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By Tracey E. Schelmetic, Editorial Director, Customer Inter@ction Solutions

NICE Acquires IEX And Performix
NICE Systems (news - alert) recently announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire IEX, a provider of contact center workforce management solutions. The company also signed a second definitive agreement to acquire Performix Technologies, (news - alert) which offers contact center performance management solutions. The transactions are subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and are anticipated to close towards the end of the second or the beginning of the third quarter of 2006. Under the agreement, NICE will acquire the shares of IEX, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tekelec, (news - alert) for approximately $200 million in cash. NICE will acquire Performix for a total purchase price of $13.2 million in cash. The Performix purchase price may be increased by up to an additional $6.15 million based on certain performance criteria. The combined solution formed by NICE Perform and the offerings of IEX and Performix will constitute a paradigm shift in how contact center management and enterprise executives make decisions, monitor and improve performance, according to NICE. By combining all this critical business information with insight generated by interaction analytics, analyzing it and providing reporting and state-of-the-art dashboards, contact center and enterprise decision makers can gain far-reaching and valuable operational and business insights on strategic business issues, such as upselling and cross-selling, customer churn, business intelligence, compliance and fraud, and others.

etalk Unveils Customer Survey Solution
etalk, (news - alert) a provider of contact center software and services, has announced that Qfiniti Survey, an automated customer survey application, is now fully integrated onto etalk’s single platform of call center solutions, Qfiniti Enterprise. In addition to customer surveys, Qfiniti Enterprise delivers a suite of contact center solutions for quality monitoring, agent coaching and evaluation and advanced speech analytics — all in a single interface. Qfiniti Survey provides a direct link between customer satisfaction scores and agent performance within the call center by recording both the agent/customer interaction and the subsequent customer input via IVR, and then linking those recordings to the evaluation process. Qfiniti Survey establishes this direct link between the performance of a contact center and the customer satisfaction that drives the business. Now with additional functionality that allows greater analysis of customer responses, Qfiniti Survey is, according to etalk, more advanced than the company’s previous survey tools.

Siemens Communications Inc. Announces
HiPath ProCenter Enterprise Version 7.0

Siemens Communications Inc. (news - alert) recently announced the launch of HiPath ProCenter Enterprise Version 7.0, the company’s new IP-ready contact center solution designed to help enterprises improve first-contact resolution, drive up productivity and increase customer satisfaction. The solution includes pre-built integrations with front-office CRM applications from Microsoft, SAP and Siebel Systems. The Siemens HiPath ProCenter Enterprise solution helps enterprises improve the efficiencies of multiple customer interaction channels — including voice, e-mail and live Web interactions — with Siemens’ presence and collaboration tools. With presence-driven applications, front-line agents can get real-time information about the availability of subject matter experts and connect to them across various media types throughout the enterprise.

Newly enhanced HiPath ProCenter Enterprise capabilities include: extension of the HiPath ProCenter Design Center, a visual workflow-style desktop productivity tool; modular options to help meet the needs of specific contact centers and the ability to add features and scalability as needs change; Siemens HiPath 8000 IP-telephony platform integration for high-end, session initiation protocol (SIP) contact center functionality; automated upgrade path for enterprises growing from the HiPath ProCenter Agile solution for small and medium-sized contact centers; and multimedia presence and collaboration tools.

Aspect Software Offers Open Source IP-PBX
Aspect Software, Inc. (news - alert) recently announced it will provide and support the Digium open-source Internet protocol (IP) PBX, the Asterisk Business Edition — a professional-grade version of the industry’s first open source IP-PBX — for customers of its Unified and Signature product lines. The Aspect Software packaged offering includes the Asterisk Business Edition license; SIP phones (optional); application servers and IP gateways (optional); interoperability with Aspect contact center products; installation and deployment of the solution; and postdeployment support. The increased adoption of session initiation protocol (SIP) and standards-based technology points to open source as an increasingly viable option. The early adopters of this technology have been drawn by the low cost, as well as the greater control and flexibility that open-source telephony offers to companies.

The Asterisk Business Edition IP-PBX provides tested reliability of critical functions and features and includes support and full documentation. Based on the Asterisk open-source PBX, the product offers companies the same call handling capabilities expected of closed PBX systems, at a substantially reduced cost, including features such as switched or packet data and voice mail.

Interactive Intelligence Launches Channel-Ready Program For Unified Communications System
Interactive Intelligence Inc. (news - alert) has announced the launch of a channelready program designed to simplify installation of the company’s unified communications system, Communité. The Interactive Intelligence channel-ready program offers resellers and direct customers single-SKU/single-price ordering, port-based sizing options and a complete, pre-packaged system. The system combines Communité’s voice over IP-ready software, with Windows 2003 servers powered by Intel Xeon processors, Intel Netstructure Host Media Processing (HMP) software and Intel Netstructure PBX-IP media gateways for PBX connectivity. The system also includes integrated back-up and recovery tools, a recovery DVD, and change management controls.

Communité offers standards-based voice mail, unified messaging and real-time communications services, including multimodal message access by phone, desktop, Web browser or PDA device, presence management, find-me/follow-me functions, autoattendant, conferencing and faxing. Communité integrates with traditional PBX and IPbased communications systems, and can be deployed as a voice mail replacement system operating independent of existing LDAP and e-mail systems. This enables organizations to deploy Communité for voice mail replacement initially, and migrate users to unified messaging and real-time communications as needed.

Genesys Releases Contact Center Suite Version 7.2
Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc., (news - alert) an Alcatel company, has released Genesys 7.2, a new version of the company’s contact center software suite with advances in the scalability, reliability and securitqy needed for IP contact centers. By leveraging Open IP and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) technology, Genesys 7.2 can support up to 30,000 agents and provide contact centers with new forms of customer interactions, intelligent routing and call controls, and software-based ACD capabilities. According to the company, Genesys 7.2 is the only IP contact center solution that uses a completely open architecture to support virtually any hardware or software platform, regardless of vendor. This Open IP architecture allows businesses to integrate “best-of-breed” components without complex compatibility issues, giving companies total choice in selecting the most appropriate infrastructure to meet their business goals. Genesys 7.2 also supports a mix of IP and TDM environments as well as hybrid environments that require multivendor platforms. Unlike “rip and replace” architectures of the past, these approaches allow businesses to migrate to an IP environment over time, spreading out costs and minimizing risk. Genesys 7.2 integrates IP into key elements of the suite, such as the Genesys Voice Platform (GVP–IP) to support voice self-service, video and voiceenabled applications. The Open Media module lets businesses apply advanced routing capabilities and business process-based routing to virtually any customer application, including Web, fax, SMS, e-mail, chat, video or workflow management.

Salesforce.com Purchases Sendia
On-demand CRM provider Salesforce.com, inc. (news - alert) has announced the next generation of mobile applications with AppExchange Mobile through its acquisition of Sendia Corporation for $15 million in cash. The combination of the AppExchange ondemand platform with mobile technology from Sendia will mobile-enable more than 60 ondemand applications that are currently available on the AppExchange. Using AppExchange Mobile, all current and future AppExchange partners will be able to quickly and easily extend their on-demand applications to any mobile device with no extra development cost or complexity. AppExchange Mobile breaks the wireless application logjam for customers and reduces challenges associated with developing mobile applications, the need to develop for multiple platforms, and the cost and complexity of developing and deploying mobile applications. Today, ISVs and developers have to develop applications across multiple platforms and multiple operating systems for use with multiple carriers, causing extended development, testing and QA cycles. AppExchange Mobile provides developers with a new model: Now, developers can write an application once on the AppExchange on-demand platform and have it run on any mobile device, as well as any Web-enabled PC, without additional coding. Sendia President and COO Alex Klyce has been named senior VP and general manager of the AppExchange Mobile Business Unit for salesforce.com.

New Version of KANA IQ Available
KANA Software, Inc., (news - alert) a provider of multichannel customer service, has announced enhancements to KANA IQ, the company’s solution for enterprise knowledge management and customer service optimization. KANA IQ 9.1 features new workflow capabilities for managing the process of translating and maintaining knowledge-base content in multiple languages. The software also offers new knowledge base revision management capabilities — a feature of particular importance to any government-regulated industry. The new enhancements enable organizations to arm agents with the most current knowledge to provide individualized customer service without incurring more cost. KANA IQ delivers a guided knowledge approach that reduces the time it takes to answer inquiries. The solution delivers on-demand advice that intelligently guides agents through the process of diagnosing the inquiry and determining the right answer. This enhanced version makes it easier to produce and manage content through efficient workflow processes, providing greater visibility and control over language translation.


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