the way patients interact with their healthcare provider. This is a good example of how organizations are looking to deploy automation to drive deeper relationships with customers as well as of Verint’s strategy of helping organizations elevate customer experience while keeping operating costs low.

During the previous year, we have observed a growing market emphasis on workforce engagement solutions. Verint was recently named as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Workforce Engagement Management. What factors led Verint to focus more closely on customer and workforce engagement?  

We continue to believe that the customer engagement market overall, and workforce engagement management specifically, is thriving.  Many industry analysts agree, and the research you’re referring to here is a good example. 

You may have noticed in Gartner’s analysis that they noted that “Verint enables better employee engagement through enhanced hiring, gamification, coaching, workflow and VoE capabilities.”  These newer offerings are a sign of our continued focus on innovation.  In fact, just within the last 12 months we had 50 percent growth in patents and applications in the area of automation.  Verint has a large IP portfolio with close to 1,000 patents and applications out of which close to 200 are related to automation.

The same research also noted that “Verint further promotes engagement with unique functions in its complementary CEC portfolio, such as knowledge management, virtual-assistant and community features.”  For global companies searching for this unique combination of solutions, only Verint can offer them across both what Garter calls “workforce engagement management” and “customer engagement center for service and support.”

We’ll see what the market has in store for all of us in 2019!  

With more organizations paying closer attention to what their customers have to say, Verint continues to make strides in VoC technology with the acquisition of ForeSee.  How will the melding of ForeSee’s causal modeling, predictive analytics and benchmarking with Verint’s omnichannel portfolio enable businesses to learn more about what their customers want?  

Along with workforce engagement, self-service and fraud/compliance, voice of the customer (VoC) is one of our key pillars in the market.  In fact, for many organizations when they think about Verint, they think first about our VoC capabilities (e.g., enterprise feedback management, speech/text/social analytics, and now more than ever since the ForeSee combination – digital feedback.)   

The fact is that understating and managing the customer experience (CX) is changing.  A massive amount of today’s customer interactions happening in digital channels, and many organizations are asking themselves if they have the best approach to managing the digital customer experience.  The combination of Verint and ForeSee has created a new standard for CX, marketing and operational executives who want a unified view of the voice of their customers across digital, voice, surveys, email, chat and social media. Both Verint and ForeSee customers will benefit from an innovative vision, backed by the resources and commitment to building the next generation of VoC solutions for organizations looking to elevate their customer experience.  

Combining ForeSee’s deep digital domain expertise with our automation and analytics expertise will accelerate our cloud VoC technology innovation and squarely address the needs of customers to drive better business outcomes by enhancing the customer experience.

There’s a big difference between problem solving for customers and delighting them.  While many organizations recognize the importance of engaging customers, they find it difficult to understand and act on the entire customer journey. Because of the complexity the emergence of digital CX and a chief digital officer (CDO) for Customer Experience programs have surfaced to introduce a more collaborative, overarching, enterprise approach.  These executives want to know how well they are doing by measuring the satisfaction, loyalty, renewal, and repurchase intentions of their customers.  They want to understand who within their organizations are having an impact on customers and what areas of the business need to make improvements. 

What have been some of the most surprising developments you’ve seen in Verint’s more than 25 years in the customer engagement/contact center industry?  

There have been many surprises over the years!  The introduction of new technology like analytics, market convergence across so many players, and the advent of automation that we have today – just to name a few.  Perhaps the most surprising is how many software companies in our market are no longer around.  As you know, so many software companies struggle to scale, and do not survive for all of these years.  

This year marks a major milestone for our company.  Verint is celebrating its 25th anniversary and it’s been an amazing growth journey.  And we think of this as just the beginning!  We have worked hard to lay the foundation for even greater future success built upon our strong core values, culture of innovation, passion for customer success and for embracing change and market disruption.  

As we celebrate our remarkable achievements over the past 25 years, it becomes clear that our success is driven by adaptability and embracing change– every year we created many new ideas in pursuit of continuing to disrupt and innovate in markets, technology and thought leadership.  

We have managed to bring together people from more than 40 different countries, with highly diversified skills and a passion for growth and innovation – plus we have made a significant impact on the world and our communities - something we are very proud of over the years. 

How do your solutions enable companies to reduce fraud and achieve compliance with various regulations?  

Organizations need to look for potential fraud in every customer interaction. Fraudsters accumulate data through every possible means to create what they need to take over customer accounts. Our solutions generate intelligence to identify fraud in real-time, as well as intelligence that can be further analyzed over time to protect customers, employees and organizations. 

Also, ensuring regulatory compliance is expensive and difficult.  Our solutions help support compliance in real-time, as well as bring compliance intelligence together to be analyzed and acted on in an efficient, effective manner.  One example is financial compliance. 

Today, all electronic communications—voice, mobile, SMS, IM, video, file share, etc.—must be recorded and monitored to maintain compliance in the financial services industry. However, up until now, recording across all of these modes has been impossible for financial services organizations. Verint Financial Compliance takes full advantage of all the capabilities of collaboration tools by proactively recording every interaction that could lead to a trade. Financial services organizations can unlock the benefits of state-of-the-art solutions for collaboration, expanding the ways they work with customers, and still remain compliant with the most stringent of regulations. 

The platform-agnostic solution delivers capabilities that can prevent non-compliant incidents from occurring in the first place, outpacing other industry solutions that only offer capture-and-archive capability. Verint’s offerings help organizations work proactively to maintain adherence and reduce the cost of compliance. 

How does Verint stay abreast of market demands to help provide solutions that help organizations handle customer engagement challenges across a broad variety of industries? 

We rely first and foremost on our customer advisory boards across each of our core markets in customer engagement (workforce engagement, self-service, VoC, and fraud/compliance).  They are enormously helpful in explaining their business challenges and what types of solutions might be helpful to drive future business value.  In addition, we also reply on industry thought leaders and strategic partners, who are also close to the customer engagement market and often have great ideas. 

The Verint Community is a vibrant place for customers to exchange ideas and suggest future enhancements to our software to help resolve many of these business challenges.  Our own staff are also a great source of ideas, both our field engineers who deploy our solutions as well as others throughout the organization who interact with companies all over the world. 

Finally, we also conduct our own market research that reveals consumer preferences and priorities, which we can in turn evaluate for our future roadmap. 

What directions do you see the customer engagement industry evolving in over the next five years?  

We see a future in which visionary organizations are declaring customer engagement a sustainable competitive advantage, essential to their future success. To get there, they are modernizing customer engagement with the adoption of open, flexible solutions that support heightened customer demands, the evolving workforce and ever-changing business dynamics, and that enable stronger enterprise-wide collaboration. 

A lot of this comes down simplifying customer engagement.  To keep up with rapid changes in the customer engagement landscape, organizations need trusted partners and proven solutions that are easy to own, easy to operate and easy to expand. Increasingly, these solutions must support collaboration, automation, open interfaces, simple integrations, and cloud and other deployment models—all key success factors for driving modern customer engagement with greater simplicity.  

One clear example is automation.  Organizations want to increase their speed and efficiency, as well as free up employees at all levels for more meaningful work. Our solutions enable employees to focus on more strategic and customer-facing activities, and less on repetitive tasks by automating routine functions, such as data entry and quality evaluations. 

One thing is for sure:  It’s going to be a wild ride!