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November 2008

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Bell Deal to 'Take A Walk In The Snow'?

November 26, 2008

'To take a walk in the snow' is a Canadian expression meaning stepping down or that a deal is dead. It dates back to when former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau stepped out into a typical winter day in Ottawa, the nation's capital, and when he came back decided to resign.

The phrase is appropriate today as there are published stories swirling amidst falling snow throughout Ontario and Quebec that a leveraged buyout (LBO) of Montreal-based Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE), the country's largest communications carrier, scheduled to close Dec.11, 2008 may be doomed.

The Globe and Mail reported an announcement by Bell that it had obtained a 'preliminary view' from KPMG that the accounting firm does not expect to deliver opinion by the close whether the deal would meet the solvency tests.

Proposal Software Simplifies RFP and RFI Responses

November 25, 2008

Responding to requests for proposals (RFPs) and requests for information (RFIs) can be a time-consuming pain in the netherparts.

I know; I helped the team at the teleservices firm that I had worked with on a few of them. One cannot help thinking how many more leads, sales, and revenues via other channels could have been received, followed up on, and brought to profitable fruition during the same period for an equal amount of effort.

So when I came across a report on the latest version of Proposal Software's PMAPS ® 2008 RFP/RFI management application I smiled: there is help at last for firms like my old teleservices company.

Taking The Lead Out of Economic Doldrums

November 24, 2008

Contact centers have always to do more with less, and not surprisingly they have been on the practical edge of technology solutions and practices including e-learning, IP telephony, IVR/speech rec, monitoring, telework, and workforce management. Tools and techniques spearheaded by contact centers, such as the shift to home-based workers, are according to the Telework Coalition being watched and adopted by other sectors.

It is a welcome sign that the Obama Administration is tech savvy, which will encourage development of new technologies and methods that will help contact centers, and all other business functions and sectors, become even more productive and efficient. As noted in Rich Tehrani's recent blog "you begin to realize there could be a massive shot in the arm for the tech sector next year."

Our sector has to do our part, instead of relying totally on government.

Aid For Unemployed Contact Center, Communications Pros

November 14, 2008

These are tough times for many people in the contact center, communications, and technology industries in this difficult economy: those who have just been laid off and for those who are fearful that they are next.

I don't have to imagine the anguish and fear being felt by individuals and families. I've been laid off three times in my career, juggling with keeping my family fed and a roof over our heads. My father, an engineer working in the electronics industry, was downsized just months after moving to another community to take a new job and buying a house, and my mother was pregnant.

Rx for Nortel?

November 13, 2008

Nortel is a proud company with an excellent reputation for innovative products, especially in the contact center and wireless spaces. Unfortunately the firm has for some years been in rough straits, with what seems to be a sadly neverending stream of cutbacks and downsizings. I live in a town where Nortel has a plant whose size, say longtime residents, is just a fraction of what it used to be.

In what seems to be an insulting blow, an analyst from RBC Dominion Securities in Canada, where Nortel is HQed, has cut its stock target to $0, reported the Globe and Mail.

Wanted: A New Customer Service Solution

November 11, 2008

The recent Forrester Research Customer Service Software Solution WAVE™ Q4 2008 study points to a strong need for a new customer service solution: one that bridges the three silos of interaction-, record-, and process-centric customer service products.

Forrester says that a complete customer service solution includes three key components to provide great customer experiences:

1) An interaction layer to manage all customer interaction channels and underlying knowledge management, workflow, and business rules engines

2) A customer record repository to aggregate customer information and manage more complex contract and entitlements

3) A business process automation to streamline common cross-departmental tasks

"Customer service app vendors are beginning to develop applications that deliver multichannel experiences, tap into multiple business processes, and access multiple data sources," says the report. "However, most have been developed from one of these three heritages and still deliver functionality that is skewed toward one of these three components. Until vendors provide a new type of cross-component architecture, Forrester will continue to divide customer service vendors into three categories to help businesses understand the current choices, their pros and their cons."

That's your challenge, solutions vendors.

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