• June 14, 2006
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Oracle Gets to Work

In a move to strengthen its CRM On Demand offering, Oracle finalized its acquisition of call center infrastructure provider Telephony@Work on Tuesday. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. Privately held Telephony@Work, founded in 1997, develops browser-based, carrier-hosted software that handles contact-center infrastructure tasks like call queuing, outbound dialing, email sorting, and automated response. Oracle inherited the partnership with Telephony@Work through its Siebel Systems acquisition in January. Siebel embedded Telephony@Work's technology in its Contact On Demand offering for hosted contact center for hosted contact center technology. Oracle aims to provide customers with a single, preintegrated contact center/CRM offering by integrating Telephony@Work's IP-based technology with its CRM applications. The acquisition marks the end of a strong partnership between the two companies. Telephony@Work already provides the telephony platform for Oracle's Siebel Contact On Demand to provide that CRM offering with hosted contact center functionality. With the acquisition, customers can purchase a combined contact center/CRM offering that will allow companies to get their call centers up and running more quickly by not having to integrate the two, stand-alone technologies, according to Oracle. "CRM applications and telephony components have been delivered as stand-alone applications that require extensive integration between the voice and data platforms," says Mike Betzer, vice president of product management. "We're delivering a unified software package running over IP telephony." Betzer says the new technology will also extend Oracle's On Demand capabilities to include field service, such as dispatch and repair, by "pulling that information together with the call center." Besides beefing up its on-demand offerings, Oracle says it will integrate Technology@Work's products with all of its CRM applications, including Oracle E-Business Suite, its on-premise and on-demand Siebel software, PeopleSoft Enterprise and Oracle Business Intelligence Suite. Pricing for the new Siebel On Demand/Telephony@Work software package will start at $170 per user/per month. The acquisition is indicative of the shift to IP-based technology, which is gaining traction with some end-user companies because of potential cost reduction and more effective call handling, according to Bern Elliot, research vice president at Gartner. "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." Related articles: All the Talk at VoiceCon
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