Call Centers

Oracle Acquires [email protected]

Oracle has acquired [email protected], an on-demand provider of IP-based software infrastructure for hosted contact center services.

[email protected] provided much of the functionality in Oracle’s OnDemand Contact Center application via an OEM deal the company had with Siebel, which Oracle has since acquired.

This product, CallCenterAnywhere, is a multichannel contact center application that provides an “out of the box” alternative to the custom programming and systems integration typically necessary for on-demand and on-premise contact centers, according to Oracle.The acquisition of the [email protected] will allow Oracle to provide greater contact center connectivity to both on-demand and on-premise customers, Oracle Vice-President Mike Betzer told CRM Buyer.

Dual Functionality

[email protected] supports both on-premise and on-demand environments, Betzer said. Previously, Oracle had offered some of this functionality with a CTI toolbar that provided connectivity to applications offered by Avaya andGenesys.

The [email protected] acquisition extends Oracle’s capabilities in this area by providing connectivity to additional telephony providers, such as MCI and Telus.

By bringing [email protected] in-house, Oracle will be able to support a broader range of customer deployments, Betzer said. It will be able to accommodate on-premise companies that want to migrate to on-demand, as well as on-premise companies that want better integration with their contact center applications.”What we have found is that many of our enterprise on-premise customers do not have any sort of CTI connectivity,” he said.

Other on-premise customers are expressing interest in the on-demand option. For this group, Betzer added, “we want to make sure we can provide them call routing and other contact center related functions.”

Integrating the Call Center

Connecting the telephony layer to a CRM application has proven to be surprisingly difficult for vendors and on-premise equipment-based providers. The advent of IP telephony, however, has begun to bridge these separate but related applications.

As this has become easier to accomplish, more companies are rethinking their approaches to contact center functionality, and the role it plays in an overall customer service operation.

“In general,, there has been a recognition that the integration of call center data with other customer-related data is integral to customer satisfaction,” Nucleus Research Vice-President Rebecca Wettemann told CRM Buyer. Vendors such as RightNow Technologies, which offers both on-premise and on-demand functionality, are concentrating on this integration, she added.

Terms of the [email protected] acquisition were not disclosed.

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