IBM's Optevia Acquisition Adds To SaaS, CRM Portfolio - InformationWeek

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Cloud // Software as a Service
12:06 PM

IBM's Optevia Acquisition Adds To SaaS, CRM Portfolio

Optevia specializes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM for the public sector. It's found success with streamlining CRM services in town councils across the UK.

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Technology giant IBM announced the acquisition of Optevia, a software as a service (SaaS), systems integrator specializing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions for public sector organizations.

IBM said the acquisition will allow the company to scale Optevia's solutions across other areas, where Optevia's software, assets, specialized workforce, and expertise had the potential to increase IBM's current capabilities.

The private company's main focus is on UK emergency services, central government, local government, health authorities, and housing and social enterprises. It will join IBM's global business services division.

"By acquiring Optevia, IBM will be able to provide Public Sector clients and prospects with a range of unique, industry focused CRM based solutions," Joanna Davinson, IBM public sector leader, Europe, said in a statement. "This strategic acquisition will help strengthen IBM as a SaaS provider and Global Software Integrator."

(Image: DKart/iStockphoto)

(Image: DKart/iStockphoto)

Company founder Tim Vernon joined Bill Gates onstage in 2004 to help Microsoft launch Dynamics CRM. Since then, more than 200 public-sector organizations have used Optevia to transform their customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities.

Recently, Sunderland City Council, which serves a population of about 280,000 people, and delivers in excess of 700 different services, partnered with Optevia to configure and install Microsoft Dynamics CRM to help transform the way in which it interacts with its citizens.

The Council wanted to reduce complexity of processes in order to eliminate avoidable contact. It began offering services online wherever possible, to provide choice and greater convenience for customers. It had the desire to improve the accessibility, quality, and consistency of services delivered.

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"We now have comprehensive information about our customers and the services they require, at our fingertips. This allows our Customer Service Advocates to provide a tailored solution to the issues they are faced with, such as coordinating access to the range of social services we provide," Liz St Louis, head of customer service and development at Sunderland City Council, explained in the case study.

"Where previously this would have meant the customer having to make several phone calls and repeating their details, we are now able record their requirements once and package the delivery of multiple services. This not only provides our customers with a faster response to their needs, it also saves us time and money."

Optevia's overall client base includes ministries, councils, regulators, licensing, and grant management organizations, transport authorities, and social housing organizations.

News of the acquisition follows reports that IBM has started laying off workers as part of a "workforce rebalancing," which financial analyst firm Bernstein has estimated could affect 14,000 workers

Bernstein analyst A.M. (Toni) Sacconaghi wrote that the actual number of job cuts could end up being greater than 14,000, based on what affected employees are saying about the severance package this time around.

"Given various reports that IBM is providing much lower severance in this rebalancing (1 month vs. up to 6 months based on tenure historically), it is possible that the workforce reduction number could be materially higher than this estimate," Sacconaghi wrote in the report.

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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