By John Hernandez, General Manager of Cisco’s Customer Contact Business UnitCisco has just been rated #1 in unified communications in the contact center according to Saddletree Research’s “Unified Communications in the Contact Center: An End-User Perspective”, March 2009. What this highlights is the market reception to our set of solution introductions last September around Cisco Unified Expert Advisor, video customer care applications, and business intelligence. For Cisco, customer care solutions are an integral part of our comprehensive collaboration value proposition. We’re seeing that companies are looking to move beyond basic call and email processing in call centers, towards truly evolving to a customer care model that provides personalized services including technologies readily available in a consumer web experience.For the report, Saddletree surveyed 85 end user members of the National Association of Call Centers (NACC) to determine their attitude towards unified communications in ten specific contact center vertical markets. Respondents were asked which companies they thought were the leaders when it comes to providing unified communications solutions to the contact center, with the opportunity to choose more than one company since the market is still evolving and leadership can be demonstrated by more than one company. Cisco topped the survey (figure below) with 68.2 percent of the respondents rating us as a customer care market leader. “Cisco’s investment in positioning itself as a market leader and thought leader in unified communications for the enterprise as well as the contact center appears to be paying dividends, ” adds Paul Stockford, President and Chief Analyst for Saddletree Research. “88 percent of our respondents came from the ranks of contact center manager or higher so it is clear that Cisco’s message resonates with those who influence the strategic direction of the customer care function. We believe the true measure of success lies in the opinions and actions of the end users.” Saddletree Research, March 2009 As our customers look to use collaboration technologies to thrive, Cisco Unified Contact Center solutions will help them establish tighter customer intimacy which will ultimately drive the business. Next week at VoiceCon in Orlando, we’ll be making a series of exciting announcements within our collaboration portfolio centered on flexibility, simplicity, and mobility. We’ll be demonstrating how customer care can be extended to any environment. Also at the show, we’ll be giving our customers and analysts an opportunity to learn about our contact center vision and roadmap during special sessions entitled, “Collaborate to Innovate: With Your Customers, Cisco Contact Center”. I trust that you will collaborate with us either at the show or virtually at www.cisco.com/go/virtualevents.I would also encourage you to consider who you’re partnering with for your customer care solutions: an innovative leader who can help you connect, communicate, and collaborate more intimately with customers or a vendor with point solutions that don’t flexibly span multiple workspaces.