IBM and Genesys to deliver speech-enabled self-service systems


Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc., a subsidiary of Alcatel (NYSE: ALA, Paris: CGEP.PA), and IBM today announced they will deliver new speech-enabled self-service solutions to link contact centres with enterprise resources and IT infrastructures.

In a move to increase the availability and functionality of its partner applications, IBM will work with Genesys to deliver a suite of WebSphere speech capabilities integrated with the industry-leading Genesys Voice Platform.

In addition, the two companies announced that they have expanded their strategic alliance to target small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with solutions for specific vertical markets.

IBM and Genesys: Enabling Speech Self-Service
IBM is working with Genesys to enable IBM's WebSphere Voice Server, WebSphere Voice Application Access and WebSphere Studio Voice Toolkit for the Genesys Voice Platform. Genesys also plans to run its solutions on IBM's WebSphere Internet infrastructure software - which will enable a seamless link between the contact centre and back-end IT infrastructure.

Self-service solutions, performed without the assistance of a call centre agent, allow customers to obtain information easily and execute transactions with a wide variety of business processes ranging from areas such as billing and inventory management to order delivery systems. The solutions will allow for multiple modes of customer service delivery - such as Web self-service, chat and speech-enabled caller interactions - to be better managed and more closely integrated into enterprise applications.

Availability is planned for this summer with initial language support for English, Chinese and Japanese. The offerings are designed to allow organisations to use a single, open-standards based architecture throughout the enterprise to manage multiple channels of interaction and points of customer contact. Also, both companies have announced plans to provide future connectivity via MRCP (Media Resource Control Protocol) - an emerging standard aimed at easing the integration of automatic speech recognition and text-to-speech technologies.

The award-winning Genesys Voice Platform delivers enhanced self-service applications that provide instantaneous, anytime access to Web-based information using natural voice commands and allows customers to transition seamlessly to agent assistance whenever necessary. The solution is ideal for transactions such as obtaining account balances, transferring funds, requesting information, checking flight status, ordering products and scheduling services.

"Together IBM and Genesys enable companies to fully integrate the contact centre - the very 'face' of a company - with IT infrastructure to support a consistent, positive customer experience," said Nicolas de Kouchkovsky, senior vice president of marketing and business development at Genesys. "Companies gain the benefit of sharing customer information from front to back office, which not only increases efficiency but also improves co-ordination among previously disparate business units."

IBM and Genesys: Meeting the Needs of Small and Mid-Sized Businesses
In addition to working on joint speech self-service solutions, Genesys and IBM have expanded their relationship to meet the needs of small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). In an increasingly competitive business environment, SMBs are seeking advanced contact centre technologies to differentiate themselves through superior customer service. Together, IBM and Genesys will provide easy-to-manage contact centre solutions that can reduce infrastructure costs and greatly improve quality of service. The companies plan to initially market solutions designed to address the particular needs of SMB customers in the financial services and healthcare industries.

As customers across different industries increasingly demand solutions unique to their industry challenges, IBM is aligning and mobilising Business Partners of all types by vertical industry focus. Genesys will receive targeted research, development and go-to-market support specific to the financial services and healthcare industries by accessing Partnerworld Industry Networks, a new Web-based partner program for ISVs.

The Genesys suite of products, combined with IBM WebSphere Voice Server*, IBM DB2 Universal Database* and IBM eServer xSeries systems designed specifically for mid-sized businesses*, can help companies quickly and accurately route customer enquiries to the information they need via self-service, or to the appropriate service representatives when required. With the new Genesys and IBM solutions, SMB customers can easily migrate from legacy technologies, such as Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) systems, to more sophisticated routing capabilities that may better serve their customers' rising demands for superior service and 24/7 access to information.

"We're committed to working with our partners to reach new audiences within key vertical markets," said Buell Duncan, GM, ISV and Developer Relations. "Today's announcement is part of IBM's continuing efforts to expand its strategic partnership in the speech arena - an important part of the pervasive computing ecosystem. The Genesys and IBM alliance represents the strength of collaboration to develop and deliver open and integrated industry-focused solutions."

*Denotes a trademark or registered trademark of the International Business Machines Corporation.

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