First Coffee for 20 January, 2006

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for 20 January, 2006

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Beethoven’s String Quartet in B flat, Op. 130:

Working Solutions, a provider of remote agent call center services to Fortune 1000 companies, has launched three new vertical offerings for the travel, healthcare, and financial services industries.

Called Agents OnDemand, they’re “designed in response to the specific inbound calling and customer requirements of these key industry vertical segments,” and are “the first to extend the proven efficiencies of the supply chain process and use the high quality, industry-specific knowledge of an experienced remote agent to deliver a ‘just in time’ workforce for corporate call centers,” according to Working Solutions CEO Tim Houlne.

Houlne explains that Agents OnDemand are designed to let contact centers respond to fluctuating call volumes by using agents as needed.

It’s an oft-repeated idea today that companies can save money and increase customer satisfaction by outsourcing their call centers to providers who use industry professional agents. McKesson Health Solutions L.L.C. of Broomfield, Colorado, is a Fortune 20 subsidiary that earned a Texas Medicaid contract to perform disease management outreach to 30,000 participants. Rather than use internal registered nurses, they contracted non-clinical calls to Working Solutions, who used remote healthcare agents to handle transactions.

Houlne noted that Business Week and The Wall Street Journal have recently cited forecasts by “industry experts” projecting that the number of remote home agents will increase threefold over the next five years.

Privacy advocates are asking the Homeland Security Department “not to include the use of Radio Frequency Identification contactless chips in its regulations for implementing the Real ID Act for state driver’s licenses,” according to published reports.

In a Jan. 13 letter to Secretary Michael Chertoff, Newsbytes reports, “the groups assert that RFID costs a lot, lacks standardized technology and poses potential dangers to privacy from unauthorized reading of the chips.”

While the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cost of implementing the Real ID Act at $100 million, reports say, Citizens Against Government Waste judged that an RFID chip mandate as part of the act would cost up to $17 billion.

Amdocs is happy these days. According to the Israel Business Arena, Sprint Nextel has chosen Amdocs as its sole billing provider for its wireless network.

Amdocs will supply its billing and CRM platform to over 46.5 million of Sprint Nextel’s wireless subscribers under an eight-year contract. As fellow TMC columnist Susan Campbell has reported, Amdocs is also working with industry giants British Telecom and Mobilkom Austria.

“Winning this contract makes Amdocs the undisputed leader of the US billing market,” IBA says, with Sprint Nextel, AT&T and Cingular Wireless as clients. In fact, “the only territory in the US communications market in which Amdocs has not prevailed so far is Verizon Communications.”

The announcement by Sprint Nextel did not specify the size of the contract, but it will be in the neighborhood of several hundred million dollars. It also was not made clear if the contract is for outsourcing, or whether it is a billing system supply contract in the standard format of a software license sale, professional services, and customization, IBA says, noting that “billing and CRM contracts that last for eight years are usually outsourcing contracts… Sprint Nextel’s announcement was not clear on this point.”

Amdocs has reported results for its first fiscal quarter, ended December 31, 2005, claiming revenue of $587.0 million, a rise of 25 percent over last year’s first quarter. Net profit was $90.0 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, compared with net profit, excluding $3.0 million of acquisition-related costs net of related tax effects, of $72.4 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2005.

Hansen Information Technologies has announced a $3.4 million contract with the City of Boston to provide its 100 Percent Web-based Hansen 8 Citizen Relationship Management, Building Permit, Code Enforcement, and Licensing product.

No doubt your town was just looking for a Citizen Relationship Management, Building Permit, Code Enforcement, and Licensing product.

The three year contract is part of a multi-city agency enterprise permit and license workflow automation initiative that will be launched within the Boston Inspectional Services Department.

ISD encompasses five regulatory divisions including Building and Structures, Code Enforcement/Environmental Services, Health, Housing, and Weights and Measures. Thus far in FY05, ISD’s revenue is over $25 million obtained from processing nearly 100,000 permit and license applications. ISD’s Building and Structures Division alone rakes in $23 million of that revenue, collected from processing nearly 56,000 permits and licenses. ISD as a whole conducts over 60,000 inspections a year.

Hansen 8 was selected, Boston officials say, to help reduce paper-driven processes, shorten permit and licensing turn-around times, provide extensive activity status and financial reporting capabilities.

The first implementation milestone includes the set-up of a centralized call center within ISD using the Hansen 8 Customer Service product. In conjunction with initial implementation efforts, Hansen will work with the city to provide a master addressing and contact application using the Hansen 8 addressing, contact, and property management data structure.

In other gubmint news, Inrange Consulting, now part of Zanett Commercial Solutions, has announced that it has been awarded several contracts from the State of Indiana to implement Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise business application for 26 of the State’s government agencies, including the Governor’s Office, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, the Department of Natural Resources, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Revenue, the Indiana State Police, the Criminal Justice Institute, the Department of Workforce Development, and the Indiana State Department of Health.

To date, the State of Indiana has awarded ZCS over $2 million in contracted work for Oracle/PeopleSoft implementation services.

First CoffeeSM normally doesn’t pay attention to the gazillion “awards” this and that publication gives out in such categories as 47 Best Technology Products Released in Southern Idaho This Week, but would like to note that BlueRoads Corporation, a channel management Software-as-a-Service company, has been awarded the annual CRM WizKids award for “innovation in front office software.”

“The indirect sales channel has not received the same level of attention in the CRM world as the direct channel,” Denis Pombriant, managing principal, Beagle Research Group, LLC correctly points out. “However, because growth in the channel continues to outpace growth in direct sales for many industries the need for visibility into the channel is critical to maximizing profitability.”

Accompanying the award was a report issued by Beagle Research “2006 CRM WizKids: Taking CRM to a Higher Level” which demonstrates the use of BlueRoads’ channel management suite of products by Avaya Corporation, a global provider of business communications applications, systems, and services, to increase the efficiency and output from its indirect sales force.

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Feedback for First Coffee for 20 January, 2006


Good informative posts.


For the record, I believe there were only 46 products released this week in Southern Idaho.

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