First Coffee for 15 May 2006: On-Demand CRM Growing In Asia, Selligent, LignUp Blend CRM and VoIP, Common Sense on NSA Phone Project

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for 15 May 2006: On-Demand CRM Growing In Asia, Selligent, LignUp Blend CRM and VoIP, Common Sense on NSA Phone Project

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Dvorak’s New World Symphony:

Let’s have another shot of common sense on this whole NSA phone number data mining non-issue, from counterterrorism consultant Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, begin quote:

FISA distinguishes between “electronic surveillance,” which collects the substantive content of electronic communications, and “pen registers,” which collect only the addressing information of electronic communications. Although the language of FISA is somewhat convoluted, information about what calls were being made that doesn’t involve listening in on the discussions themselves should be classified as a pen register rather than electronic surveillance under the statute.

However, the definition of “pen register” in FISA shows that the statute doesn’t regulate the government with respect to the technology at issue here. FISA states that the regulations governing pen registers do not “include any device or process used by a provider or customer of a wire or electronic communication service for billing, or recording as an incident to billing, for communications services provided by such provider.”

That is precisely what was alleged in this case: The sources who spoke to USA Today said that the three participating telecommunications companies handed over information that was collected pursuant to their regular billing procedures. FISA does not implicate such action.
(end quote)

Nobody expects MSM journalists to be responsible individuals, of course, but First Coffee had slight hopes that elected representatives wouldn’t turn out to be people far more interested in personal political advantage than maintaining national security, and might trouble themselves to read the actual law. But hey, who has time for such trivialities when the voters back in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are so easily impressed with empty posturing and blather?

Selligent, a European vendor of CRM products, and LignUp Corporation, a vendor of converged communications products, have announced a partnership to deliver communications-enabled business process (CEBP) products by integrating the LignUp Communications Platform with Selligent’s enterprise and web-based customer relationship management products.

The combined offerings, according to officials from both companies, will allow Selligent customers to “enjoy voice-enhanced CRM capabilities powered by the LignUp platform.”

Selligent’s CRM products are designed to manage all phases of customer interaction. They integrate web-based sales, marketing and customer care functionality with a multi-channel contact center, as well as content management, document management and analytical CRM applications.

“By integrating the communications function directly with the applications that drive productivity and interact with customers, organizations have a greater ability to sense business environment change and respond efficiently and effectively to that change,” said Steve Blood, Research Vice President, Gartner, Inc.

LignUp’s flexible communications application server platform enables next generation CTI by combining standard session initiation protocol (SIP) and XML technologies to reduce integration time cycles and costs. This platform, LignUp officials say, allows independent software vendors and on-demand service providers such as Selligent to “easily build specialized IP telephony applications or voice-enable existing applications and services.”

“Integrating the LignUp platform with our CRM portfolio brings the dynamic capabilities of VoIP – voice, presence and messaging communications – to companies working to better develop and manage their customer relationships,” said Andrc Lejeune, CEO, Selligent.

“Organizations are always looking for new ways to obtain a competitive edge in reaching out to customers,” remarked Kevin Nethercott, president and COO for LignUp Corporation.

LignUp-enabled Selligent products will be generally available by the end of 2006 as a part of the CRM provider’s next portfolio release.

Selligent claims a customer retention rate of 87 percent in 10 years, which company officials claim is the CRM industry.

LignUp has been recognized for innovation with the TMC Labs Innovation Award.

Springboard Research, an IT market research firm, has released a study showing strong growth in adoption levels across Asia for Software as a Service (SaaS) in 2005, and even brighter prospects ahead.

The regional market (excluding Japan, these sorts of reports on Asia are always “excluding Japan” the way studies of popular bands from Liverpool, England are “excluding The Beatles”) saw revenues increase over 80 percent to $80 million in 2005, and the market is expected to grow to $501 million by 2008.

SaaS is where application software is delivered remotely through a subscription-based fee rather than being sold for on-site, perpetual use. The users do not buy the license of the software, but only a right to use it. SaaS is also referred to as On-Demand Software and On-Demand Application.

The SaaS market is receiving considerable focus from software vendors operating in various spheres of the industry,” noted Dane Anderson, Research Vice President at Springboard Research. “Global software giants, local ISVs and emerging on-demand software vendors all have a healthy dose of respect for the power of SaaS to disrupt the competitive frameworks of the software industry in the future.”

A survey of Asian Small and Medium-sized Businesses identified cost benefits as the primary driver for SaaS adoption, but ease of use and business benefits were also cited as important market accelerators.

Of the surveyed SMBs that had adopted SaaS, estimated savings ranged from 5-55 percent compared to the traditional licensed model, with the majority (58 percent) reporting estimated savings of between 20-30 percent.

Although SMBs represent the primary SaaS market in Asia today, a key study finding is that adoption is picking up in the large enterprise sector as well. Large enterprises are far less likely to leverage the SaaS model for core applications such as ERP, the study finds, “but for applications deemed less mission-critical and those on the edge of their infrastructures, SaaS is receiving considerable interest.”

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) currently represents half of total SaaS revenue in Asia, followed by Web Conferencing and collaboration and back-office applications. However, a number of other software market sectors are now gearing up for a SaaS push. Two segments in particular that appear poised for strong SaaS advances over the next several years are Security and Collaboration.

Given the cultural and economic complexity and diversity of the Asia Pacific region, the adoption of SaaS is not uniform across the region. Australia and New Zealand (what, we’re including Australia and New Zealand but not Japan?) are closer to North America in terms of SaaS adoption trends, and Australia is the largest SaaS market in the region. China and India are seen as countries with the greatest potential in the mid to long term future.

Asian software vendors are slowly entering the SaaS marketplace, but North American vendors currently dominate the market. The top 5 vendors –, WebEx, RightNow Technologies, Oracle and NetSuite – represent more than 50 percent of market revenues, and their dominance is likely to continue for the next few years.

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