First Coffee for 25 March 2006

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

First Coffee for 25 March 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Eric Clapton’s Timepieces:

Headscratching news item of the day, courtesy of Yahoo!: “Believe it or not, people who get only 6 to 7 hours a night have a lower death rate than those who get 8 hours of sleep.”

I had always kind of thought the death rate was pretty close to 100 percent no matter how much sleep you get, but hey, I’ve been wrong before.

Xactly Corporation, an on-demand sales compensation management company, wants to take a page from salesforce.com’s playbook in succeeding with online CRM.

New board member Cindy Padnos, director, Outlook Ventures, said she’s excited to join the board of Xactly, since in her view “Xactly will be mainstreaming on-demand sales compensation management similar to how salesforce.com popularized on-demand CRM.”

Using spreadsheets to manage sales compensation is a legacy approach that predates the Internet, Padnos says, adding “why would companies want to be held back when there’s an affordable, proven alternative product in Xactly Incent? It’s going to be the ‘next big thing’ in CRM.”

Xactly has announced that it has secured $8 million in Series B funding led by Outlook Ventures and Spinner Asset Management, LLC. In related news, the company also announced the appointment of Padnos to the Xactly board of directors.

Bay Partners and Rembrandt Ventures, the lead investors in Xactly’s Series A round, along with other Series A investors, also participated in the Series B financing.

The new financing will be used to increase Xactly’s sales and marketing initiatives, expand the service organization and accelerate market adoption of the company’s leading on-demand sales compensation management product.

Christopher W. Cabrera, Xactly founder, president and CEO, said he believes “savvy mid-size businesses are rapidly moving to our on-demand approach to automate sales compensation. These entities are realizing increases in top-line revenue growth, seeing quick ROIs as a result of rapid deployments, which range from 24 hours to two weeks, and ensuring that they meet various regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley.”

Cabrera said he also sees companies “able to shape behavioral changes in their sales forces to sell more of the right products.”

UCN, Inc., a vendor of on-demand contact handling software and business telecommunication services delivered over the UCN national VoIP network, has announced that AnswerX, a provider of customized, hosted CRM products to the call center and telephone answering service industry, selected inContact to support its company.

AnswerX, based in Orlando, develops and hosts a customizable and flexible CRM product designed to support the specialized needs of its call center and answering service customer base. The AnswerX Intelligent CallCenter product integrates with database applications and virtual automated call distribution products, providing such features as screen pops, user interfaces for information handling, multiple messaging delivery options and case management tools.

In addition to its proprietary CRM software, AnswerX offers integration and support expertise in helping businesses convert their operations, teams and agents from a facilities-based operation to “the new age of virtual operations,” explained Richard Riga, director of technology, support and development for AnswerX.

The way AnswerX officials see it, they’re working with a virtual business model. “All of our developers, sales, support and business relationship specialists work primarily from home offices,” said Riga. Tweaking an on-site legacy ACD product to handle their virtual workforce needs didn’t work well, so they decided to go for a hosted contact handling product.

One of UCN’s big selling points, according to Riga, was the company’s flexible connectivity options. “UCN enabled me to integrate our existing telephony infrastructure with the inContact platform, saving us time and money,” said Riga. “Additionally, UCN is able to provision AnswerX customers with their own local inbound or toll-free numbers, allowing our customers to own and control those numbers, not AnswerX, which is exactly what our customers want.”

Implementation took only a week, after the scope of work was agreed upon. Setting up a team member took all of 20 minutes, according to Riga. Because of the way inContact was programmed to deliver a call – using a customized interactive voice response with database integration and flexible skills-based routing with preferred priority – overall talk time per call was reduced by 50 percent.

“Our average service level went from 70 percent to 100 percent. All calls are now answered in 30 seconds or less. With improved routing and database integration, overall, we are saving about a minute per call,” said Riga.

Alba Spectrum Group has announced its Oracle E-Business Suite customer support call center for the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America and Brazil Oracle customers.

One of the prioritized directions is Oracle Applications integration with Legacy System, Supply Chain Management, CRM, Warehouse Management, Barcoding, Transportation & Logistics, Manufacturing Oracle based and third party systems.

According to Alba Spectrum Group spokesmen Riccardo Lanzuolo and Sandro Marques, the new trend in MRP/ERP system market is heterogeneous systems (LINUX, Unix, Microsoft Windows, etc.) integration into one working ERP.

An Oracle E-Business Suite client might have already implemented SCM system with advanced Electronic Data Interchange features, and needs integration development and following support. Nowadays customers require advanced technical skills in system design, customization, extensions development and integrations, Lanzuolo says.

HickoryTech Corporation has announced the selection of Dale E. Parker as a director on HickoryTech’s 10-member board. Parker will fill the independent board position being vacated on April 24, 2006 by Robert E. Switz, president and CEO of ADC Telecommunications, Inc., and will complete the remainder of Switz’s term, which expires in 2008.

Switz stepped down due to ADC’s guidelines restricting the number of public company boards on which he may serve. Switz had been a director since 1999.

HickoryTech Corporation is a diversified communications company headquartered in Mankato, Minn., with approximately 460 employees in Minnesota and Iowa. In its 109th year of operation, HickoryTech’s Telecom Sector offers local voice, long distance, Internet, Broadband services, Digital TV, and IP networking.

The Enterprise Solutions Sector provides IP telephony, call center management, and data network products. The Enventis Telecom Sector provides IP-based voice and data services and network products on a state wide SONET-based network.

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