First Coffee

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

First Coffee

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Son Volt’s 1995 album Trace, as good as alt-country ever got:

How do you compete with the likes of Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone in the German cell phone market? Dutch telecoms group KPN hopes cutting costs and raising customer satisfaction is at least part of the answer.

Today KPN announced it would “restructure its call centre activities” with newly-acquired call center company SNT to try to do just that. Reuters is reporting that the restructuring will cut about 630 jobs, “which are part of the overall 8,000 job cuts over five years that KPN announced on March 1.”

Taking an farsighted view, KPN officials believe the job reductions, up to 1,750 jobs annually through 2009, will help save an upwards of $1.05 billion a year from 2010 on. It expects more modest savings of about $200 million a year until then, Reuters reports.

The cut of 630 jobs at call center unit is “relatively high,” Nico van Geest at Theodoor Gilissen tells Dow Jones. “KPN had already indicated it would integrate recently acquired SNT, but this announcement comes sooner than expected,” Dow Jones reports. SNT shareholders voted in favor of KPN takeover a few days ago.

KPN reported a 2004 profit of $2.1 billion euros before taxes and book gains, up 15 percent from the previous year.

In March KPN and Research In Motion introduced BlackBerry Internet Service in the Netherlands and in Belgium via BASE, a wholly-owned subsidiary of KPN Mobile N.V.

Kanisa Inc., a provider of customer service applications is announcing that AFC has licensed two applications from the recently launched Kanisa5 Suite: Kanisa Support Center and Kanisa Support Site.

AFC, a developer and manufacturer of broadband access products for the global telecommunications industry, will use Kanisa Support Center to automate the service resolution process for its support analysts globally. The Kanisa Support Site application will automate problem resolution for customers on AFC’s self-service website.

First CoffeeSM heard about a decent new contact management product released this morning – again, we do not accept or print any paid-for, bribed, package-deal or otherwise “sponsored” content or placements, this is honestly just what we hear about and think worthy of inclusion – and is passing it along FYI:

Santa Clara-based sFafinity is launching SFCRM, a contact business management software for small (which company officials describe as “1 person”) to medium (2,000 person) business.

It’s designed to be a “plug-and-work” solution, with installation in five minutes and complete implementation in sixty minutes with the provided templates.

Company officials say its “easy” browser-based customization requires no programming or SQL knowledge and requires no client software to access it, but relies on a standard Internet W3C compliant browser such as Internet Explorer, FireFox / Mozilla, Opera, Konqueror or Safari.

(Here’s another unsponsored opinion – First CoffeeSM uses and enthusiastically recommends FireFox.)

Customers have the option of having SFCRM either in-house implementation by being able to host an existing company network or an outright purchase or monthly subscription, as a collocated or hosted application.

It looks like a decent product for smaller operations without IT staff, it tracks sales and marketing efforts from lead to close, keeps histories of customer interactions, fields can be added, deleted or customized for verticals and it integrates with existing programs and hand-helds, is compliant to and compatible with the acronym jungle of industry standards and “virtually all known hardware platforms.”

The SFCRM Standard five-user suite starts at $1,295, additional seats are available at $299, here’s a trial download.

Get ready to cash in on retail IT spending: According to AMI-Partners’ new SMB IT forecast titled “The Global Model,” “worldwide IT spending among mid-market retailers is expected to grow from $22.2 billion in 2004 to $30.9 in 2009,” according to a news release.

Evidently the mid-market space, defined as firms with 100 to 999 employees will drive the growth. “Retailers in the mature economies of North America and Western Europe are sharply motivated by customer intimacy, service differentiation and supply-chain efficiencies to invest in CRM, business intelligence, Web and wireless technologies,” the report finds.

Mid-market retailers in the mature economies of North America and Western Europe are battling slow-to-moderate topline growth by resorting to innovative customer acquisition and retention tactics, the report says, “including micro segmenting/defining new target markets for their wares and moving to multi-channel retailing.”

This is driving these firms to up their investments in customer relationship, business intelligence, data warehousing, wireless and online transaction solutions.

Other tidbits from AMI’s Global Model crystal ball:

Collectively, the retail sector accounts for 12% of worldwide mid-market IT spending and represents 10% of all mid-market firms.

Mid-market retailers are expected to drive $161 million in ERP/SCM during 2005, of which over 80% will be spent by firms in mature markets.

Investments in CRM, wireless networking and Web hosting are expected to touch $678.6 million by the end of 2005. By 2009, total investments in these technologies will top $946 million.

The Minnesota Vikings will win the 2005 – 2006 Super Bowl.

The Darwin Awards are, in First CoffeeSM’s opinion, the finest chronicle of human nature in existence. They’re awarded to individuals who, operating at the limit of their mental capacity, helpfully remove themselves from the gene pool, thereby selflessly increasing humanity’s future potential. Confirmed examples:

In early 1990 in Washington State a robber entered H&J Leather & Firearms. A gun shop. It was full of customers – firearms customers. To enter the shop, the robber had to step around a marked police patrol car parked at the front door and past a uniformed officer standing at the counter. The robber announced a holdup, and fired a few wild shots. The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, covered by several customers who also drew their guns.

The New York Times reported on another Darwin nominee, “The Pancake Thief,” who ventured onto the construction site of the New Delhi subway and attempted to steal the metal braces holding up slabs of concrete.

A Brazilian farmer near São Paulo wanted to remove a beehive from his orange tree. He decided to burn it out, tied a plastic bag over his head to protect from bee stings and set off. His wife found the body a few hours later.

Two New Zealand university students – girls, unusually, as men tend to win most Darwin Awards – got in a two-wheeled trash bin at the top of Baldwin Street in Dunedin, listed as the steepest in the world in The Guinness Book of World Records with a 38-degree incline, in the wee hours of the morning. Residents described being awakened by “a hell of a racket” before the trash bin slammed into a trailer.

If read off-site hit for the fully-linked version. First CoffeeSM accepts no sponsored content placement, so after much deliberation and consultation with his 7 and 6-year old sons has concluded that the coolest animals are definitely owls, dolphins and snow leopards.

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