HP and Cisco team up

Cisco Systems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. unveiled a joint initiative last month designed to speed up the deployment of CRM (customer relationship management) systems in enterprise locations and service provider offerings.

The agreement will combine Cisco’s customer contact software platform with HP’s worldwide consulting and systems integration expertise, officials from both companies said.

“[We] are combining technology with services to enable customers to be successful in deploying CRM solutions,” said Eugene Lee, vice-president of marketing for Cisco’s Internet Communications Software Group, in San Jose, Calif.

HP said it will act as business consultant, technology consultant, systems integrator, and sales channel partner for Cisco.

“Our core focus is to provide accelerated delivery of these key CRM solutions. Our objective is to offer the consulting and solutions-building services that are [needed] to solve customer problems anywhere in the world,” said Rick Bartlett, worldwide CRM/e-commerce service director at HP, based in Palo Alto, Calif.

Cisco’s Lee said the worldwide reach of the initiative is an important element because the ability to deliver customer contact technology and systems integration services together on an international level has lagged.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will purchase the technology assets of HP’s Smart Contact call centre software. The companies said they are investigating plans to incorporate pieces of HP’s Smart Contact capabilities into Cisco’s customer contact platform.

“We are collaborating on evolving the existing Smart Contact customer base together,” Lee said. “The objective is to take the technology pieces that both companies provide and use them as stepping stones to help customers get to our shared vision of IP contact centre.”

According to Lee, the companies’ shared vision for an IP contact centre will deliver the business benefits of voice, data, and video convergence to applications and call centre users.