The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is U2's Achtung Baby:
InQuira, a vendor of software for intelligent search, knowledge management, and analytics, has announced that Sterling Commerce, a subsidiary of AT&T, has selected the InQuira 8 integrated platform.
Sterling Commerce is using InQuira 8 to "integrate its knowledge base with its search capabilities to improve the problem resolution experience for online customers and call center support representatives," InQuira officials say.
InQuira Information Manager, a knowledge base application, lets Sterling Commerce create new articles for the knowledge base. InQuira's Intelligent Search gives representatives and customers search and retrieval capability to find the information they need to resolve customer problems, and InQuira Analytics provides management with a mechanism to evaluate user experience and implement improvements.
Representatives and customers "found it difficult to find the information they knew existed in the knowledge base, and customers wanted better search capabilities on our support site," said Doug Olson, Vice President of Global Support at Sterling Commerce. "We realized, though, that search on its own will not provide our agents and customers with the fulfilling support experience we want to deliver. We need a tightly integrated knowledge base and search."
"More and more companies recognize they need an integrated platform of knowledge management, intelligent search, and analytics," said Mike Murphy, InQuira's President and CEO.
Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Sterling Commerce has offices in 19 countries and most major cities around the world. Blue-chip customers of InQuira include Bank of America, AVIS Group, Pitney Bowes, Chrysler and Sun Microsystems. The company is headquartered in San Bruno, California.
Infusion Software, vendor of Infusion CRM for small businesses, has announced that the company has reached the highest levels in e-mail deliverability and e-mail volume in the company's history.
In the month of October, small business customers used Infusion CRM to send 59.9 million e-mails to prospects and customers as part of one-off and multi-step event-triggered marketing campaigns. Monthly deliverability reached an all-time high with 93 percent of e-mails sent in less than 60 seconds, 96 percent of double opt-in e-mails were delivered to each recipient's inbox and 85 percent of single opt-in e-mails reached recipients' inboxes.
Industry averages show that typically only 50 percent of e-mails ever make it to the intended recipient's inbox.
"E-mail is still king when it comes to marketing, especially among small businesses," said Clate Mask, President of Infusion Software. "Marketers see the beauty of being able to send e-mails directly f as a one-off communication, a batch, or as part of an automated event-triggered lead nurturing program that moves people through the buying process from lead to customer to life-long customer."
Some features of e-mail functionality designed for marketers found within the Infusion CRM Web-based suite include the ability to automatically initiate a series of actions (add to sub-list, remove from list, start multi-step sequence, stop campaign, send further-targeted content via e-mail, generate a task to make a live phone call…) when a prospect or customer clicks on the trackable links within your e-mails, and to send e-mail templates automatically or manually as part of a multi-step e-mail marketing campaign, as a one-off response, or as a batch to multiple prospects or customers in segmented lists.
Travel Sciences announced at the 2007 Phocuswright Conference being held Orlando, Florida this week — ever notice that nobody holds conferences in places like Newark or Detroit this time of year? — that it has integrated Facebook with its customer relationship management product known as OpenTravel CRM.
OpenTravel CRM is the first free, all-inclusive CRM and back office software for travel agents and travel businesses. Featuring Web 2.0 capabilities and tools that are built into its core, OpenTravel CRM extends conventional CRM functions to include social network relationship management capabilities, hence the Facebook attraction.
The public beta version is scheduled for November 23rd.
The integration of Facebook with OpenTravel CRM is intended to provide travel professionals with the ability to automatically download and include Facebook Friends profiles into OpenTravel CRM's customer profiles. It also will enable OpenTravel CRM users to maintain and link to their own profiles directly from the application.
Additionally, OpenTravel CRM, will enable agents to set-up Facebook groups for travelers who can view itineraries, post comments and share photos.
According to Joseph Mazzarella, President and CEO of Travel Sciences, "In terms of CRM, it is essential for businesses to participate as members in these communities and to use their innate networking power. We believe businesses can and should actively participate in social networks and, in doing so, will foster and cultivate customer relationships."
According to information provided by Facebook, they have over 25 million users and are "growing approximately 3 percent per week." Fifty percent of Facebook users visit the site every day, and there are over 60 billion page views per month, they say.
"That is the essence of a strong CRM product — one that provides real insight about customers with the tools to act on that knowledge in a meaningful way," said Mazzarella.
Formed in 2001, the Hartford-based Travel Sciences is a leading developer of intelligent, web-based software products for the travel industry. It offers reservations, distribution and business automation for cruise lines, tour operators and retail travel business.
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The fur continues to fly in London as BSkyB and CRM vendor EDS face off over the age-old problem of vague instructions, a deep-pocketed client who's not really sure what he wants and the myriad temptations and slippage therein.
Basically the problem is that BSkyB hired EDS to build them a rootin'-tootin' state of the art CRM system, with EDS filling in the details. EDS contends that yes, they cashed the checks — but Sky didn't know what it really wanted. BSkyB contends that EDS cashed the checks without giving any real value for aforesaid cash.
According to invaluable industry observer Leo King
, Sky and EDS "clashed heavily in the Technology and Construction Court yesterday over the specifications the broadcaster required for a new customer relationship management system." Or, rather, the inherent lack thereof.
Mike Hughes, former managing director Sky Services and a major witness for the broadcaster, said the company did not want to experiment with technology that had not been well tested elsewhere, King reported: "He explained that the firm only wanted a system advanced enough to put 'clear blue water' between it and the competition in areas such as churn management and call resolution."
"This was a business project not an R&D exercise," he said under cross examination. "We wanted new technology but we did not want to be the first corporation using a new component or set of components."
But Mark Barnes, barrister for EDS, said Sky wanted cutting edge technology in order to set the pace among rivals, King reported: "He said Hughes had told workers in an internal workshop that the project needed to be 'innovative, world class, and cutting edge.' Hughes had said he wanted it to be 'the next quantum leap,' after the work he had done setting up a major new CRM system in his previous role at travel firm Thomas Cook."