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June 2003

In this month's CEO Spotlight, we feature an interview with Malcolm Collins, president of the Enterprise Networks Group of Nortel Networks (www.nortelnetworks.com).

CIS: What is your company's specialty and mission statement?

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 and VXML.

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?

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 if needed.

CIS: What is your vision of the future of the CRM/contact center industry?

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 relationships.

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?

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?

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 instant rewards.

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 international competition?

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 Networks.

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