Category: Mergers & Acquisitions

Majorel and Sitel Group® Merger Would Create a CXM Behemoth – Deal Continues Unabated M&A Activity in the Customer Experience Management Industry

The potential merger between Majorel Group Luxembourg S.A. (Majorel) and Sitel Group® would create a CXM colossus and firmly put the combined entity in the top three providers of these services. Read on to learn about the synergies between the companies and what all the recent M&A activity means for the Customer Experience Management  industry.

If approved, fusing the two organizations would create a new publicly-listed firm headquartered in Luxembourg, trading on Euronext Amsterdam. The new entity would have more than US$6.4 billion in revenues and 240,000-plus employees, creating a “Big Three” in the Customer Experience Management industry along with Concentrix and Teleperformance. 

With both firms registering an impressive 30%+ growth in 2021, it will be interesting to see how the merger synergies help the new entity chart future growth. Potential growth drivers include:

  • Scale – The combined entity will have a scale of 240,000+ FTEs in 55 countries and 300+ sites, delivering services in more than 70 languages worldwide. It will have a global reach with 1,000+ clients across many industries and geographies, with particularly deep expertise in the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), technology and Fast Growth Tech (FGT), and telecom sectors
  • Markets – While the combined entity will be global, it can leverage both parent firms’ strong presence in the Americas and Europe markets. Sitel Group’s client portfolio in North America, UK, France, Nordics, and Asia-Pacific (APAC), catered through delivery sites in Latin America (LATAM) and Asia, complements Majorel’s clientele in LATAM, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Benelux, and Italy with nearshore delivery from Eastern Europe and Africa. This might also lead both players to sever regional partnerships now that their combined geographic footprint covers most regions
  • Capabilities – Both Majorel and Sitel Group have powerful CX, digital, and consulting capabilities. With the acquisition of SYKES by Sitel Group® in September 2021, the latter strengthened its automation and digital marketing capabilities, which could supplement Majorel’s suite of vertical-specific solutions, especially for the BFSI and e-commerce segments. Sitel Group’s extensive talent management practices through Sitel® MAX (My Associate Experience) and MAXhubs also will positively contribute to the new entity’s cloud-based, remote working model, supported by Majorel’s several multilingual hubs in Europe and Africa
  • Clients – Majorel’s subsidiary for start-ups, majUP, is expected to plug the gaps in Sitel Group’s Small and Medium Business (SMB) portfolio and would enhance the combined entity’s ability to cater to potential unicorns and hyper-scalers, especially in Europe
  • Integration experience – Both firms have a positive track record of acquisitions and integrations, especially with Sitel Group acquiring SYKES recently and Majorel purchasing smaller firms such as Mayen, junokai, and IST Networks in 2021 

M&A frenzy 

This latest deal continues the spate of big mergers and acquisitions in the CXM industry over the past year, in addition to Sitel Group buying SYKES. Webhelp purchased Dynamicall in March 2021, OneLink in July 2021, and Grupo Services in June 2022. TTEC bought Avtex in April 2021, and Concentrix acquired PK in December 2021. Comdata Group announced a merger with Konecta in April 2022.

Let’s take a look at the combined impact on the customer experience management industry at large:

  • Accelerated digitalization – The investment, from both a delivery and technology perspective, required to deliver CX and remain competitive in the industry has now increased, creating a potential barrier to entry for smaller providers
  • Increased supplier consolidation – With buyers looking for supplier consolidation post-pandemic, global providers such as Teleperformance, Concentrix, Sitel Group, Webhelp, and others are in a sweet spot as buyers want to work with fewer providers with more global and comprehensive capabilities. A larger footprint of capabilities helps ensure that bigger providers are top of mind in an ever-competitive industry
  • Smaller players find their niche – The fragmented CXM market comprises several specialist providers that continuously innovate and redefine themselves to stay competitive and grab a share of the US$300+ billion global CXM spend (comprising both outsourced and in-house operations by enterprises). These niche providers include Arise, a CXM provider for virtual delivery; GlowTouch, a women-owned services provider with a focus on impact sourcing; and [24]7.ai, a conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) leader

We are excited to watch what the marriage of these two giants will bring to the customer experience management industry. Some concerns exist around the timing of the integration being so close on the heels of the SYKES acquisition, as well as buyers having less choice for transformation-oriented strategic partnerships. Despite these issues, this proposed merger, without a doubt, would create a global CXM leader with the ability to shape the customer experience management industry for years to come.

Please reach out to us to discuss this proposed merger and changes in the CXM market.

Konecta-Comdata Merger Creates a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Giant – What Does it Mean for the CXM Market?

The planned merger announced last month between Konecta, the leading provider of Spanish-speaking Customer Experience solutions, with Italy-based customer management provider Comdata will create the sixth-largest player by revenue in the customer experience Management (CXM) BPO sector. This consolidation will intensify competition in the attractive CXM market, with the combined entity commanding close to €2 billion in revenues and €300 million in EBITDA. Read on to find out what this big deal will mean.

Creation of a global champion

Comdata

Global CXM provider Comdata offers end-to-end management solutions (acquisition, retention, customer service, technical support, and credit collection) in 30 languages across four continents and 21 countries with its network of 50,000-plus agents. Headquartered in Milan, it served more than 670 clients in 2021, generating revenue of approximately €980 million.

Konecta

Konecta, acquired by Pacheco together with the company’s management team in 2019, is a leading tech-enabled end-to-end CX BPO player in the Spanish-speaking markets. It has successfully integrated different companies such as the Brazilian Uranet and the Spanish Rockethall group, reinforcing the company’s leadership in Artificial Intelligence, digital marketing, and big data solutions. In 2021, it generated revenue and EBITDA of approximately €918 million and €148 million, respectively.

Combined entity

Subject to approval by authorities, the merger is expected in the third quarter of 2022, creating a global CXM leader capable of providing the “best shoring solution” to local, regional, and global clients in 30-plus languages across industries such as finance and insurance, technology, telco, retail and e-commerce, utilities, and healthcare.

The combined entity will be headquartered in Madrid (Spain), jointly chaired by the CEOs of Konecta and Comdata. It will serve more than 500 large corporations across Europe and America, leveraging the expertise of 130,000-plus employees. According to a statement by the companies, “the new group has a solid financial structure and will take advantage of its position in Spain, Latin America, Italy, and France to deploy all its commercial and operational capacity in its strategic markets. In addition, it will have additional capabilities to fuel its growth in the North American market and throughout Europe.”

Key drivers of the merger

The advantages of this deal are:

  • Expansion in Latin American and Spanish markets: The combined entity will become the market leader in Spain and Italy with a strong presence in Latin American domestic markets such as Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, Argentina, and Chile. It will have over 500 large corporate clients in Europe and Latin America. The new company will enjoy the advantage of Konecta’s strong dominance in the Spanish market, where Konecta has been aggressively expanding in the past few years, especially by acquiring four different Spanish companies that were part of the Rockethall Group in 2020. In these markets, the joint company will have a significant role in telecom, BFSI, utilities and energy, the consumer goods sector, and several big tech and new economy global brands
  • Enhanced delivery capabilities in Latin America: Labor-cost pressures, the talent shortage in onshore North America, and the desire to relocate some offshore operations closer after the pandemic have increased Latin America’s attractiveness for nearshore delivery capabilities. Some of the latest examples include Transcom’s re-entry in Colombia; new sites opening in Trinidad and Tobago by Teleperformance, iQor, and Valenta BPO; and itel’s acquisition of Emerge BPO with employees in Guyana and Honduras. The combined entity will have strong nearshore delivery capabilities to support US clients, including 20 sites in Colombia and seven in Mexico, offering a multi-country delivery model across the entire LATAM region
  • Differentiated customers: Both Konecta and Comdata are leaders in their respective local markets. The majority of Konecta’s revenue comes from Spain, Portugal, and Latin American regions, with Comdata having a strong presence in Italy, France, and some Latin American countries. Overall, the client overlap between both service providers is very limited, reducing the revenue loss due to cannibalization
  • Operational synergies: Buyers’ preferences when outsourcing CXM have evolved from the traditional levers of cost and scale to now prioritizing digital CX capabilities, end-to-end integration, and value-added services in their portfolio. This merger will allow the sharing and cross-selling of certain specific CX transformation capabilities such as Comdata’s C-suite tools, expertise in Voice of the Customer (VOC), and consulting and operational redesign services with Konecta’s content and performance marketing and conversational commerce offerings. Through its Uranet subsidiary in Brazil, Konecta also owns platforms for customer journey orchestration, knowledge management, and contact center infrastructure

Competition among other global providers

 With US$2 billion in revenue and 130,000 agents, the combined entity gives tough competition to other global CXM providers such as Teleperformance, Sitel, and Concentrix. Below is a look at the capabilities of these global providers in comparison to the combined entity. 

Teleperformance Sitel Concentrix Konecta+Comdata
Revenue US $8.4 billion US $4.3 billion US $6 billion Approx. US $2 billion
FTEs 420,000+ 160,000+ 290,000+ 130,000+
Languages 265+ 50+ 70+ 30+
Countries served 170 40 40+ 24

 

Considerations for buyers

Although organizations have the best intentions to use mergers and acquisitions to supplement their organic efforts, they generally underestimate the risks such as failure to achieve synergies, lack of due diligence, and security and integration challenges. Business leaders have often recognized people, culture, change management, and communication as the top reasons for integration failure. Lack of adequate change management policies can affect the organization’s governance and accountability structure, cause stress and uncertainty for employees, and decrease productivity for businesses, ultimately impacting service quality and timely delivery.

Future outlook for the CXM market

With Sitel’s acquisition of Sykes and Webhelp’s acquisition of OneLink BPO and Dynamicall in 2021, the trend of consolidation among CXM market players is gaining traction. Consolidation enables service providers to work with large clients across multiple delivery countries and end markets, a capability that is rising in importance for CX clients. It also enhances service offering portfolios and technology capabilities by serving as a one-stop-shop for buyers for all CXM needs.

This deal also represents an opportunity for buyers to reexamine their vendor portfolio since certain service providers might now be better positioned to support their clients across multiple locations and processes, representing an opportunity to optimize their portfolio with fewer providers to achieve operational and cost efficiencies.

To discuss the CXM market landscape, please reach out to David Rickard, Vice President, BPS, [email protected], Divya Baweja, Senior Analyst, BPS, [email protected], or contact us.

You can also learn how expanding and developing businesses are attracting technology-focused workers to help execute existing and evolving digital transformation, adopt new processes, and innovate. Join our webinar, How to Effectively Attract and Drive Productivity within the Tech Workforce.

Process Mining Market in the Multiverse of Acquisitions: Celonis Buying PAFnow and Microsoft Enters with Minit Deal

Process Mining Market in the Multiverse of Acquisitions: Celonis Buying PAFnow and Microsoft Enters with Minit Deal

Over the past week, two major acquisitions in the process mining market are drawing attention to this fast-growing space. What does it mean, and will other giants follow? Read on for our expert analysis of the latest deals and implications for this market.

The spotlight is back on the process mining market after we saw two big acquisition announcements last week. First, Celonis announced the acquisition of Process Analytics Factory (PAFnow), a leading process mining product built atop Microsoft Power BI and a “Major Contender” in Everest Group’s Process Mining PEAK Matrix® 2021. Within a couple of days, Microsoft signaled its entry into the space with the acquisition of Minit, a Leader and a Star Performer in our 2021 assessment.

The latest news continues the hot trend of new tech developments and strong M&A activity in this space with companies from different technology universes, such as automation (UiPath), process orchestration (Appian), and big tech (SAP, IBM), entering the process mining market through acquisitions.

With its critical role in accelerating digital transformation and enabling continuous process optimization, process mining is becoming integral to the intelligent automation solution ecosystem. Additionally, owing to increased solution awareness and technology maturity, it has been one of the fastest-growing markets in the intelligent automation space over the past few years, making it very attractive for potential acquisitions.

This year’s acquisition frenzy started in January with iGrafx, a process management provider, announcing the acquisition of the France-based process mining specialist Logpickr. And it hasn’t stopped yet.

Let’s take a look at what the two latest deals could mean.

Celonis further strengthens its market position with PAFnow

Celonis has been the leading technology provider in the process mining market with over a 60% market share. Its Execution Management System (EMS) combines process mining and automation technologies to help enterprises reveal and fix process inefficiencies. The platform offers the capability to ingest data in near real-time from information systems, applications, and user desktops. Celonis Process Data Engine supports process intelligence through capability modules such as Execution Graph to visualize interconnected processes spanning multiple systems and departments, Process Simulation to perform what-if analysis, and Knowledge Models to manage and share process insights.

The acquisition of PAF brings a host of technical capabilities and business opportunities which can help Celonis to:

  • Expand its reach to Microsoft Power BI’s large customer base and user community
  • Integrate Celonis EMS platform with the Microsoft ecosystem, including the broader Power platform and Office 365
  • Improve the ease of getting started with Celonis as an embedded capability within the Power BI platform
  • Provide users the ability to access process mining insights through Microsoft Power BI dashboards

Celonis would also benefit from a capability standpoint through PAFnow’s:

  • Strong technical team with a similar vision for continuous process improvement
  • Pre-built connectors with Microsoft Power BI
  • Content Packs that include data extractors, pre-defined data models, and pre-configured reports for specific processes, applications, and queries

Acquiring PAFnow is part of Celonis’ strategy to enable global companies across industries to leverage the Celonis EMS solution with the Microsoft solution ecosystem to optimize their business processes.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Minit shows process mining is on its way to becoming part of something bigger

Tech giant, Microsoft has been showing keen interest in the intelligent automation space over the past few years, starting in 2019 when it added various Robotic Process Automation (RPA) features to Flow, its automated workflow service, and rebranded it as Power Automate. In 2020, it acquired a leading RPA provider, Softomotive, to mark its seriousness in the RPA space and improve its market positioning. Microsoft emerged as a “Major Contender” in Everest Group’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) PEAK Matrix® 2021 for its Power Automate solution.

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched its in-house task mining solution with plans to later launch a process mining solution. Microsoft has been quite aggressive on most intelligent automation technology fronts, including RPA, Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), task mining, and now process mining.

Microsoft announced its acquisition of Minit, an Amsterdam-based leading process mining provider, last week for an undisclosed amount. Minit focuses on transforming the way enterprises analyze, monitor, and optimize their processes, helping them uncover opportunities to improve process performance and increase operational efficiency.

The tech company brings a host of capabilities to enhance the value proposition of Microsoft’s intelligent automation offering. These capabilities include automated process discovery and rework detector for process visualization, AI-powered root-cause analysis and process compare for conformance checking, custom metrics for process monitoring, and AI-powered simulation for performing what-if analysis.

This acquisition will further empower Microsoft to help its customers drive operational excellence by providing greater visibility into their business processes, allowing them to perform automated process analysis, and enabling them to drive process improvement initiatives. Microsoft’s entry is not only expected to play a key role in democratizing process mining technology, but it might also impart downward pricing pressure on other process mining providers as it did with its entry into the RPA market with its Power Automate solution.

Key Implications and the process mining market outlook

We expect these deals will result in the following benefits:

  • Improved awareness and greater adoption of process mining: Process mining technology will reach a much broader audience because of these acquisitions. The focus of these providers in integrating process mining platforms with Business Intelligence (BI) tools will help establish a clear distinction between process mining and BI and improve market understanding of how these technologies complement each other. This also will help educate the market on the potential of process mining technology and boost familiarity among enterprises
  • Increased evolution of the mining provider landscape: While Celonis continues to command a large process mining market share, Microsoft’s entry will put pressure on the existing players and also on future deals. Several process mining providers, including Celonis, have technology partnerships with Microsoft. These partnerships will likely continue, and clients will be given the flexibility to choose, as co-opetition is becoming increasingly common in the enterprise software space. The acquisitions would nudge other process mining providers to develop partnerships/integrations with BI providers to extend their ecosystem and fuel growth.

These acquisitions demonstrate an increasing trend of process mining becoming an integral part of bigger enterprise platforms and could also fuel more future M&A activities. Other process mining providers that are embedded in BI platforms might become good acquisition targets. The recent series of acquisitions is a testimony to process mining technology’s potential and reaffirms investors’ confidence in this market

With process mining becoming a crucial component of the intelligent automation ecosystem, the market is rapidly growing, garnering attention from all parts of the world. These acquisitions could trigger other big enterprise tech giants like Oracle, ServiceNow, and Salesforce to make similar moves, making this an exciting time.

It also will be interesting to see whether the tech leaders can drive their large client bases to use their process mining offerings and challenge the dominance of pure-play process mining providers. On the other hand, if these tech giants plan to leverage the acquired process mining capabilities solely for in-house platforms, enterprises may continue to prefer pure-play providers for cross-platform use cases.

To discuss the outlook and opportunities in the process mining market, contact us.

Also, if you’re interested in learning about our in-depth coverage of the digital workplace, check out our webinar, Top Strategies for Creating an Employee-focused Digital Workplace.

Sitel Group’s Acquisition of SYKES Makes a Big Statement – What Does It Mean for the CXM Industry? | Blog

With one of the largest acquisitions in the contact center outsourcing market in recent years, Sitel Group is poised to become a powerhouse with its acquisition of SYKES Enterprises, Inc. This union will likely set off greater investment in customer experience management services (CXM) and more industry consolidation. Read on to find out what this big deal will mean. 

Giant scope gets attention

The contact center outsourcing market is huge, about 90 billion dollars in annual revenues, and the industry is seeing more attention and growth than ever. So, the announcement of the agreement of Sitel Group acquiring all of SYKES’ outstanding shares in a transaction valued at approximately $2.2 billion is another in a growing list of investments in this space, albeit a large one.

Over the last two to three years, most acquisitions by large contact center providers have focused on bringing new capabilities and technologies to an existing footprint, whereas the Sitel Group / SYKES deal calls out gaining additional global presence as one of the main reasons for the acquisition. We have not seen something of this scale for a few years, probably not since the Concentrix acquisition of Convergys.

Ripple effects of the acquisition

This acquisition forms a $4 billion customer experience management services (CXM) organization with over 150,000 agents, making Sitel Group one of the three largest organizations in the industry alongside Teleperformance and Concentrix. In this blog, we’ll explore what this acquisition means for Sitel Group, its existing and potential customers, as well as the CXM industry as a whole.

Here are a few of the key impacts we expect:

  • The pace of change within Sitel Group: Existing customers of both companies should be mindful as to the speed and effectiveness of the integration and changes to the senior leadership team. Moving too quickly on an integration of this type can cause delivery capability issues, but moving too slowly can lead to service degradation as people are distracted by impending changes and, thereby, lose focus on immediate priorities. Potential clients will also want a clear view of available offerings, service delivery models, and innovation roadmaps
  • Sitel Group scaling up: Sitel Group’s acquisition of SYKES opens up a plethora of new delivery locations, including in Australia, EMEA, and Central America. However, we can expect to see a consolidation of sites and locations over time, especially where both have strong presences. The global footprint will also reduce as locations begin to provide service in the same languages. We also expect that Sitel Group’s considerable work on improving profitability in recent years will benefit SYKES’ business, whose current operating margins are on the lower side in the industry.

In terms of vertical expertise, Sitel Group and SYKES have complementary strengths, with Sitel Group bringing presence in the retail, insurance, and public sector spaces and SYKES bringing strength in the technology and healthcare industries.

  • Client volume drop: While Sitel Group and SYKES share complementary capabilities and mindsets, one natural overlap is that they have many of the same clients, making it probable that they will lose some client volume. Clients will not want to aggregate their contact center outsourcing into one place, they will naturally want to diversify
  • Delays in fully leveraging new capabilities: Many CXM service providers are developing digital CXM capabilities as the industry moves at pace away from traditional “people in seats” models and focuses on delivering better customer experiences through digital interactions to drive better business outcomes. SYKES has a strong focus on digital marketing and automation capabilities which benefits Sitel Group, which has leveraged partnerships in those areas

While Sitel Group’s acquisition of SYKES will bring additional and much-needed digital capabilities to the new combined business, a company the size of the new organization cannot deliver change and adjust to new offerings and skills overnight. It may take some time to fully deliver new digital capabilities at scale.

Increased investments in the contact center industry

As the contact center industry aims to better understand the customer and improve customer experience, we’re seeing many investments in the market.

Service providers across the board are investing in technologies and skillsets to become more digital and get ahead of the curve to offer better customer experiences. They are finding organizations more willing to spend money to improve customer service, an area where in the past, they treated simply as a cost base that needed to be reduced, but are now recognizing its potential strategic and topline business impact. Smaller service providers are taking advantage of their agility and are quickly adapting to a digital-first CXM business, and larger providers are having to work hard to keep pace with the rate of digital adoption.

Watch for more deals in the future

Expect to see more public and non-public deals happening. With the size of this market and everyone working towards digital transformation, a trend that has further accelerated due to vulnerabilities exposed by COVID-19, the contact center outsourcing industry is really ripe for investment.

These deals will result in a consolidation in the marketplace but with bigger market growth. Penetration of contact center outsourcing could increase from roughly 30 percent to upwards of 35 percent in the next few years – resulting in a faster rate of growth than we’ve seen in the past decade.

It will not only be due to big service providers getting even larger. Smaller service providers will need to rapidly articulate their differentiation to remain relevant in a crowded marketplace, such as in a process area or industry domain; otherwise, they run the risk of being in a race towards the bottom.

IBM to Acquire myInvenio: Completing the Intelligent Automation Puzzle with Process Mining | Blog

The intelligent automation space has been witnessing a slew of acquisitions over the past couple of years. Several big tech providers have entered the market through numerous acquisitions, especially in the robotic process automation (RPA) space.

While the trend continues in RPA, with ServiceNow’s acquisition of India-based RPA vendor, Intellibot as the latest addition, 2021 seems to be a year of increasing M&A activity in the process mining space. After the acquisition of Signavio by SAP earlier this year, IBM’s acquisition of myInvenio is the second M&A deal happening in the process mining market within a short span of three months.

In one of our previously published blogs, Is It Open Season for RPA Acquisitions?, we highlighted larger technology players entering the intelligent automation market and discussed why more acquisitions might follow as these players seek to build more holistic business transformation solutions.

IBM entered the intelligent automation space with its platform, IBM Cloud Pak for Automation, in 2018 to help enterprises scale up their digital transformation initiatives. Two years later, IBM acquired WDG Automation, a Brazilian RPA vendor, to augment its platform capabilities.

Now, IBM is looking to further expand its automation portfolio with its latest acquisition of myInvenio, an Italy-based process mining technology vendor. The acquisition for an undisclosed price is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021.

Why the acquisition is not a big surprise

IBM provides IT and business process automation services to enterprises through its automation suite, which includes RPA, Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA), and process orchestration capabilities. Looking at IBM’s offerings within the intelligent automation technology ecosystem, process mining emerges as the key missing element in its automation suite.

The COVID-19 crisis highlighted the importance of digital transformation and the need to accelerate automation journeys for enterprises. The lack of a healthy automation pipeline and the inability to identify the right level of optimization opportunities emerged as key barriers for enterprises to scale automation initiatives. This has led to an increased focus on better understanding business processes and optimizing them to improve value realization from automation initiatives.

Process mining emerged as a critical technology providing the ability to discover as-is processes and identify/prioritize automation opportunities. Lately, the intelligent automation space also witnessed increased consolidation and entry of other bigger players in the market such as Microsoft, SAP, ServiceNow, etc., resulting in increased competitiveness for IBM.

To cater to the market demand and better compete in the automation space, IBM partnered with myInvenio in November 2020 to help its customers gain visibility into business processes and identify automation opportunities. Through this partnership, IBM sought to deliver a single solution to its clients for streamlining and automating business processes.

IBM has a very strong focus on enabling a unified experience to its clients through a one-stop-shop automation suite. In line with this vision, this acquisition would help IBM provide process mining capabilities that are tightly integrated into its automation platform. Also, this union would provide a holistic solution to IBM’s clients where they could access various technologies that constitute the intelligent automation ecosystem. It also boosts their AI and hybrid cloud strategy to provide enterprises with the necessary AI-enabled automation capabilities.

Why myInvenio?

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Reggio Emilia, Italy, myInvenio has a vision to support enterprises in their digital transformation journey by helping them create a digital twin of their organization. Over the last eight years, it has acquired clients globally spanning the European, North American, APAC, and UK regions and serves enterprises across key verticals such as banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), manufacturing, and healthcare and pharmaceutical.

Through its process mining solution, myInvenio focuses on enabling data-driven process discovery, analysis, and continuous monitoring to identify process improvement and transformation opportunities.

myInvenio was identified as a major contender in Everest Group’s 2020 Process Mining PEAK Matrix® and brings a host of capability modules to enhance the value proposition of IBM’s automation suite. These include:

  • myInvenio Process Analyst
    • Process discovery – to automatically generate process maps, perform multi-level process mining, and create BPMN 2.0 compliant process models
    • Conformance checking – to compare discovered as-is process model with a target reference model, perform root-cause analysis, and check compliance rules such as segregation of duties
  • myInvenio Process Insights
    • Process monitoring and reporting – to derive process insights through continuous monitoring, create customizable dashboards, and define custom KPIs/metrics
    • Process enhancement – to identify processes/tasks for automation, predict and highlight any expected KPI breach, and perform simulations/what-if analysis
  • myInvenio Desktop Process Mining (DPM)/Task mining capability – to capture users’ interactions across multiple desktops and map the recorded tasks to respective processes using Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning algorithms for discovering end-to-end processes
  • myInvenio Process Store – to provide out-of-the-box pre-built templates for processes spanning across industries such as banking, manufacturing, and energy and utilities

What are the implications going forward?

Impact on process mining vendor landscape and partnerships

IBM has strategic go-to-market partnerships and technology alliances with other process mining vendors. Earlier this month, Celonis, IBM, and Red Hat announced a strategic partnership to help enterprises accelerate their digital transformation by combining Celonis Execution Management System (EMS) with Red Hat OpenShift’s hybrid cloud approach and IBM Global Business Services’ expertise.

Partnerships like these are expected to continue, giving clients the flexibility to choose as co-opetition is becoming quite common in the enterprise software space. For example, IBM maintained its partnerships with RPA vendors such as Automation Anywhere and UiPath after the WDG automation acquisition.

The IBM acquisition of myInvenio could put pressure on other process mining vendors since many do not have a global reach and would need to expand their service provider partnership ecosystem. This latest deal could also encourage the acquisition of process mining capabilities by other tech giants, Business Process Management (BPM), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) companies in the coming months to offer a more holistic solution to their clients.

Increased adoption of process mining

Process mining technology would reach a much broader audience after its integration into the platforms offered by these service providers, resulting in improved awareness and adoption. IBM offers its automation products to enterprises across different sectors such BFSI, healthcare, and manufacturing.

IBM started delivering process mining services to its customers in November 2020 by leveraging its OEM partnership with myInvenio. Augmenting its prior implementation experience with in-house technology capabilities, IBM can now provide process mining capabilities that are tightly integrated with its automation suite. It is expected that IBM would offer process mining on a standalone basis as well as part of its Cloud Pak for Automation platform.

Impact on service providers

This acquisition will nudge other service providers to demonstrate their ability to think ahead and make more investments to strengthen their automation suite. Last week, Celonis announced its execution management without limits program that gives service providers access to its process mining solution with unlimited users and processes but charges them based on the volume of data being analyzed. While Celonis offering its EMS to consultants could be a win-win situation for both Celonis and service providers, some large service suppliers still might look to acquire process mining capabilities to strengthen their in-house technology portfolio. Also, having this capability in-house would give service providers more negotiating power and reduce the reliance on third-party vendors for capabilities that can be critical for their business going forward. The acquisition route can provide them the ability to deliver innovation faster in their focus industries and functions.

The takeaway: the acquisition could fuel more activity 

Since IBM has been faster in integrating acquired capabilities into its suite because of its cloud-based platform approach and containerized product architecture, it is expected to take less time to embed myInvenio’s process mining offering at a technical level within IBM’s automation suite.

With process mining emerging as a critical component of the automation ecosystem, the process mining market is entering a disruptive phase, garnering attention from all parts of the world. This acquisition could also trigger other big enterprise tech vendors like Microsoft, Oracle, ServiceNow, and Salesforce to make similar moves to enter the process mining market.

Salesforce Acquires Slack: Salesforce Stands to Gain Much More Than Slack in the Long Run | Blog

There was much excitement on December 1, 2020, when Salesforce announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Slack, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff called the US$27.7 billion deal a “match made in heaven.” In the days since, however, the market has significantly dampened that excitement, with Salesforce losing more in market valuation than the price it paid for the acquisition.

But we at Everest Group are bullish on the deal; we believe Salesforce has much to gain in the long term.

Microsoft’s erstwhile involvement

Microsoft considered buying Slack for US$8 billion in 2016, but ultimately decided to take this market on organically, releasing Teams within a year. Microsoft used the US$8 billion to invest in Teams growth through:

  • An ecosystem play – Microsoft leveraged its Office 365 ecosystem to increase the Teams user base. It effectively provided Teams for free as part of multiple Office 365 packages, providing a more holistic value proposition.
  • Aggressive sales – Microsoft started a price war with Slack by offering Teams as a free product or at a highly discounted price. With its deep pockets and bundled offerings, Microsoft effectively contained Slack, turning the market against it, causing its valuation to decline.

Slack’s story

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Slack is the poster child for that. What began as an internal tool, developed out of necessity turned into a wildly popular chat and productivity offering. Then Microsoft set its sights on the space, effectively crushing Slacks’ growth. In terms of market adoption, before Slack stopped reporting daily active user numbers in 2019, it was able to grow to about 12 million users in seven years; Teams matched that number in only three years. Moreover, Teams continues to expand its presence with a daily active user base touching 115 million in October 2020.

In terms of market valuation, despite achieving robust revenue and user base growth, Slack has not been profitable, reporting a loss of US$138 million in 2019. Additionally, its market valuation has eroded significantly since its IPO listing: From its IPO price of US$38.50, Slack was trading at $25.89 on October 31, 2020, a valuation loss of ~33%.

In many ways, its rivalry with Teams and its ensuing market valuation loss made Slack desperate for an acquisition. Slack needed a partner to sustain itself and compete with Microsoft. Salesforce to the rescue!

How can Salesforce help Slack compete with Teams and Zoom?

One’s immediate reaction may be that Slack should be able to arrest its slide given its ability to reach into Salesforce’s deep pockets. However, our take is that Salesforce is good at selling to business units and sales and marketing folks, not to enterprise IT and tech, who would be the primary Slack buyers. That is Microsoft’s power alley – the area it rules. In addition to money, Salesforce will have to make big changes to its sales model to make a dent in Microsoft’s tight control of that space.

How does Salesforce benefit from this acquisition?

The acquisition comes at a time when Salesforce recognizes its need to build integrated suites for enterprises. Most of its competitors – Microsoft, of course, and SAP and Oracle – have been talking about integrating the front and back ends, especially as enterprises have started to realize the importance of end-to-end integrated suites cutting across ERP, CRM, and HCM.

This acquisition gives Salesforce the opportunity to move beyond the sales and marketing area and gain access to other parts of the organization. If integrated well with the Salesforce platform, Slack could potentially act as a unifying thread across ERP, CRM, and HCM, while also solving for the missing piece in their customer-360 value proposition.

Salesforce has made a couple of failed forays in the collaboration space with Chatter and Quip; the third time may be the charm with Slack, given its more robust offering and positive customer sentiment.

What does the acquisition mean for the market?

The acquisition highlights the fact that the industry is going through consolidation, and standalone products are finding it difficult to compete with larger players that offer bundled products. Moreover, the collaboration space is gaining significant traction among enterprises as remote working becomes the new norm. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Amazon or SAP getting into this space, and we’re wondering if we might see Atlassian, Splunk, or some other similar organizations in the acquisition news sometime soon.

If you’d like to share your thoughts on the acquisition or on Salesforce’s strategy, reach out to us at [email protected] or [email protected].

 

Salesforce Acquires Acumen: The Likely Ripple Effects in Professional Services | Blog

The news of Salesforce’s acquisition of Acumen Solutions on December 1, 2020, was completely buried under Salesforce’s whopping $US27 billion acquisition of Slack the same day. But don’t discount the Acumen acquisition – I believe it will be the cornerstone of Salesforce’s professional services strategy over the next several years.

Why this acquisition is unusual

For starters, tech vendors in general do not leverage M&As to enhance their professional services capabilities; most tech vendors’ M&A activity is driven by their technology arms. The Acumen deal is the only pure-play professional services partner acquisition that has happened in the past three years among big tech vendors, based on an analysis of 51 acquisitions by AWS, Microsoft, SAP, and Salesforce over that time period.

The acquisition comes at a time when most tech vendors are in a state of flux over their professional services strategies. For example, AWS grew its professional services arm by an eye-popping 40% over the past 12 months, while peers and other vendors were still figuring out the implications of the pandemic and whether they should be aggressive with their professional services offerings.

The acquisition is also important given the fact that Acumen was one of the few remaining pure-play Salesforce System Integrators (SIs) that was competing head-on with the larger SIs as a major contender in the market. Thus, the acquisition adds significantly to Salesforce’s professional services strength, as Acumen adds approximately 1,000 FTEs to the existing base of 1,000-1,200 FTEs currently working in Salesforce’s professional services arm, effectively doubling the overall headcount.

What’s in it for Salesforce?

Salesforce gains significant advantages from the acquisition, chief among them:

  • Bridging the talent demand-supply gap – Everest Group’s recent talent study suggests that the demand-supply gap for Salesforce services talent has widened over the past two years and now stands at more than 20% for areas such as Lightning, Mulesoft, and Einstein Analytics. Also, Salesforce is getting pushed out by other vendors such as Oracle, SAP, and Pega and needed to have talent to help clients increase adoption, an area where service providers have been struggling. The acquisition strengthens the footprint of Salesforce’s professional services arm in North America especially in areas such as Einstein, Lightning, and Service cloud.
  • Catering to demand for industry-specific expertise – More than 70% of Acumen’s current portfolio is concentrated in three industries: federal; Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI); and, manufacturing. The acquisition boosts Salesforce’s industry-specific agenda, which it has been driving on the technology side with Vlocity and the launch of industry cloud offerings. The acquisition also will have significant positive impact on Salesforce’s ability to serve the federal services space, where Salesforce has been able to capitalize on multiple opportunities post-pandemic.
  • Getting a nimble service partner – The acquisition also highlights Salesforce’s recognition that it needs to get more involved from a services standpoint. Pure play and niche SIs, in general, are faster to react to vendors’ technology innovation, and they are more flexible in meeting clients’ demands. The need for nimble service partners is more pertinent for Salesforce today given the volume of innovation that they have been bringing to the market.

What are the key implications going forward?

The Acumen acquisition has implications for enterprises, service providers, and, of course, Salesforce itself:

  • For enterprises: According to our Salesforce Services research (see our report, Salesforce Services – Solving for the Missing Link) more than 80% of clients said their vendor’s professional services arm is their go-to partner in defining the adoption roadmap when it comes to emerging products such as Mulesoft and Lightning. There is a clear time lag in the service provider’s ability to deliver on to the tech vendor’s innovation. This acquisition is a step in the right direction as strengthened professional services gives Salesforce an ability to deliver innovation faster in specific industries.
  • For service providers: Once the dust settles, this acquisition will force service providers to demonstrate their ability to think ahead of Salesforce’s innovation curve and be at the top of their game as truly agile partners. Service providers should think beyond the core platform and invest proactively in the marketing and commerce cloud and cross-skill talent in Mulesoft and Tableau. They should further develop a structured program to build industry and functional expertise in the existing Salesforce talent.
  • For Salesforce: As a result of this acquisition, some large SIs may perceive Salesforce Professional Services as a competitor – which might not be totally untrue – but could work against Salesforce. Even today, large SI partners believe core platforms (sales and service cloud) are not growing as fast as they want, and so they have curtailed proactive spending. Thus, the onus falls back on Salesforce to allay these fears and continue expanding its partner network.

It’s early days yet; only time will tell how this acquisition will actually shake out. But I have no doubt it will provide food for thought for other big tech vendors as they work through their professional services strategies over the next year. If you want to share your thoughts on the acquisition or on Salesforce’s strategy, reach out to me at [email protected].

HealthEdge Acquires Complementary Product Vendor The Burgess Group | Blog

On July 21, 2020, HealthEdge announced its acquisition of The Burgess Group, which we recently recognized as a Major Contender on our Healthcare Payer Payment Integrity Solutions PEAK Matrix™ Assessment 2020.

Healthcare Payer Payment Integrity Solutions PEAK Matrix™
HealthEdge provides an integrated financial, administrative, and clinical software platform (the HealthRules suite), while The Burgess Group is a specialist in the payment integrity software space.

Here’s our take on this deal.

The strategic intent behind the deal

The healthcare payer industry is plagued with notoriously old infrastructure. While healthcare payers are working to increase data transparency, offer member-centric solutions, and adopt a value-based care model, they’re obstructed by high reliance on dated, disconnected, and non-interoperable systems. Cost management is another endemic issue impacting the payer industry. One of the key reasons for this financial distress is the high share of expenditure on administrative costs in the US healthcare system, driven by redundant processing and limited automation. To address these roadblocks, payers are increasingly leveraging a core-admin platform approach.

The interesting fact here is that medical costs account for 80-85 percent of the total payer cost, while only 15-20 percent are admin and IT costs. Payers leave a lot of value on the table when they manage these costs separately. Payment integrity is one of the principal tools to manage medical costs and, hence, is a key functionality that payers value in core-admin platforms. By adding The Burgess Group’s offerings to its own expertise, HealthEdge’s goal is to create an integrated claims processing, payment integrity, and adjudication platform that addresses both administrative and medical expenses.

Another point worth noting is that Blackstone completed the acquisition of a majority stake in HealthEdge in April 2020, giving HealthEdge the financial muscle it required to make the right investments to expand its product offerings and compete with the other big players such as Cognizant (TriZetto), HM Health Solutions, Mphasis, and NASCO.

Unpacking the companies’ synergies

The acquisition offers several synergies.

HealthEdge Acquires Complementary Product Vendor The Burgess Group synergies

Things to watch out for

Ram Jagannath, global head of healthcare at Blackstone Growth and chairman of HealthEdge, has stated that the acquisition of Burgess is a great strategic fit for HealthEdge to enter the large, high-growth payment integrity market, helping address the estimated $1 trillion in wasteful spending in the US healthcare system.

We are positive about this deal, particularly for what it means to the market and current market demand. However, it remains to be seen how HealthEdge leverages this investment, while also mitigating the major concerns that enterprises cite around using platforms, including integration, interoperability, scalability, and user experience.

Platforms that can address medical costs while encouraging data-driven process efficiency are generating growing interest in the market. If HealthEdge can partner with payers to create tightly knit contracts with strong risk mitigation and guaranteed savings clauses, this comprehensive platform can unlock tremendous value for payers. We’ll be tracking this one closely.

Reach out to me at [email protected] with your thoughts on this acquisition or the market in general.

Microsoft Acquires Softomotive to Accelerate Its Dominance in RPA | Blog

Near the end of 2019, Microsoft added various RPA features to Flow, its automated workflow service, and rebranded it as Power Automate. It wasn’t surprising to see Microsoft getting into this space to embed RPA into its products such as Excel, PPT, Outlook, Teams, and SharePoint, and enable business users to automate tasks directly from these products. Now, with its acquisition of RPA software vendor Softomotive, it’s staking its claim in the US$1 billion RPA software market, accelerating its positioning in the RPA space, and offering greater depth and breadth of RPA capabilities to its customers.

This acquisition has come at a time when the demand for automation is being amplified due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and automation at scale is gaining pace. And it positions Microsoft as a serious contender for automation software needs as organizations are rethinking their automation strategies.

Here’s our take on the deal.

What Softomotive brings to Microsoft

Founded in 2005, Softomotive is a leading RPA software vendor with roots in desktop automation. Its popular desktop automation product, WinAutomation, helps automate tasks running on Windows-based applications and technologies. We positioned Softomotive as a Major Contender and a Star Performer in our 2019 RPA Products PEAK Matrix assessment for multiple reasons including:

  • Attended and unattended RPA for organizations of all sizes, through
    • WinAutomation, Softomotive’s desktop automation product, used primarily for attended RPA use cases. Robots are typically installed and executed on a user’s desktop in attended mode. It doesn’t have centralized control, monitoring, or governance capabilities, and is primarily suitable for small and medium-sized businesses
    • ProcessRobot, Softomotive’s enterprise RPA offering, delivers both attended (SideBot) and unattended (SoloBot) RPA capabilities along with centralized control, monitoring, and governance functionalities
    • Robin, Softomotive’s open-source RPA language for programmers. Microsoft’s immense presence and installed base could help make it popular enough in the developer community to force several other vendors to adopt it. And it could become a new standard for RPA programming and help Microsoft establish its thought leadership in the market
  • A comprehensive set of RPA features built over the past 15 years will help Microsoft expand the scope of its automation use cases
    • Drag-and-drop design studio with 300+ pre-built actions for developing automations
    • Web-based centralized interface for controlling and monitoring robots and features such as scheduling, queuing, and dynamic load balancing based on SLAs and priorities
    • Ability to multi-task/execute multiple automations in parallel on the same machine for higher resource utilization
    • Role-based access, version comparison tool, visual exception recording for enhanced debugging, and automation lifecycle management capabilities for higher collaboration across development, testing, and production stages
  • Pre-built connectors and integrations for greater ease of use
    • Softomotive has pre-built connectors with enterprise applications such as Java, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, Siebel, and mainframes, and support for major browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and IE, making it easier to automate tasks that involve these applications
    • Pre-built integrations with complementary capabilities such as cognitive/AI services from ABBYY, Google, IBM Watson, and Microsoft
  • An installed base of over 9,000 clients and recognition as a mainstream RPA player

What the acquisition means for the market

This acquisition validates the RPA space and reinforces the point that RPA will stick around for much longer than some have been predicting. It’s a big moment for the RPA market as a whole and could accelerate technology maturity, awareness, adoption, and development of RPA skills. It could drive or accelerate key market trends:

  • Consolidation/M&A activities – RPA is becoming a critical component of the enterprise software ecosystem for driving digital adoption and automation. In the last couple of years, we’ve seen multiple acquisitions such as Appian/Jidoka, Blue Prism/Thoughtonomy, Nintex/Foxtrot, and SAP/Contextor. These deals demonstrate that entry into this space isn’t very expensive, as there are many small RPA vendors with good offerings. This latest deal could encourage acquisition of RPA capabilities by other tech giants, BPM, and ERP companies in the coming months to offer a more holistic solution to their clients. On the flip side, just as UiPath did with its acquisitions of Step Shot and ProcessGold, there could be more instances of big RPA companies acquiring complementary capabilities to expand the scope of their solutions and increase their value propositions
  • Democratization of RPA – Microsoft products are used by most knowledge workers around the world. By making RPA another tool in its list of its Power products, Microsoft could accelerate the democratization of RPA and the concept of citizen developers. Because Microsoft Power Automate is available at much lower than the median pricing, other vendors will feel pressure to reduce their prices. To accelerate its adoption, it could also offer its RPA bundled with other Microsoft products without additional cost, making RPA more affordable and its business case more lucrative for organizations of all sizes. This move could accelerate RPA adoption among small and medium-sized businesses, where adoption has been growing at a relatively slower pace. Access to RPA as a plug-in directly from Microsoft’s products such as Excel, Outlook, Teams, Dynamics, and SharePoint would make it easy for business users to automate repetitive tasks. Instances of RPA being sold as a commodity are gaining momentum, and this could further accelerate that trend

What the acquisition means for other RPA vendors

With Microsoft going all-in on RPA with this acquisition, other RPA vendors will need to up their game to remain competitive. Microsoft will be able to deliver RPA that’s tightly and seamlessly integrated with its vast suite of business applications. To combat this move, other vendors will have to position themselves as specialists and best-of-breed providers of enterprise automation capabilities. Also, going forward, growth may elude pure-play RPA vendors; in order to thrive, they will have to either invest in other complementary areas such as AI and process mining, or be acquired. Note that today, most RPA players, including the big three, are offering complementary products in addition to RPA.

Additionally, Microsoft has deep integration, joint functionality development, and go-to-market partnerships with big RPA vendors including Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, and UiPath. These partners also contribute to Microsoft’s revenue through collaborations, such as Azure, and it’s likely that those partnerships will continue, and clients will be given flexibility to choose, as co-opetition it is becoming quite common in the enterprise software space. For example, UiPath acquired a process mining vendor, ProcessGold, but has maintained its partnership with Minit. Similarly, Blue Prism announced an Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) solution called Decipher, but has maintained its partnership with ABBYY.

Other things to watch out for

It will be interesting to see how well Microsoft is able to leverage this investment. It could take the company up to a year to come up with its integrated RPA offering and embed Softomotive at a technical level across its suite of software products. In the meanwhile, Microsoft has made WinAutomation available for free to all of its Power Automate customers. However, it remains to be seen how Microsoft plans to leverage Softomotive’s ProcessRobot and Robin. Some say Microsoft gets it right the third time. Flow was Microsoft’s first attempt at RPA, Power Automate was its second, and Softomotive is its third. So, will the third time be the charm for Microsoft?

Going forward, Microsoft could follow on with more acquisitions in other automation areas such as Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA), process mining, and analytics to further establish itself in the intelligent automation space. An indication of this possibility is Microsoft’s late 2019 launch of Power Virtual Agents, a chatbot/IVA offering that’s based on its Bot Framework. Might IVA be the next area where Microsoft could make an acquisition, perhaps of one of the 16 IVA software vendors we assessed as part of IVA Products PEAK Matrix?

HCL’s Sankalp Acquisition: Reflections of a Dynamic Industry

In September, HCL Technologies announced its acquisition of the semiconductor engineering services firm Sankalp Semiconductor in an all-cash deal worth US$25 million, with Sankalp operating as a 100 percent subsidiary of HCL. While this is not a particularly large acquisition, it impacts a key market player, and it highlights a couple of key trends in the semiconductor engineering services market.

What the acquisition means for HCL

The acquisition impacts HCL in a few important ways:

Enhanced semiconductor engineering capabilities

The recent acquisition by HCL is a strategic move to cement its position in semiconductor chip engineering services by strengthening its existing digital design services and expanding into the analog and mixed-signal space.

Both HCL and Sankalp Semiconductor provide chip engineering services in the pre-silicon and post-silicon segments of the value chain (See Figure 1). But while HCL’s chip engineering expertise lies in digital design, Sankalp has strong capabilities in analog and mixed-signal circuit design as well.

And HCL will be gaining experience. Sankalp has more than 5,000 person-years of experience in semiconductor engineering services and covers the digital, analog, and mixed-signal domains through its 1,000+ engineers based in India and Canada. In analog and mixed-signal design alone, the company has more than 1,500 person-years of experience and has delivered more than 500 projects.

Increased revenue

Though HCL is a major player in engineering services, its acquisition of Sankalp Semiconductor, which reported revenues of ~US$20 million in FY2019, will be a nice boost to its semiconductor engineering services top line.

Increased market access

Sankalp will strengthen HCL’s play in specific market segments including automotive, consumer, IoT, medical electronics, networking, and wireless.

Key outsourcing segments of the semiconductor industry value chain

How the acquisition reflects industry trends

HCL’s acquisition of Sankalp is the latest in a series of acquisitions that have taken place in the semiconductor engineering services industry over the past few years. As shown in the graphic below, in 2015, Aricent acquired the Bengaluru-based semiconductor services firm SmartPlay Technologies Pvt Ltd before itself being acquired by Altran in 2017, which was – in turn – acquired by Capgemini in 2019. Cyient Europe Ltd acquired custom analog and mixed-signal circuits design company Ansem N.V, and L&TTS acquired Bengaluru-based Graphene Semiconductor.

timeline

All of these acquisitions reflect an important industry trend that has some specific consequences. There is an increasing focus on semiconductor engineering due to the rise of IoT and smart device applications, as well as a growing demand for greater computing power and device miniaturization.

This trend is driving several outcomes. First, it is forcing semiconductor companies to think about how to reduce time-to-market, as well as how to gain access to engineers with the right kinds of expertise. Many are turning to outsourcing to address these challenges. As a result, we expect outsourcing in this sector to grow at a rate of 10% over the next three years.

Second, it is forcing semiconductor engineering service providers to expand their portfolios to successfully address market needs. That challenge, coupled with the generally fragmented nature of the industry, is likely to result in ongoing merger and acquisition activity.

Ultimately, whether they choose to grow organically or inorganically, semiconductor engineering services firms will want to invest in their capabilities so they can grab a higher share of outsourcing from the ~US$ 470 billion semiconductor industry pie.

 

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