Hummingbird for Microsoft, CRM Is Not ERP, Aastra Contact Centers, IRMC and Cisco Call Centers

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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Hummingbird for Microsoft, CRM Is Not ERP, Aastra Contact Centers, IRMC and Cisco Call Centers

By David Sims

The news as of the second cup of coffee (actually a Diet Coke) this morning, and the music is Dusty Springfield's Dusty In Memphis album. There's more good stuff here than "Son Of A Preacher Man," too, although that's like saying there's more good stuff in Tupelo, Mississippi than Elvis's birthplace:

Hummingbird Ltd., a vendor of enterprise content management and network connectivity products, has announced the general availability of Hummingbird Enterprise eDOCS for Microsoft SharePoint, which, according to company officials, "provides access to and interaction with content managed by Hummingbird Enterprise through Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003."

So if that's what you're looking for, this is the place.

EDOCS for Microsoft SharePoint will also integrate with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 when it is launched.

The product lets organizations use their investment in Hummingbird Enterprise, by providing workers using SharePoint Technologies with access to Hummingbird's document management and records management capabilities in support of regulatory compliance.

EDOCS for Microsoft SharePoint is "a collection of customizable Web Parts," according to company officials, which "expose the functionality of Hummingbird Enterprise within Microsoft Office SharePoint environments, providing a central point of access to documents, folders, and workspaces and exposing" -- you'd think they were flashers, all this talk about exposing -- "Hummingbird's full text search capabilities through SharePoint products and technologies."

The product offers fully customizable document/folder views based on secure metadata and login access rights.

Founded in 1984, Hummingbird employs over 1,400 people and serves more than 33,000 customers, including 90% of Fortune 100 companies. Hummingbird products are sold directly from 40 offices worldwide and through an Alliance Network of partners and resellers.


A word to the wise from Larry Caretsky, President of New Jersey-based Commence, developers of a stand alone industrial CRM product: Caretsky says that most ERP companies offering CRM have shortfalls.

"Managing the sales cycle and sales representative performance, marketing campaign management and integration with customer support are not provided by ERP tools," he said. CRM is not the strength for most ERP systems, which often use an add-on module but are rarely a full CRM package.

In many cases, Caretsky says, "industrial customers who require full CRM capabilities are relegated to third party products or services."

Stand alone industrial CRM products can provide more effective lean CRM processes, provided "the vendor truly understands the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the manufacturing sector; most do not," Caretsky thinks, adding that "Generic databases do not address central issues facing all industrial operations. Smart industrial organizations gather several key data points during customer research, which helps to define a CRM profile."


Aastra Intecom has introduced a strategic alliance program for VARs and strategic partners to offer its Hosted Contact Center product, Centergy Virtual Contact Center, to their customers, "as a value-added service with no capital investment," according to company officials.

Hosted contact centers are, in fact, among the fastest growing telecommunications market segments, growing at 38% CAGR, according to a 2005 Frost & Sullivan study. Usually, however, you find them only in large service providers who can afford the hardware and software infrastructure and experienced human resources required to deploy a hosting center.

Aastra Intecom likes to claim that it "removes barriers to entry for resellers by taking on the operational and support responsibilities of managing a hosted contact center, allowing partners to focus on the customer relationship."

Hence, the CVCC Strategic Alliance Program provides access to the hosted contact center market for resellers, sales training from industry experts, co-branded reseller collateral, client contract signing incentive, recurring commission, commission for cpgrades and expansions and opportunities for cross sales of other products and services.

"The CVCC Strategic Partner Program levels the playing field, giving resellers of all sizes the ability to provide a unique, value-added service to their target market," claims Hugh Scholaert, President of Aastra Intecom. "Aastra makes it easy for partners to make money with CVCC because this program requires no capital investment and provides paid commissions for the life of the contract."

Aastra Intecom provides contact center and enterprise IP communications for distributed entities. The parent company, Aastra Technologies Limited, is headquartered in Concord, Ontario, Canada.

Cisco Systems has announced that IRMC will standardize on the Cisco Unified Contact Center along with the Cisco Unified Outbound Dialer for its more than 5,500 contact center agents worldwide.

By implementing Cisco's standards-based IP software to replace its legacy equipment, IRMC officials say the hope to "streamline management" of its globally distributed contact centers into a central data depot and "reduce operational and maintenance costs."

IRMC's contact center agents provide customer management products such as collections, accounts receivables and customer retention services to IRMC clients around the globe. The company hopes the Cisco Unified Contact Center will give it the ability to manage call routing from its headquarters and will give it a single view into all its service and support processes.

Barry Grant, chief technology officer for IRMC said the company "evaluated a number of products to support our vision of end-to-end digital communications. Cisco's contact center technology easily stood out as the best fit to manage our high volume of data and voice traffic in a highly secure and efficient single-network environment."

Laurent Philonenko, vice president and general manager of Cisco's customer contact business unit and a featured speaker at TMC events, notes that companies that compete on service quality "recognize that the right choice of technology is a business-critical decision."

In addition to the Cisco Unified Contact Center, IRMC will also implement a host of Cisco security, storage and management products to protect and manage its global contact center network, including Cisco Security Monitoring, Analysis and Response System; Cisco Security Agent, Cisco MDS 9000 SAN Management; Cisco QOS Policy Management; CiscoWorks LAN Management Solution; and Security Management.

IRMC provides customer management products specializing in collections, accounts receivable management, and customer retention services through its global call center network of nearly 6,000 employees.

Ever heard the East Village Opera Company? No? It's opera for those -- like First Coffee -- who don't like opera. Accomplished vocalists, gen-yoo-wine arias, electric guitar and (tasteful) drums.

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