SAP to Offer Multi-Channel IP-Based Contact Center Solution; Will Integrate Communication Processes into Customer Service
Vienna — In a move that will enable companies to streamline and improve the agility of their customer-facing processes, SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) today announced the acquisition of Wicom Communications, a leading, privately-held provider of all-IP contact center and enterprise communications software based in Espoo, Finland. The acquisition will enable SAP to offer companies the ability to better integrate communications technologies and business systems so that they can more effectively serve their customers, regardless of how they connect to the business; connecting functions such as customer service, marketing, finance and sales; and making sure that all customer-facing employees wherever they are located have access to the same relevant knowledge and data. Founded in 1999, Wicom delivers concrete business benefits for approximately 200 contact centers and contact-intensive multi-sited enterprises in 18 countries. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The announcement was made at SAPPHIRE ’07, SAP’s international customer conference, being held in Vienna, Austria, May 14 – 16.
SAP sees a growing market trend for companies to create, mature and service their business network: including customers, partners, suppliers and competitors; extending business processes beyond the traditional enterprise boundaries. To successfully leverage these network members, companies must be able to build and manage virtual business processes and teams to harness the full range of knowledge, resources and communication channels. With the addition of Wicom, SAP will enable our customers to leverage communication-enabled business processes to more effectively serve and manage their business networks to deliver superior customer experience.
“To successfully create an agile enterprise, executives must radically alter how they harness their communications to create more-effective business processes,” said Bern Elliot, Gartner, Inc. “These changes will result in faster response times, more accurate interactions and better social context for the communications.”(1)
In today’s global business marketplace, people, processes, knowledge and contact points are distributed across multiple geographies, functions and organizations. At the same time, customers are increasingly seeking service by connecting to companies’ personnel through multiple channels; including voice, SMS, Web, e-mail and mobile phones; making it challenging to synchronize activity across these communication silos. With Wicom Communications, SAP will deliver a multichannel all-IP, end-to-end contact center solution, integrating communication processes into customer service. This solution will help customers streamline the integration of disparate hardware and software components while allowing for central management and reporting of dispersed resources and processes.
“Wicom firmly established itself as an innovator in improving the performance and quality of customer service, telesales and daily business interactions for our growing customer base,” said Ilkka Kivimäki, CEO, Wicom. “Together, SAP and Wicom will support communication-enabled business processes, starting with a complete solution for a multichannel all-IP contact center. Joining SAP opens up our innovation to a larger set of business and development opportunities. I’m excited for our employees to join the SAP team and for our customers, who will benefit from a unified solution to manage communication-enabled business processes.”
Today, Wicom solutions focus primarily on improving the performance and quality of business processes within contact centers and contact intensive multi-sited enterprises. The company’s current solution can be deployed flexibly (using hosted, on-premise or hybrid deployment models) and provides standard Web service-based integration to SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM). Wicom capabilities are complementary to and integrate with SAP’s existing contact center application, SAP Interaction Center, which will continue to integrate with a range of different telephony options and vendors, meeting a broad range of customer needs.
“The market is moving to a more communications-intensive enablement of business processes, and SAP’s acquisition positions us to leverage our leadership in CRM, and our unique understanding of business process to help customers benefit from the transition,” said Bob Stutz, senior vice president and general manager, SAP CRM Strategy and Product. “With the addition of Wicom Communications, SAP will offer game-changing communication-enabled business processes to organizations to help improve the customer experience, streamline operations and lower TCO. At the same, our powerful ecosystem provides customers with the best possible range of choices and options for the deployment and execution of CRM and communications technologies. We welcome the Wicom team, partners and customers to the SAP family.”
The transaction with Wicom Communications is continuing evidence of the SAP strategy to use well-placed, fill-in acquisitions to add to its broad solution offering by gaining specific technologies and capabilities that meet the needs of its customers, within industries or across industries, while maintaining its successful organic growth track record. SAP reported that the acquisition of Wicom was completed on May 7, 2007, and integration planning is underway.
(1) Gartner, Inc., “Achieving Agility Through Communication-Enabled Business Processes,” by Bern Elliot, Steve Blood and Bob Hafner, April 4, 2006.
Wicom Communications is a leading European provider of all-IP contact center and enterprise communications software. The Wicom solution replaces all traditional telephone systems, offering the functions of a PBX, mobile PBX and contact center as a single centrally managed system. Wicom software ensures the availability of services and personnel regardless of time, location and contact channel. Currently used in 18 countries with 200+ client organizations, Wicom solutions are available through selected partners throughout Europe. Wicom has been commended for its innovative technology by leading industry experts such as Frost & Sullivan and Red Herring. For more information, please visit www.wicom.com
About SAP Customer Relationship Management
SAP offers market-leading customer relationship management (CRM) solutions that help companies drive new growth, maintain competitive agility and attain operational excellence through customer-centric processes. Delivering best-in-class front-office capabilities and enabling end-to-end, industry-specific processes, the SAP® CRM application is simple, flexible and comprehensive, driving rapid user adoption and enhanced productivity. The software helps companies empower employees with the real time information and analysis they need to gain customer insight, acquire new customers, boost customer loyalty and build lasting relationships. With on-demand, on-premise and hybrid-delivery options, SAP offers flexible CRM deployment models that enable quick time to value and strategic CRM initiatives meeting both current and future business needs.