IBM and Cisco Systems are pooling interests to offer a broad spectrum of VoIP solutions, drawing on Cisco's communications expertise and IBM's know-how in services and integration. The firms are said to be aiming at developing a multibillion-dollar annual business within a few years.
In addition to offering the IP products through IBM's Global Services unit, the firms will provide IP voice, video, and data products to independent suppliers for resale. In a statement, the partners said: "The initiative extends the value of new and existing IBM and Cisco offerings to independent software vendors and service providers, who also partner with IBM and Cisco."
The joint effort will combine many household IT names: Cisco Unity will be integrated with IBM's Lotus Domino; Cisco CallManager will combine with IBM's Information Management database software; IBM's Tivoli systems-management certification will be used with Cisco CallManager; and Cisco's CallManager will be supported on IBM's eServer xSeries x345, x306, and x345.
"We intend to integrate Cisco's IP Communications with IBM's integrated industry solutions," said IBM's Doug Elix in a statement. "Converged communications running on intelligent networks is changing the way business is conducted and we expect both companies to be major players in that business transformation." Elix is senior vice president and group executive, IBM Sales and Distribution.
In addition to integrating Cisco's CallManager call-processing software with IBM products, a number of other Cisco products have been selected for the joint program, including Cisco Unity Express, Cisco MeetingPlace, Cisco Personal Assistant, and Cisco IP Contact Center. The firms said they will develop integrated product roadmaps covering IP telephony, unified messaging, customer-contact centers, rich-media communications, and video conferencing.