Habitat For Humanity Contact Center, Seagull Software, From Bad To Worse, PacificNet, PRC

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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Habitat For Humanity Contact Center, Seagull Software, From Bad To Worse, PacificNet, PRC

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Jethro Tull's Aqualung. Scoff if you must, but that opening title track is an accomplishment a lot of bands would be proud to have stand as their finest hour. Toss in gems like "Mother Goose," "Up To Me" and "Cheap Day Return" and you have yourself a sturdy ol' album:

Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Georgia, an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing, has announced the adoption of a new Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007-based portal system, created by Alpharetta, Georgia-based Abel Solutions, Inc.

The contact center system will improve Habitat for Humanity's ability to manage and share information, both with its hundreds of worldwide affiliates and its international Board of Directors, according to company officials.

The portal will be used as a central information store to ensure organization-wide compliance with financial, legal and other corporate policies. These same portal capabilities can also extend to Habitat for Humanity's knowledge-base, to ensure consistency of answers to questions that often come to the organization's contact center, and to make that knowledge available on Habitat for Humanity's extranet for use by its worldwide affiliates.

Abel Solutions will also create a specific application to enable Habitat for Humanity's Board of Directors to access board-specific informational and educational materials at key points during the year.  

Habitat for Humanity CIO Jim Thie said Abel Solutions "came to us highly referenced and we are looking forward to a continuing relationship with them."

Seagull Software, a legacy business applications transformation vendor and a company which, as noted yesterday, others would do well to take a community spirit page from, has announced general availability of the LegaSuite IMS Gateway, which company officials describe as "a new addition to the LegaSuite platform of integration, user interface and workflow" products for legacy applications.

Prior to this announcement, LegaSuite already supported 3270 screen-based IMS application integration, along with direct IMS transaction-based integration using IBM's IMS Connect. LegaSuite IMS Gateway is a new method of integration directly to IMS transactions which, officials say, does not require IMS Connect, nor the installation of any other software on the mainframe.

The selling point the company sees is that IMS Gateway means that customers have "three methods for curing IMS mainframe integration headaches" with LegaSuite.

"LegaSuite is designed to close the skills gap and enable existing development teams to accelerate their response to business demands in a SOA-compliant way," said Don Addington, CEO and president of Seagull Software. "Now with LegaSuite IMS Gateway, we are offering even more options that give customers architectural flexibility as they SOA-enable important IMS applications."

Some of the product's features include IMS transactions can expose industry standard interfaces such as XML, Web services, (WSDL), Java Command Beans and .NET assemblies with no changes to the IMS code, and distributed architecture which means XML parsing and SOAP handling is performed 100 percent off the mainframe -- available platforms include Unix, Linux on Intel and Linux on z/Series, Intel and Windows.

There's also an Eclipse-based workbench designed to be easily learned and used by existing development teams, and no additional software required on the mainframe.

If you're interested:

Contact center observer Dawn Walton has written a book, From Bad To Worse: The Shortest Route to Contact Center Destruction, which as the preview says, "outlines how to deliver consistent, high quality service to customers each and every time."

I mean, if you're interested in that sort of thing for your contact center.

Calling it a "frank and funny book," Walton says she has been working in the contact center marketplace on a global level for over twelve years, "often from the ground up."

In the book she shows readers why they should never accept the average or forget the customer's perspective, a worthy goal for any contact center. She discusses how to build a framework of operation that is consistent with any company's vision and how to set and communicate a company's direction.

Readers can "learn the building blocks of workforce management and how to tell if employees are doing a good job with speed, efficiency and quality," she says, calling the book "full of practical ideas and easy-to-implement concepts to help any business person deal with the problems they have and to help every individual look towards their business's future."

From Bad to Worse: The Shortest Route to Contact Center Destruction is available for sale online at Amazon.com, Borders.com, and through additional wholesale and retail channels. Walton has spent over twelve years in the contact center marketplace throughout Europe, the Scandinavian countries, Canada, Egypt, India and the United States. A self-confessed techno-geek, Dawn Walton lives in Dundee, Scotland.

CRM vendor PacificNet Inc., which also sells mobile internet, e-commerce and gaming technology in China, has announced that its PacificNet Games Limited (PacGames) subsidiary has received orders from two more casinos in Macau, China for multi-player Electronic Gaming Machines (EGM).

Terms of the orders were not disclosed for competitive reasons.

Tony Tong, Chairman and CEO of PacificNet, said although the company cannot divulge the specifics on these sales "due to the highly competitive current market in Macau," he does want to convey the company's "rapid progress in the Macau gaming market to our shareholders and the gaming world."

Initial sales and acceptance of installed units are showing that PacificNet's machines are "right for the Macau market," according to Tong, adding "we are happy to see that our multiplayer EGM installation base is seeing steady growth in Asia."

According to recent Reuters reports, multiplayer gaming machines have proven to be very popular in Macau, as the trend is away from traditional, individual terminal games towards multi-player, shared experience games. Electronic adaptations of popular table games are proving exceptionally popular, both by players and casino operators.

Players enjoy a private betting terminal over a crowded table while casino operators enjoy greater accuracy, dealing speed, and cost savings of not having a human dealer.

"A powerful and developing trend over the next two years will be the movement toward multi-station, communal play gaming devices," said Merrill Lynch analyst David Anders in a note quoted by Reuters.

PRC, a vendor of outsourced customer management, has announced that it will open a new contact center in Huntington, West Virginia. The company plans to bring 700 new jobs to the area, and will be hiring associates at all levels including management and technology team members to support the company's client base.

PRC manages customer relationships through its global network of centers. The company
employs over 14,000 team members worldwide.

Joseph Livingston, President and COO of PRC, said the Tri-State area is "known for the quality of its people and their unwavering loyalty."

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