Established in 1999, Smilehouse is a leading Finnish vendor in the digital commerce area. The company has experience of over a hundred commerce projects, including fifteen large-scale hybris-based implementations.
Combining the expertise of the two companies will enable Tieto to expand its customer experience solutions to a wider scope of customers, reaching from retail and financial services to manufacturing, telecom, and energy.
According to Mikko Leinonen, Head of Tieto’s Customer Experience Management (CEM) start-up, the acquisition is a perfect strategic move for both parties involved.
“Smilehouse is strong in commerce, but they’ve been willing to expand towards a more comprehensive approach to CEM,” he says. “When we met with CEO Jaakko Hartikainen, it soon turned out that both companies wanted to expand towards a territory in which the other was already operating. We just knew this would be the move to make.”
Smilehouse is consolidated to Tieto as from 1 December 2015, after which Smilehouse’s team of roughly 75 professionals will join the ranks of Tieto’s CEM start-up. The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial terms of the transaction.
Smilehouse CEO Jaakko Hartikainen (left) will become a member of the CEM unit’s Leadership Team. He will take the helm of the Commerce unit as well as the Retail Experience and Industrial Experience businesses. Tieto’s Mikko Leinonen welcomes all Smilehouse employees on board. (Image: Tieto)
Forecast: Strong Growth and New Innovations
It has been estimated that the Nordic market for Customer Experience Management will grow by around 20% annually. Due to its strong investments, Tieto’s revenue in the market is growing at an equally impressive speed, while Smilehouse’s business is expected to grow even faster.
According to Leinonen, it is the ambition of Tieto’s CEM unit to offer innovative solutions that help their customers stand out in terms of digital customer experience. The unit is constantly growing: around 70 new experts have been recruited during this year only.
Needless to say, the acquisition of Smilehouse and joining forces with its roughly 75 professionals will be a major boost to Tieto’s CEM business.
“Combining our expertise with Smilehouse will enable us to provide even more comprehensive omni-channel solutions and services to our customers,” Leinonen points out. “This, in turn, enables them to provide state-of-the-art digitally enabled experiences to their customers.”
For years, Leinonen has been perfectly aware of the business potential that lies in CEM. Still, he admits that the speed with which the demand is now growing has struck him by surprise. Even conservative businesses that never seemed to think much of customer experience are now lining up, ready and willing to innovate.
“They are keen to find new kinds of services, perhaps even entire business models,” Leinonen says. “This is no longer empty media hype, this is happening for real. Which is great for Tieto, because we have plenty of new ideas cooking. Major breakthroughs are on the horizon.”
Text and main image by Industrial PRIME
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