Gartner has unveiled its "Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure, North America, 2006," a space that it defines as the equipment, software, and services needed to operate call and contact centers. Aspect Software, Avaya, Cisco Systems, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, and Nortel are all positioned as leaders, defined as high-viability players, with broad portfolios and geographic coverage, substantial market share, a clear vision for how contact center needs will evolve, and a proven track record for delivering contact center products.
Meanwhile, Interactive Intelligence, NEC America, and Siemens Information and Communications Products are categorized as challengers with strong market capabilities, but with products lacking the breadth and depth of the leaders' offerings. CosmoCom, Nuasis, and Telephony@Work are noted as visionaries, which demonstrate clear understanding of the market, but lacking the widespread influence of the leaders. Computer Talk Technology, Mitel Networks, and Syntellect are noted as niche-players, offering contact center products focused on a segment of the market or particular functionality.
Aspect Communications and Concerto Software have made previous appearances on the quadrant, but this marks the first time for Aspect Software, the combined company resulting from Concerto's acquisition of Aspect. "The result is an established market presence, an experienced team and proven products," the report states. "They have defined a road map for a converged EnsemblePro and Uniphi Suite product line-scheduled for 4Q06. However, some clients report confusion about nearer-term product decisions. The company's experience will likely result in particular strengths in the areas of call handling, contact routing, WFM, outbound dialing, analytics, and IPT." The company's weakness stems from its broad set of products and channels that it must consolidate, according to the report.
Avaya is noted for its significant market share, strong portfolio, and experience in the contact center market. Cisco is applauded for its dominant position in networking infrastructure and its strong distribution channel. Genesys gains recognition for its ability to "couple innovation with a strong product line," along with solid execution and a broad market reach, according to the report. The final leader, Nortel, is praised for its improved and expanded products. "Changes over the past two years allow it to offer a portfolio of leading solutions for all contact center environments," the report states. "Nortel's [products] should be considered by companies looking for mature solutions, as well as those looking for next-generation IPT infrastructure."
Hosted contact center specialist CosmoCom is a newcomer to this year's quadrant. The company is recognized for now also selling its platform as a premise-based solution in North America, according to the report. "Because of its strong relationship with some of the carriers, as well as a relationship with Microsoft, that positions it differently than just a standard new entry," says Bern Elliot, research vice president at Gartner. "At this point they have few enterprise deployments, so their strength right now draws from their current position with service providers." The report also notes the removal of Apropos Technology, due to its acquisition by Syntellect.
Indicative of the current contact center infrastructure market, however, is the shift to VoIP, which is gaining traction with some end-user companies because of potential cost reduction and more effective call handling. "Out of the VoIP shift comes a shift towards consolidation of physical sites into a virtual center and the support for remote agents," Elliot says. Overall, though, enterprises should be thinking how they can adapt the contact center to better meet the business's needs. "We're going to see the contact center infrastructure becoming not just [more] integrated, but reflect more specific differentiating business objectives."
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