Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories announced it will purchase IBM's CallPath business. The deal will benefit both vendors, although CallPath customers must face the inevitable uncertainties of this kind of transfer of ownership.
On 11 May 2001, Alcatel announced that its subsidiary Genesys plans to purchase the assets of IBM's CallPath assets. Genesys will acquire the software and hardware related to CallPath as well as IBM's development initiatives on next-generation unified communications and Java platforms. The vendors did not release the financial details, but Gartner expects the deal to close in June 2001 with no regulatory problems. Genesys will offer employment to IBM's 54 CallPath workers. IBM and Genesys have also agreed to jointly develop new contact center offerings that combine IBM's products for unassisted service with Genesys' for assisted service. Genesys and IBM will jointly market contact center solutions consisting of Genesys' Universal Queue Routing, Internet Contact Center and Outbound Solutions, and IBM's DirectTalk, WebSphere Voice Server and WebSphere Application Server.
With this move, IBM acknowledges that to remain competitive the CallPath platform required major enhancements in universal queuing and the integration of publicly switched telephone networks (see Research Note M-12-8286 "Universal Queuing: Successor to the ACD and CTI Markets"). In addition, the CallPath product created a conflict for IBM in non-CallPath call center environments. By divesting itself of the computer-telephony integration and universal queuing functions, IBM can now focus on DirectTalk and related WebSphere applications and infrastructure. Gartner expects that the deal will increase IBM's ability to operate in multiple call center environments. IBM Global Services will also benefit in having the opportunity to continue to work with IBM's CallPath customers, while expecting better access to Genesys' customers as well.
Genesys will benefit in several ways, including:
Increased opportunities to become the migration path of choice for IBM's 400 CallPath customers
Increased integration capabilities through IBM Global Services
Gaining an experienced call center team
Genesys has committed to continuing the IBM CallPath product for two years from the date of the finalized agreement and plans to offer a strong migration package. CallPath customers should continue to call their IBM contact for service until Genesys defines a new maintenance and support plan. Enterprises planning to purchase CallPath or planning major upgrades should consider putting these plans on hold until Genesys completes its migration plans. Enterprises can then evaluate these plans against competing migration offers from other vendors. For now, enterprises can start the early planning for their eventual migration.
Analytical Sources: Bernard Elliot and Drew Kraus, Enterprise Network Strategies