CRM Integration Issues, Recommind, Satuit, IBM, Hanaro

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David Sims
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CRM Integration Issues, Recommind, Satuit, IBM, Hanaro

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Rolling Stones' Some Girls:

Satuit Technologies, Inc. has announced that Harris Investment Management, Inc. has selected Satuit as its customer relationship management (CRM) provider of choice.

HIM needed a CRM product that could scale as its business grows while providing "more efficiency, better management and stronger analytics from the marketing, sales and client service processes," according to HIM officials. 

HIM offers investment management products and services, as well as convenience, choice and flexibility -- all with a single point of contact. To support the single point of contact business model, HIM sought a CRM product built for the asset management industry rather than a general-purpose package.

This requirement narrowed the options significantly. While there were a few generic CRM products available that were enhanced to better serve the asset management industry, even these were not built from the ground up for the investment field.

In the end HIM chose SatuitCRM, which Satuit officials like to call "the only CRM product designed and built for investment professionals, by investment professionals." HIM also liked the fact that SatuitCRM was available as an on-demand product.

IBM has announced that it has entered into a Business Transformation Outsourcing contract with Hanaro T&I Inc. to "transform and manage its call center operations, streamlining Hanaro T&I's business operations and improving customer service," according to IBM officials.

The service will be delivered out of IBM's first BTO delivery center in Jeonju City, Korea, which was jointly opened recently by representatives from IBM Korea, Jeonju City, Jeonju Kijeon College and Hanaro Telecom.

Hanaro T&I is the first customer in IBM Korea's newly opened BTO delivery center in Jeonju City, which will provide advanced call center services. The center will be expanded over time to provide support to other Korean companies to meet the growing demand for process outsourcing and transformation in Korea.

IBM Korea will collaborate with Jeonju City, Jeonju Kijeon College and Hanaro Telecom to build call center infrastructure and facilities, providing advanced call center services to "improve Hanaro's peak-time service level and enhance client satisfaction," according to Hanaro officials.

Hanaro T&I, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hanaro Telecom, the second-largest telecommunications provider in Korea, needed to maintain call center service in response to increasing call volume and rapid turnover of call center operators. Hanaro T&I runs a call center with close to 2,000 agents. The center was a consolidation of all the call centers across Hanaro Telecom Group following the merger of its two subsidiaries, Hanaro Customer Service, Inc. and Hanaro Interdesk, Inc. to form Hanaro T&I in 2002.

Under the industry-academia cooperation model, IBM Korea will be responsible for the development of call center application, knowledge management, online learning and customer satisfaction programs to enhance the agents' performance. Jeonju City and Jeonju Kijeon College will provide support in agent recruitment and basic skills training.

"IBM sees tremendous opportunities for its CRM BTO business in the Korea domestic industry as more Korean companies begin to realize the benefits of process outsourcing and transformation," said Randy Walker, General Manager, Managed Business Process Services, Asia Pacific.

The new delivery center is expected to emerge as a hub of advanced call center services for domestic businesses in Korea. It will be supported by 200 agents at the start and will reach its full capacity of 1,000 seats over the next five years.

In the Asia-Pacific region, IBM has 20 centers delivering BTO services in Japan, Australia, China, India and the Philippines. IBM delivers BTO services to clients across the globe including D&B, Bharti, ACOM, JARC and Kyobo Life.

Recommind, a search and categorization vendor, has announced that its flagship MindServer 4.2 information access platform now provides full enterprise search integration with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.

Recommind also announced that it has achieved recognition as a Microsoft Certified Partner, based on its development investment and competence with Microsoft technologies. Recommind has been working with Microsoft on the SharePoint integration project to deliver integrated search capabilities to customers of the two companies.

The vendor has also integrated MindServer with SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and uses Microsoft's .NET API for the search integrations.

"Enterprise search is rapidly becoming a 'must-have' capability for organizations in every industry," said Mark Albrecht, director of strategic ISV recruitment for Microsoft. "Search makes the difference between simply having information and being able to easily use information."

"Our joint development efforts with Microsoft on this important integration represent a significant step forward in our relationship as a Microsoft Certified Partner," said Bob Tennant, CEO of Recommind. "User adoption is critical to an organization's success with its portal investment.

Combining the Recommind MindServer platform with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server lets users search knowledge assets within the SharePoint portal, as well as in the organization's e-mail, document management, enterprise management, human resources, time and billing, CRM, and contact management systems.

MindServer 4.2 is the latest release of Recommind's flagship MindServer enterprise information access platform. MindServer transforms high volumes of discrete files, documents, and messages contained in enterprise management systems, HR, time and billing systems, CRM and contact management systems into manageable information relevant to a user's specific purpose.

Many companies continue to report significant problems in linking together key operational systems, and are looking at new ways of achieving this goal, according to the latest survey from PMP Research. The research has been commissioned by the Evaluation Center.

The majority of organizations polled (40 percent) report difficulties in integrating their legacy systems with newer applications such as CRM. Only one in five (21 percent) reckon they can do this "very well," while another 30 percent describe their performance as "adequate." Seven percent claim to have no such requirement.

A major factor in this is the disparate mix of operating systems, applications and databases now in use in many companies, the research found. The most common choice for corporate applications is identified as a mixture of standalone and bespoke packages, which is cited by a third (30 percent). In contrast, only 14 percent have standardized on integrated ERP packages.

The main reason to initiate integration projects is the desire to improve operational effectiveness, according to 84 percent. The majority (77 percent) now have one central group which is responsible for coordinating all integration activity, a much larger proportion than the 57 percent who made the same response in PMP Research’s previous survey of this area 12 months ago.

However, a quarter of the sample (26 percent) say they have had to abandon an integration project at some point. Poor benefits realization is one reason for this, along with changes in project scope, other business priorities and a shortage of specialist skills.

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