CRM Benchmarks Recognized, Quest Studies CRM Bespoke Code, Endeavor's SmartCatalog, Autonomy's Zantaz and E-Discovery Help, Tenrox 9.2

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David Sims
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CRM Benchmarks Recognized, Quest Studies CRM Bespoke Code, Endeavor's SmartCatalog, Autonomy's Zantaz and E-Discovery Help, Tenrox 9.2

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a bracing dose of good, honest, basic, pounding, fun times rock'n'roll, a.k.a. Rod Stewart's 1969-1974 solo albums with Ron Wood, where the very DNA of rock'n'roll is to be found:

OEConnection has announced that its Customer Care center has been awarded the BenchmarkPortal certification, given in conjunction with the Center for Customer-Driven Quality at Purdue University.

BenchmarkPortal is a source for Customer Relation Management (CRM) best practices information for call centers worldwide. This recognition, the OEConnectioneers say, means that the company's call center now qualifies as a "Certified Center of Excellence."

The certification is based on best practice metrics drawn from the world's largest database of call center information, the CCDQians say. Centers that attain certification do so on the basis of objective, quantitative data, which is audited and validated by researchers from BenchmarkPortal and the Center for Customer-Driven Quality.

"The achievement of the Center represents a contact center's delivering customer service that is both effective and efficient," said Dr. Jon Anton of the Purdue CCDQ.

OEConnection's certification was awarded following an audit benchmarking its call center against the best practices of comparable centers. Auditors measured "a variety of metrics," CCDQ officials say, including average speed of answer, percentage of calls satisfactorily handled on the first call, average length of call, and the number of hours new customer service agents spend in training. They also interviewed all of OEConnection's Customer Care Representatives regarding their work environment and the call center's culture and philosophy.

When measured against the more than 55,000 companies in the BenchmarkPortal database, OEConnection scored in the top 3-5 percent in efficiency and effectiveness.

By the way, nobody has ever had both the #1 song and #1 album in both Britain and the United States at the same time except once, in 1971, when Stewart did it with "Maggie May" and Every Picture Tells A Story.

Research commissioned by Quest Software reveals that databases require more bespoke code -- the British way of referring to code developed in-house for a specific purpose -- than other enterprise applications.

Thirty-three per cent of senior IT decision makers cited databases as requiring the most amount of new code, compared to 22 per cent each for CRM and ERP applications modifications. A further 19 per cent felt middleware applications required the most.

IT decision makers are evenly split as to where the responsibility for bug-ridden bespoke code lies, the Questers' study found: "Whilst [the British way of saying "while"] 45 per cent percent of those questioned felt the most bugs in code written in-house, a close 41 per cent believe code written by out-sourced parties was responsible," the study reported. Just 14 per cent pointed to code written as part of the original product.

"Bespoke code locks human error into software. Yet organisations [the British way of writing "organizations"] have to customize vanilla applications to get the most out of them, especially around databases where the need for additional development work is greatest," says Graeme Nash [the British way of writing Stephen Stills and David Crosby's songs], UK Compliance Program Manager, Quest Software.

"It's one of the reasons we're seeing a rising demand for application development tools to improve the customization of packaged software without risking bugs," Nash said.

One reason for the poor quality of bespoke code, study officials think, could be that when it comes to application development only 15 per cent of senior decision makers regard reviewing the quality of the code as their primary concern. Instead, 32 per cent of those interviewed, cited analyzing the impact of changes to applications.

Endeavor Commerce has recently announced the release of SmartCatalog Portal Edition for Sage SalesLogix and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The release offers "out of the box capability to extend Sales Configuration and Guided Selling to customers, partners and distributors via the Web," the Endeavorers say.

With the addition of Portal Edition, SmartCatalog now enables companies to deploy what Endeavor officials say are "100 percent accurate quote and order generation across all sales channels -- including employees, partners, distributers and customers."

SmartCatalog helps companies with their partners' and distributors' processes, as well as internal sales processes, in making channel boundaries transparent to customers.

SmartCatalog Portal Edition is a Web-based application integrated with CRM to allow external users to create their own quotes and orders as well as manage their online profile. The Portal Edition may exist as an addition to SmartCatalog Sales Edition or may function as its own standalone application.

"Portal Edition is the result of collaboration with our partners and customers and offers significant and immediate benefits," said David Reeder, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. With Portal Edition, our customers can offer the same quoting and ordering tools directly to their customers and partners making the complex sale simple across all channels."

Reeder considers Portal Edition "a great example of our CRM acumen."

Tenrox, a vendor of workflow-driven project workforce management products, has announced the release of version 9.2, the latest upgrade to its integrative project and workforce management with financials product.

Among more than 30 enhancements claimed by company officials, Release 9.2 features "new integration with Microsoft Project Server 2007 to provide users with improved tracking, planning, and reporting capabilities, as well as enhancements that include deeper integration to Microsoft Dynamics CRM."

There are new parameters for customizing and controlling billing details and user input, easier at-a-glance access to project status through Dashboard Task Lists and Project Plan Milestones, as well as more powerful forecasting capabilities, the Tenroxians say.

Release 9.2 is fully compatible with Microsoft Project Server 2007, Tenrox officials promise, allowing customers to use Tenrox's Timesheet and Expense reporting, project process management and cost and revenue accounting products within Microsoft.

Zantaz, an Autonomy company and vendor in the archiving, eDiscovery and Proactive Information Risk Management markets, has announced Desktop Legal Hold, what the Zantazzies describe as a product to let corporate legal and IT departments "remotely enforce legal hold across desktops and laptops."

"Unlike other systems," Zantaz officials say, "Desktop Legal Hold does not require a continuous network connection for discovery. Information and metadata are preserved locally and continuously in real-time. The product locks down the original files in place and can collect them when an Internet connection is established.”

Applying advanced conceptual and keyword legal search, "all information relevant to legal matters is preserved, maintaining the audit trail and forensic credibility while dramatically reducing the legal risk of fines and sanctions associated with non-compliance to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for eDiscovery," Zantaz officials say.

In the July 2007 Forrester report, "Warning: Combine Process Methodology and Technology to Execute Litigation Holds," Barry Murphy wrote that "the U.S. courts show no mercy to organizations that claim ignorance about the processes or technology to preserve potentially relevant information. In the court's eyes, there is simply no excuse for being unable to find information -- whether it be e-mails, instant messages, voicemails, desktop files, or even ERP data -- when requested."

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