Verity acquires NativeMinds in US$3.8M deal

JOHANNESBURG (04/05/2004) - Verity Inc. has acquired the intellectual property, certain customer agreements and other strategic assets from NativeMinds Inc., a privately held software company specializing in integrated self-service solutions. The deal brings the benefits of Verity's intellectual capital management to NativeMinds' customer self-service solutions, Verity says.

For an all-cash US$3.8 million payment, Verity acquired NativeMinds' technology portfolio, an integrated set of tools that provides an interactive contact point for customer inquiries.

Garth Wittles, district manager for Verity in South Africa (SA), says the two companies' technologies and products, in combination, will deliver highly capable, cost-efficient online customer assistance solutions. "We now have the opportunity to provide customers of both companies with Web-based self-service solutions that will reduce support costs and raise satisfaction levels," Wittles says. "We are working aggressively to inform our customers of the value of this application in conjunction with their existing Verity solutions, and are prepared to deploy the technologies together immediately."

The integrated self-service solution will provide a customer, employee or any other user with a single response to their common questions, the company says. Driven by a natural language processing capability, it gives the most appropriate response to the question posed, drawn from a continuously managed index that effectively discerns appropriate responses for each question.

If the response calls for a form to be completed by the user, the Verity self-service solution will have that capability, further automating the process, the company claims.

"Too many Web-based customer assistance offerings are little more than dressed-up FAQs," Wittles says. "The easily achieved linkage of NativeMinds' technology to ours will do more than answer questions. It will give organizations an entirely new way to involve and engage customers, to have them do some of the things typically done for them by support personnel. By delivering clear, complete responses to enquiries, customers have a better, more satisfying online service experience, while companies rein in associated costs."

The portfolio includes technology that manages the interaction between a customer and a vRep, or virtual representative; the vRep Management System (VMS) to track, measure and improve a vRep solution; and a set of reporting and analysis tools to help assess performance, identify content opportunities and gather valuable customer insight. vReps humanize online relationships by providing a single, interactive contact point for all customer questions through a natural language dialogue. They eliminate the need for separate online support channels by combining search, contact us and FAQs into a single interface, enabling companies to increase customer satisfaction and decrease maintenance and support costs. Verity has also hired employees from NativeMinds' development, professional services and sales organizations.

Wittles says Verity's SA customers and prospective customers will now have access to packaged self-service portal technology, which means that far less effort will be required to create specialized solutions.

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