First Coffee for 19 April: Zagada's Central American Call Center report, Cisco's "Small City," Little Debbie's CRM, Select Selling's CRM Survey, Verizon's European Hiptop Hosting

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David Sims
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First Coffee for 19 April: Zagada's Central American Call Center report, Cisco's "Small City," Little Debbie's CRM, Select Selling's CRM Survey, Verizon's European Hiptop Hosting

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is John Coltrane’s Love Supreme:

The Zagada Institute has announced the publication of its Central America Call Center Report 2007: A Bilingual Niche.

The report is, according to company officials, “the first complete and independent call center study conducted on Central America,” and finds that the Central America Nearshore market’s growth in its current 21,012 agent population “will approach 40 percent annually over the next 24 months, resulting in close to 40,000 agents by the end of 2007.”

An estimated 95 percent of existing agents are bilingual and are “ideally position to continue serving the customer care needs of U.S. companies focused on the expanding Hispanic American market, now exceeding 43 million,” the report finds.

“In our comparative evaluation we find that despite the large sizes of Mexico and Argentina local agent population and the impressive agent growth in the Dominican Republic, the Central America Nearshore market as an aggregate has the highest number of dedicated bilingual agents serving U.S. firms,” said Philip Dickenson Peters, co-director of Zagada Institute and CEO of Zagada Markets.

Based on the levels of growth and service experience, the report categorizes the region into three growth niches: Maturing (Panama, Costa Rica), Contending (El Salvador, Guatemala) and Emerging (Nicaragua, Honduras).

According to company officials the “accelerated provisioning” of bilingual agents across all segments of the Central America Nearshore market is attracting a combination of both U.S. multinationals and outsourcing specialist companies to the region: “Firms report average savings of 35 percent from their regional operations as well on projects outsourced to Central American Third Party call center providers.”

Apart from the region’s expanding bilingual agent population, the report finds that other factors contributing to growth are stable parliamentary democracies, competitive telecommunication rates and coverage in key urban centers, extensive bilingual programs among the region’s 174 tertiary institutes and universities, low cost and adequate physical contact center office capacity in key markets and business friendly Economic Development Agencies. In other words, stable societies which speak English.

The report also finds that certain markets also generate significant business from Latin American and European multinationals.

The report identifies some challenges as “the timely development and preparation of sufficient bilingual agents to meet growing U.S. company demand, and the need to accelerate connectivity beyond major urban centers.”

The report’s vendor analysis finds Avaya as the leader in the region, with Nortel, Genesys, Siemens, SER, Aspect and Cisco as “vigorous competitors.”

Speaking of Cisco, they’re going to be constructing the equivalent of a “small city” of infrastructure for Singapore 2006, a series of meetings and seminars where the highlight is the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the IMF and World Bank Group.

As the "Lead Partner for Network Infrastructure," Cisco will be providing about $1.25 million worth of network infrastructure giving delegates of Singapore 2006 wired and wireless networking access.

Craig Gledhill, managing director of Singapore and Brunei, Cisco Systems say Singapore 2006 will be “an excellent platform to showcase the full potential of an Internet Protocol network built on the principles of Cisco's Intelligent Information Network vision.”

The infrastructure that Cisco will help to build for the expected attendance of 16,000 delegates will be of a similar scale to that of a small city, using well over 4,000 wired points, over 40 wireless access points, and will take over 1.5 man-months to complete.

Singapore 2006 is expected to attract more than 16,000 participants, including delegates from 184 countries such as heads of government, finance ministers and central bank governors, top financiers, international media, business leaders and other visitors.

StayinFront, Inc., a vendor of enterprise wide customer relationship management (CRM) applications and other products, has announced that Collegedale, Tenn.-based McKee Foods, a StayinFront client for 5 years, has elected to upgrade to StayinFront Consumer Goods 9.3.

McKee Foods Corporation is best known for its line of Little Debbie snack cakes. McKee Food’s national-sales force of 400 representatives works with more than 3,300 independent distributors throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and select U.S. Military bases overseas.

McKee Foods decided to upgrade their sales force because “we felt the core functionality they offer in their new Consumer Goods product supports our initiatives,” said Jerry Griswold, Sales Information Systems Manager of McKee Foods Corporation.

“We’ll make some configuration changes to meet our exact workflow processes, and I think our field users will appreciate the new features,” Griswold said.

Select Selling has announced that it is sponsoring the upcoming report by The Customer Respect Group on how CRM companies treat their customers online.

Patti Elliott, president of Select Selling, said she felt “it would be helpful to our customers to understand how well the leading CRM vendors manage their own prospective customers online.”

The study brings objective measure to the analysis of corporate performance from an online customer's perspective for the CRM Industry. It assigns a Customer Respect Index a qualitative and quantitative in-depth analysis and independent measure of a customer's online experience when interacting with companies via the Internet, to each surveyed company.

The CRM study will be available by early May 2006 and will include: AmDocs, FrontRange Solutions, Maximizer Software, Microsoft, NetSuite, Oracle, Pivotal, RightNow Technologies, Sage,, SalesNet, SAP, Siebel/Oracle, and SugarCRM.

Results will be made available through and

Verizon Business has announced it is providing hosting services to Danger Inc. for a mobile Internet platform called hiptop.

Danger Inc., based in Palo Alto, California, created hiptop to give users on the move access to the Internet, instant messaging, e-mail, games, photography and telephony. The software is used in handheld devices.

Danger will colocate its equipment in a Verizon Data Center in Amsterdam. The colocation service provides a secure, dedicated environment, Verizon officials say, where customers can colocate their Internet servers, data networks or voice equipment.

Verizon Business will manage traffic from Germany, the Netherlands and the UK as well as support access to mobile Internet, instant messaging and telephony. The contract runs for four years.

The Amsterdam data center is one of 185 Verizon Data Centers in 22 countries, as well as four Verizon Smart Centers, which offer additional services such as a standardised, follow-the-sun service with disaster avoidance and recovery facilities. Verizon Business, is a unit of Verizon Communications.

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