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

July 2005

You are browsing the archive for July 2005.

First Coffee for July 29, 2005

July 29, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Best of 1968-1973 by The Steve Miller Band. I’m a joker…

Datamonitor is predicting that North America's $458 million hosted and managed speech services market “is tipped to exhibit an aggressive 15% year-over-year growth rate through the next four years.”

Their report, “Voice as a Service,” says growth is being spurred by a saturated hosted/managed DTMF market forcing hosted IVR providers in North America to sharpen their focus on speech services to arrest the precipitous slide of their revenues and create new revenue streams.

“In tandem with this,” they say, “smaller providers that specialize in hosted speech services are gaining greater momentum and credibility among enterprises and service providers.”

NCO Group, Inc., which sells business process outsourcing services, announced today that during the second quarter of 2005, it reported net income of $14.1 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, as compared to net income of $14.4 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2004.

Their revenue declined – in the second quarter of 2005 they got $247.2 million, a decrease of 3.2%, or $8.1 million, from Q2 2004’s revenue of $255.3 million.

NCO’s operations are organized into four market specific divisions that include: Accounts Receivable Management North America, Customer Relationship Management, Portfolio Management and Accounts Receivable Management International. For the second quarter of 2005, these divisions accounted for $192.5 million, $43.8 million, $27.8 million, and $3.3 million of revenue, respectively.

For the second quarter of 2004, the ARM North America, CRM, Portfolio Management and ARM International divisions accounted for $185.0 million, $59.4 million, $24.1 million and $3.5 million of the revenue, respectively.

The decrease in revenue is being pinned on the loss of a telecommunications client within the company’s CRM division. “While the implementation of newly committed client contracts is progressing on schedule, the revenue from such opportunities has not yet had a meaningful impact on the company,” officials say.

Michael J. Barrist, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said “During the quarter our CRM division continued both the planned exit of a large telecom client and the implementation of several new client opportunities.”

NCO also announced that it continues to expect earnings per share to be approximately $1.70 to $1.80 per diluted share for 2005.

This came out late yesterday afternoon, so if you, like, knocked off early or something you missed it.

First Coffee for July 28, 2005

July 28, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the Miles Davis reissue The Complete Birth Of the Cool:

Always nice to hear about a company – although First CoffeeSM, a leading CRM columnist, wishes that every single company who has a product in a space would kindly stop referring to themselves as “a leader” in that space.

We haven’t covered Relationals before, evidently they sell hosted CRM, targeting the publishing and media industry – “completely focused on the unique requirements of the newspaper and media industries advertising and agency relationships,” according to company officials.

They’ve announced thatLee Enterprise’s Columbus Telegram has selected the Relationals CRM suite to “automate and simplify sales processes and improve advertiser relationship management.”

“It’s been a phenomenal tool. I wish we had put this into place 6 months or a year ago! We can track every call, every mailing, every sales visit. A year from now we will be able to go back and look at that same activity to make sure we don’t miss out on any opportunities,” says Shannon Brinker, Advertising Manager at the Columbus Telegram.

“The sales reps enjoy being able to track their own revenue on a daily basis and having a tool that helps me track activity for multiple teams has been invaluable.

First Coffee for July 27, 2005

July 27, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Uncle Kracker’s 2002 No Stranger To Shame:

First, a correction from yesterday. First CoffeeSM received the following e-mail concerning an article his mild-mannered reporter alter ego wrote:

I work in NetSuite Public Relations and noticed your article titled “SAP’s Hosted CRM: Ten Things You Need To Know” has a misleading statement that reads “…..Oracle baby NetSuite….”

Oracle and NetSuite have no affiliation. Larry Ellison has personally funded NetSuite and is a majority stockholder and sits on the Board but that is the extent of his relationship.

At one point we had a co-branding agreement with Oracle for our Oracle Small Business Suite but that has long since passed.

First Coffee for July 26, 2005

July 26, 2005

Hendriz Inogacia Santos, the UAE’s number one barista.

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Kinks’ 1975 album Schoolboys In Disgrace:

Interesting news about SAP’s decision to offer hosted CRM after saying no, we have no plans to do so.

At the US Sapphire user conference in Boston a couple months ago SAP talked a lot about its CRM version 5.0, which you’ll see in the third quarter of this year, but quashed talk of a hosted product offering.

First CoffeeSM doesn’t see it as a coincidence that the announcement came after SAP announced their second quarter results, which showed that the CRM division was the only one where revenues stayed flat.

But as he had to, SAP CEO Henning Kagermann “denied a link between the CRM application’s below-par performance and the tactical volte-face,” according to Pete Swabey at Infoconomy. The service is scheduled to launch later this year.

“We are in preparation [for hosted CRM],” Kagermann said, according to Swabey. “You’ll see something soon.

First Coffee for July 25, 2005

July 25, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a bootleg of Bob Dylan’s historic electric set at the Newport Folk Festival, forty years ago today, which ripped both folk and rock music wide open:

First CoffeeSM isn’t a conspiracy theorist – he’s one of two or three people alive who believes the Warren Commission’s report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which found that Lee Harvey Oswald was a disturbed wingnut who acted alone. But he does note this morning that his beloved Mozilla Firefox browser can’t access Web sites which the clunky old Internet Explorer can access with no problem – well, no more than all the usual problems which led First CoffeeSM to ditch it in favor of Firefox in the first place.

Any other Firefox users out there having unexplained trouble? Again, we’re not proposing any nefarious conspiracy, just noting that it’s curious there’s all of a sudden this accessibility problem with one of the most serious threats to Microsoft’s ham-fisted browser hegemony?

Somewhere Malcolm Gladwell smiles. “Wireless messaging and corporate application access have finally reached the ‘tipping point,’” said Terry Austin, President Worldwide Marketing and Sales, Good Technology.

Gladwell, of course, is the author of 2002’s The Tipping Point, a “facile piece of pop sociology,” according to one reviewer, contending that trends – such as wireless messaging – spread like viruses.

First Coffee for July 22, 2005

July 22, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Steve Taylor’s six-song EP, I Want To Be A Clone:

A couple days ago First CoffeeSM’s mild-mannered reporter alter ego wrote about VTiger, the Indian company selling an Open Source CRM product using SugarCRM as the base. It’s raised interesting questions about the nature of Open Source.

They had announced a subscription model for customer support, with pricing starting at $149 for a single user pack, $699 for a five-user pack, $1,299 for a ten-user pack, $2,999 for a 25-user pack, $4,995 for a 50-user pack, and $8,995 for a 100-user pack. Customers also have an option of a one-time remote installation fee of $250.

“The software itself is available for free to download and install, with no complex licensing schemes,” says Mani, co-founder of vTiger.

VTiger describes its “mission” as being to “create affordable enterprise IT solutions in CRM, Groupware and other areas.”

Others thought they were pulling a fast one.

VTiger’s wholesale rebranding of SugarCRM as their own product has created “serious dissention within the Open Source ranks,” according to the Casey Software blog. “It appears -- I have NOT done a code audit myself to confirm this -- that they have taken the entire source to SugarCRM and simply rebanded it with their own logos, stylesheet, copyright notices and call it ‘vtiger CRM,’“ the blogger writes.

However, Christiaan Erasmus at LinuxToday writes “Recently vTiger took SugarCRM’s source code, stripped the logos, added an installer and released it as vTiger CRM.

First Coffee for July 21, 2005

July 21, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Al Stewart’s A Beach Full of Shells, his new album and first in a few years:

It’s quarterly reporting season, and CRM vendor Amdocs Limited weighs in with a good one.

The St. Louis-based vendor, which is hitting the Chinese market hard, reported that for the third quarter ended June 30, 2005, revenue was $507.4 million, representing sequential growth of 3.9 percent and an increase of 12.7 percent from last year’s third quarter.

Excluding acquisition-related costs net of related tax effects of $1.7 million, net income was $78.8 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, an increase of $15.3 million, or 24.1 percent of Q3 2004.

The company’s net income was $77.1 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, over net income of $59.9 million in Q3 2004.

SAP didn’t do too badly either in their Q2 2005, slightly exceeding estimates. They’re reporting software revenues of 576 million euros… sigh, break out the calculator… okay, at 1.21 euros to the dollar, that’s… $701 million, up from $605 million last second quarter. That’s a 16 percent increase in any currency.

American license sales were up strongly, but the Walldorf, Germany-based giant is a little concerned over declining German license revenue.

Total revenues for second quarter of 2005 were euro 2.02 billion, or $2.46 billion, over 2004’s $2.19 billion, a 13 percent increase.

Software revenues in the U.S. – or, as SAP puts it, “money that didn’t go into Larry Ellison’s pocket” – increased 24 percent to euro 174 million, or $211 million for the second quarter of 2005, a tidy enough sum.

Software revenues in the EMEA region grew 9 percent to $351  million for the second quarter of 2005, an eight percent increase from 2004.

“Licenses looked good with 16 percent growth.

First Coffee for July 20, 2005

July 20, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Lyle Lovett’s Pontiac:

Plantronics is full of beans this morning, with press advisories about new headsets and a contest to win a place on a space flight.

As Plantronics notes today is the 36-year anniversary of the moon landing, and since Plantronics provided headset Neil Armstrong used to broadcast the “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” transmission from the moon in 1969, the company’s rolling out a “new brand identity and national advertising campaign,” according to company officials, replete with a new corporate logo and tagline – “Sound innovation.”

They’re also launching the “Plantronics to Space and Beyond” promotion, offering consumers “a chance to win a seat on board one of the first commercial flights to space,” according to the contest site. First CoffeeSM hasn’t checked the “full details,” but is sure there’s a list of qualifying details from here to the moon. If only you got miles…

So let’s get to the product announcements:

First up we have the CS55 and CS55 Micro wireless headsets, being billed by company officials as “the first all-wireless headsets in the US to use the new 1.9 GHz voice-dedicated frequency.” They’ll be available in October.

The 1.9 GHz DECT standard frequency is a new voice-dedicated frequency, designed to get rid of interference from nearby Wi-Fi networks, cordless telephones, and other wireless office equipment common on other frequencies.

The headsets themselves, with small booms and weighing 24 to 26 grams and costing about $300, let users move up to 300 feet from their desks while still on a call.

The Pulsar 590 is a Bluetooth stereo headset that lets users listen wirelessly to music and movies and switch to mobile phone calls by pressing one button. Available with a universal Bluetooth audio adapter, the Pulsar 590 provides immediate wireless compatibility for any device with a headphone jack, such as laptops, home stereos, MP3 players, including Apple iPods, and multimedia devices, such as Sony PSP.

The Pulsar 590’s extended range capabilities let users listen to music or have conversations up to 33 feet away from their laptop, music device or cell phone.

First Coffee for July 19, 2005

July 19, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Dave Brubeck’s Time Out. Just never gets old, does it?

First CoffeeSM welcomes Bruce Cleveland this morning. Cleveland is Siebel’s new senior vice president of products, but he’s still running, as before, the company’s OnDemand hosted CRM product and the small and medium business division.

Cleveland graciously took the time to answer some questions First CoffeeSM had. Excerpts appear below, the entire Q&A will be in an article by First CoffeeSM’s mild-mannered reporter alter ego on the TMC site later today:

FC: Congratulations on your promotion at Siebel. Do you get a nicer office now, too?


July 16, 2005

First CoffeeSM is in Ankara on Monday, getting two of his kids’ passports renewed at the American Embassy there. Unfortunately it’s not something you can do online. So apologies, and we’ll be back Tuesday.

Got this e-mail today from yet another wretched soul, Debby, who made the mistake of trusting Caiman.com. Debby writes:

I wish I had found this site BEFORE I ordered from Caiman! I ordered a game on May 27th and paid the extra cost for “expedited shipping”. On June 15th I sent an e-mail requesting status on my order. My order was shipped (finally) on June 17th.

I requested a refund for the expedited shipping cost, since they did NOT expedite. They are INSISTING that expedited shipping means that I should receive the order 3 to 6 business days AFTER they ship it. HUH? Expedited shipping, to everyone else on the planet, means the order should be SHIPPED faster than a regular order.

I’m planning on pursuing this as far as possible – it’s not the money now, it’s the principle.

First CoffeeSM has adopted it as his personal CRM In Real Life crusade to make Amazon.com aware of the terrible service, unfilled orders, misleading promises and other reasons why they should disallow Caiman.com from their site.

Call Caiman.com. Caiman.com’s phone number is (305) 262-4973, and Caiman.com’s fax number is (305) 468-3892.

Call Amazon.com. E-mail Amazon.com. If enough of us do it, they’ll have to listen.

First Coffee for July 15, 2005

July 15, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Sony’s compilation Pop Music: The Golden Era, 1951-1975 released in 1999. Nice variety of artists from Frank Sinatra to LaBelle, Louis Armstrong to Bob Dylan:

First CoffeeSM’s post on what terrible customer service online retailer Caiman.com provides gets another assent from yet another screwed-over Caiman.com customer.

Frankly First CoffeeSM’s wondering whether terrible customer service provided by such companies is a concern of Amazon.com or not. It’s time to find out.

Because it’s one thing to report on Customer Relationship Management news and issues, and offer insights and pointers on good customer service, that’s great and First CoffeeSM likes doing that, but there are times when something needs to be done in the real world, and it’s time for Amazon.com to do something about Caiman.com.

It started when Caiman.com promised a fictitious ship-by date on a CD First CoffeeSM mild-mannered reporter alter ego ordered from Amazon.com. Their customer “service” afterwards was insulting, canned and rude, so it made a great article, Three Ways To Lose Customers.

Reader Greg Veeser wrote in to say yup, same thing happened to me.

First Coffee for July 14, 2005

July 14, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Primal Scream’s 1994 album Give Out But Don’t Give Up:

A tip of the coffee pot to Lawrence “Larry” Asten, who’s being given the position of vice president, worldwide sales and business development at Excel Switching Corporation, a vendor of carrier-class, open services platforms, media gateways and media servers.

Asten’s a respected industry veteran who has about as many years in telecommunications sales and business development as First CoffeeSM has on the planet. He’ll lead Excel’s global sales effort.

Market analyst Datamonitor is releasing a report this morning examining “the drivers affecting U.S. banks’ distribution channel strategies and the resulting technology implications.” It gets worse.

Regular readers of this space know that First CoffeeSM casts a colder eye on studies purporting to know to decimal places how much money’s going to be spent on this or that a few years off in the future, since the one thing you can always, always count on is that current trends will not continue as neatly as they’re graphed out. But it is nice when you can at least discern what the report is saying.

The report, “Distribution Strategies In U.S.

First Coffee for July 13, 2005

July 13, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Tom Waits’ Meisterwerk, 1985’s Rain Dogs:

Global IP Sound is announcing an OEM license agreement with Microsoft for voice processing products which “improve PC-to-PC voice quality” to be used with MSN and Microsoft Office Real-Time Collaboration, according to Global officials.

The MSN Service, which has more than 165 million active users each month, supports not only text instant messaging but also PC-to-PC voice and video services. MSN will use GIPS VoiceEngine, while RTC will use GIPS Acoustic Echo Cancellation and GIPS Auto Gain Control high quality VoIP functionality.

Gary P. Hermansen, President and CEO of GIPS said there are over 200 million downloads of their software currently in market today.

GIPS VoiceEngine is a packaged VoIP product created specifically for PC or PDA applications to improve sound quality in Internet telephony, simplify the integration of speech codecs, communication with sound cards, real-time performance, RTP protocol handling and other voice-related tasks. GIPS AEC is used to eliminate echo caused by acoustic feedback in real-time communications in a PC environment.

First CoffeeSM is glad things are going so well for the University of Arizona that they need to use CRM to handle all their applications.

The U is using edGenuiti’s Multi-Channel & Multi-Campus CRM for Higher Education to automate much of the University of Arizona’s inquiry and application process, allowing their study abroad staff to manage a record number of applications last year.

Prior to edGenuiti, the study abroad office used separate databases to track different stages of the enrollment process – inquiry, applicant, accepted, rejected, etc. And to make things interesting, the databases were only available via one computer in the office.

First Coffee for July 12, 2005

July 12, 2005

Talk away, sister.

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the ol' iTunes shuffle, current selection "Jesus Walking On the Water" by The Violent Femmes:

Here we go again. Another highly slanted crap “study” purporting to show how dangerous it is to talk on the cell phone while driving. Cue the Moron Choir’s tired, scratchy refrain about how cell phone usage in cars should be banned.

First CoffeeSM will listen to pleas to ban cell phone usage while driving once roadside ads, rubbernecking at wreck sites, drive-through fast food, driving while tired, driving after taking prescription drugs, car audio systems, talking to passengers, looking at scenery and loose objects in cars, easily distractable and generally flat-out stupid people driving are all banned, since every honest study that’s ever been done shows all of those cause far, far more accidents than cell phone usage.

Prescription drugs alone cause one-third of all accidents. One third!

First Coffee for July 11, 2005

July 11, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Best of Tony Bennett:

A tip of the coffee pot to Dan Taylor, just appointed to Scribe Software Corporation’s board of directors. Dan’s the founder and former CEO of ManagedOps.com and The Taylor Group, and the author of Integration Manager, the original standard for integration with Microsoft Great Plains that is now part of the Microsoft Great Plains offering.

It’s nice to get a different-sounding news advisory once in a while, and Business Signatures Corporation is announcing that today they’ve “emerged from a four-year stealth phase” to “unveil an innovative software solution called Business Signatures Customer Intent Suite.”

A four-year stealth phase! That’s a lot more bracing than the usual “Acme Anvils is announcing the release of the revolutionary innovative earthshattering epochal XP-49 Roadrunner Crusher dashboard add-on solution…” drone.

Based on what BSC claims is “new data management technology,” it’s “designed to help companies discern the intent of their online customers in real time – and act upon it immediately.”

Business Signatures was founded in 2001 by three ex-Oracle guys who set out to solve what they identified as “the three biggest challenges facing online businesses today” – managing IT infrastructure for the best possible customer experience, preventing online fraud and maximizing customer profitability through personalized customer service.

To do this, company officials explain, they “focused on the one problem not currently addressed by existing solutions: understanding customers’ online interactions as they happen, at scale and at the individual customer and transaction level.”

The product BSC is hawking here is designed to give companies an “instantaneous” view of customer intent: what online customers are trying to do in the moment. They think this will allow companies to “act immediately to service, protect and, ultimately, retain their customers.”

Peter Relan, founder and CEO of Business Signatures says discerning actionable customer intent in the online channel is a lot harder than it is in a store, where you can watch the customer pick up a paintbrush, a roller, drop cloths, price blue paint and scrapers, discern he’s going to paint his back porch and go over and offer painting tips and suggestions and sell him some extra sanders and a stepladder and keep him coming back as a Satisfied Customer.

Can’t do that online.

First Coffee for July 8, 2005

July 8, 2005

“As Brits, we’ll carry on — it doesn’t scare us at all,” said tour guide Michael Cahill, 37. “Look, loads of people are walking down the streets. It’s Great Britain – not called ‘Great’ for nothing.”

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the eerily appropriate The Unforgettable Fire by U2, especially the first cut, “A Sort of Homecoming” which would serve well as the soundtrack for a London bombing video montage:

Why, now here’s a timely product announcement. Applied Global Technologies rushed out a press release this morning “announcing” the “development” of a communications package for Emergency Response and Management Applications.

Almost creepy how… well-timed that was.

“The compact, self-contained ruggedized kit allows first responders to provide terrestrial command centers with immediate data, video and audio from any remote location,” reads the press release.

“Ruggedized,” wow.

First Coffee for July 7, 2005

July 7, 2005

UBy David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Everybody’s Bach, a Deutsche Grammophon collection of Bach pieces released this year:

The Oki Electric Industry Co. is announcing that it’s delivered an IP telephony system to Kobe Steel, Ltd. based on Oki’s IP telephony server, IP Convergence Server SS9100.

Kobe Steel installed 2,000 units of Oki’s IP phones in its Tokyo headquarters, according to Oki officials, and expects to expand to 15 locations to reach 10,000 IP telephony units throughout the country by the fiscal year ending March 2009. If that happens it’ll be one of the largest IP telephony systems in Japan.

NTT Communications Corp. took charge of the system integration, and Kobelco Systems Corp. took charge of the total coordination.

First CoffeeSM realizes that Kobe Steel’s headquarters are in Tokyo, not Kobe, but still, perhaps mindful of the terrible Kobe earthquake in January of 1995, which cost thousands of lives and billions of yen in damages, disaster considerations are built into the system: “In addition, even in a time of a disaster when PSTNs restrictions apply to communications, outgoing calls can be made via Kobe Center, which makes it a disaster-resistant system,” Oki officials say.

Or maybe that’s a nationwide thing now, like New Zealand, Japan’s earthquake-proof construction requirements are tight and strict.

First CoffeeSM’s tiring of the Siebel – salesforce.com game of announcing new customer wins in the style of “Acme Anvils chose salesforce.com, NOT SIEBEL! HA HA!

First Coffee for July 6, 2005

July 6, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is what some critics call the greatest rock album ever, Bob Dylan’s Live 1966, the old Royal Albert Hall bootleg:

Microsoft CRM 3.0: Ten Things You Need To Know:

It’s still scheduled to be released at the end of this year. 2005. That’s a Microsoft PromiseTM, friends, so count on it as you would any Microsoft PromiseTM.

The time and effort required to integrate it with other apps, or create customized versions of the software for your particular verticals will be shortened, Redmond says. Gee… thanks, guys.

(“Partners will be able to obtain the necessary software development kit for CRM 3.0 through the Microsoft Developer Network later this year,” according to ComputerWorld Singapore.)

It’ll come in two modules, one for automating the management of direct marketing campaigns, and one managing personnel and resource scheduling.

Service Provider License Agreements will let hosting partners pay as they go.

According to Barbara Darrow there’s a Quick Campaign module “for sales staff who might need to devise a fast plan of action for a call.”

(The main marketing stuff is for professional marketers, Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft CRM says, with campaign planning and approvals. “This is more for a sales guy who finds a prospect and wants to put something together quickly, plan a golf outing and pull a list together.”)

It’ll be more tightly integrated with Office and Outlook than Microsoft had let on before – it’ll look quite a lot like Outlook, actually.

First Coffee for July 5, 2005

July 5, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is – can’t believe we haven’t had this one on yet – 2004’s There Will Be A Light, by Ben Harper with the Five Bind Boys of Alabama:

It was an ambiguous headline on the press release – “Salesboom Announces Release of New Web-Based Automotive CRM Software Edition.” You’re an American, you assume that’s CRM you can do in your car, right? You have car phones, car faxes, why not car CRM? Something you put your BlackBerry in to synchronize…

Actually it’s a CRM package specifically for the automotive industry. No cup holders included. The press release calls it “a tailor-made CRM version for all aspects of the automotive industry.” Tools include Car Dealer Software, Used Car Dealership Software (plaid sport coat and toupee available as upgrades) and Automotive Factory Software among others.

It’s available for trial upon a request to Salesboom, and since it’s on demand can be deployed online. Companies are invited to try Salesboom free of charge for 30 days or 5,000 miles, whichever comes first.

So what was the pressing need for this product?

Decaf Today.

July 1, 2005

TMC is closed today and Monday, July 4th.
Featured Events