Cisco Systems Unveils New Internet Communications Software Group

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 23, 2000 – Cisco Systems, Inc., the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, today formally introduced the Internet Communications Software Group (ICSG) chartered to lead Cisco’s software strategy. The group delivers software platforms that enable enterprises, service providers and application vendors to realize the full potential of converged voice and data networks. Several vendors including Oracle Corporation and HP today endorsed ICSG’s open platform approach to the customer contact and unified communications markets.

“With Cisco’s open software platform approach, customers can take advantage of powerful business applications and Internet communications infrastructure that provides enterprises with a comprehensive e-business solution for managing the convergence of voice and data applications and services,” said Mark Barrenechea, senior vice president, Oracle Corporation. “We believe that Cisco’s software platform approach will allow application vendors like Oracle to deliver new multimedia solutions to manage a unified customer experience across all channels- a key requirement for today’s e-businesses.”

“The Internet Communications Software Group’s mission is to establish Cisco at the forefront of providing software platforms and with our ecosystem of technology providers, whole solutions to improve the effectiveness of business and personal communication by unifying media-independent interactions across voice and data networks,” said James Richardson, senior vice president at Cisco Systems.

Cisco also today announced an end-to-end strategy for the delivery of these software platforms to market through consultant and systems integrators, resellers and Application Service Providers (ASPs), and outsourcers.

A Software Platforms Approach to the Market

The Internet Communications Software Group’s software platforms complement customer-facing applications allowing them to span data and voice networks and making them accessible from any device. This builds on Cisco’s horizontal partnering business model approach to delivering best-in-class solutions to market.

ICSG’s Customer Contact Platform

According to a recent Piper Jaffray report, the contact center software market represents a US$14 billion market opportunity by 2003. This includes the combined market opportunity for Cisco’s customer contact software platform and solutions from Cisco’s ecosystem of technology providers.

Today’s contact center infrastructure resembles a series of stove piped environments supporting specific contact channels. Customers need unified software platforms that can converge and blend all media types, coupled with comprehensive legacy system integration capabilities. Cisco’s approach is to build on the strength of its data and voice networking solutions, to break down the barriers that separate the traditional voice network from the growing Internet data networks.

ICSG’s customer contact platform combines intelligent contact management, web collaboration, email response management and 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 unified customer experience.

In customer contact, a broad range of leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM)/eCRM providers have embraced Cisco’s approach and platform. These include Chordiant Software, Inc., Kana Communications, Octane Software, Inc., Oracle Corporation, Pegasystems and Peoplesoft/Vantive.

Ecosystem technology providers include the leading vendors in the voice recording, data monitoring, Interactive Voice Response, and workforce management arenas including APEX Voice Communications, Blue Pumpkin Software, Dictaphone, a company of Lernout & Hauspie, Edify Corporation, e-talk Corporation, Eyretel plc, IEX, InterVoice-Brite, Inc., NICE Systems, Racal Recorders, Syntellect, and Witness Systems. (See related news announcement today-Cisco Receives Strong Industry Endorsement as Leading Customer Contact Software Platform).

ICSG’s Unified Communications Platform

According to the PELORUS Group, the unified messaging market is projected to reach US$6 billion by 2004. Unified communications, which extends the value provided by traditional store and forward unified messaging, by integrating it with real-time call management and notification services as well as delivering a broad range of enhanced services that result from the convergence of voice and Internet applications, represents an even larger market opportunity.

In the unified communications space, Cisco’s open platform approach combines the best features of the voice network (through Cisco gateways to TDM and mobile networks) with the flexibility and rich data, content and functionality of the Internet and multimedia/unified messaging. Customers can then move beyond unified messaging into call control, notification, and call management to create value-added, differentiated services.

A typical unified communications service bundle includes unified messaging, single number reach with integrated call screening and priority notification, coupled with call-back sender capabilities.

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