At its annual G-Force user conference today Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories announced it is taking its relationship with Microsoft a step further. The Alcatel company has selected the Microsoft platform to build new business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions. Genesys Global Communications Manager, based on the Microsoft platform, enables outsourcers to create an open, standards-based contact center infrastructure. The announcement comes about four months after the two companies announced that Genesys was teaming with Microsoft's Real-Time Collaboration Group to offer an integrated solution that allows users of Microsoft's next-generation communications client, Istanbul, to access contact information and make telephone calls through their computer.
Global Communications Manager, which features a software-based, multienterprise communication framework that provides seamless interactions between the outsourcer and the enterprises, allows for call distribution among centers, and seamless call transferring between agents or enterprises. Additional benefits of Global Communications Manager include disaster recovery options for immediate transfer of transactions to backup centers, reduced hardware capacity requirements, and increased overall agent utilization rates, according to the company. A front-end platform, it enables all customer interactions to be intelligently routed to any of the outsourcer's contact centers, decreasing bandwidth requirements and communication costs, creating a virtual contact center environment. "We're creating a Genesys presence which is based on a SIP communication server, along with other bundled Genesys products, and we're creating that at a point of presence that the outsourcer will create that's in region to the enterprise clients they're supporting," says Elliot Danziger, the company's CTO.
Although the announcement strengthens Genesys' partnership with Microsoft, Danziger indicates that it does not represent any type of exclusivity with the software giant. Even so, "to have it on other platforms is fine, but to have it on a Windows platform--a very important platform out there...[is] something that is of value to many outsourcers who will be looking at this type of solution."
Genesys' partnership with Microsoft is a positive move, particularly when looking at small business, according Elizabeth Ussher, an industry analyst, but she notes the number of existing Microsoft partnerships out there. "Microsoft has so many partners for so many things, everything from very small to very large, and even though they are a large company, sometimes things get lost in the shuffle," she says. Danziger isn't concerned. "We're bringing a value to the table which is why Microsoft probably had interest in us in the first place," he says. "As long as we continue to maintain our unique differentiation, we believe that we will continue to have a value proposition for Microsoft."
Continuing with its partnership announcements, Genesys also announced collaboration with Verizon to deliver a hosted IP solution that will use the Genesys SIP Communication Server to connect the Genesys 7 contact center suite to Verizon's voice-ready IP network. While hosted IP and hosted applications in general have not caught on as fast as people might have thought, Danziger maintains that they are gaining acceptance. "The ability for call centers, whether they be small call centers that the infrastructure investments don't make sense for them, or for even large contact centers where they need to have some spill-over capability...the abilities for these entities to be able to do that is extremely valuable."
According to Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics, hosted IP provides more functionality than Centrex ACD ever did. The traditional Regional Bell operating companies (RBOCs) including SBC, Verizon, and BellSouth have an embedded base of Centrex ACD customers that they need to provide an IP future for, she says. "This kind of announcement signals that Verizon is putting a solution in place for their Centrex ACD customers," she says. "The traditional Centrex ACD vendors, Lucent and Nortel, have not really stepped up to the plate as they should have so they're losing the business to somebody like Genesys who is creating an offer that's attractive."
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