First Coffee for 27 March 2006

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

First Coffee for 27 March 2006

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Gustav Holst's The Planets:

Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd. has announced the delivery of its IP contact center system based on Oki's computer telephony integration server, CTstage 4i for .NET, to Suruga Bank Ltd., a Japanese bank proud of its retail banking division.

Oki's contact center system" improves Suruga Bank's business efficiency and productivity by flexibility responding to changes and expansions, and connecting to the bank's CRM," according to Oki officials.

Operation for the 150 seats, out of 250 seats at Suruga's Direct Banking, starts from April 2006.

"We believe our contact center system can help improve business efficiency and simplify the business flow at Suruga Bank, who is known for their innovative approach towards retail banking," said Katsuyoshi Koide, President of Multimedia Messaging Company at Oki Electric.

Koide said Oki plans offer the system to customers "in the financial institutions in Japan" in need of strengthening their contact centers.

Suruga Bank will use the system to improve its inbound and outbound business efficiency, since the operators in charge can control the order of incoming calls and take calls by implementing the "free group" function. This means calls can be received from any group, having the appropriate operator skill level, which company officials say will also increases Suruga's close rate.

In addition, by seamlessly connecting the activities of receiving loan enquires, screening, and responding, the bank simplifies the enquiry flow and eliminates paper-based methods.

Phone calls received at branch offices will now be forwarded to the contact centers via IP networks, thus centralizing all inquiry handling. Going forward, Suruga Bank plans to increase the number of branch offices forwarding calls to the contact center, and increase the number of seats at the center.

Oki launched the CTstage in 1996 as a Computer Telephony Integration system to converge computer and telephony. CTstage 4i is the model launched in 2002 that provides a contact center product with softswitch and UnPBX architectures.

Cellon International, a vendor of end-to-end design and systems integration services for the wireless handset industry, have announced an expansion of its development team through the establishment of Cellon Shanghai.

The expansion, accomplished by acquiring design operations, is a move to strengthen Cellon's China-based operations and broaden the company's capabilities to the full range of technologies in current wireless handset development.

The acquired design operations comprise approximately 160 engineers, and broaden Cellon's technology portfolio to include CDMA, W-CDMA and WiFi. That expansion gives Cellon proven expertise across all current major wireless standards, and company officials reckon it puts them in "an excellent position to remain at the leading edge" of future development.

The strengthening of Cellon's China-based design operations is in line with the industry's increasing concentration in China for handset development and manufacturing operations. With an eye to this lucrative market, adding Shanghai to Beijing and Shenzhen gives Cellon design and manufacturing support operations in all major handset development and manufacturing locations.

The company also announced the launch of Cellon Europe to strengthen customer-focused activities in the EMEA geographic area, registered in Paris. Cellon Europe will focus on marketing and sales, field services (validation and type approval) as well as nurturing existing partnerships with mobile operators.

Happy birthday to author T.R. Pearson, born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina fifty years ago today. He's the author of eight novels, and his first novel, A Short History of a Small Place, published in 1985 when he was painting houses for a living is one of First CoffeeSM's three or four favorite postwar 20th century American novels. Others would be John Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany, Robert Penn Warren's All The King's Men, Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and, of course, Jerome David Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye.

The Best Little Software Company In Redmond is previewing Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0, Microsoft's offering for providing what company officials describe as "next-generation business value to customers in the form of powerful role-based activity."

As a composite application, Microsoft Dynamics AX is engineered to enable the use of business logic and data from multiple systems to show a complete view of a customer's business processes, "keeping the focus on people and the work they need to do," company officials say.

Mark A. Jensen, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics AX for the Microsoft Business Products Group at Microsoft says the product's "extraordinary level of integration with Microsoft SQL Server," among other considerations, "will deliver a product that challenges the competitors by providing a true role-based composite application."

Microsoft Dynamics AX, formerly Microsoft Business Products-Axapta, is a multi-language, multi-currency enterprise resource planning (ERP) product marketed as addressing "intricate business scenarios involving complex collaboration within and across companies." Company officials say its core strengths are in manufacturing, supply chain management, wholesale and distribution, retail, government, and services industries.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0, available later this year, will allow customers to expand into global markets such as Japan and China, company officials say.

Greg Lush, CIO of The Linc Group Inc., says that while "acquisitions have created an environment with many systems," including Oracle-, PeopleSoft- and UNIX-based environments, "Microsoft can provide the entire platform with business applications, infrastructure and support.

Tech research firm Frost & Sullivan finds that the U.S. IVR Systems market earned revenues of $564.8 million in 2005, and estimates it to reach $1.49 billion in 2012.   

Voice continues to dominate as the primary media for service interaction between companies and their customers as compared to other media they employ, the analysts find: "Vendors are seeing a light at the end of the saturated touchtone market tunnel due to a combination of speech technology maturity and a shift in enterprise focus from cost savings to a customer-centric business model.

Ever since the introduction of IVR systems into the customer service arena almost a decade ago, market penetration of traditional touch-tone systems has steadily increased to around 90 percent within large enterprises," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Krithi Rao:

"Speech in IVR has provided the next wave of growth in this market. However, large scale adoption of speech in self-service has been restrained due maturity level and cost of speech technology."

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