By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen album, a document recorded from one of the concert tours First Coffee wishes he had been around to see:
Healthcare systems vendor Pegasystems, which sells Business Process Management products, has announced new versions of its Customer Process Manager products for Healthcare.
Built on Pegasystems’ SmartBPM platform, the product uses customer processing capabilities that automate and optimize the service requests handled through a healthcare organizations’ contact center. Pegasystems’ intent-driven processing is designed to anticipate both customer and service representative needs.
The announcement was made at the 2008 Blue Cross Blue Shield Customer Contact Center and Claims Conference in Los Angeles where, according to Pegasystems officials, over 60 percent of the participating organizations use Pegasystems software.
Traditional data-oriented customer relationship management (CRM) products rely on employees to understand information and translate it into appropriate actions. Even with trained employees, however, you can get inconsistent and inefficient service. Pegasystems markets their CPM-HC product to “match customer intentions with business goals at the moment of customer interaction.”
In other words, the product seeks out and uses customer data from across the enterprise in real time, taking much of the guesswork out of the transaction.
The software suite includes quality assessment processes, individualized coaching tips, and customer survey functionality. These are designed to improve employee performance and reduce training time. The new version has a user interface tailored for each user, interaction and language.
“Industry analysts have identified BPM as a critical factor in customer service excellence,” said Elizabeth Hart, senior director of Healthcare Solutions at Pegasystems.
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Among U.S. small businesses (1–99 employees) and medium businesses (100–999 employees), SaaS adoption is “rising steadily,” according to the Access Markets International Partners report 2008 U.S. Small and Medium Business Applications & Solutions Market Overview.
The report found that 21 percent and 31 percent of small businesses (SBs) and medium businesses (MBs) currently use SaaS products, which is double the percentage of adoption in 2004. “Spurred by the need for easy to use, implement and maintain IT products and limited infrastructure and IT resources, and fueled by growing choice and product availability, SaaS is gaining popularity in the SMB market,” the report’s authors write.
According to the study, SaaS penetration and spending in the MB sector is “significantly outpacing penetration” among SBs. Across the board, MBs spend an average of six times more than SBs on SaaS annually, and are “twice as likely” as SBs to report a planned increase in SaaS spending for the next twelve months.
The largest MBs, those with up to a thousand employees, report the highest in annual SaaS spending among all SMB size segments.
But while SaaS is growing among SMBs, the report concludes “it has yet to reach the mainstream.” Sau Lam, Business Applications & Solutions Analyst at AMI-Partners, attributes the recent growth in SaaS partly to “the growing number and variety of SaaS offerings both established IT vendors such as Microsoft, SAP, IBM, Google and Saleforce.com,” which “underscores the viability of SaaS.”
In addition, “a bevy of newer SaaS vendors, such as NetBooks, Longjump and Coghead, are creating more products designed specifically for SMBs,” the report found.
SaaS vendors need to “intensify campaigns to educate and spark interest among SMBs that are not yet considering SaaS, identify other needs that existing customers have and develop and partner to extend their offerings to increase share of wallet. In addition, they need to build channel programs with partners that can persuade SMBs that are not yet considering SaaS to give it a serious look,” the study concludes.
The top three SaaS applications currently used by SBs include banking/finance, instant messaging and payroll processing, while payroll processing, banking/finance and human resources management lead in the MB segment.
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Knova, a Consona CRM product, has announced that KMWorld, a vendor selling to the knowledge, document and content management systems market, picked Knova as one of the “100 Companies that Matter in Knowledge Management.”
The 2008 list was compiled by KM practitioners, theorists, analysts, vendors and their customers and colleagues, and is in its eighth year of publication.
“We have long held that the true essence of knowledge management is an attitude, a single-minded commitment to improvement,” said Hugh McKellar, editor-in-chief of KMWorld, “and companies on our list simply must emphasize an abiding determination to serve their most important constituency: their customers. They must also show agile innovation combined with a full understanding of the forces that affect, and will affect, their customers.”
Knova has been selected to KMWorld list for six years running, noted Tim Hines, vice president of product management for Consona CRM.
The 8th Annual “100 Companies that Matter in Knowledge Management” list will be featured in the March 1, 2008 issue of KMWorld.
Built on an adaptive search and knowledge management platform, Knova’s suite of applications is designed to help companies “increase revenues, reduce service costs and improve customer satisfaction,” according to Knova officials.
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Opera Software, a vendor of Web browsing products, has announced that Ten by Orange has launched its unlimited mobile Internet service, Easy Web, powered by Opera Mini.
Using Opera’s compression technology to process and compress Web pages by up to 90 percent before sending them to mobile phones, the Easy Web service is billed as letting Ten by Orange customers access the full Web, surf sites, mobile blog and social network on the go. Easy Web, powered by Opera Mini, will be made available on the HTC Touch, Samsung SGH-F330 and fifteen other handsets in France.
A subsidiary of the Orange Group, Ten by Orange develops offers and services designed to bring mobile Internet products to the French marketplace. “By partnering with Opera, we are able to provide our customers with a true Web browser which is fast, robust and keeps our delivery costs under control,” said Thierry Coilhac, COO of Ten by Orange.
Opera Mini officials claim over 39 million cumulative users. The tailor-made Opera Mini product for Ten by Orange uses a customized home page with full brand integration of the User Interface, home page control including search, modification of menu items, pre-installation, bookmarks and more.
Bringing the desktop experience to mobile, Opera Mini’s Small Screen Rendering reformats the Web page to fit inside the screen width, eliminating the need for horizontal scrolling. Alternatively, a new “Desktop mode” gives users a wider view of the page.
Orange is the key brand of France Telecom. FT serves more than 170 million customers in five continents as of December 31, 2007, of which two thirds are Orange customers. The Group had consolidated sales of 52.9 billion euros in 2007. As of December 31, 2007, the Group had 109.6 million mobile customers and 11.6 million broadband Internet (ADSL) customers.