The news as of the first coffee this morning, and we're back in action, jet-lagged as all get out from Richmond-Washington, Washington-Atlanta, Atlanta-Milan, Milan-Istanbul this weekend. So any mistakes are to be blamed on any one of the seven cups of coffee so far.
First Coffee did manage to pay a visit to TMC headquarters while back in America for Thanksgiving, and let me say in this e-mail world it's great to sit down over coffee and get to talk with the people you work with and for. So cheers to Patrick, Tracey, Greg, Michelle, Mae, Stefanie, and even Nadji made time to fill me in on the back story of the company, time much appreciated.
Plus you get to learn, um, colorful phrases in Hungarian and Russian from Tracey and Greg which are surprisingly appropriate for the drivers here in Istanbul. Time well spent, friends, time well spent.
Oh, and the music: Past iPod song shuffle selections this morning include Ol' Blue Eyes' "Cheek To Cheek," "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" by Minnesota Mudthroat Zimmerman, and an Emerson, Lake and Palmer live version of the song built around the coolest eight-note bass riff ever played, "Peter Gunn." We're in an Aimee Mann mood, though, we'll get to her great Live At St. Ann's Warehouse album here soon.
Don't you love that title? Didn't know there was a patron saint of warehouses, did you?
Xactly Corporation, a vendor of automated on-demand sales compensation management, thinks that recent market research findings and growth projections support its focus and strategy to deliver on-demand sales compensation products.
Recent market analyst research suggests sales performance management is "a fast-developing category" which is "likely to be dominated by the leading sales incentive compensation management vendors," company officials say.
"There exists a tremendous green field opportunity for Xactly to capitalize on the intersection of sales performance management and Software-as-a Service," according to Christopher W. Cabrera, Xactly founder, president and CEO.
Cabrera said his company offers "a true multi-tenant on-demand sales compensation management application with data management and analytics capabilities," giving companies "access to a central repository for sales performance-related data from ERP/order management, HR, product, CRM and other front- and back-office applications."
The Xactly Incent on-demand sales compensation management tool is sold primarily to sales and finance executives, compensation analysts, sales operations and sales pros. Its rules-based, services-oriented architecture lets customers build different compensation plans and manage incentive compensation with what Xactly officials describe as "minimum initial investment and low cost of ownership."
A couple weeks ago oft-quoted tech research firm Gartner, released their "Predicts 2007: Diversity Persists in the CRM SFA Market," in which analyst Michael Dunne writes that a sales performance management market "will coalesce around best-of-breed vendors largely originating from the sales incentive compensation management market. This is the domain that has developed into a sustainable, discrete market."
Primarily, sales incentive compensation management software vendors "will take the forefront by augmenting core functionality for designing, deploying and managing compensation plans with capabilities for established targets and market coverage," Dunne thinks.
EFunds Corporation, a vendor of payment processing and information intelligence products, has announced the appointment of Nelson Eng as president, U.S. for eFunds Corporation.
Eng will oversee all aspects of eFunds U.S. operations as he succeeds Rahul Gupta who is leaving the company next month.
Eng joins eFunds Corporation with 23 years experience in the technology and software industry and more than 14 years in the financial services markets. Most recently, Eng was general manager and group vice president of the financial services sector for Oracle Corporation which achieved double-digit growth in sales for its CRM business during his tenure.
Prior to this role, Eng held various senior management positions at IBM, Vignette and Dell.
Art Technology Group, Inc., a vendor of eCommerce platform vendor, has announced that Woolworths, still one of the UK’s biggest retailers, is deploying additional ATG software to power its online storefront and call center operations.
Using ATG applications such as ATG Commerce Assist and ATG Outreach, Woolworths officials say they can now offer a "stronger" multi-channel experience to customers.
Woolworths already had a commerce platform from ATG, but with the added ATG Commerce Assist application, the company says it is "further unifying its Web and call center environments, enabling contact center agents to create and manage online orders for customers."
ATG Outreach, company officials say, will help Woolworths "gain a richer understanding of customers through their web interactions, preferences and behaviors" to create "e-mail and proactive customer service campaigns."
Andrew Harber, head of strategy and channel systems at Woolworths, said the venerable retailer wants to "drive even more revenue online." Following a "de-merger," company officials say, Woolworths has moved into an Enterprise-wide Licensing Agreement, adding ATG Outreach and Commerce Assist to the mix to "drive forward its multi-channel campaign."
Englewood, Colorado-based TeleTech Holdings, Inc., a business outsourcer, has announced the launch of a retail voice portal designed "to provide a centralized inbound product to geographically dispersed retailers," according to company officials.
The retail voice portal is the newest addition to the TeleTech OnDemand suite of products, allowing big box and "other Global 1000 retailers," according to company officials, to have local store calls routed to a central location using a nationwide voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) network and an automated interactive voice response (IVR) system.
The product is being pitched by TeleTech as one which "can result in significant financial benefits by generating thousands of dollars in additional revenue per day per store and providing greater in-store productivity for retailers."
Basically it allows local callers to tap into a centralized, consistent menu that provides local store information as well as a variety of other options. Callers are then routed to the most appropriate location. Local store staff handle in-store customers while prospective customers are shunted off onto contact center agents.
Word of warning as Christmas approaches: Due to verbal abuse by shoppers, 2006 has seen "a marked increase in critical incident stress debriefings for retail establishments and call centers," according to ComPsych, a vendor of GuidanceResources, selling employee assistance programs, behavioral health, work-life, wellness, crisis intervention services and outsourced HR.
The company says acute-stress counseling sessions related to customer abuse in general "has more than doubled since 2005." Around the holidays especially, "retail work environments can become hostile," said Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, chairman and CEO of ComPsych.
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