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January 11, 2006

CTI launches communications BI system in US

Following the glowing success of its customer communication intelligence software in Europe, Indianapolis-based CTI Group (Holdings) Inc has officially launched the enterprise version of its Proteus product in the US.

By CBR Staff Writer

CTI’s staple business has always been billing and communications management systems. But is increasingly starting to focus its attention on incorporating analytics into its systems to optimize enterprise communications assets through the analysis of telephone calls, e-mails and Internet usage.

The move to launch into the US might seem odd for what is essentially a US-based company. But a quick glance at the origins of the product explains all. CTI’s customer communications intelligence software is founded on technology acquired from UK-based Databit back in 2002.

Now branded Proteus, CTI says it is the first truly integrated application that provide BI analysis and reporting on multiple modes of corporate communication – land lines, mobile phones, Internet and email.

In effect the software taps enterprise communications systems (like PBXs, ACDs, IP telephony systems and email servers) as sources of BI data. From this it serves up management-focused reports that detail how lines are being used, which the company says is a critical function for managing thousands of employees and hundreds of communication bills per month.

Proteus comes with standard BI features like reporting templates, exception highlighting and auto-scheduling capability.

Information is surfaced to users via Web-based dashboards, spreadsheet views and real-time proactive alerts.

CTI ships the product in two licensed software versions – a workgroup and enterprise (suited for companies with 250-plus employees and multiple sites). But is also being delivered as a hosted service offering with professional services tagged on. On company using it this way is oil-giant BP which is hosting the software across 35 sites worldwide.

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Pricing for the licensed software averages $10,000 with the ASP version starting at around $4,000 per year.

Already available in the Europe for the past six years, Proteus has already garnered large following in the UK including companies like Siemens, 3M and Wachovia.

Buoyed by its success in Europe, CTI Group is now debuting Proteus Enterprise in the US. The company claims to have already attracted nearly 70 customers in its pre-sales activities including several telecoms and wireless providers and curiously enough the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

However Adrian Burt, senior vice president of sales and marketing at CTI, stressed the product was not akin to a big brother monitoring solution for weeding out suspicious call activity. Instead he pointed to more productive uses of the technology.

The real value of Proteus is as a business analytics tool to drive network efficiencies and optimize costs, Burt said. Communications is a top three expenditure item for most large companies and is wide open to misuse and abuse. Our software helps them to see how these costs are being apportioned across the enterprise.

He said that Proteus is already used extensively in call center environments to gauge response times, monitor outbound and inbound calls to plan for better network efficiencies.

On area in which Proteus is carving out a strong niche for itself is in the financial services sector. Burt said the software is being used by several leading investment firms to interface with dealer boards to analyze private wire or circuit utilization.

Investments firms spend thousands each year on leased lines. We help them detect ones that aren’t being utilized.

Burt notes that customer communications intelligence is still a nascent market that is dominated by proprietary, home-grown technologies. He points to industry research pegs the sector as a $250m software market and believes that CTI is well positioned to take a large slice of that

Our USP is providing all that intelligence in a single report and doing it proactively via exceptions.

Burt sees plenty of green field opportunity pointing to the take-off of IP telephony (which raises issues of bandwidth utilization) and the decentralization of working practices where employees are communicating and doing their jobs more remotely, away from central office.

Proteus isn’t alone in pointing business intelligence at corporate communications assets. Companies like Veramark Technologies Inc and Avotus Inc also provide their own flavors of telecoms spend management solutions.

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