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  • The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com Boston Globe Online / Business / Globe 100
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    4. Geotel Communications Corp.

    By Ronald Rosenberg, Globe Staff, 05/18/99

    ven before last month's announcement that Cisco Systems Inc. had agreed to buy Geotel for $1.92 billion in stock, the small Lowell company was a Wall Street winner, with a stock price that zoomed to 457/8 a share from 13 13/16 in just 12 months.

    Geotel's rapid rise comes from its leadership in developing complex software and services used for managing customer calls to corporate ''call centers.'' Here, Geotel's products help coordinate database records and quickly route calls along with data to available customer sales representatives.

    Although it earned just $9 million last year on revenues of $44.85 million, Geotel has made a name for itself selling call-center software to customers including American Airlines, Fidelity Investments, American Express, British Telecom, and America Online.

    Last May, AT&T decided to abandon its own internally developed call-routing software and instead bundle Geotel's products into AT&T's call-center systems.

    ''Most of Geotel's competitors can route customer calls to a call center and get customer records from a database, but few go the next step to find the customer rep who is not busy,'' said Herbert Tinger, an analyst with First Albany Corp.

    Typically, big companies such as American Airlines pay $1 million to $2 million for Geotel's Intelligent Call Router software packages.

    Last summer under a $20 million contract, Geotel and Lucent Technologies streamlined the Internal Revenue Service's call-center operation to handle more than 25 million calls from taxpayers during the annual four-month tax season.

    Formed in 1993 with $7 million from Fidelity Investments and Matrix Partners, Geotel sold its first public stock in 1996. It is based in the former Wang Laboratories headquarters, where Geotel president John Thibault spent part of his 12-year Wang career (he left before the company imploded).

    This story ran on page D20 of the Boston Globe on 05/18/99.
    © Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.

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