Cisco and Oracle have teamed up to revamp traditional call centres into what they claim will be 'customer interaction solutions'.
The new offerings from the partners, which will be introduced during this year and 2001, will provide integrated capabilities for managing all types of customer interaction, including phone, email, web collaboration, online chat, interactive voice response and voice over IP.
The products will combine Oracle's customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning applications with Cisco's call routing and computer-telephony integration software.
Key to the partners' plan will be the development of products around IP. The aim is to replace a mishmash of proprietary technologies, such as legacy telephone systems, with IP-based systems.
"Every call centre is going to have to become a multimedia customer contact centre," said Eugene Lee, vice president of marketing for Cisco's internet communications software group.
He said the products will enable the companies to compete more effectively against the likes of Nortel and Lucent.
Joe Gagan, an analyst at researcher The Yankee Group, agrees. "Oracle is going through Cisco to get to the voice world," he said, adding that companies from the data world are starting to see voice as a growth area.
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