Alcatel today announced plans to merge with Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc. in a deal valued at $1.5 billion. The merger will let Alcatel provide users with versatile applications for use with its switching and voice-response gear in call centers.
While Alcatel has focused on call-center hardware such as switches, Genesys has developed a suite of applications that, among other things, link Web-site visitors or E-mail users to agents in call centers to answer questions.
Genesys has products that let callers see via the Web where in line their call is while they wait to talk to a service representative. The vendor also makes products that manage inbound and outbound calling and offers a reporting package.
Although Genesys will remain a standalone business and will continue to sell its packages to Alcatel's call-center switch rivals, Genesys will also develop software packages that integrate the two companies' systems and technologies.
Genesys says its applications have already been integrated with business applications from Siebel Systems, Clarity, and Vantive and that its CTI packages are linked to SAP AG's suite.
The planned merger is part of an ongoing trend where call-center switch vendors such as Nortel, Lucent Technologies, and Aspect Communications Corp., either internally develop software or acquire companies to boost call-center efficiency and customer service.