We start the column this morning with a question which came in yesterday from "Andy:"
I have purchased and used a Starbucks' coffee mug for over six months...Usually, I am charged the grande price, less the 10 cents saving. However, sometimes I am charged the tall price for coffee, also less the 10 percent discount.
Now my question is how much should I be charged. The bottom of this steel Starbucks container claims it is 16 ounces. However, I have carefully measured its contents and only if you fill to the overflowing brim can you get 16 ounces into it.
It truly is handed to me with 13 ounces each morning by the wonderful employees who dispense it. Anyway, how much should one pay for coffee when using your mug?
Excellent question, if a bit misguided on the fact that First Coffee, alas, is not in charge of Starbucks -- were it up to me, my friend, you'd get 17 ounces. But as the self-appointed arbiter of issues arising from the confluence of coffee and customer service, I'd say Starbucks needs to cough up an honest mug that contains 16 comfortable ounces.
CDC Software, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese-owned CDC Corporation, has announced "broad customer adoption of its industry-specific Pivotal CRM and Saratoga CRM" products for the financial services industries.
Specifically, company officials say, second quarter sales for Pivotal CRM for Financial Services increased 71 percent from the same period a year earlier and Saratoga CRM saw a 566 percent increase in the second quarter from the year earlier period.
Across commercial and private banking, capital markets, institutional asset management and retail asset management industries, a growing number of customers are looking for products that allow financial services companies to develop insight into their customers' needs and preferences, CDC officials believe.
"Firms that provide their account executives and their entire client-facing workforce with the right data at the right time will be more likely to win deals and generate revenues," said Kathleen Khirallah, managing director and practice leader, Banking Research, TowerGroup. "The benefits of internal integration will also be felt by senior managers, who will have data they need to assign their people according to potential opportunities."
"Our comprehensive, integrated, industry-specific solutions are gaining momentum in the industry as financial services providers realize that generic CRM solutions do not address their unique business requirements," said Eric Musser, CEO, CDC Software.
SystemLink, a vendor specializing in implementing ERP and CRM software, has announced the creation of a new office in Tampa, Florida to serve the American Southeast, Caribbean and Central America markets. The group has four offices in America, as well as Dublin, Johannesburg and London.
Bill Williams, president and CEO, emphasized the firm's "deep rooted industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record." He said their expansion into Florida was "strategic in order to service better clients and prospects in the Southeast and offer us a base for future growth both in the Caribbean and Central America."
Williams said other new office locations are expected in America and "other parts of the world during the next 12 months."
Zantaz, an Autonomy company and vendor working the archiving, e-Discovery and Proactive Information Risk Management markets, today announced that Northcliffe Media, a regional newspaper publisher in the UK, has chosen the Zantaz Enterprise Archive Solution to consolidate its 17 e-mail data centers into two, while migrating from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003.
The Zantaz product will also be used by Northcliffe Media for search and retrieval for electronic information and e-mails. The company also hopes to be able to clean up and reduce the size of its approximately 7,500 Microsoft Exchange mailboxes across the company for its 4,500 full-time staff in 32 centers.
After the migration, Northcliffe Media will use EAS to "increase the efficiency of the company's knowledge management, document retention and electronic disclosure processes," company officials say, as well as optimize its data storage capacity by removing duplicated e-mails and compressing them into a consolidated near-line archive store, "thereby reducing the company's e-mail storage requirements by up to 50 per cent."
In addition, Zantaz EAS will allow Northcliffe Media to retrieve e-mail messages quickly, easing "the cost and time penalties associated with litigation," Zantaz officials say: "Efficient knowledge management and e-disclosure processes will help Northcliffe Media, should it be necessary to provide information as part of the legal process."
Kieran Head, project manager at Northcliffe Media, said there are "three main reasons why we needed to implement an e-mail archiving product. Firstly, it is paramount that the migration and consolidation process will not disrupt the overall operation of the company -- the clean-up of our 7,500 mailboxes will enable us to continue business as usual. Secondly, we'll be able to reduce our initial investment because we believe our storage requirements for Exchange will decrease by approximately 50 percent. Finally, we want to be prepared to be able to disclose any electronic information as efficiently as possible in the event of any regulatory compliance requirements."
Transcom WorldWide S.A., self-described as a "European CRM and debt collections specialist," has announced that it has acquired 100 percent of NuComm International, a Canadian provider of contact center products.
A maximum cash consideration of $86 million will be paid in three installments, with an initial payment of $47 million and the remainder subject to a two tier earn-out ending in December 2008. The earn-out is calculated as the balance due based on a complete deal valuation multiple of 9 times the forecasted 2008 EBIT, but is capped at $37.5 million.
NuComm had revenues of $115 million for the twelve months ended 31st July 2007. Réal Bergevin, the founder and CEO of NuComm, has signed a contract to remain with the business under the new ownership.
NuComm, headquartered in St. Catharines, Ontario, is a supplier of contact center services and has been named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies for six years running. Established in 1991 as a consulting organization, the company ventured into the call center market in 1995.
The ISO registered company now employs over 3,000 people across 14 centers, with 10 centers based in Canada, 2 in the United States and 2 in the Philippines. In addition to NuComm’s existing 480 seats in the Philippines, the company is currently investing in the opening of a third site, which will add up to a further 1,500 seats.
Keith Russell, President and CEO of Transcom, said with NuComm, "we are firmly established in North America, the largest CRM and CMS market in the world, with significant development potential both in North America as well as the Far East, where NuComm has a significant offshore operation to provide service for customers."
New research commissioned by Unisys Corporation reveals that the increasing "consumerization" of information technology used by today's mobile workforce is what report authors call "the key factor shaping the IT support services that enterprises provide their employees."
As those workers become more dispersed, mobile applications and technologies such as CRM applications for customer service, laptops and PDAs are emerging as the new foundations for employee productivity and company growth and profitability.
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