• October 14, 2003
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Siemens Integrates With Microsoft

Siemens Information and Communication Networks, a subsidiary of Siemens AG, is integrating its HiPath ProCenter Suites' real-time contact center capabilities with Microsoft Business Solutions CRM. The product is currently available for midsize call centers, ranging from roughly 50 to 100 seats. The cost for the Siemens HiPath ProCenter Suites version 5.1 can be as low as $20,000, which does not include the telephony platform. The cost for the I Portal infrastructure ranges from $100,000 to $500,000. Microsoft has stated publicly that its Microsoft CRM ranges in price from $60,000 to $100,000, depending on the implementation. By combining both product capabilities contact center agents can get a unified Microsoft CRM desktop, providing telephony, productivity, and communication tools in a single screen; automated screen pops identifying incoming calls; a customer routing feature to send the customer to the correct agent; and an automated callback feature. That the solution is a single integrated application requires agents to only learn one application, saving training time and costs associated with learning and implementing several applications. The automated screen pops enable agents to quickly identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities while on the phone with a customer. Siemens has been a champion for the mid-market for more than five years, says Al Baker, vice president of the global eCRM business unit at Siemens. The company is noticing more interest in the mid-market as of late. "We're seeing more of the mid-market embracing technology solutions that were only available at the high-end. A lot of interest has to do with the awareness of mid-market technologies. The key is the whole modular suite architecture," Baker says. "Most mid-market customers don't have large IT staffs, so they don't have the bandwidth to take on large CRM projects. If you've got a very astute administrator, that alone is enough to handle maintenance and upgrades." HiPath ProCenter solutions can be deployed over either legacy TDM or next-generation converged IP networks, or a combination of both. In addition to Microsoft CRM, HiPath ProCenter Suites also integrate with Siebel Systems, SAP, and Remedy in the call center.
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