Cisco Systems has won a contract with Merrill Lynch to supply and install an IP telephony system to support 14,000 financial advisors across 600 offices worldwide.
Cisco has been supplying the bank with IP telephony technology since 2000, but last year the vendor's products were replaced by Avaya kit at Merrill's corporate campus in New Jersey and its regional headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. Avaya has also confirmed an order for its Communications Manager IP telephony S8700 solutions for over 10,000 employees at Merrill Lynch facilities in Sydney, Australia; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and several US locations.
Charles Giancarlo, Cisco's chief technology officer, told reporters that Cisco will be the only supplier of IP telephony technology for the financial advisor project.
Cisco says Merrill will build a front-office system, running on its switching and routing platform, that will be used by financial advisors for day-to-day interactions with clients.
The system includes the vendor's handsets and CallManager software and will replace an existing PBX-based phone system. The technology will enable Merrill Lynch to consolidate its voice and data networks. The vendor says it will also provide the bank with remote operations and advanced services.
John Killeen, chief technology officer of Merrill Lynch's global private client group, says: "The integration of telephone and workstation represents a significant productivity enhancement for our financial advisors."
Roll out of the IP system will begin in the second half of 2005.