Gartner Eyes IVR and EVP Vendors

Players within the leaders quadrant have an established presence in the voice systems market, a strong stable of voice response offerings, significant market share or broad market influence, an ability to execute, a clear vision for the future, and a proven track record for delivering IVR offerings, says Bern Elliott, research vice president at Gartner and one of the authors of the report.

Genesys placed the highest in the leaders quadrant, albeit just slightly edging past Avaya in both ability to execute and completeness of vision. Genesys' IVR offerings include Genesys Voice Platform (GVP), and through its acquisition of VoiceGenie Technologies, the VoiceGenie VoiceXML Platform. Genesys plans to merge the two platforms into one scalable platform, GVP 8.0, in 2008. "Genesys already offered a leading product and was an early adopter of Voice XML," Elliott says. "Combining that with VoiceGenie just strengthens its offerings."

Avaya made the list because of its highly successful Interactive Response, a standards-based self-service platform, Avaya Voice Portal, a Web-services platform, and Dialog Designer, an open-standards speech application development tool. "Combined, Avaya has a strong presence in call centers today and that results in a very strong solution," Elliott says.

Nortel placed in the quadrant for its Media Processing Server (MPS) 1000, a self-service solution for carrier, enterprises, and hosted service providers; MPS 500 for midsize enterprises and small service providers; and its Business Communications Manager (BCM) portfolio featuring functionality like IVR, unified messaging, multimedia call center, IP routing, and data services. "Nortel has several products that can operate on the same server platform, leveraging its R&D across multiple product segments," Elliott notes. "That results in a proven platform."

Intervoice, the only company focused exclusively on IVR solutions, was ranked as another leader. In addition to its own Intervoice Media Exchange, it made two noteworthy acquisitions in 2006 with the purchase of IVR solutions provider Edify in January and IP contact center solutions provider Nuasis in September. It will consolidate the three solutions onto one platform this year, thereby "bringing its clients onto a platform that can be leveraged across multiple bases," Elliott explains.

Meanwhile, Cisco Systems and IBM are positioned as challengers, while Interactive Intelligence, Microsoft, Nuance, and Syntellect are classified as niche players, and Aspect Software and newcomer to the IVR and enterprise voice portals quadrant Envox Worldwide are noted as visionaries. ComputerTalk has been removed due to low market share and shrinking market presence.

Singling out Microsoft, Cisco, and IBM, Elliott notes that though they are very well established companies, they have yet to establish a presence in the IVR market. "Their company name is getting them in the door, and now they have to prove themselves," he says. "They are very strong vendors with very credible solutions, but are not yet best-of-breed vendors."

Elliott expects the merger and acquisition activity that began in 2006 to continue this year. But that doesn't mean that there will only be a limited number of vendors, he warns. In addition to several new players that entered the market last year, Elliott also notes that the IVR market is still wide open for other vendors to come in and take market share. "It's a large market, so there is a lot of room for other vendors still," he says.

Beyond that, he expects IVR in general to "remain an incredibly important tool for contact centers, and contact centers to remain an important tool for doing business" for years to come. —Coreen Bailor, www.destinationCRM.com

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