New Cisco-Microsoft Alliance Ignored

Team to support SMB Contact Center fails to make a major impact.

Ventana QuickTake™

When two of the world’s largest companies announce a strategic alliance, it would be surprising for it to go largely unnoticed. Yet when Cisco and Microsoft announced at the recent ACCE show a new alliance in the SMB (small-to-midsize business) market, the event was poorly attended. And this despite much fanfare and promotion, not to mention that the alliance promises good news for this market. Organizations running small contact centers have struggled to afford the sophisticated tools available to larger organizations, and the partnership brings together two technologies that could change all that: voice over IP (VoIP) and customer relationship management (CRM). VoIP from Cisco allows organizations to utilize the latest voice and data communication technology at a reasonable cost. For companies running Windows, Microsoft CRM provides the core features of a CRM solution. As a further inducement, the combined solution will be made available through two of the heavyweights’ smaller partners, which should keep the price of consulting within reach. Ventana Research sees this as potentially good news for SMBs that are looking to create small-scale contact centers. However, we recommend that they tread carefully until the alliance gains momentum and the partners prove themselves capable of delivering products that are cost-effective compared to alternatives such as “on demand” solutions now available in the market.

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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
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