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CEO Spotlight
February 2004

Eli Borodow, CEO, Telephony@WorkIn the CEO Spotlight section in Internet Telephony� magazine, we recognize the outstanding work performed by exemplary companies. Each month we bring you the opinions of the heads of companies leading the Internet telephony industry now and helping to shape the future of the industry. This month, we spoke with Eli Borodow, CEO of [email protected]

IT: What is [email protected]�s mission?
While we are probably best known as a developer of hosted contact center technology for fortune-class companies and high-end service providers such as MCI, our vision has always been to democratize technology for companies of all sizes, whether they choose to deploy world-class technology in their own networks or gain access to it through network-hosted services. Our mission is to produce multimedia communications technology that slashes costs, increases revenue, and maximizes customer satisfaction for large-to-mid-size companies and service providers -- while empowering both to offer hosted infrastructure alternatives for those sites and companies who lack the budgets or scale to deploy world-class technology in their own networks.

While many companies may claim to have similar objectives, the litmus test is the technology itself and the ability to deploy and maintain it cost-effectively with carrier-grade reliability at scale.

IT: What capabilities does [email protected] technology provide?
[email protected]�s [email protected] is a comprehensive browser-based multimedia contact center solution for companies and service providers. It unifies geographically distributed contact centers, offices, mobile workers, and telecommuters in a unified infrastructure that encompasses all communications channels: phone, fax, and Internet. It includes a carrier-grade softswitch with support for third-party softswitches and legacy PBXs, e-mail management, chat, Web collaboration, voice-over-Web, and Web-callback capabilities. It also provides the ability to deliver those communications with world-class ACD discipline -- including weighted skills-based routing, a unified queue, and consistent customer priority business rules across media channels. It includes world-class outbound predictive/preview dialing, IVR, screen-pops, supervisor coaching, call and screen monitoring, and call recording and logging. All of these diverse technologies are integrated-by-design and managed from a single, unified administration and provisioning interface in the browser, eliminating the need for vendor services. Agents, supervisors, telecommuters, and office workers all leverage browser-based interfaces, empowering employees to work from anywhere without being burdened with high IT support costs.

IT: How is [email protected] positioned in the next-generation IP Contact Center market and what separates you from your competition?
EB: [email protected] has quickly become the leading vendor for large-scale IP Contact Center deployments for a variety of reasons. We offer the only technology platform that scales to support millions of simultaneous users. The solution is also designed for multi-tenant deployments, enabling different sites or workgroups to share hardware, software, and phone lines around the world while remaining autonomous. The architecture actually prevents exposure of their internal data or business processes to other �tenants� -- be they independent corporate locations or service-provider subscribers.

From a deployment-at-scale perspective, our market positioning was best summed up by Dr. Jon Anton of Purdue University�s Center For Customer-Driven Quality. He called our approach �third-stream technology� because of its differentiation from the other two core contact center technology deployment paradigms: Multi-systems integration and single-vendor unified programming toolsets. These traditional approaches to provisioning always involve long provisioning, debugging, and regression-testing cycles. Third-stream technology eliminates these issues.

The first pillar is manageability -- addressed via patented menu-driven provisioning. Our technology is provisioned from a unified set of Web menus that actually follow the same needs-analysis questions that all communications technology vendors rely on -- but we empower organizations to answer those questions themselves via menu selections instead of through custom programming and point-solution integration. Since the customization questions are the same as in the traditional custom-programming approach, there is no sacrifice. The result is the elimination of traditional costs, risks, and delays ordinarily associated with the implementation of diverse communications technologies and custom business logic. These are the challenges that have prevented both corporate and commercial service providers from provisioning and maintaining hosted contact center technology at scale.

The second pillar of this approach is carrier-grade scalability -- reflected in our ability to support millions of simultaneous users. The core advantage of our network-based software architecture is that our menu-driven provisioning actually �gives birth� to software processes that can live and be mirrored in real-time anywhere on the global network. Added scalability can be achieved on-the-fly at any time simply by adding additional processing resources to the distributed network at any location.

The third pillar of our �third-stream� approach is carrier-grade reliability, delivered via real-time process-mirroring. With our technology, all software processes can run in parallel on multiple servers in the network, such that communications will always stay alive even if individual servers or data centers fail. Since all processes can live on one server for small-to-mid-size deployments -- with hot mirroring on a second server -- carrier grade reliability has now become affordable for contact centers at any scale.

IT: What economic benefits does [email protected] technology provide?
EB: From the service-provider perspective, our unique enabling technology empowers the sale of new revenue-producing services -- �virtual� infrastructure alternatives to traditional, expensive on-premises contact center systems.
From the perspective of the distributed enterprise or contact center, centralized multi-tenant technology provides the best of both worlds: the cost reductions associated with technology centralization, together with the privacy and control ordinarily associated with site-specific technology. The ability to implement change on-the-fly to all business processes at no cost is another important differentiator.
From both perspectives, [email protected] delivers value that no other vendor has provided to date: the ability to centralize technology on a multi-tenant basis with fixed-cost deployment and absolute freedom from professional services both up-front and over time.

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