By John Hernandez, general manager, Cisco Customer Contact Business UnitDuring challenging economic times, savvy organizations seek ways to differentiate their business through tighter customer affinity, while they plan for the inevitable recovery. One of the key investment areas to differentiate the business is the contact center. Gartner just published Market Share: Contact Centers, Worldwide, 2008 which shows that Cisco’s contact center business grew 31% from 2007, while agent seats grew 36%. Cisco is now #2 in agent seats and a mere four tenths of a percentage point from being #2 in total contact center revenue. While the fact that we’ve captured significant market share is not a surprise, the notable decline faced by most competitors (some even in double digits) indicates that organizations are choosing Cisco as their partner to build sustainable competitive advantage, including world class service. In addition to the Gartner report, Datamonitor referred to Cisco as “the rising star of the contact center infrastructure market over the past few years” just recently in Decision Matrix -- Selecting an IP Contact Center Vendor”. Further, “Cisco scored higher than average rankings in several Technical Assessment categories including interoperability, reliability and scalability, administration, SIP services and unified communications and enterprise interaction strategy…Cisco topped the scale in the recognition category.” As I look back, we’ve been investing significantly in our Contact Center business for almost a decade, and it’s gratifying to see that our efforts have paid dividends for our customers, as well as their customers.One consistent point of feedback from our customers and partners is that Cisco’s customer care solutions continue to help them differentiate their business -- whether they are deploying hosted and premises-based solutions. And they are excited about the innovation that we’re delivering, such as Cisco Mobile Supervisor, which lets supervisors stay in touch with and service their customers even when they are away from the contact center by using iPhones with their Cisco solution. I’d like to hear what’s top of mind for you. How can we help you accelerate your business and drive customer intimacy? Drop me a line.