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etalk Successfully Completes Company Turnaround in 2003 

etalk Successfully Completes Company Turnaround in 2003

etalk Successfully Completes Company Turnaround in 2003

6/1/2004
By Donna Fluss
Customer Interface Magazine

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In the first four parts of this series, we examined why it’s important to invest in, or upgrade, quality management (QM) and logging applications in your contact center, and focused on the three leading vendors: NICE Systems, Witness Systems and Verint Systems. In part five of this series, we focus on another leading QM and logging vendor, etalk.

etalk, headquartered in Irving, Texas, is the founder of the call center quality assurance market. The company began operations in 1983 as the Teknekron Infoswitch Corporation, manufacturing automatic call distributors (ACDs). The innovative company was first to market in call center quality assurance. However, until the company was sold in 1999, it did not invest enough in R&D to maintain its leadership position. The company changed its name to etalk in 2000. The next few years proved challenging for etalk, as the recession hit and competitors with significantly greater marketing budgets became more aggressive.

Today, etalk’s fortunes have improved greatly and the new management team completed a major turnaround by reporting their first profitable year since 1999. etalk’s 2003 revenues were $36.1 million. (As etalk is a private company, the numbers cannot be externally verified.)

etalk, with 185 employees, 350 customers, and 1,650 installations, has consistently concentrated its efforts on the contact center quality management segment of the market. Ninety-five percent of etalk’s customers use its products for QM and five percent use its products for logging.

etalk Products

etalk?s newest product line is Qfiniti, which was introduced to the market in March 2003. The etalk product suite includes:

  • etalk Qfiniti: Integrated QM/logging.
  • etalk JASS: Job application screening module.
  • etalk Recorder: Windows-based recording solution for all types of logging.
  • etalk Advisor: Agent evaluation and scoring application.
  • etalk Expert: eLearning solution.
  • etalk Survey: IVR-based survey module.

etalk Technology

etalk’s newest Qfiniti suite is Microsoft-centric and built with .NET 1.0, Visual C++, Visual Basic 6.0 and Active Server Pages 3.0. etalk’s older products are also based on Microsoft technologies, using a Visual Studio 6.0 source code that includes Visual Basic, C, and C++. The application uses a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database that is open database connectivity (ODBC) compliant. etalk uses off-the-shelf hardware. The products run on Windows 2000 or 2003 servers and support Windows clients, including: 2000, NT, XP Professional and 2003. The company uses AI-Logix cards for station-side recording and Dialogic cards for service observe and trunk-side logging.

etalk Recording and Quality Monitoring

etalk performs all types of logging and monitoring on its Recorder product. Recorder is a Windows-based, computer telephony integration (CTI)-enabled product that does 100 percent logging, event-driven recording, live monitoring, on-demand recording, quality monitoring and random recording. (etalk added 100% logging functionality to its product suite in 2002.) etalk provides Internet protocol (IP)-based logging through integration with Cisco IPCC/ICM systems.

etalk Differentiators:

  • Has achieved a remarkable turnaround in the past two years (with improved customer feedback and increasing revenues that returned it to profitability).
  • Current management is well respected and has stabilized its products and support.
  • Very strong QM product domain knowledge.
  • Extensive and excellent standard reports.

etalk Challenges:

  • Significantly smaller than the three leaders in the QM/logging market – NICE, Witness and Verint – based on sector revenue.
  • Dollar-for-dollar, it spends less on R&D than its competitors do.
  • Must continue to grow its business to return to a market leadership position by building distribution and channel partners worldwide.
  • Must extend its product suite into performance management to remain competitive.

Looking Ahead

Given its current course and market conditions, etalk is expected to remain profitable for the next few years, but it must grow significantly to regain market leadership. When the build-out of its new Qfiniti product line is complete, which is estimated for Q3 2004, etalk will have a fully integrated suite of QM/logging products that sits on one technology stack and has a single administration module.

In my next article in this series, we’ll look closely at another QM/logging market leader – Envision, which is one of etalk’s biggest competitors. This series is based on DMG Consulting LLC’s new 2004 Quality Management/Liability Recording Product and Market report (www.dmgconsult.com).

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