Nortel’s Woes Could Be a Sign of Change in the Call Center Market

I’ve been reading a lot about Nortel’s financial woes and have found the emerging breakup of the company as an example of larger trends playing out in the enterprise call center market.

While I realize that the majority of the company’s revenue is generated by its core wireless-equipment business, Nortel is also looking to offload its enterprise unit, which includes big call center telephony infrastructures. The company had a good reputation in this regard, but has struggled recently during the economic downturn. I think the recession is only going to spell further woes for some of these bigger players.

Some industry analysts have suggested that Avaya purchase the enterprise business unit because of Nortel’s roster of customers. Avaya has had issues in the past attracting new customers because it’s perceived by many as a laggard in terms of its legacy software offerings.

That said, big businesses are looking to cut costs, and the development of open source and cloud computing are making the case for the growth of call centers running in virtual, cloud-like environments. As these technologies continues to permeate the market, I expect it will offer stiff competition to adopting these large software packages. Call center managers already spend way too much of their time and budget simply running a center’s infrastructure…the recession will prove a catalyst for changing that.