CRM and VoIP, Enforta WiMAX, Microsoft CRM, TEC Report on CMA, PacificNet

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CRM and VoIP, Enforta WiMAX, Microsoft CRM, TEC Report on CMA, PacificNet

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is some Coleman Hawkins, some Clifford Brown and Max Roach:

Enforta has announced that it has commissioned its network and started to offer services in the regional capitals of Voronezh and Penza.

Networks in the cities of Ulyanovsk, Tula, and Yaroslavl are also operational and awaiting final regulatory consents. Services in Krasnoyarsk and Samara will be commissioned during June and July.

"We expand our service area by another 6 million people with the inclusion of these additional seven cities", said Victor Ratnikov, Enforta's General Director, adding that Enforta now operates "the largest wireless broadband 'footprint' in Russia covering a total of 25 regional capitals with over 50 million people."

Enforta has also announced that it expects to begin deploying the new Alvarion "BreezeMax 5200' product upon obtaining final Russian certifications during Q3.

"Enforta is unique in operating networks at both the 3.5 GHz and 5.2 GHz licensed frequencies", said Lee Sparkman, Enforta's President, adding that in his opinion enterprises will appreciate the "high data throughput and stability of 'BreezeMax 5200'" products, while consumers and small business will appreciate "the simplicity of self-installed equipment supported by 'BreezeMax 3500'."

Enforta plans to begin services in an additional eight cities during the second half of 2007.

"There are no 'silver bullets' when it comes to providing broadband services," Sparkman said, but going forward "Enforta will have the flexibility to deploy either Alvarion BreezeMax 3500, ideal for consumers and small business requiring self-installable equipment, or BreezeMAX 5200 for high performance, mission critical, enterprise applications, or both."      

Enforta was formed in October, 2003 with the objective to provide broadband services using WiMAX and other advanced technologies in Russia's regional capitals. It's owned by Sumitomo Corporation, Baring Vostok Capital Partners, EBRD, and its management team.

Customer Effective, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and provider of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, has implemented CRM to address the growing sales and customer service needs of Formetco, which for 40 years has been one of the largest full service suppliers to the Outdoor Advertising Industry.

Product line expansions and increased customer demands triggered Formetco's need to replace their contact management system.

Working with a team from Formetco, Customer Effective led the implementation by determining CRM objectives and mapping a plan to interface the system with Microsoft Great Plains. With the integration to Great Plains, Formetco has single point access to complete customer data.

"We now have a total sales system where nothing slips through the cracks," says Jock Gibb, vice president of sales. "All follow-up calls and scheduled activity are captured in CRM. Overall, we now have better customer service."

Customer Effective is headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina with a sole focus on Microsoft CRM.

A recently released report from Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC), a analyst firm specializing in impartial enterprise software evaluations, cites increasing interest in on-demand sales compensation management applications.

Authored by principal analyst P.J. Jakovljevic and issued as a four-part series beginning on May 7th, the report marks the latest industry analyst research on sales incentive compensation management (ICM) and sales performance management (SPM).

Last month, Gartner published a report entitled "Sales Incentive Compensation Management Achieves Operational Benefits, but Must Focus on Strategic Value." SiriusDecisions also issued an April brief entitled "Incentive Compensation, the Systematic Way."

The TEC report, titled "On Demand Delivery Compels a Compensation Management Vendor," claims that newer SaaS-model applications "feature the on-demand functionality that, at the very least, matches the capabilities of on-premise counterparts."

A full copy of the TEC report can be viewed at

In March of this year, Aberdeen Group released a report titled "Incentive Compensation Management: Aligning Compensation with Business Goals." The full Aberdeen report can be viewed at

Interesting comments published today by Reading, England-based Brendan Peo, Country Manager of CRM vendor HansaWorld UK, on the synergies between VoIP and CRM.

"There are two problems with the IP telephony hype," Peo says. "First, IP telephony probably won't save you as much as you'll end up spending on extra hardware to maintain call quality. The promise of cost savings is a red herring."

But there's a bigger problem, Peo says, which is that most people punting IP telephony completely miss the point about its real value: "They're stuck in a 130-year-old mindset in which telephony begins and ends with the ability for two people to talk when they're apart. We've added some embellishments -- voice mail, caller ID, call forwarding -- but it's still all about talking. If all that has changed is the way the voice signal is carried, then nothing has changed."

The bigger point Peo thinks most people are missing is that if voice becomes just another data stream, "then we can mix it up and enrich it with other data streams. Once we do that -- once we connect our phone systems to our financial and customer records -- a world of opportunities opens up. We start being able to extract business from a system that was previously just part of the furniture."

Link caller ID with other information, for example, and suddenly when customers call their profiles pop up on your screen even before you've answered, he says: "You can see everything from outstanding invoices through what happened last time the customer called the company, to how profitable this account is."

When this happens, "your CRM system simply is your address book, and it automatically tracks every phone call, SMS or e-mail exchanged with every customer," Peo notes. "This way a customer database is always up to date and shared throughout the organization… that's the true value of IP telephony: forget about saving pennies on phone calls and look instead to the new business it can create."

PacificNet, Inc., a vendor of gaming technology, e-commerce, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in China, has announced that it has opened an office in Zhuhai, a city adjacent to Macau, as a product development and R & D center to support its PacificNet Games Limited (PactGames) Macau office.

Zhuhai's availability of" stable IT professionals, an educated and cost-effective workforce, a healthy and clean living environment, and continuous software and IT training offered by numerous local colleges and universities, as well as government incentives and supportive policies," influenced the choice, PacificNet officials said.

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