SOURCE: IBM

August 04, 2005 15:53 ET

IBM WebSphere Voice Server and IBM WebSphere Application Server Are First Speech and Middleware Platforms to Support Avaya Voice Portal

Integrating Enterprise Infrastructure to the Contact Center Through Service Oriented Architecture Enables Greater Flexibility, Speed to Market

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 4, 2005 -- IBM today announced that Avaya has selected IBM WebSphere Voice Server and IBM WebSphere Application Server as the initial speech and middleware platforms for Avaya Voice Portal, Avaya's new Web services-based speech self service platform. The combination offers customers the flexibility to integrate enterprise applications with their contact centers through a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) framework.

"We designed Avaya Voice Portal with a Service Oriented Architecture in mind," said Eileen Rudden, vice president and general manager for Avaya's communications applications division. "By integrating speech self-service applications within an SOA environment, businesses can more quickly develop and deploy transformative solutions to help companies operate more efficiently and serve customers better. IBM WebSphere solutions provide open-standards-based middleware that can make it simpler for businesses to use existing enterprise applications to speed customer response and personalized service in the most cost-effective manner."

The Avaya speech self-service solution on an IBM WebSphere platform can dramatically improve customer experiences, stimulate revenue generation, and reduce operating costs through the tight coupling of IP-based communications infrastructures, leading automated speech recognition and text-to-speech engines, and Web middleware.

The solution -- which is the result of an expanded alliance between the two companies -- brings together IBM's leadership in middleware and speech technology and Avaya's leadership in self service, contact centers and IP telephony. This announcement furthers the momentum of the IBM/Avaya global alliance, building on current Avaya Interactive Response and WebSphere Voice Server integrated solutions and joint go-to-market activities.

IBM WebSphere Application Server is the foundation of IBM's speech architecture, and IBM WebSphere Voice Server provides integration into a market-leading Java-based enterprise application framework. With the increasing use of Web services based on open standards, IBM is aligned with other Avaya J2EE Web services initiatives such as IP telephony and messaging, complementing existing services technology. IBM and Avaya support open standards including J2EE/Eclipse, MRCP, VoiceXML, CCXML, H.323 and SIP. Avaya is a member of IBM's SOA Partner Community.

"IBM is uniquely positioned to develop an SOA ecosystem that incorporates the contact center, and to meet the needs of companies through its WebSphere software, collective experience, resources and expertise from across the company," said Bruce Morse, Vice President Contact Center Solutions, IBM Software Group. "Avaya and other companies are serious about implementing SOA on a significant level, and IBM's commitment to SOA is clear. By tying speech within the contact center to enterprise application access, companies can enhance customer service and drive down costs."

Today's contact centers are viewed as the primary conduit for multi-channel customer-facing contact through Web, email, Web chat, kiosks and telephone interaction -- including speech recognition -- creating the need for the horizontal distribution of customer information across the enterprise through middleware using Service Oriented Architectures. IBM brings SOAs into the contact center where IT can react quickly to new customer demands, competitive threats, process changes, and government regulations. SOAs let contact centers reduce the amount of time a customer is on the phone, reduce errors being made, and in turn reduce contact center volume overall, since data across the enterprise is more consistent and accurate.

IBM's approach allows companies to start slowly and build both architecture and services as the business grows. Contact centers aren't forced to create resource-intensive, departmental-dependent business processes that are costly to change. Instead, taking a modular approach in the reuse and deployment of standardized services interfaces for applications and resources, contact centers can mix and match, add or remove business processes and infrastructure as needed, in what IBM calls the On Demand environment, giving them the ability to reuse and more easily deploy assets through an SOA in order to respond quickly to market changes.

Avaya and IBM Eclipse-Based Tools

Additionally, Avaya and IBM have been working together to provide a tighter integration of application development tools and development environments through the Eclipse 3.1 platform. Avaya's new Eclipse-based development tool -- the Dialog Designer -- works with IBM WebSphere Eclipse-based tooling, providing commonality and skills re-use for customers and application developers. IBM's WebSphere Voice Toolkit components and the Avaya Dialog Designer help Avaya customers develop, debug, and deploy Voice XML applications for Avaya Self Service solutions.

This announcement builds on an existing alliance between Avaya and IBM, which includes:

Contact Centers: The companies have a global alliance to integrate Avaya's contact center solutions with IBM WebSphere middleware, data management, Lotus collaboration tools and eServer™ technology.

Global Services: IBM Global Services and Avaya Global Services combine expertise and systems to deliver voice services solutions on multi-vendor platforms.

Converged Platforms: Avaya Communication Manager software running on media servers and Converged Communication servers support IP and SIP capabilities on IBM's eServer platforms. Avaya Communication Manager is interoperable with IBM Tivoli systems management platforms. Messaging and Unified Communications: The Avaya Unified Communications Center and Modular Messaging solutions are integrated with Lotus Domino®.

Avaya and IBM will demonstrate new speech solutions at SpeechTEK, a leading speech technology conference in New York City, August 1-3.

About IBM

IBM is the world's largest information technology company with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key business partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable companies to take full advantage of the on demand era. Please visit www.ibm.com on the World Wide Web.

About Avaya

Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than 1 million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet Protocol (IP) telephony systems and communications software applications and services.

Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications -- and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services -- Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results. For more information visit the Avaya website: www.avaya.com.

Contact Information