| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

August 2005

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Katrina Phishing Scams

August 31, 2005

Just when you think you've seen the bottom of the hole in human behavior, someone starts digging. Reports of Katrina-related phishing scams have been popping up, notably in this article in the Washington Post: http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/

Do not...repeat...do not donate any money to any organization you're not wholly familiar with, and never via an unsolicited e-mail. If you'd like to donate money, do it by logging into the Red Cross's Web site at www.redcross.org to find out how to do it properly and bypass the efforts of the proto-human sludge looking to make a buck off other people's misfortune.


Poky Mainstream News

August 29, 2005

As I search for news about the fate of architectural New Orleans (Yes, I'm concerned for the city's citizens, but I'm also concerned about irreparable damage to a city I love very much), I've realized how very slow mainstream news organizations are. There are still "Top Stories" on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and others that are 10 to 12 hours old.

We update news and articles on TMCnet far faster than the mainstream organizations do!

So, in case you've been searching for THIS piece of news, I'll share something I found in the Dallas Morning News

Hang In There, New Orleans!

August 29, 2005

Katrina may be powerful, but New Orleans has stood against worse than her. Perhaps the ghost of pirate and New Orleans hero Jean LaFitte can help the levees hold!


Happy Birthday, Flying Toasters

August 26, 2005

Do you remember the introduction of the "Flying Toasters" screensaver? I do. Actually, the whole selection of After Dark screensavers were the delight of late-80s computer users everywhere (I actually liked the "fish tank" saver best.) Before that, computers were soulless dust collectors to most of us: necessary but about as exciting as a stapler. There was really no such thing as "my" computer; in an office situation, they were all the same, except for a few personalized saved documents.

New "Ebay" Scam

August 25, 2005

I fell for this one long enough to double-check. It takes a lot for me to even temporarily fall for a scam:

I received an e-mail telling me that I had "won" an auction. It looked so much like the usual "win" e-mail that eBay sends that I momentarily panicked.

Afternoon Tea

August 25, 2005

No, I'm not starting a rival column to TMC columnist David Sims' "Morning Coffee," it just happens to be what I'm drinking right now.

David Butcher and I both spotted this today:

"SearchCRM.com is thrilled to announce The Best CRM Blog Awards recognizing the most outstanding and popular blogs in the CRM and BI markets."


Now, we're not suggesting you vote for us. That would be, um... unethical. You have until September 30th to not vote for us.


Vesuvius Erupts

August 24, 2005

Well, it did, anyway. 1,926 years ago today. At lunch time. Most people forget that 20,000 people lived in Pompeii, and only about 2,000 died. That meant that 18,000 people saw the top blow off Mount Vesuvius and wisely ran like hell.

The 2,000 who remained must have been the ancient equivalent of those people who stay in their shoreline houses as Class Five hurricanes approach, already up to the armpits in sea water, and tell news crews, "Nah, we're gonna stay and ride this one out. We got canned food."


Unisys To Service Venezuelan National Telephone

August 24, 2005

Outsourcing and consulting company Unisys today announced it has been chosen to provide call center services for CANTV, the national phone company of Venezuela.

"Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS) today announced that it has signed a contract extension to manage call center services for Compañía Anoníma Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela (CANTV). Under the contract extension, signed in the second quarter of 2005 and with a value estimated at approximately $12 million over two years, Unisys will continue to provide services ranging from operator assistance to customer service."

Congratulations to Unisys, but my guess is the company won't be donating any money to charities headed by Pat Robertson this year: http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/08/23/robertson.chavez/index.html 

The full release may be viewed at http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2005/aug/1175794.htm


Opus Group's New Customers

August 23, 2005

Performance management company Opus Group today announced the addition of three new customers from the health care and insurance realm (below). Insurance providers and healthcare organizations are ripe for performance management solutions because of the complexity of offerings and the difficulty in differentiating those offerings properly.

Opus Group's new customers are:

* Allied Insurance (a Nationwide Company) one of the top 100 multi-line insurance groups in the country and among the fastest growing, with specialties in home and auto protection, as well as commercial protection for business and farm owners.
* Fiserv Health, a 50-year-old company offering solutions for the healthcare administration needs of employers, government organizations, health plans and self-funded employers.
* HealthNow New York Inc., one of New York State's leading healthcare companies, providing healthcare and solutions for more than 900,000 members in Upstate New York.

Aspect Name To Be Retained

August 19, 2005

This morning, the combined entity that is Concerto Software and the recently acquired (by Concerto) Aspect Communications Corp. announced that the company will be called Aspect Software.

The announcement also discussed that several "milestones" had been met along the path to combining the two companies.

"We are pleased with the progress we are making toward becoming one company and are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for the soon-to-be Aspect Software," said Jim Foy, President and CEO of Concerto Software. "We are assembling an outstanding team and believe the new company will be regarded as proven, focused, and well-poised to both support current customers and meet the industry's growing need for reduced complexity and increased contact center capabilities."

Nuasis Integrates With Aspect?

August 18, 2005

It's true. A release just went out announcing that "Nuasis Integrated With Aspect Workforce Management."

Hold on, they're direct competitors. My first thoughts...Concerto, which recently purchased Aspect, already has a workforce management product in its RightForce solution. What does it want with a second workforce management solution?

I plan to get the answers to this question shortly. Watch this space.


Genesys Expands Presence In Australian Teleservices Agency

August 18, 2005

Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories (which is an Alcatel company) announced this morning that one of Australia's largest teleservices providers, SalesForce, is further scaling up, by 1,000 additional seats, in its use of the Genesys call center suite. The suite is made up of Genesys Voice Platform, Genesys Inbound Voice software and Genesys Workforce Management.

Both Genesys and SalesForce indicated the move was made to allow SalesForce to better scale and better integrate/consolidate its customer service functions. By the end of the implementation, SalesForce will have fully 2,000 agents working on the Genesys platform.

The release can be found at www.genesyslab.com.


Salesforce.com's Gold-Star Q2 Results

August 17, 2005

On-demand CRM provider Salesforce.com today released results to be proud of for the second fiscal quarter of 2005. Highlights include:

* An increase in revenue 77 percent year-over-year, to $71.9 million; 
* Earnings per diluted share rise to $0.04, a 300 percent increase from the prior year period; 
* Net income rose to $5.0 million, up 331 percent year-over-year and up 15 percent sequentially; and   
 * Paying subscribers rose 41,000 to 308,000, up 83 percent year-over-year and up 15 percent  sequentially.


Collector's Edition Spam

August 17, 2005

I never thought that one day I'd say this, but right now, I have a Collector's Edition can of Spam on my desk. Yes, the real Spam from the Hormel Food company. It cost $2.69. No tax, it being a food product (according to some interpretations).

Be A Stephen King Novel Victim!

August 16, 2005

In an interesting bid to raise money for the First Amendement Project, a non-profit group formed to support free speech, several prominent authors have agreed to "auction" names or location places in their next works to the highest bidder.

Want to be the victim of killer zombies in Stephen King's upcoming book CELL? You must be female, first of all. The lucky woman who wins the auction must supply her name or nickname, and a physical description of herself.

Another Comcast Moment

August 15, 2005

A reader found a blog of mine from several months ago, recounting a few of my "Comcast moments." If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I keep it no secret that from my perspective as a customer, I think Comcast has the worst customer service of any company I've ever had the displeasure to deal with.

After I finished reading the poster's comments, I looked into Outlook and discovered an e-mail from Comcast, notifying me that my monthly bill was available for viewing. I've been waiting for it, so I clicked the link to log-in and "auto pay."

The message I got?

Mission To Mars

August 12, 2005

NASA today announced the launch of an Atlas V rocket carrying a spacecraft called the "The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter." The Orbiter is happily on its way to Mars, a journey which will take seven months. The craft will circle the planet for about four years, sending back more information than scientists have had to work with yet regarding Mars' climate, geography, weather and geological past and present. The plan is to see if Mars has ever sustained life, and if human exploration or even, ultimately, occupation is a possibility.

I'm encouraged.

HDI Announces New President And COO

August 10, 2005

HDI Announced this morning it has chosen a new president and COO, Peggy Libby. HDI, which can only be described as a sort of "guild" for IT service and support professionals (it's the largest professional organization for IT/help desk workers, it also acts as a certification organization), today boasts membership by over 7,500 people. Libby, in her new capacity (it's nice to see more women in IT leadership positions), operations, training and certification programs, publications, research and conferences.

The full release is pasted below.

U.S. Wireless Service Still Stinks

August 5, 2005

I smirked when I saw this on a Verizon press release today:

"The company's long tradition of investment in its network, including stringent quality testing, is rooted in Verizon Wireless' commitment to offer the most reliable wireless service. Known for its award winning service, Verizon Wireless has regularly invested more than $4 billion nationally each year since its inception -- and more than $5 billion last year alone -- to expand and upgrade its nationwide wireless network."

Fine. Whatever.

TELUS Reports Increase In Earnings

August 5, 2005

Vancouver, BC-based TELUS Corporation today released financial results for the second quarter of 2005. The company reports particularly strong results from its wireless division, TELUS Mobility.

Among the highlights of the report:

* Consolidated operating revenues of $2.0 billion in the quarter increased eight percent from a year ago and operating income was up 24 percent.

Frost & Sullivan Honors BeVocal

August 4, 2005

Hosted call automation solutions provider was happy to announce today that Frost & Sullivan awarded BeVocal with its "Product Differentiation Innovation Award." The award was bestowed on BeVocal's portfolio of speech-enabled hosted self-service applications. The hosted delivery is key (and I'm sure part of the "innovation" citation), because it allows smaller companies that couldn't begin to afford premises-based versions of this sophisticated but extremely useful technology.

Congratulations to BeVocal. The full release is below.

Take A Minute To Make ICE

August 3, 2005

MSNBC reports today that Madison, Connecticut acting police chief Robert Stimpson is on a crusade. He's encouraging everyone to take a minute to make ICE, or "In Case of Emergency." (Story at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8744626/)

People brought into hospitals injured, incoherent or unconscious are challenging to health care professionals in that there is no one present to offer a medical history, or even a name and address in some cases. But many people have cell phones with them.

Student Loan Provider Brazos Picks Compliance 360

August 3, 2005

It was announced today that Brazos Higher Education Service Corporation (BHESC), one of the top 10 holders of student loans in the U.S., has decided to run with Compliance 360, a provider of software for corporate management compliance. BHESC administers the lending and the purchasing of student loans and services them until the borrowers have paid them in full. BHESC also has offices that function as a third-party servicing agent for several lenders. Because of this, the company requires a fail-safe compliance solution to allow it to keep track of the plethora of rules and regulations applied to any industry making outbound contacts.

"Customers use Compliance 360 products to control the costs associated with corporate compliance management, while significantly reducing the complexities associated with monitoring and managing these local, state and federal regulations," said Steve McGraw, president and CEO, Compliance 360.

Time To Start Burning Peat

August 2, 2005

What's wrong with this picture?

An article showed up in the mainstream news today (Reuters) stating that, "Oil Firms Near Record On Supply Fears." Turns out the death of Saudia Arabia's King Fahd has thrown the oil industry and, as a result, world financial markets, into chaos. Oil is $1 away from a record high today.

Because one guy died.

Droogle: The Drinking Search Engine

August 2, 2005

Need a special cocktail for a special event? Try Canadian site Droogle.ca and you can find a plethora of great recipes.

How about a "Skip and Go Naked"? (gin, sweet and sour mix and beer).

Salesforce.com To Announce Financials On Wednesday

August 2, 2005

Salesforce.com issued an announcement this morning that it will announce its fiscal second quarter results on Wednesday, August 17th, after the market closes.

Given the way the on-demand CRM market is becoming white hot, and taking into consideration Siebel's poor last quarter, these results should be very interesting and help us to cut through the hyperbole and PR spin to see what's really going on.

A live Webcast of the results will be available on Salesforce.com's Web site.


Empirix And Audium Partner For VXML Testing

August 1, 2005

As I've mentioned before in countless articles and blogs, there is probably no other technology in the call center that needs to be more rigorously tested than self-service technologies, and speech-enabled IVRs probably fall at the top of that list.

Empirix, in conjunction with Audium, has applied its well known "Hammer testing" to VXML platforms (in particular the Cisco Customer Voice Portal). The service is called Hammer Service Assurance for Cisco CVP, and was created in conjunction with Audium, a company well known for its VXML software solutions.

The full release is below.

Cisco And Censorship

August 1, 2005

A letter showed up in the Washington Post today, written by Cisco SVP of Corporate Development, Dan Scheinman, refuting the belief by many that the Chinese governement uses Cisco technology to filter what its citizens can read on the Internet, and keeping surveillance on those who do access "subversive material." The letter is in response to a Washington Post article "Let a Thousand Filters Bloom," by Anne Applebaum. The original article may be viewed at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/19/AR2005071901556.html

The text of the letter is below.


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