CIS: What is your company's specialty and
Collins: Nortel Networks is
an innovator focused on transforming how the world communicates and
exchanges information. Additionally, Nortel Networks is supplying its
enterprise and service provider customers with communications technology,
applications and infrastructure to enable value-added IP data, voice and
multimedia applications and services spanning wireless networks, wireline
networks, enterprise networks and optical networks. These four business
units are helping companies eliminate communication boundaries ' boundaries
that exist between the public and private network, voice and data network
and wired and wireless network.
Nortel Networks' enterprise vision, 'One network. A world of choice,' is
based on an engaged business model, and is all about helping enterprises
partner with their customers to anticipate their customers' needs, deliver
solutions as quickly as possible and go beyond traditional customer
relationships and loyalty initiatives.
More specifically, for more than two decades, Nortel Networks has been an
industry leader in the contact center and self- service markets, having been
among the first telecommunications companies to develop products focused on
this business discipline.
We continue to invest in this profitable line of business and in the past
year alone, Nortel Networks' thin-client supervisory interface, Symposium
Web Client, won the best new product award at the Call Center and CRM 2002
industry event. We also enhanced the Web contact management system,
Symposium Web Center Portal. In addition, Nortel Networks has issued new
releases of its flagship contact center products: Symposium Call Center
Server and Symposium Express Call Center, and expanded the Self Service
family of products by adding the MPS products, enhanced speech capabilities
Nortel Networks' mission is to be a company that is valued by its
customers, shareholders, employees and the communities in which their people
live, work and raise their families.
CIS: What makes your products and
services unique and how can users benefit by using them?
Collins: In October 2002,
Nortel Networks announced its enterprise vision, 'One network. A world of
choice' for customers around the globe. Our strategy promotes the cost
benefits of running one secure, reliable converged voice and data network to
help companies remain engaged to remote workers and to their suppliers,
partners and customers at all times, anywhere, and with the devices or
communications tools individuals prefer to use. Engaged business
applications allow companies to move beyond reactively providing service to
actually improving customer service by anticipating customer needs.
We at Nortel Networks believe we are in a unique position to deliver this
new world by leveraging global market and technology leadership across IP
telephony, contact centers, messaging, multimedia collaboration, IVR, IP-VPN,
Ethernet switching, security, optical and wireless solutions. A critical
differentiator of our enterprise approach is the way we work with customers
to evolve their capabilities by enabling them to migrate to IP at their own
pace while leveraging the solutions they have or while implementing new ones
CIS: What is your vision of the future
of the CRM/contact center industry?
Collins: Engaged. This one
word perfectly describes the future of the CRM/contact center industry. With
engaged business applications, companies are able to provide exceptional
levels of proactive, personalized service to develop closer customer
At Nortel Networks, we are and will continue to help our customers
transform themselves into engaged businesses, as we see this being not only
the next stage of contact centers, but also the new way of doing business.
We have modeled our strategy to coincide with this vision and are
offering our customers the best choice in how they achieve this vision. This
choice consists of the most feature-rich solutions in the industry to help
them through every stage of the engaged model, adding business value at each
and every level.
CIS: What, in your opinion, is the
most pressing issue facing our industry today?
Collins: Creating a seamless,
consistent experience across the company for customers and employees is the
biggest challenge facing our industry. This focus ' giving customers the
services they want, when they want them with no barriers ' must encompass a
balance of technology and processes that will differentiate a company's
products and services.
Enterprises need to have the ability to deliver unique and quality
services to customers, partners and suppliers that differentiate their
business. It's about gaining the loyalty and mind share of the end customer,
with engaged applications that make it easy for them to do business with a
company. It's about showing the business value that technologies can bring
to an enterprise that can completely change the face of the business.
Companies need to be able to deliver a rich feature set, such as advanced
routing, real-time reporting and agent management tools, that help promote a
seamless customer experience.
CIS: What are your recommendations to
alleviate such problems?
Collins: Faced with the
challenge of transforming their call centers into multimedia contact
centers, companies need to have the flexibility to implement solutions that
easily integrate with their existing equipment with a quick payback period.
Especially during these tight times, enterprises don't want to have to
overhaul their systems and spend money on costly upgrades that don't reap
When transforming into a multimedia contact center, a company should
naturally extend what it is already doing successfully to unify all media,
self-service and agent-assisted service and provide the consistent, seamless
experience customers expect. Companies also need to integrate front- and
back-office applications so agents have the right tools at their fingertips.
CIS: What is your vision for future
trends in the contact center/CRM market regarding profitability and
Collins: Our portfolio
of contact center, unified messaging and speech/IVR applications enables
seamless integration across whatever channel the customer chooses
(in-person, telephone, Web, chat, fax, e-mail). This ensures that the
customer experience is a consistent, positive one and results in a stronger
customer engagement ' driving revenue growth and profitability for our
enterprise customers. Nortel Networks is helping the engaged business use
its knowledge to provide just what customers want, when they want it '
delivering exceptional levels of personalized service necessary to
ultimately maximize 'return on relationship,' which will turn customers into
a virtual sales force.
The engaged enterprise has the technology and culture in place to form
mutually productive partnerships with customers. It anticipates customer
needs and delivers critical and time-sensitive information to customers
precisely when, where and how they want to receive it. This level of
proactive, ongoing customer engagement provides a direct impact to the
enterprise bottom line, and can be achieved using a converged network, as
well as best-in-class applications, an array of convergence options, user
mobility, infrastructure security and network resilience provided by Nortel
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