First Coffee for 29 March 2006

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

First Coffee for 29 March 2006

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Best of MFO, the band MFO being not only the best Turkish rock band ever, but for my money the best non-Anglophone rock band I’ve ever heard. Think The Kinks with stronger vocals for an approximate comparison, a good pop/rock sound with a few elements of traditional Turkish music used as part of the overall sound, not tossed in gratuitously to say “ethnic.” Their haunting ballad “Bodrum” is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard anywhere.

Trillium Software, a division of Harte-Hanks and a vendor of Total Data Quality products, has announced that it is to provide its TS Quality enterprise data quality software to global telecommunications provider BT on an enterprise-wide license basis.

The software is support for BT’s customer relationship management installation by Siebel, one of the most sizeable CRM implementations anywhere in the world.

The agreement extends an existing license based on user numbers, to permit BT unlimited, worldwide use of TS Quality as part of its Total Data Quality drive for continuous improvement in customer service and business performance.

“Customer name and address information is an extremely valuable BT asset,” said James Gault, program director, product and customer data platforms. “We must manage the quality of that data with strategic intent in all corners of the organization.”

According to Gault, TS Quality enables BT to standardize source data formats, to recognize and handle duplicates, and to mold fragmented records into linked information. Across multiple systems, BT officials expect this data quality regimen to benefit “hundreds of vital business processes.”

One such vital business process is regulatory compliance with undertakings agreed with OFCOM’s Telecomms Service Review, to ensure all service providers have transparent and equal access to the nationwide local BT network.

OFCOM is the United Kingdom Office of Communications, the regulating agency of UK telecommunications services.

Today In Business History: On this day in 1886, John Pemberton perfected a headache and hangover remedy he had cooked up over a fire in his backyard, according to Writer’s Almanac: It contained coca leaves and extract of kola nut, and he advertised it as an “Esteemed Brain Tonic and Intellectual Beverage.”

He had been making something called “Pemberton’s French Wine Coca,” but Atlanta had just passed a prohibition law, and he had to come up with an alcohol-free formula. He sweetened the new elixir with sugar instead of wine, and his bookkeeper suggested he name the beverage “Coca-Cola.”


Think of a company whose business it is to help people track down old tableware patterns, complete sets and find particular antique pieces. Images of lacey old ladies sitting around polishing the tea service, right? Actually, try a highly-sophisticated information technology operation.

Founded in 1981, Greensboro, North Carolina-based Replacements, Ltd. is the world’s largest retailer of old and new tableware, including china, stoneware, crystal, glassware, silver, stainless, and collectibles. In 1984 the company deployed its initial IT system.

Today, the company stands at approximately 550 employees with 300,000 square foot facilities – roughly five football fields – housing an inventory of 10 million pieces of tableware in over 200,000 patterns.

The company uses extensive, internally developed inventory, sales, and CRM systems, including an enterprise grid computing infrastructure built using Oracle 10g software.

By switching from UNIX servers to four HP ProLiant DL 385 servers with AMD Opteron processors running Oracle Database 10g, Oracle Real Application Clusters, and Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, company officials say, Replacements, Ltd. has increased its IT performance, automated their data center operations and reduced related costs.

Since upgrading to a clustered Oracle database environment in September 2005, Replacements, Ltd. has improved application availability and performance – four to five times faster than before. This move to a clustered environment has “virtually eliminated user complaints about the hindered performance of their previous single-server implementation,” according to Replacements officials.

Good Australian CRM observer Iain Ferguson writes today that Charles Lawoko, the former head of Australia National Bank’s CRM operation, “is in the very earliest stages of building his newly-created CRM consultancy, styled Insight2Action.”

Lawoko tells Ferguson that the shift gave him a chance to reassess his life’s goals and directions, which “could best be realized outside of a large corporation.”

He described his passion as helping companies who do not fully use, or know what to do with at all, the data they gather on their customers to deliver better offerings more efficiently, Ferguson says.

TMOne, an Iowa direct marketing firm, has announced that it has acquired its 250,000th competitive telecom subscriber for providers in the local exchange carrier, internet service provider and VoIP space.

The company has been specializing in the telecom vertical since its inception in 2002 and recently expanded its contact center division to a 300 seat, 27,000 square foot facility formerly managed by the Mass Markets division of telecom giant MCI, now Verizon Business.

Specializing in B2B and B2C sales and marketing for the VoIP space has been a focus of the company and “a catalyst for ongoing success,” according to TMOne officials.

With VoIP penetration growing by the minute, company officials say, the race between voice over broadband providers and multiple service operators has picked up speed.

For the contact center market experiencing strong growth in Latin America, etalk, a vendor of contact center quality management and speech analytics software and services, has introduced its Qfiniti Enterprise suite of call center applications in Portuguese and Spanish.

By offering its marquee product in the native languages spoken in Latin America, etalk expects to spur further growth in an already burgeoning contact center market.

Etalk’s regional sales increased by 54 percent in 2005. In addition, the number of contact center agent positions in the region is expected to increase by 17 percent annually to reach 730,000 in 2008, according to Datamonitor, an independent marker research firm.

Qfiniti Enterprise is, etalk officials claim, “the industry’s first unified call recording, agent evaluation and advanced speech analytics product for the growing contact center market.” Qfiniti Enterprise delivers services on a single platform that allows contact center users to simply log in with the language of their choice. In addition to the user interface, the speech analytics capabilities are also localized, so searching and script analysis occurs in the user’s preferred language.

Oh, hey, and happy birthday, Eric Idle, wink wink, nudge nudge.

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