News Release

Cisco Systems Receives Strong Industry Endorsement as Leading Customer Contact Software Platform

Software Infrastructure Builds on Leadership in Driving the Market for Converged Applications and Services; Receives Support from more than 20 Technology Providers and New Customers
May 23, 2000

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 23, 2000 - Continuing to accelerate the convergence of voice and data applications, Cisco Systems, Inc., the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, today announced that its customer contact software has gained significant momentum as a leading platform for communications management. Based on an open architecture, Cisco's suite of customer contact software products enable interoperability of best of class components from Cisco's ecosystem of partners, giving companies greater choice and faster time to market. As evidence of this, more than 15 technology providers have embraced Cisco's platform for customer interaction and many new customers have chosen the Cisco customer contact product portfolio to increase the retention and value of their customer relationships.

"Cisco is bringing to market a proven platform for customer interaction that combines the technologies of our intelligent contact management, Web collaboration and email response management software with the strength of our IP telephony networking solutions. This platform enables our customers to add any combination of IP telephony, rich IP-based software services, and new media channels to their customer interactions based upon their specific business requirements," said Dan Keshian, vice president and general manager of the Customer Contact Business Unit in Cisco Systems' Internet Communications Software Group. "With so many new technology providers and customers endorsing our platform, it is clear that Cisco is becoming the vendor of choice for delivering integrated voice, video and data capabilities in a contact management environment."

According to Chris Selland, vice president, e-Business Strategies, Yankee Group, "Yankee predicts that companies who can manage the customer experience, not the interaction will thrive. To do this, companies must deploy platform applications that tie service actions to sales actions to marketing actions in a closed loop. Cisco is delivering solutions that provide business intelligence in the contact center, crucial for acquiring customer insight across channels."

New Technology Providers and Customers

Cisco's platform of customer contact software is rapidly becoming an important part of a complete communications management solution for technology providers and businesses alike. A broad range of technology providers have embraced Cisco's software platform and are working with Cisco to implement end-to-end communications management solutions. Some of these include Customer Relationship Management (CRM)/eCRM providers such as Chordiant Software, Inc., Kana Communications, Octane Software, Inc., Oracle Corporation, Pegasystems, and Peoplesoft/Vantive.

Voice and data recording vendors such as Dictaphone, a company of Lernout & Hauspie, e-talk Corporation, Eyretel plc, NICE Systems, Racal Recorders and Witness Systems are integrating their products with the Cisco platform. Other categories of technology providers include Interactive Voice Response (IVR) vendors such as APEX Voice Communications, Edify Corporation, InterVoice-Brite, Inc., and Syntellect; and developers of workforce management software including Blue Pumpkin Software and IEX.

Additionally, many leading companies have chosen the Cisco customer interaction product portfolio to strengthen customer relationships. Some of these new customers include Applied Card Systems, FACTSET Research Systems, The Faneuil Group, PECO Energy, Percept@, an affiliate of Ford Motor Company and Teletech, Providian Financial, RecruitSource, Inc., and Travelers Property Casualty Corp.

The Cisco Customer Contact Software Platform

The Cisco customer contact software platform for communications management includes products that enable companies to integrate their Internet commerce, service and telephony infrastructures to combine the personal value of human interaction with the information value of the Web. These products include:

Cisco eMail Manager - an enterprise and service provider class solution for managing high volumes of customer inquiries submitted to company mailboxes or to a Web site. Based on customizable business rules, Cisco eMail Manager processes and tracks incoming messages, directs them to the right agent or support team, suggests relevant response templates and can send automated acknowledgements or more qualitative replies. A full-feature browser based interface provides agents with productivity tools to claim and read messages, view correspondence history, search the response libraries and collaborate on replies for more efficient, knowledgeable and personalized responses.

Cisco Collaboration Server - its breadth and depth of robust, comprehensive functionality has made it the leader for Web-centric, visual collaboration. Some of its advanced features include powerful application sharing, caller collaboration technology, a collaborative white boarding capability and a software development kit for creating interactive e-commerce applications. These advanced features are added to existing rich functionality such as two-way page and application sharing, split screen comparisons, "Follow-Me-Browsing" for collaborative Web browsing, FormShare for sharing standard Web-based forms, FrameShare for sharing framed Web pages, text chat, file download, conferencing (one-to-many, many-to-many) and CyberSeminar mode for large online conferences with hundreds of participants.

Cisco Media Blender - software for integrating multiple media types - including PSTN calls, interactive Web sessions, e-mail, text chat and voice-over-IP calls - and media-independent services within the customer contact center. It enables Cisco customers to integrate their existing telephony and e-commerce infrastructures with their Web-based customer interaction systems to provide a consistent, unified face to their customers.

Cisco Media Manager - enables businesses or departments that do not have access to an Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) to connect their Web customers to highly-skilled sales and service representatives. Cisco Media Manager works in conjunction with the Cisco Collaboration Server to deliver Web-based routing of contact requests.

Cisco ICM -- software that provides enterprise-wide intelligent contact management by distributing voice and data from multiple channels - including IP networks, TDM networks, fax, and e-mail - to enterprise resources such as ACD and IVR systems, SOHO agents, and desktop applications. Cisco ICM software combines Pre-Routing and Post-Routing capabilities with an extensive management-reporting system and supports distributed fault tolerance to ensure the mission-critical reliability needed for customer interaction. Solutions are provided for single-site, multi-site, and network-integrated deployments. Additional functionality includes:

  • Rich CTI capabilities - by unifying contact center resources from the network to the desktop, the CTI component of Cisco ICM delivers a rich set of relevant data to the targeted agent's desktop. This occurs simultaneously as each incoming request for contact is distributed to the best available resource the first time, personalizing customer service and improving contact center efficiency.

  • Remote agent support - Cisco ICM software can provide CTI, contact-distribution, and reporting capabilities to branch-office and small office/home office (SOHO) agents, as well as to knowledge workers throughout the enterprise.

Cisco NAM -- software that is used by major service providers worldwide to provide a complete package of network services including toll-free services, virtual call center services, network CTI, network IVR, network transfer, network Q-Points, and integration with other contact channels including email and collaboration over the Web. Cisco NAM bridges the traditional Intelligent Network and VoIP worlds to provide the highest level of service to carriers and all of their customers.

Cisco IP Contact Center -- as an integral component of Cisco AVVID, Cisco introduced the Cisco IP Contact Center (IPCC), a solution delivering intelligent contact routing, network-to-desktop CTI, and multimedia contact management to agents over an IP network. By combining software-based multimedia contact management functionality with IP telephony in a unified solution, IPCC represents the next generation of contact center applications.

As the market for customer contact management continues to evolve, solutions designed to primarily reduce costs are no longer sufficient. They must help generate profitable customer relationships.

"Increasingly the power to choose how sellers interact with buyers is in the hands of the customer. The technology industry must develop solutions to support this fundamental shift," said Eugene Lee, vice president of marketing for Cisco Systems' Internet Communications Software Group. "Systems must be designed to allow interactions to flow over any network, through any channel and the optimal resource must be applied in every interaction regardless of geography. Networks are converging, enterprise applications are requiring value-added services like collaboration and CTI, and sophisticated capabilities like unified messaging, routing of all media types, and common queuing are becoming critical components to managing profitable customer relationships."

For more information on the Internet Communications Software Group, please visit Access the ICSG online press kit.