Cisco and HP initiative will speed take-up of customer contact solutions
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Cisco and Hewlett-Packard have announced a joint initiative to speed up the use of contact center solutions offering global consulting, systems integration and e-services. The two companies already have a strategic alliance, but this means that HP will be able to integrate and resell the customer contact software platform from Cisco’s Internet Communications Software Group.

The scheme will enable enterprises and service providers to manage multiple contact channels from web, phone and chat to VoIP, IVR, fax and email in an integrated fashion. Customers will be able to add any combination of traditional and IP telephony as well as new media channels to their interactions.

“With Cisco and HP extending their relationship as consulting, integration and channel partners, customers will get the best of both worlds – HP’s e-services and systems integration as well as Cisco’s customer contact software platform. Together, HP and Cisco will help companies integrate their internet commerce, service and telephony infrastructures to provide personalized customer service through multiple communications channels,” said James Richardson, senior vice president, Cisco Systems.

“Today’s announcement is a key building block in HP’s mission to enable Chapter 2 of the internet,” said Bill Russell, vice president of HP’s Software and Solutions Organization.

According to Datamonitor, IP-enabled call centers are expected to grow from eight per cent in 1998 to more than 40% by 2003. A system can route a customer to the most appropriate agent, escalate a situation based on previous experience and enable web-based collaboration between a customer and an agent.

HP and Cisco plan to evolve HP’s Smart Contact capabilities into Cisco’s customer contact platform. As part of that integration process, Cisco is acquiring the intellectual property rights

The joint Cisco and HP solution combines key technologies with business integration and support and maintenance services. Components of the solution include:
* Cisco’s customer contact software platform – combines intelligent contact management, web collaboration, email response management with the strength of Cisco’s IP telephony networking solutions. Multiple contact channels from Web, phone and chat to VoIP, IVR, fax and email can thus be managed in an integrated fashion in support of a seamless and unified customer experience.
* Systems integration and support – interlocking, pre-integrated and pre- tested components that allow service providers to create solutions that fit each customer’s need, ranging from the small-office or home user to the largest enterprise. HP Services will manage the complete solution life cycle, from planning and design through integration, implementation, support and maintenance.
* End-to-end network, systems and applications management leveraging industry-leading HP Open View solutions.
* Co-development of next-generation e-services for customer interaction.

Cisco Systems, Inc is a world leader in networking for the internet.

HP has 86,000 employees worldwide and had total revenue of $42.4 billion in its 1999 fiscal year.




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