Davox Readies for Asian CRM Boom

SINGAPORE (05/03/2000) - CRM (customer relationship management) specialist Davox Corp. last week made its presence felt in the Asia region by launching its latest contact center management suite. It has also established Singapore as its Asia-Pacific headquarters.

According to Datamonitor, the call center software market in Asia-Pacific is projected to grow from US$155 million last year to $560 million in 2003, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38 percent.

"Asia market is growing more quickly than the worldwide rate of 30 percent as telecom infrastructure matures and as companies invest more in customer service technologies," said Pramod Ratwani, regional director, Davox Asia-Pacific.

"It is our fastest-growing region in the world," added Douglas Smith, senior vice president, international operations and strategic business development, Davox. "We grew by over 150 percent over the last year, and expect to double revenues in the coming year." Davox will be putting additional focus on Singapore as its launchpad into the region.

"Singapore is the Asia-Pacific hub," said Smith. "Our office here will serve our customers and distributors in ASEAN, Japan, Australia, India and China."

"We will also be setting up a center of excellence here," Smith added. "It will primarily provide training and support for our partners in the region, but may also be used to support customers."

The company has enlisted the help of Affinity as its distributor in both Singapore and Malaysia, and already counts Singapore Telecom as one of its recent wins.

Besides announcing its presence in the region, Davox also launched its latest product, Ensemble 2000, a suite of software modules that enables traditionally phone-based contact centers to handle a wide range of inbound and outbound customer interactions, including telephone, e-mail, and Web site communication.

It also integrates with various CRM systems like Siebel, Onyx, and Clarify to provide the necessary information for customer service agents to be more effective.

The company is especially focused on the Internet-based features of Ensemble.

"This is important, as by end-2001, enterprises will receive more than 25 percent of inquiries via Web and Internet connections," said Jeffrey Anderholm, senior vice president, marketing, Davox, quoting GartnerGroup figures.

Datamonitor figures for Asia-Pacific predict that the market for software which Web-enables contact centers is expected to grow at a CAGR of 82 percent from $7 million in 1999 to $80 million in 2003.

While Davox will not find the going easy in the region with direct competitors like Genesys already well established, the compnay feels one of its key advantages is its ability to rapidly deploy its software.

"We provide actual solutions which can be deployed in a matter of weeks," said Smith. "In today's environment, rapid deployment is key."

At least one analyst feels that more differentiators are needed.

"The whole call center market is booming, and Davox is positioned very neatly between the telco switches and CRM vendors like Siebel," said Sujoy Sen, market analyst, International Data Corp. Asia-Pacific. "But I'm not sure how sustainable it is given that the market seems to be consolidating, like the mergers of Alcatel and Genesys, and Nortel and Clarify."

"They appear to be strong as they've won four major contracts in Asia-Pacific within a short time, but for continued successful, they have to incorporate strong technology differentiators like video and voice recognition, in addition to e-mail and CTI."

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