Nortel debuts B2B unit, Andersen alliance

Nortel Networks yesterday announced the establishment of a new business-to-business services unit and an alliance with Andersen Consulting to help develop and sell some of the fruits of that new unit.

Nortel has retooled two of its recent acquisitions, the former Clarify and Periphonics, to form Nortel's new Clarify eBusiness Applications unit. Clarify is the customer relationship management (CRM) software provider which Nortel bought in October, while Nortel bought Periphonics, a provider of interactive voice systems, last August.

The new Clarify unit will provide business-to-business applications and services for managing customer relationships and building virtual internet marketplaces, according to F. William Conner, president, enterprise solutions at Nortel. Clarify's target customers will be enterprises as well as service providers, he said.

Nortel will integrate its internet and contact centre technologies with Clarify's CRM software and Periphonics' voice recognition software to deliver, via the Clarify unit, many new products offerings focused on wireless and voice-enabled applications, according to Tony Zingale, president of Clarify.

"People are tired of typing and clicking -- they want to speak," Zingale said.

The deal with Andersen calls for the consulting giant to work with Nortel particularly on wireless applications, according to the companies. Andersen's alliance with Nortel comes just two weeks after Andersen announced a $US1 billion deal with Microsoft to create a Microsoft-dedicated unit within Andersen and to form a separate company to deliver software applications for electronic business.

The first Clarify offering will include the following:

Nortel Networks Wireless eBusiness Solution, which is designed to enable remote realtime access to customer and inventory information via handheld wireless internet devices.

Speech-enhanced Clarify eFrontOffice Integrated Solutions, which aims to deliver speech processing to Nortel eBusiness applications.

Clarify eFrontOffice Integrated Marketing, Sales and Service, which delivers Clarify's eFrontOffice CRM software, Nortel's contact centre and web response servers and Periphonics' customer interaction technology.

Integrated ROR (return on relationship) Marketing Analytics, which quantifies the benefits of eBusiness by calculating the ROR using patent-pending algorithms.

Clarify will be based in San Jose and will have 2600 employees worldwide.

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