Forrester Heralds Nuance, TellMe, Genesys, Avaya, and Cisco as IVR Champs

According to two new “Forrester Wave” reports from analysis firm Forrester Research, Nuance Communications and TellMe were the leading providers of network-based interactive voice response (IVR) systems/voice portals this year, while Genesys, Avaya, Cisco Systems, and Nortel Networks led premise-based IVRs/voice portals.

The twin reports ranked U.S. network-based and premise-based IVR solutions separately, assessing candidates over more than 50 separate criteria each. Vendors who had both network and premise offerings, like Voxeo, were not allowed to compete in both categories; they had to choose one or the other. Elizabeth Herrell, vice president for Forrester Research and principal author of the two reports, however, believes that the results would have been similar, even if vendors had been allowed to apply in both categories. Each contender was playing its strongest suit, she explains.

In many cases, results were strongly driven by vendors’ ability to innovate and provide value added services in the present tense—that is what they are offering today.  Current offerings, their platform functions supported, standards supports, platform management, application management, scalability, and security accounted for fifty percent of each score, with the remaining fifty focusing on criteria around product services, direction, and innovation.

Not prominently considered was market position—that is growth, retention of installed base, and financial position. This allowed for smaller startup companies or firms with weaker balance sheets, like Nortel Networks, which filed for chapter 11 in January, to be considered among leaders on the strength of their platform.

In network-based IVRs/voice portals, Herrell also recognized West and AT&T as “strong performers.”

“The very interesting thing [about that] is that West and AT&T use the Genesys platform as their core platform, but it’s really the network-based services,” says Herrell.

 She also pointed to Voxeo and TuVox as strong, innovative, low-cost companies.

Herrell notes that in the three years since she last compiled a premise-based IVR/voice portal Wave, Cisco has managed to march forward strongly as Intervoice (now a part of Convergys) has slid and Aspect has not managed to move forward. As for what’s in the cards looking out to the future, it remains hard to predict, she says.

“Nortel Networks could change even worse or it could come back. Syntellect has a decent presence and Holly Connects makes an appearance in my premise-based—these are companies who are moving in the space, in a tough market.”

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