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Lucent's Soon-To-Be Spin-Off Makes A Name For Itself

Lucent Technologies Inc.'s Enterprise Network Products group, about to spin off as a new company, today made one of its strongest moves yet to build its own identity by revealing a new corporate name and an alliance with customer-relationship management market leader Siebel Systems Inc.

The business unit, which will sell software and telecommunications technology to enterprise IT organizations when it is spun off by Sept. 30, the end of Lucent's fiscal year, picked as its name the coined word Avaya. Don Peterson, president and CEO of the new company, says focus groups thought Avaya made the company seem open-minded and fluid.

Teaming up with Siebel marks Avaya's first major public move. The two vendors will pool development, marketing, and sales resources to build a series of new products that combine Siebel's business applications with Lucent's telecommunications and call-center infrastructure. "Companies need to transform call centers into interactions centers," Peterson says. With that in mind, the joint development team will pursue eight possible application packages, focusing on areas such as computer-telephony integration, interaction center workflow, and E-mail routing. The first of those will appear in the fourth quarter of this year.

As if to confirm that Lucent and Avaya are going their separate ways, the parent company revealed a CRM partnership with Siebel archrival Oracle just a half-hour before the Avaya debut. The Lucent Software Products group says it will integrate its Arbor billing system with Oracle's application suite, so its customers can tie billing directly into customer interactions and back-office applications. The combined products will be due at the end of the year, and the companies have promised to make them tightly integrated so they appear to be a single suite.

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