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Spanlink Communications Spins-Off Calabrio Software Division as a Separate Company

October 16, 2007

Seeking to focus purely on unified communications for the enterprise and SMB markets, Cisco partner Spanlink Communications is spinning off its Calabrio Software division, which has a focus on workforce optimization software for the contact center.

As of Nov. 1, Calabrio will operate as a separate, independent company focused on the development and distribution of customer interaction and workforce optimization software for IP-based contact centers. The new company will start with approximately 500,000 installed desktops and will maintain its OEM relationship with Cisco.

As per the arrangement, Spanlink founder Brett Shockley will assume the role of CEO and president of Spanlink Communications, while Paul Lidsky, Spanlink’s current CEO, will assume the role of CEO and president for Calabrio, Inc.

In a press release, Shockley said the spin-off was part of Spanlink’s plan for Calabrio from the beginning.

“Since we announced the Calabrio Software division in February, both organizations have been executing on a plan to thrive as separate entities,” Shockley said. “As intended, forming the two entities has allowed each to respond more effectively to the needs of customers, channels and partners. We see this spin off as the next logical step in allowing both organizations to realize their full potential.”

Calabrio’s suite of software solutions enables contact centers to improve agent performance and thus improve customer satisfaction. As an example of its cutting edge technology, Calabrio’s solutions enable contact centers to utilize speech analytics to detect when an agent-customer interaction is going “sour” and then use that to trigger either screen prompts or other forms of intervention, such as whisper coaching, to steer the call back toward resolution.

“The IP contact center market is growing rapidly, and Calabrio is focused on building strong relationships with leading channel partners to serve this dynamic marketplace,” Lidsky said in the press release. “Since the creation of the Calabrio … our team has been encouraged by the enthusiastic response we have received from new potential channel partners who recognize the compelling value proposition of our IP-centric products. Operating as a stand-alone company will enable us to step up our efforts and concentrate our resources on training and supporting additional partners.”

Meanwhile, Shockley said Spanlink will leverage its experience in IP-based contact centers “to provide a solution-based approach for a broader unified communications portfolio, including enterprise voice, messaging, mobility, presence and collaboration.”

“We have already seen a significant uptake in our enterprise telecommunications system business since functioning as a separate division,” he said. “By operating as an independent company, we anticipate greater expansion and market growth as we add technologies and third-party products to our portfolio.”

Ken Landoline, a program manager with Yankee Group’s Enterprise Research group, said this “is the right move for Spanlink and Calabrio … as it will enable each company to focus on its respective strengths and maintain momentum in a fast-moving marketplace.”

Existing investors Blue Stream Ventures and Split Rock Partners will continue to support both organizations, and will serve on the boards of directors of both companies.

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Patrick Barnard is Associate Editor for Customer Interaction Solutions magazine and Assignment Editor for ContactCenterSolutions. To see more of his articles, please visit Patrick Barnard’s columnist page.