German publishing house Bertelsmann may sell off its BPO subsidiary, Arvato CRM, with company executives seeing new technologies — such as artificial intelligence — automating most customer relationship management (CRM) services.
Arvato CRM runs customer service centers with solutions such as live chats and video identification procedures, as well as the moderation of social media channels.
“Such operations are increasingly deploying automation and artificial intelligence,” stated Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe after a board meeting that ended up with the agreement to look for a buyer or a partner for Arvato’s CRM unit.
Bertelsmann is most likely to sell the CRM business rather than seek out a partner.
“We are open on outcomes. A partnership does come into the question but you would be right to say that a disposal is our primary consideration,” Rabe said in a media briefing, according to Reuters.
Arvato is made up of four businesses, namely Arvato Logistics, Arvato Financial Solutions, Arvato CRM, and Arvato Systems (IT services).
To keep the CRM business growing, Bertelsmann may need to invest a substantial sum into new technologies, something the German publishing house does not seem to be interested in.
“These technological changes require significant investments in new capabilities,” Rabe told reporters.
Whatever the outcome, the German firm will not sell Arvato’s CRM business in French-speaking countries.
Excluding the French-language business, Arvato CRM Solutions employs around 36,000 people at more than 90 locations worldwide, and generated revenues of about US$1.25 billion last year.