By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bob Dylan's "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts," a better Western than most movies:
The China-based CDC Corporation, vendors of CRM products and other enterprise software, mobile applications and online games, have announced that as of May 1, 2007, the company has repurchased 6,936,624 common shares at an average price of $5.13 per share for a total of $35,604,235, including brokerage commissions, since May 2, 2006.
The board of directors has approved an additional share repurchase program which authorizes the repurchase, at the discretion of senior management, of up to $20 million of the company's common shares for 12 months until May 2008.
In addition to the share repurchase program, senior management of the company, including the chief executive officer, has purchased approximately 387,000 shares since January 1, 2007.
CRM vendor Entellium has been recognized for its SFA products as well -- in "The Forrester Wave: Sales Force Automation, Q2 2007, Forrester Research, Inc. April 2007" Forrester Research named the company a "leader" in SFA.
The report says Entellium's SFA offers "strong, easy-to-use setup and configuration tools" as well as a well-organized user interface with context-sensitive links that help users complete tasks. It comes with a modular pricing model, strong support for managing contacts, accounts and activities and has a service level agreement that guarantees at least 99.7 percent uptime.
To evaluate Entellium and other SFA vendors, Forrester used its Wave methodology, which ranks SFA vendors by category of "leaders," "strong performers," "contenders" and "risky bets." Forrester said Entellium is an especially good fit for buyers seeking access to SFA while on the road: "Entellium is one of the few SaaS products that provide a smart client instead of just browser-based access," the report said.
SugarCRM Inc., a vendor of commercial open source customer relationship management, has announced plans to expand support for customers of the Oracle Unbreakable Linux Support Program across all SugarCRM solutions.
Based on the growing demand, SugarCRM and Oracle can now provide their joint customers what SugarCRM officials call "a robust, fully supported product."
The support of Oracle Unbreakable Linux is "a direct result from the SugarCRM customers demanding high-quality, reliable CRM applications," said Paul Oh, director of technology alliances at SugarCRM. "SugarCRM has been a member of the Oracle open source partnership for the last two years, and this announcement expands our Oracle database integration into the Oracle Unbreakable Linux Support Program."
Sugar's commercial open source model is built on modern open source and Web 2.0 languages and relies heavily on customer feedback, community contributions and strategic partnerships to bring CRM features to market.
If you're running your CRM over a frame relay network you might want to consider MPLS. Multi-protocol label switching gives network users "better performance for existing applications and flexibility to divert and route traffic around link failures, congestion, and bottlenecks at 10-40 percent savings over frame relay," according to Alain Nguyen of ShopforBandwidth.com.
MPLS was invented to solve the problem of bridging multiple disparate protocols such as Frame Relay, ATM, and Ethernet. In computer networking and telecommunications, MPLS service provides unified data-carrying service for both circuit-based and packet-switching clients. It can be used to carry many different kinds of traffic, including IP packets, ATM, SONET, and Ethernet.
"Applications running on a network such as VoIP, CRM, ERP, videoconferencing, run better over MPLS than traditional 20 year old Frame Relay," Nguyen says, adding that in the next 3 to 5 years, it is expected that MPLS circuits will overtake frame relay and point-to-point circuits in popularity since "it is a better technology which has now proven to be more beneficial to businesses."
Don't forget today's the National Day of Prayer for America. No shortage of needs there.
According to a J.D. Power report, Virgin ranks highest in customer satisfaction for its mobile telephone service in both the pre-pay and contract service sectors.
The study is now in its tenth year, measuring the customer satisfaction of pre-pay and contract customers with the UK's leading mobile network providers. Overall satisfaction for pre-pay providers is measured based on performance in six factors -- image, offerings and promotions, call quality/coverage, cost, handset and customer service. Satisfaction in the contract segment includes the additional factor of billing.
Among pre-pay providers, Virgin moves from third place in 2006 to first place in 2007 with an overall index score of 724 points on a 1,000-point scale. It also ranks highest in the contract sector, with an overall index score of 730 points.
The study also finds that nearly one-half of all mobile users (46 percent) received some form of incentive or reward from their network provider to encourage loyalty, with contract customers (51 percent) more likely to receive rewards than pre-pay customers (44 percent).
"With increasing numbers of consumers reporting their intention to switch providers, it's becoming even more important for providers to reward existing customers for their loyalty," said Caspar Tearle, director of service industries research at J.D. Power and Associates, adding that his research "shows that rewarding mobile customers has a positive impact on levels of customer satisfaction and could entice potential customers to switch networks."
The study finds that the average number of weekly calls made by pre-pay customers has dropped from 14 in 2006 to 10 per week, and the average number of text messages has stayed the same at 27. Among contract customers, the number of calls made per week has dropped from 35 in 2006 to 27 in 2007, while text messages have increased considerably, from 32 to 46.
More than two-thirds of mobile phones now have a camera feature (72 percent) and the ability to download games and ringtones (69 percent), and that nearly one-half of all mobile users (47 percent) have upgraded their handsets in the past 12 months.
Pre-pay customers pay an average of £12.35 per month, representing an annual spend of £150, with O2 customers spending the most (£13.95) and Virgin customers the least (£10.90). Contract customers spend £32.45 per month, with Orange customers spending the most (£37) and Virgin customers spending the least (£26.50).
One wonders how Orange's customer service stacks up to Virgin's. First Coffee heard recently from a Turkcell customer who is less than thrilled with the customer service he's getting:
"As a regular follower of TMCnet.com, below you will find some comments of mine on Turkcell customer service," Timur writes. "I have been trying to pay my Turkcell bill from the UK since last Friday. I have not been contacted yet. When I saw the news with Turkcell on your Web site I was really surprised, since it does not reflect the real situation in Turkcell. As an unfortunate customer of Turkcell, I have used many services, in both Turkey and Europe. I can say with confidence that Turkcell is one of the worst. Customer service understanding of Turkcell needs completely to be renewed."
According to the Turkcell Web site, it is easy to pay Turkcell bills from a foreign country, but as Timur found out, "it is definitely not. If you decide to… pay your pill online you are transferred to an error page."
Good luck, Timur, hope this helps.
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