By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is something by Bach, the name of the piece escapes me, sounds like a typewriter — heck, all Bach does:
IBM has announced new technology designed to “arm professionals with the ability to combine information from different sources to create just-in-time applications” needed to “help close a big deal, deliver an important presentation or just get through the weather,” according to Big Blue officials.
Key to employee productivity, these situational applications, or mashups, blend Web services like news feeds, weather reports, maps or traffic conditions, with enterprise content and services from databases, spread sheets and documents.
IBM Lotus Expeditor 6.1.1 software is a standards-based managed client that can extend mashups in the enterprise to a wide variety of desktop, laptop, and mobile devices on the market, to give customers access to business information from mobile customer relationship management (CRM), among others.
Lotus Expeditor provides this mashup capability for Lotus Notes 8 and Domino 8, the newest version of IBM’s collaboration platform available to customers this month.
Company officials say enhanced security features give administrators control of the desktop, which means end users have role-based controlled access to the applications.
Other features include a server-managed composite platform — spanning desktop and mobile — that integrates and aggregates applications and information, so using Lotus Expeditor software, developers can incorporate elements from disparate sources including Microsoft .NET, Swing, native, Eclipse-based components and Flash.
Lotus Expeditor software is based on open standards such as OSGi, the open source Eclipse framework, and serves as the foundation technology for a number of other IBM offerings including Lotus Sametime 7.5 and Lotus Notes 8. The software has been designed to integrate with key IBM products such as WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Portal, Lotus Sametime, IBM Workplace Forms and Lotus Notes 8 software.
Soffront Software, a CRM vendor concentrating on the mid-market, has announced that Pioneers Information Technologies has chosen Soffront CRM.
Headquartered in Amman, Jordan, Pio-Tech is a systems integrator and business products vendor specializing in enterprise management products.
After considering numerous products, Pio-Tech selected Soffront because “they offered exceptional value and everything we needed to achieve our CRM goals,” explained Rand Hashem, managing director at Pio-Tech.
According to Hashem, the speed and cost of implementation were also important considerations. “With Soffront’s ‘On Demand’ product, we were able to deploy within a month. The entire system was available online with a user-friendly Web interface. Soffront’s modular approach allowed us to gradually add modules, as needed.”
Soffront CRM enables Pio-Tech to improve the entire customer management life cycle-from prospect, through sales, to valued customer. “Soffront’s customer help desk gives us full control and quick response to all customer support requests,” said Hashem. “The software helped us to build an extensive knowledge base, and our customers appreciate the superior technical support we now deliver.”
Pio-Tech’s marketing department is using Soffront CRM to “better filter and select leads based on responses,” Hashem said.
Oracle officials have pronounced themselves pleased with Oracle’s Siebel CRM On Demand and Oracle On Demand customer traction, announcing that in the last quarter alone Oracle established or expanded its relationship with more than 200 new global customers, including ADP, Central Plastics, Fidelity Registered Investment Advisor Group, GE Commercial Finance and Translational Genomics Research Institute.
With 14 releases of Siebel CRM On-Demand in less than four years, Oracle’s Siebel CRM On Demand Release 14 is now generally available. This new version unites the CRM functionality with the latest in Web 2.0 technologies, company officials say, and includes “significant enhancements across its sales, marketing, services, analytics, built-in call center, and industry edition capabilities.”
Siebel CRM On Demand Release 14 will also include “next-generation usability and customization capabilities, and strong integration capabilities that allow customers and partners to quickly and easily establish deep integration with other applications,” company officials promise.
Additionally, with the Siebel CRM On Demand Integration Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite, customers gain pre-built integration between their subscription CRM applications and the back office suite.
CRM vendor iCentera has selected IBM search software to provide its more than 65,000 client portal users greater access to important information buried in files, images and documents, making them more easily searchable and accessible from the 6,000 iCentera portals.
ICentera, a vendor of on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) portals primarily for marketing, sales and customer communication, has integrated IBM OmniFind Yahoo! Edition search software in the new version of its icSuite Software-as-a-Service technology to help users find information to create communication portals for any internal or external audience in minutes.
Under the terms of the deal, IBM search capabilities are integrated within the iCentera service and help users locate content from within iCentera’s portals, so clients can index and search a wider variety of file types in multiple languages. The latest version of iCentera’s software-as-a-service offering delivers enhanced Web 2.0 capabilities.
Scott Montgomery, vice president of product management at Secure Computing, said the company wants to give sales, partners and customers “advanced search among all documents on a specific topic.”
The combination of IBM search software and iCentera’s CRM product lets users create personalized portals for virtually any audience in minutes.
Contact center firm Convergys is expanding to Bacolod City in the Philippines in the first quarter of 2008, earmarking about $3 million to build its ninth Philippine-based facility with an initial 300 employees. The 3,000-square-meter facility at the San Antonio Park Square can accommodate about 500 employees.
Executive vice-president for Global Operations Clint Streit said the company was considering other locations in Western Visayas for future facilities. He said that despite the appreciation of the peso, the company is growing fast enough to expand.
Business process outsourcing firms recently expressed concern over the effects of the strong peso and are considering seeking government help. Convergys, however, is already satisfied with the tax holidays recently granted by the government, said Streit.
“The government has been very supportive and we really can’t ask for more. I think it is unfair to ask the government to step in to rein in the strengthening peso, which is more a function of the US economy’s troubles,” he said, adding “what the private sector needs to do is look for ways to cope, say through hedging. We at Convergys are into hedging.”
As for future expansion after Bacolod City, country manager Marife Zamora said that the company was considering areas where there is an abundance of English-speaking college graduates who are also proficient in information technology. Zamora told reporters that in Bacolod, for instance, the local talent pool speak English better than Filipino.
Once operational, the new Bacolod City facility will provide both general support and advanced technical help desk services to a variety of Convergys clients via traditional voice calling, e-mail, and web chat as well as “back office” application and document processing.