By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is a Rolling Stones mix — we got 132 Stones songs on the iPod, 132 little shots of high energy to complement the Diet Coke and Starbucks coffee towards the goal of keeping yr mst ob’t sv’t cranking after a l--o-n-g weekend pulling both Mommy and Daddy duty:
Etihad Holidays has announced that after a comprehensive tender, it has chosen Ocean from ISO to help with offering Etihad customers all-inclusive holiday packages. Ocean will help with the work of combining accommodation and additional ground services with Etihad Airways network.
Ocean is directly connected to the airline inventory which is held in Amadeus, allowing the user to package flights with other services. Etihad officials say Ocean will be integrated with other existing systems, such as the Etihad group’s financial accounting.
In future stages of the project, company officials say, “other relevant sales channels such as travel trade and Web” will be equipped with the product. Also, additional internal connections will be established, such as to the Frequent Flyer Programme “Etihad Guest,” the Etihad CRM system and to an online credit card system.
Etihad Holidays also plans to use the inbound version Canary of the ISO product for the stop over program of Etihad’s customers in Abu Dhabi.
Justin Warby, Project Manager from Etihad, said the implementation of ISO Travel Solutions is “a major step forward” for Etihad Holidays: “We can now book our customers a holiday package in a live environment. The product enables complete automation of our ground and air inventory as well as back office functions.”
Warby called the initial implementation of Ocean “the first part of a wider strategy, ensuring our customers and trade partners can make holiday bookings with us.”
ISO officials say they see the project as another important step to strengthen the company’s position in the Middle East. The company has had customers in the region for years, such as Emirates Holidays and Dnata, and Markus Kretschmer, Sales Director from ISO, says “Etihad together with Emirates are the two airlines in the Middle East.”
British industry journal CustomerStrategy
is reporting on a user group survey from ProtoCall One, finding that contact center heads are stating time pressures for blocking progress on integrating business intelligence into their call center systems.
The user group members are senior heads from UK businesses, the journal says, and their organizations account for around 25 percent of all GWFM UK users. According to the study, the members of the group were asked for views concerning their experiences of BI and their plans to pursue BI within their organizations:
“Lack of time” was the key blockage to achieving BI for 63 percent of those surveyed. The highest priority for all group members was to use BI to measure call agents based on business-focused objectives instead of standard call metrics.
CustomerStrategy reported that according to the study 75 percent of those surveyed are now looking to integrate customer data for their BI use from their customer relationship management (CRM) systems. One wonders just why the other 25 percent imagine they’re collecting customer data at all.
75 percent of respondents used only historical rather than real-time data to track agent performance, and 37 percent of respondents stated that BI and agent performance reporting was still treated separately.
Manual workarounds still prevail, the study found, but “time spent by agents is minimized, with 50 percent stating that less than five percent of agents’ time was spent on manual workarounds such as completing forms and reports, but 25 percent have agents spending 10–20 percent of their time on non-automated processes.”
Do the math: CustomerStrategy says that what with call center agent salaries averaging £15,458 per year, agents spending just five percent on manual work-rounds would equate to a total annual cost of £77,290 for a one hundred seat call center.
Right On Interactive and ExactTarget have announced a partnership to integrate Right On Interactive’s 5Buckets marketing automation software with ExactTarget’s e-mail messaging service. 5Buckets will connect disparate databases with outbound marketing communication applications, including ExactTarget.
According to Troy Burk, President of Right On Interactive, 5Buckets is “database-agnostic,” providing an integrated marketing automation product regardless of the type of database — “CRM, Ecommerce, Analytics, POS, Financial, or Transactional.”
“Rather than sending a one-size-fits-all message, 5Buckets helps companies sort audiences into self-defined segments and then automates the communications process,” Burk said, adding that the software “looks for changes, updates, and actions within the database and then triggers out bound communication to the customer or prospect.”
5Buckets also has the flexibility to work with multiple best-of-breed marketing technology products, including ExactTarget and Salesforce.com, Burk said.
Temenos Group, a vendor of integrated core banking systems, has announced that Al Wasatah Al Maliah, a newly established Islamic brokerage and investment house, has become the first non bank-backed financial investment services company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to implement Temenos T24.
Al Wasatah Al Maliah signed with Temenos for a go live date scheduled for the summer of 2008. T24 will support all the company’s operations in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Corporation Council states.
Al Wasatah Al Maliah has chosen Temenos Islamic Model Bank for Saudi Arabia, which includes pre-configured products and processes based on banking best practices. The system includes Sharia-compliant modules such as the Tadawul Trading Platform, Asset Management, CRM and Islamic Banking modules as well as an Order Management System connected to multiple exchanges.
This OMS is segregated from the company’s back office system which supports trading for multiple exchanges, currencies, products and instruments.
Based in Riyadh, Al Wasatah Al Maliah plans to expand its branch network throughout the Gulf region. Bassam Bin Gheshian, Chief Operating Officer, Al Wasatah Al Maliah, said the company’s aim is “to become a leader in the Islamic e-broking sector.”
Andreas Andreades, CEO of Temenos, says the company has been selling products to the brokerage sector in the Gulf region since the mid-1990s. He said his company can “help define best practice and deliver out-of-the-box Islamic banking functionality.”
News from Dreamforce Europe: Informatica, a vendor of data integration software, announced the Informatica On Demand Data Loader Service for Salesforce, the newest addition to its Software as a Service offerings.
It’s a bi-directional integration offering that allows Salesforce administrators to automate many Salesforce integration processes, like synchronizing account information with other applications, creating back office orders from closed opportunities and loading leads.
In addition to eliminating manual coding efforts, the IOD Data Loader is entirely Web-based, and “removes the need for on-premise software or hardware appliances,” according to company officials.
The IOD Data Loader extends the capabilities of Salesforce.com’s Dataloader by adding an intuitive Web-based integration wizard, automating the scheduling of integration jobs, providing direct access to relational databases, transforming data through a drag and drop Web interface and importing and exporting Salesforce Dataloader maps.