IBM and HCL Technologies announced a deal Thursday night in which the Noida, India-headquartered tech firm will acquire seven collaboration and customer experience software products for $1.8 billion. The software includes:

  • Appscan for secure application development.
  • BigFix for secure device management.
  • Unica (on-premises) for marketing automation.
  • Commerce (on-premises) for omni-channel ecommerce.
  • Portal (on-premises) for digital experience.
  • Notes and Domino for email and low-code rapid application development.
  • Connections for workstream collaboration.

According to HCL officials, these software products represent a total addressable market of more than $50 billion.

HCL and IBM have existing partnerships on some of these products. John Kelly, IBM senior vice president for cognitive solutions and research, stated in a press release that IBM believes, "the time is right to divest these select collaboration, marketing and commerce software assets, which are increasingly delivered as standalone products. At the same time, we believe these products are a strong strategic fit for HCL, and that HCL is well positioned to drive innovation and growth for their customers.”

The deal is expected to close in the middle of next year, after clearing regulatory approval processes.

In other customer experience software news ...

Avochato Raises $5M

Business communications software firm Avochato this week announced it raised $5 million in Series A funding, led by Amity Ventures with participation from return backer XSeed Capital, Michael Stoppelman and Jonathan Swanson. Avochato provides a mobile messaging platform for CRM.

Company officials said in a press release they will use the money to scale their sales team and add robust features to improve communication experiences across Avochato customers’ sales, support and operations teams. Avochato’s messaging platform is designed to allow businesses to interact directly with their customers without software downloads. Prospects, current customers, or staff can send text messages to businesses, and Avochato's platform then enables businesses to respond in a coordinated fashion.

Hero Digital Acquires Clock Four

Hero Digital, a customer experience agency, this week acquired Clock Four Inc., a digital innovation agency that serves brands in financial services and high tech. Clock Four works with brands on customer experience strategy, brand activation, lifecycle marketing and digital ecosystem development. They work closely with the CMO. 

The acquisition for Hero Digital will improve its strategy practice and domain expertise in financial services and B2B technology, according to company officials. Clock Four CEO Jon Eberly will be joining Hero Digital as executive vice president. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Learning Opportunities

AnyClip Launches LuminousX

AnyClip, an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven video content data provider, has debuted LuminousX™, a video content, engagement and monetization solution. LuminousX is designed to help publishers face large technology platforms by enriching any website with an interactive feed of editorial content. It helps them identify and visualize the people, topics and brands within the video, and invites users to click and discover relevant clips.

LuminousX draws from millions of clips aggregated from editorial content producers, with clips automatically analyzed, categorized and added to the library. Once a user shows intent by reading a specific article, the platform serves up an automatic feed of the videos that match the content. 

Interactions Expands Fraud Protection with Next Caller Partnership

Interactions, which provides Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA) software for enterprises, announced a partnership with Next Caller, a phone fraud detection and call verification provider. The move helps expand Interactions' security capabilities for IVA clients. 

Next Caller assesses the threat level of inbound calls with its VeriCall technology. Interactions IVA will be able to use the caller’s automatic number identification (ANI) and network info and produce a "risk score" through the Next Caller partnership. Officials cited an example of callers flagged as high risk who may require additional authentication, or may be routed to a high risk live agent.

Adobe Releases New Capabilities in Audience Manager

Adobe has released several features in Audience Manager, Adobe’s DMP. A new Trait Exclusion capability in Algorithmic Models provides transparency and control in lookalike modeling. Users can exclude selected traits from model analysis, ensuring lookalike output is valuable. In addition, Adobe created Audience Marketplace, which offers digital marketers a respite from the problems of impression reporting and manual cost attribution, according to company officials. Users can report on impressions at a segment level, aligning with how demand-side platforms report on monthly usage. Adobe also released a Data Explorer GA, which helps marketers activate raw audience data for greater insights.

HubSpot Ads Now Available 

HubSpot's ads tools, which were formerly reserved for those using Ads add-on, are now available in the Marketing Hub product for professional and enterprise customers. As ads continue to become an integral part of any growth strategy, this move will help our customers better align their advertising with their larger marketing efforts. "By making ads part of our core marketing product, we’re ensuring that companies will be able to manage all of their marketing efforts, from emails to Facebook Lead Ads, right inside of the HubSpot growth platform," Nicholas Holland, VP and GM of Marketing Hub at HubSpot.