Minneapolis 3-1-1 Update, Digisoft Call Center Upgrades, MyFax , New Autonomy Analytics Warehouse

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David Sims
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Minneapolis 3-1-1 Update, Digisoft Call Center Upgrades, MyFax , New Autonomy Analytics Warehouse

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Weather Report's Heavy Weather and Return To Forever's Romantic Warrior: Few...shun!

Lagan, a provider of enterprise software dedicated to providing public services to constituents, has reported a successful year-in-review from the City of Minneapolis' first year in 3-1-1 Call Center operation.   

You might as well know this is something First Coffee is in favor of, citizen contact centers designed to streamline interactions with municipal authorities, get actual potholes filled and garbage picked up with one phone call.

In such systems, put in place in Chicago, Albuquerque, Minneapolis, Hampton, Virginia among others, the city takes on the onus of making sure the call gets routed to the right department, instead of making John Q. Taxpayer run the maze of "Sorry, that's not this department's responsibility" calls all morning.

A 3-1-1 system lets you call in once, explain your problem, and the operator takes it from there. Chicago even gives out case tracking numbers, so you can call back to check on the progress of your complaint and any operator will be able to pick up the thread. Honestly, it's one of those things you wonder why they didn't do fifty years ago.

With an average of 1,363 calls and 150 e-mails per day, the City of Minneapolis has made what Lagan officials like to characterize as "significant and steady progress" since its public launch on January 4, 2006, and is "well on its way to streamlining city inquiries into two main portals: 3-1-1 for non-emergency and 9-1-1 for emergency."

Because that's one main reason 3-1-1 is important -- people were getting so frustrated with impenetrable city bureaucracies that they were resorting to calling 9-1-1 to report non-emergency issues like the garbage hasn't been picked up or there's this massive pothole in my street, simply because 9-1-1 was the only place where they could talk to a live city employee.

This overburdened 9-1-1 systems, took valuable time and resources away from emergency calls, and kicked a few rears into finding an answer. Generally 3-1-1 systems work remarkably well, First Coffee hasn't heard of any that have been abject failures. Of course we don't get e-mailed too many of those press releases to begin with: "Acme Anvils would like to report the complete failure of their…"

Results seen in 2006 for the Minneapolis 3-1-1 system include 343,428 - 3-1-1 calls answered and resolved, from 60 percent to 72 percent improvement in 1st Call resolution and 90.3 percent of calls taken in 20 seconds.

Oh, by the way, guess what was the most frequently requested service request? Graffiti removal. Don't ever let anybody tell you most people don't care about graffiti, or that it's just a charming aspect of urban life, or that it's the essential expression of disempowered this or that bushwa. It's ugly, obnoxious and people hate it.

Minneapolis 3-1-1 is letting the city track and respond to citizen requests for relief of non-emergency concerns like -- this is Minneapolis -- snow and ice removal. Using Lagan's 3-1-1 software solution, the City of Minneapolis was able to offer its citizens multiple communication channels including, phone, e-mail and online.

"One of our main goals is to ensure that the citizens of Minneapolis have access to the information that they need, using their 'touch-point' of choice, and that their experience is handled efficiently and professionally," said Don Stickney, Assistant Director for Minneapolis 3-1-1. 

We seem to be on call center news these days, but hey, go with what's hot: Digisoft, a TouchStar Software company, has announced the release of new version upgrades for its call center software products Telescript 6.0 and eTelescript Release 33.

Digisoft sells call center solutions, CRM applications and call transaction management systems. ETelescript is a browser-based version of Telescript that provides clients with an Internet-based call center capable of connecting agents anywhere in the world.

Company officials say eTelescript Release 33 is compatible with the latest Microsoft technology including Internet Explorer 7 and SQL Server 2005. Digisoft clients will "benefit from the new release with improved script testing options, additional control over data, remote printing options, and easier ways to create and manage appointment scheduling with external offices and sales representatives," they say.

Yeah, make it compatible with Firefox, the browser people who can choose their own browser use, and First Coffee's impressed.

Digisoft is releasing its 6.0 upgrade of its Telescript product in January 2007. The newest version was developed based on feedback from Digisoft clients, and provides greater performance with restructured licensing, and an updated platform using Microsoft .NET.

Many limitations from prior versions have been removed. Telescript 6.0 can be integrated with eTelescript to enable local and remote agents. V.6.0 supports Crystal 11, and the new version also offers the feature of mail merge e-mails to be generated and distributed through the server, eliminating the need to install and configure Microsoft Office components on individual workstations.

ETelescript was presented with the 2005 CIS Technology Excellence award for CRM Excellence by Customer Inter@ction Solutions Magazine.

Digisoft was acquired by TouchStar Software in 2005. TouchStar is headquartered in Denver, and has offices in New York City, Davenport, Iowa; Manchester, England; Manila, Mumbai and Durban, South Africa.

Autonomy Corporation plc has announced its Meaning Analytics Warehouse, what company officials are calling "a new IDOL module and the first data warehouse to perform bulk analysis and mining of the vast amounts of information contained in the enterprise including video, voice, e-mail, applications, databases and hundreds of other file types by understanding the concepts, context and patterns contained in the information."

"Our philosophy is focused on deriving meaning from the vast amounts of data that resides in organizations and then presenting that data to business intelligence and other key applications to deliver business insight," said Mike Lynch, CEO Autonomy.

The Meaning Analytics Warehouse module works by indexing, transforming and analyzing this information based on its meaning and relationships. It builds on and complements Autonomy's established IDOL platform -- which allows enterprises to search and process relevant data in real-time across all data types -- with the addition of historical bulk analysis capabilities.

This new capability is intended to make mining of information from all information sources readily available for applications including top end business intelligence, electronic discovery, security and surveillance, and other applications requiring insight created as a bi-product of real-time or transactional systems.

If you're interested: MyFax has announced what company officials say are "several new enhancements" to its Internet fax services for businesses allowing users to send and receive faxes using e-mail accounts and the Web. Evidently there are "new account services including improved accessibility to information, additional reporting features, and integration with the customer relationship management software, ACT!"

Available to more than 2.5 million registered ACT! Users, including 35,000+ corporate customers, is a new add-on that allows ACT! users to send and receive faxes directly within the application. Users can send the same document to one or more ACT! contacts, use mail merge with ACT! templates and track faxes sent through the CRM database.

MyFax is available for $10 per month or $110 per year. This price includes 100 outbound pages and 200 inbound pages per month. Volume pricing is also available.

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