First Coffee for 21 March 2006

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

First Coffee for 21 March 2006

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me album:

SAP AG has announced that Swiss Army Brands, Inc., distributor of Swiss Army timepieces and Victorinox multi-tools, cutlery, travel gear and apparel, has selected SAP products to optimize business processes and drive the expansion of its business lines.

The distributor decided to retire its Oracle/JD Edwards legacy system and turned to SAP, specifically, the integrated SAP Apparel and Footwear application.

In the apparel industry, company officials say, businesses need to react within days or even hours to changes in consumer behavior and customer demand. Swiss Army Brands (leave it to the Swiss, even their military is a profitable enterprise) say they chose SAP AFS as it “features a flexible master-data structure that represents sizes, colors and styles at the stock keeping unit level and gives planners up-to-the minute visibility into daily activities,” to improve on-shelf availability.

Tom Hennigan, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Swiss Army Brands, Inc. said his company views the implementation of SAP as “essential for us to provide our customers with the same service levels that much larger brands provide.”

Swiss Army Brands will use SAP CRM, ERP and supply chain management products to integrate its global distribution operations and standardize information on an enterprise level. They’ll also get rid of incompatible legacy systems, using SAP NetWeaver platform to enable “smooth system integration,” according to company officials, “across the organization’s distribution facilities, which will help streamline operations and improve financial management controls.”

Under the agreement, Swiss Army Brands will implement a full range of SAP products including enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and supply chain management (SCM) in a phased rollout for approximately 200 users.

Swiss Army Brands, Inc., a subsidiary of Victorinox A.G., headquartered in Ibach, Switzerland. It expects to go live with the software in the third quarter of 2006.

EVergance, a vendor of end-to-end consulting services for CRM and Web self-service, today announced its partnership with The Winters Group, a consulting firm that works with companies’ contact centers.

This partnership is structured for eVergance to bring call center operational perspectives to client engagements. The Winters Group offers eVergance’s existing service lines with call center-specific offerings including revenue generation, outsourcing strategy design, contact channel management and due diligence.

Compass Global, Inc., an operator of IP-based international voice and data communications networks, has announced it will use Sansay’s VSX VoIP session control systems.

Compass officials say the move is an effort to minimize operating costs while improving the quality of service to hard-to-reach destinations.

Compass Global builds and operates international communications networks between the United States and destinations with underdeveloped telecom infrastructures in South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, partnering with in-country carriers to build routes and reselling minutes to global service providers.

Compass Global says it has already migrated 95 percent of its wholesale traffic and virtually all of its retail traffic to IP. The company now averages 75 million minutes of traffic per month.

Dean Cary, founder and CEO of Compass Global says they had been “originally looking to complement our TDM switch with VoIP, but it quickly became obvious that the world was moving toward a global VoIP to VoIP infrastructure.”

Good customer service helped swing the contract: “In talking to another session control company we felt like we were talking to our TDM switch vendor again; like it would be very difficult to get anything customized,” Cary says.

As a result of converting to an IP based infrastructure based on Sansay systems and integration with their in-house “Global Traffic Management” software, Compass Global says it has seen ROI, Cary says:

“Before we migrated to Sansay, our TDM switch alone cost between $75-90K per month for power and other environmentals, with DS3s, SS7 links and other facilities adding another $100K. With the new IP infrastructure we can replace what used to take up 2500 square feet with four Sansay units the size of DVD players and consume less power than a hair dryer. We’re saving $180-200K each month and our quality improved dramatically by eliminating conversions of voice traffic between TDM and IP.”

Compass Global is a privately held international telecommunications company headquartered in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., which builds and operates international voice and data networks between the United States and many destinations in South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

According to a new report, “Strategic Analysis of IPTV In Europe: Telecom Operators Strategies” published by research firm Frost & Sullivan, the ongoing deregulation of the European telecommunications market and the subsequent entry of alternate service providers means incumbent telecom operators are witnessing a sharp decline in revenues from traditional business streams.

And that means technologies such as VoIP and broadband over cable modem are starting to make their presence felt.

The report sees VoIP and broadband as “contributing to this trend,” and says to offset this decline, as well as to reverse the downward trend in their customer base, telecom operators are beginning to focus on delivering bundled services that provide higher revenues and growth, such as IPTV.

What makes IPTV an attractive defense strategy against the entry of cable operators in the telephony business is its ability to provide on-screen programming information, time shifting features, and multiple camera angles.

IPTV can do this thanks to the two-way communication capability of the broadband connection and the point-to point distribution, the report explains: The two-way communication capability allows for interactivity between subscribers and the network, and the point-to-point lets each viewer watch individual broadcasting such as video on demand.

It’s not all roses: “IPTV involves not only network upgrades, but also securing premium content for distribution, resolving operational, billing and management integration issues as well as providing a satisfactory user interface, among other concerns,” notes ICT Senior Industry Analyst Fernando Elizalde in the report. “All these represent significant challenges to telecom operators entering an unfamiliar territory, such as the distribution of entertainment content.”

Notably, market participants consider premium content in the distribution business the most important element in the delivery of television over digital subscriber line. Service providers will have to invest considerable time and effort in procuring content as well as exclusive sports material from major studios and producers.

IPTV may not be an immediate success throughout Europe, and the success of this offering will be different in each country, depending on specific country and regional characteristics.

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