Customer Experience management company Qualtrics on Monday said private equity firm Silver Lake and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) have agreed to buy the entire company for $12.5 billion in an all-cash transaction.  

CPP Investments, according to a joint statement, will pay $1.75 billion in equity and another $1 billion in debt for the deal.

US-based Silver Lake, which already owns 4% stake in the company, along with CPP Investments will acquire 100% of the outstanding shares in Qualtrics, including the entirety of ERP software provider SAP’s majority stake, the companies said.

“Qualtrics will become an independent, privately held company,” Qualtrics said, adding that it will continue to remain headquartered in Provo, Utah, and Seattle, Washington with CEO Zig Serafin at the helm.

SAP acquired a majority stake in Qualtrics in 2018 for $8 billion with the idea of marrying customer experience management with ERP software systems. By doing this amalgamation of real-time customer experience data with operational data, enterprises would be able to make adjustments to business strategies to perform better against their competition in their respective segments and domain.

In January, SAP said it is also exploring selling its majority stake in Qualtrics to refocus on its core business.

However, despite selling off its entire stake, SAP said it will continue to remain a technology and strategic partner with the company servicing joint customers.

The acquisition of Qualtrics by the investment firms, which is expected to close in the second half of 2023, will see SAP garner approximately $7.7 billion for its stake in Qualtrics, the ERP software provider said in a statement.

“Since we acquired Qualtrics in 2019 the company has more than tripled its revenue while delivering profitability,” Christian Klein, CEO and Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE said in a statement. “SAP intends to remain a close go-to-market and technology partner, servicing joint customers and continuing to contribute to Qualtrics’s success. The number of companies and brands using Qualtrics software has risen from 10,000 at the time of SAP’s purchase to over 18,000 today.”

Enterprise Applications, SAP

The government of Singapore recognizes that Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) have historically suffered from substantially reduced prospects of securing and retaining employment and is actively encouraging employers to look for ways to utilize this very capable but often overlooked group. Silver Spring Pathfinder (SSP) is championing change on this front, seeing the strengths and skills that PWDs can bring to contact center operations and helping to drive interest in PWD hiring, which has increased 30% since 2020. 

The company quickly made a name for itself since launching in 2018, not only as a business process outsourcing (BPO) partner of choice for organizations worldwide but also as a social enterprise with a mission to create meaningful employment opportunities for PWDs. SSP also seeks to hire stay-at-home parents, a critically untapped group of job candidates.  

The company’s on-demand talent pool is exceptionally skilled, but there are certain requirements to ensure a positive employee (and thus, customer) experience: 

SSP needed the functionality, reliability, and security of its existing on-premises contact center but with a work-from-home experience that’s undetectable from an in-office experience.  Omnichannel is non-negotiable for providing PWDs the support they need to work comfortably and efficiently (ex: speech-impaired agents can work exclusively as text-based agents).  As a leading BPO provider, SSP is always looking for ways to deliver more value to its enterprise customers and their end-customers. How can they make customer service faster, more effortless, and more personalized?  

A cloud-architected platform was the best way forward, but SSP didn’t want to spoil its existing contact center technology. Avaya Experience Platform allowed the company to innovate with omnichannel, virtual work capabilities, and so much more all while retaining its core service. 

Custom agent interfaces 

SSP’s admins can customize agent interfaces, down to the individual seat if needed, to ensure a customized employee experience. This can include, for example, the accessibility of only channels a PWD specializes in (ex: chat or email for a hearing-impaired agent), while the agent toolbar can include additional icons and apps installed by the admin. These custom interfaces promote inclusivity and increase productivity with a personalized user experience while positioning SSP as a destination place to work for disadvantaged Singaporeans.   

More ways for customers to engage 

Avaya Experience Platform allows SSP to reliably deliver advanced interaction capabilities outside of just traditional voice such as video, chat, or messaging. This also includes personalized self-service options on customers’ preferred channels 24/7, which gives agents a helping hand to take care of important non-customer-facing work.  

Seamless work-from-home 

One of the top reasons customers love Avaya Experience Platform is its support for remote work. Agents can be in the office or around the globe and get the same award-winning quality, functionality, reliability, and security they’d expect onsite. SSP’s virtual workforce has increased, and the company is fielding applications from hundreds more PWDs looking to make a living working from home.  

More capabilities through a single interaction platform 

Avaya Experience Platform opens the door to all sorts of new ways to work and engage. You can start using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to deliver more personalized customer service (i.e., smart routing, conversational AI, and real-time customer insights). Supervisors can empower agents to be their best with live monitoring and automatic scorecards. SSP now has all of this and more at its fingertips.    

SSP is a disruptor in the social enterprise space and Avaya enables them to strengthen their unique business model without any business disruption.  

“Avaya Experience Platform provides it all, and we’re still able to optimize our legacy system. We have the freedom to choose the technology we need when we need it. We’re innovating and improving in a practical way that works for our business,” said Tom Cheong, Founder and Managing Director, Silver Spring Pathfinder. 

Want innovation without disruption? Register to attend Avaya Engage 2023 this June to learn what Avaya Experience Platform can do for your business.  

Digital Transformation

April 5, 2022

Source: Jon M. Quigley | Value Transformation LLC

There is no silver bullet.

Cost of Manufacturing

Businesses are constantly under cost pressures, this includes manufacturing.  Material and labor cost can be a significant cost in the product.  We use value engineering techniques to ensure that material costs are as low as we can while still meeting the performance and quality objectives of the customer and the organization.  Besides the labor costs, automation can improve quality.  I shake when I hear people use the words always and never.  People are not that repeatable; automation can lead to a very repeatable outcome if done appropriately.

Automation is usually not an all or nothing proposition.  It is possible to automate some of our manufacturing line and still require people in support of the manufacturing line.  The level of investment to automate balanced against the level of human talent available to keep the manufacturing line working.  Up front investment of capital, juxtaposed against hourly rate to work the line, and both often exist. That is where things can become difficult.  We may believe that automation is the savior for reducing the associated labor costs, but unless the line is fully automated, we will still have people working the line.  This can present some challenges.

Modern lines are not only automated, but can also perform the measurements, not just on some of the parts, but all the parts and automatically.  This reduces the cognitive and physical load upon the team members. This is perhaps a good thing, but does not help when it comes to engaging the team.  I have heard managers say just this, and is one of the reasons for writing.

Team Engagement

Have you ever been part of a team? I do not mean what most refer to as team, but those rare occurrences when we are thoroughly engaged and more importantly, so too our team mates.  If you have had these rare moments, you understand the power of team engagement.  A business makes progress not through technology, but through the creativity and talent of the team members.  It takes these things to determine the best approach to automation.  No problem here.  However, what happens to the level of engagement for those remaining on the manufacturing line?  I have been interested in employee engagement for years now, a good place to view employee engagement over the years, is the Gallup Workplace Engagement.  I have been following this poll for many years, and some of this is quite scary.  Their poll breaks down into the three categories below[1]

Engaged – work with passion and emotionally attached to organization. Generating new ideas and consistent performance to move the organization forward.
Not engaged – put their time in, but no passion or energy into their work.
Actively disengaged – unhappy and resentful, they spread negativity within the organization.

Lack of engagement limits the available creativity and talent; this is not the way to continuous improvement or competitive advantage. 

Team members do not have the same demand for their attention on the manufacturing line as those lines that are largely manual.  This reduction of focus on the manufacturing line should be a good thing in that it provides time for our team to explore other improvements and creative ideas.  Yet in discussions with managers of manufacturing lines we find that keeping the team engaged to be difficult.  Reduced stress due to a high degree of focus on the line, should make it possible to improve the organization at large.  It is in everybody’s best interest to find ways to engage our team members beyond the focus of the automated manufacturing line.

What can we do?

It is not in our organizations best interest and longevity to have unmotivated talent.  The level of automation of the manufacturing line may place limits the amount of team engagement maintaining a manufacturing line.  If the line is not extensively automated, we may be able to improve it through the creativity and talent of our team, engagement.  If we can improve the line, we can use a host of techniques and develop a culture of continuous improvement constant learning.  If the line automation is significant but not entirely, we can focus the talent supporting the line on other areas of the organization.

Operations improvement (logistics)
Process improvement
Quality improvement
Value Stream Mapping
Value Engineering (or other product / process cost improvement)

The approach need not be any of these, or any other formal regiment. The point is to find a motivating objective, and develop an environment that will not only allow, but value team exploration and learning.  In fact, there are good arguments for moderating the formalism, making easier for the team to explore alternatives.  If increased engagement can be obtained through some home-grown approach that will be the best solution.


Competition does not end because we have automated our manufacturing line.  True competitors are constantly striving to improving.  Developing a line that balances the capital investment along with the labor burden at time t=0 (start of manufacturing) does not necessarily mean the end improvements.  This is a fact to which suppliers to the automotive Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEMs) are all too aware.  From experience, OEMs go to their tier 1 suppliers and “request” cost reductions annually.  Also from experience, these decreases in sale price are often contractual obligations.  Even when the production runs are 10 or more years long with little or no additional investments post launch.  Continuous improvement does not end when we have automated the line.  Creativity does not come from automation, but from our team and continuous exploration.  The on-going concern is best served not through an over reliance on automation, but the talent, creativity, constant learning, and engagement of the team members.  Not apathy.

Jon M. Quigley PMP (204278) CTFL is a principal and founding member of Value Transformation, a product development (from idea to product retirement) and cost improvement organization established in 2009. Jon has an Engineering Degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and two master’s Degrees from the City University of Seattle as well as two globally recognized certifications. Jon has more than thirty years of product development and manufacturing experience, ranging from embedded hardware and software through verification and process and project management. Jon has won awards such as the Volvo-3P Technical Award in 2005 going on to win the 2006 Volvo Technology Award.

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