First Coffee for September 19, 2005

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

First Coffee for September 19, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the current iTunes song is “Six Months In a Leaky Boat” by the late, lamented, underrated New Zealand popsters Split Enz:

First CoffeeSM doesn’t know about you, but he feels a whole lot safer this morning, reading that North Korea’s “promised” to give up their nuclear program. Hey, they promised, this isn’t the same empty-promises-for-fuel scam President Clinton fell for. Come on, they promised, cross their hearts hope to die.

But seriously folks, kudos to Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan for holding meaningful, free elections for the first time in many a crescent moon. President Bush still hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves for that.

Etalk, a division of Autonomy, is announcing the latest release of Qfiniti Enterprise, a unified call recording, agent evaluation, and advanced speech analytics product for the contact center market.

It delivers a scalable and centrally-managed enterprise platform that allows international, multi-site customer service operations to, in company officials’ words, “monitor, measure, improve and understand relevant customer interactions.”

Scott Shute, president of etalk, notes some of the new features and functionality of Qfiniti, such as what the company’s claiming is “the first fully integrated recording, evaluation, and speech analytics offering for quality monitoring, logging, and VoIP-based call acquisition that does not use third-party analytics technology.”

The new interface is an operational and visual improvement over what went before, and supports language localization, which company officials hope will open up more international opportunities.

The theory behind a lot of what Qfiniti’s engineered to do is that a lot of the information that circulates in a contact center – the audio recordings, documents, web pages, e-mails, what have you – is unstructured, in that it resides outside of a normal structured database. Lots of valuable info there, but it’s tough to manage efficiently.

Autonomy's Intelligent Data Operating Layer (known by its acronym “Billy”) technology is designed to make sense of this disparate information so companies can use it all, not just the information that fits neatly into fixed database boxes. Qfiniti Enterprise has embedded the IDOL engine into the Qfiniti platform, with the result that every recorded voice transaction and its elements are searchable.

If First CoffeeSM’s ever acquired by a rival columnist he wants Siebel’s Bruce Cleveland, Senior Vice President, Products in his corner. Perhaps you’ve seen Cleveland’s feisty open letter to “Friends and Colleagues” in the wake of salesforce.com’s gloating over Siebel’s being acquired by Oracle.

 No need to fisk the whole thing, but some points stood out:

In keeping with his company’s Dreamforce theme, Marc seems to be dreaming big, hoping that the fabricated tales he spins become facts. Sadly, for him, they’re simply not true. Let me illustrate.

Marc Benioff, California dreamin’? Perish the notion. But as Cleveland says:

Siebel Systems has added more than 500,000 ‘live’ users of its CRM applications since the beginning of 2005, while salesforce.com has added approximately 100,000 subscribers. And our win rate in OnDemand software versus salesforce.com was approximately 58 percent in our most recent financial quarter.

Of course the differentiation between hosted customers and on-premises customers is the point of contention here, if Siebel signed up exactly one on-premises customer they’d beat salesforce.com in that category. But Cleveland notes that the customers salesforce.com’s been poaching from Siebel are largely SFA deals, “not Business Analytics deals, or self-service deals, or customer order management deals, or customer data integration deals.”

One thing First CoffeeSM found amusing at Dreamforce this past week was the ubiquity of the word “SOFTWARE” under the red circle and slash. “The end of software” was repeated frequently in presentations, as Cleveland says, but First CoffeeSM noted that not many Dreamforce expo hall reps from companies who make their living selling software were wearing that particular lapel button.

And it is worth noting, for however seriously one reads takeover announcements, that while Benioff says Oracle will “kill” Siebel CRM OnDemand, during the acquisition announcement September 12th Larry Ellison did say “we think OnDemand is going to be increasingly important. We think the Siebel OnDemand products have – are improving at a very, very rapid rate and we intend to invest in them heavily.”

Again, take that as you will. It might be instructive to look back at what Ellison said when Oracle acquired J.D. Edwards and PeopleSoft, which are currently being dismembered and digested into the still-amorphous Fusion.

And Cleveland can’t help pointing out that last Monday, “NetSuite put out a press release announcing that more than 100 companies have switched from salesforce.com to its products.” Didn’t hear much about that at Dreamforce.

An entity new to First CoffeeSM called bNet Software, which describes itself as “a web-based eCommerce” vendor, is announcing “the completion and launch to the public of Tablet Authority's eCommerce website.

Evidently bNet was asked to build a site for Tablet Authority to resell Motion Computing Tablet PCs. “In less than a month,” bNet claims. “Tablet Authority had the site they needed: a complete sales, service and marketing solution that included everything,” including scalable backend eCommerce software, site launch services, design and site setup. The site was built to eliminate paperwork from the fulfillment process, put complete customer histories online and launch integrated opt-in e-mail.

Um, good job guys.

Contact Center World has something from Xceed touting, of all places, Egypt as a hot (literally) new call center outsourcing option.

This is news to First CoffeeSM, and probably is to you as well. Nevertheless they point to a recent Datamonitor report predicting that “demand for Egyptian outsourced offshore call centers” will grow by 50 percent by 2009 – no indication what the hard numbers now are – due to the country’s “competitive advantages” such as; “lower-value cost of labor, multilingual skills, neutral accents, advanced state of commercial development, government incentives, friendly investment environment.”

“Neutral accents?” Egypt?

Read in the Baltimore Business Journal that Microsoft’s looking to open an office in that fair city. What, they’re allergic to blue crabs? Is it startling to anyone else that a $40 billion company has never opened an office in the country’s 18th-largest city?

Or is it more startling that from 1990 to 2004 Baltimore lost approximately 12 percent of its population, easily the biggest loss among the top 50 cities, falling from 12th to 18th below non-NFL, non-MLB cities Memphis and Columbus, Ohio?

And they can’t blame Washington, D.C. for that, as former D.C. resident First CoffeeSM knows Baltimoreans are fond of doing, since the District itself lost 5.7 percent.

Maybe they can both blame Phoenix, which grew 34 percent and jumped from 10th to 6th. And the fact that San Jose, the largest city in America without a major pro sports franchise, ranks ahead of San Francisco in population is a great bar bet for the impoverished yet thirsty.

If read off-site hit http://blog.tmcnet.com/telecom-crm/ for the fully-linked version. First CoffeeSM accepts no sponsored content.



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