Genesys: Good Citizen Usually
One of the best things going for Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, customers say: It's happy to speak to just about anything else in the call center. The company's Inbound Voice software, for instance, works with five databases and telephone switches from 19 different vendors, including Avaya, Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks.
"Genesys plays very well with other technologies. That was one of the primary reasons we picked them," says William W. Hanby, vice president of information technology at Jefferson Pilot Benefit Partners, an Omaha, Neb.-based life insurance provider. Jefferson Pilot has a Nortel phone switch in its 100-agent call center and uses Oracle databases running on Hewlett-Packard Unix servers. Last year, it deployed Genesys Inbound Voice for call routing. "We haven't found any shortcomings in the product," Hanby says. "It's lived up to the billing."
Reader's Digest needed call-routing software that would fit in with its Nortel phone switches and Edify interactive voice response system. "After looking at a couple of different options, Genesys came out as the easiest to integrate," says John Delgado, manager of customer care at the Pleasantville, N.Y., publishing company.
But sometimes Genesys' broad support of heterogeneous environments can backfire. J.B. Hunt Transport Services, based in Lowell, Ark., links its Genesys call-center system with an IBM DB/2 database, which it uses to track 15,000 truck drivers. Brad McBride, contact center team lead, says Genesys' weekly product updatesto provide new features or fix bugsoccasionally introduce problems with access to DB/2.
"I don't think they're really able to test all the combinations of systems they support," he says. Genesys acknowledges it regularly issues software updates but says it is unaware of issues with patches introducing compatibility problems. McBride, though, says he's "waiting for the flow of hot fixes to die down" before upgrading from version 6.5 to 7 of the Genesys software.
Still, Genesys' code is more solid than it used to be, says Chris Reimers, director of client service technologies at Merrill Lynch. When Alcatel acquired Genesys in 1999, he says, the French telecom equipment maker brought "software engineering discipline that was sorely needed."
Est. product sales, 2003: $76M, for North America only
Customers: 2,700 worldwide
45 worldwide, including offices in Berkshire, England; Munich; Sydney; Taiwan; and Tokyo
Key Marketing Partners
Accenture, Alcatel, IBM, PeopleSoft, SAP, Siebel Systems
Financial: Merrill Lynch, Mutual of Omaha, New York Life Insurance, St. Paul Travelers Cos., T. Rowe Price
Health Care: Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Kaiser Permanente
Manufacturing: Konica Minolta, PepsiAmericas
Retail: 1-800-Flowers.com, Bausch & Lomb, Home Shopping Network
Telecommunications: MCI, Qwest, SBC, Sprint, Verizon
Utilities: Oklahoma Gas & Electric
Sources: company reports; Gartner (Sales est.)