December 13, 1996 2:15 PM ET

SystemSoft hopes Radish buyout improves call efficiency
By Margaret Kane

  SystemSoft Corp. will acquire Radish Communications Systems Inc., a privately held company that develops integrated voice and data technologies, in a deal worth about $39 million.

SystemSoft, of Natick, Mass., said today it will integrate Radish's VoiceView call-efficiency technology, which streamlines technical support customer calls, into its System Wizard call-avoidance products.

Using the two products together, a technical support call will be routed first to a "System Wizard" that diagnoses about 20 percent of the common problems reported. If there is still a problem, the technical support representative will then send the call to a "System Wizard Server" at a technical support center, which typically handles another 10 percent of calls. Tech support can then use a "Trouble Ticket" to transmit data about the problem to a central server and use Radish's VoiceView technology to access the user's computer via a modem, download files and modify configuration settings. The data used to fix the problem is then uploaded to the Wizard Server for future reference.

"It's really the missing piece, or the bridge between our call-avoidance functionality and the help desk," said Dave Sommers, chief financial officer for SystemSoft. Sommers said SystemSoft had been planning to develop a similar project on its own before the acquisition.

"This enables us to extend the system wizard function very quickly, more quickly than we would have been able to on our own," he said. "We are getting a 50-person company, with 35 trained and skilled engineers with help desk skills and telephony skills that we don't have in SystemSoft. We were planning to build those skills, but it would have taken us a great deal of time and more money than we will be spending to integrate the Radish staff."

All of Radish's employees will be retained, and SystemSoft plans to continue Radish's operations in Boulder, Colo., and Santa Cruz, Calif. SystemSoft estimates it will take a charge in the fourth quarter of about $41 million for the acquisition.

In a separate announcement, SystemSoft said it would take an additional $4 million charge to end third-party commission-based relationships in Asia and replace them with its own offices and employees.

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