Cisco makes a big play for eService with WebEx, eGain
My very last week at Forrester (June 06) I published an eService Wave, rating the leading multi-channel customer service vendors: eGain, Kana, Rightnow, Talisma, etc. There was a bit of controversy because I included Genesys, a telephony vendor. And they did very well.
I’ve always assumed that eService would be consumed by a larger market, and the likely candidate was CRM. But, 12 years into the CRM industry, the largest vendors still refer customers to eService partners. It seems to me more likely that the telephony vendors will be the ultimate acquirers of leading eService capabilities.
Cisco has not had the same visibility for eService capabilities as competitors Genesys and Avaya, but this is changing in a big way with 2 recent announcements:
- Cisco announced plans to acquire WebEx last month for approximately $3.2 billion, adding web chat, collaboration and remote support to their platform.
- Cisco announed plans to OEM key eService capabilities from eGain [email management (eGain Mail), chat (eGain Chat) and web collaboration (eGain Cobrowse)] to include in the Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise and the Cisco Unified Contact Center Express software suites.
The battle for the agent desktop continues. Large contact centers are telephony centric (as opposed to CRM-centric), and if you have a large Cisco contact center implementation, why not add on additional pre-integrated modules for multi-channel desktop applications? With telephony vendors offering ‘best of breed’ eService capabilities via acquisitions and OEMs, customers will be unlikely to evaluate 3rd party alternatives requiring custom integration.
However, eGain’s knowledgebase and self-service capabilities are not part of the agreement, so Cisco draws the eService line at the agent desktop. CRM vendors, on the other hand, are very interested in the web. Examples include M2M’s recent acquisition of KNOVA, and Oracle/Siebel’s eService capabilities for self-service and online billing, thanks to Siebel’s acquisition of edocs/Brightware.
This is great news for Cisco customers, as they now have access to ‘best of breed’ capabilities from a single source. And keep watching, I suspect other telephony vendors will up the ante with more eService applications moving forward.
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