By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is the Horace Silver Quintet's Song For My Father over the screechings of the minaret's loudspeaker pointed at First Coffee's office window being fixed -- while turned on, of course:
Redtail Technology, a vendor of Web-based CRM, imaging and e-mail archiving products, has joined Your Silver Bullet.
Redtail currently offers 28 different integration points with applications used in the financial services industry, while adding more.
Brian McLaughlin, Redtail's CEO/CTO, said from "day one of Redtail, we have looked for partnerships. The idea behind Redtail CRM was to give our users the greatest possible benefits by providing them a CRM with as many integration partners as possible."
Joel Bruckenstein, CFP, said he was "thrilled" to hear that Redtail "will be in collaboration with other YSB members to further the goal of integration. Improved integration among YSB members results in greater efficiencies thereby allowing advisors to deliver excellent service to their clients."
Autonomy Corporation, a vendor of infrastructure software, has announced that Extract Technology, which sells containment systems for the pharmaceutical, chemical and biotech markets, has implemented its Meridio records management product to help "improve compliance with current regulations," among other tasks.
The Extract Technology system can now be integrated with third-party collaborative software and business applications, such as ERP and CAD systems. Meridio partner, Kainos, was the systems integrator for the project.
Extract Technology has customers in more than 50 countries, including AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, as well as a host of generic manufacturers. Based in the United Kingdom, Extract works in a number of highly regulated industries, and is required to store and manage approximately 200 to 2,000 records for each project that they handle.
Autonomy Meridio's records management product, Autonomy officials say, lets Extract store a variety of documents that range from contract details to design, testing and maintenance records, and "a wide range of file formats from e-mails and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to project plans, CAD drawings, and other graphical presentations."
"Dealing with the ever-growing volume of electronic documents within enterprises has become one of the major challenges for worldwide IT and Legal departments," said Nigel Hutchinson, CEO of Autonomy Meridio.
RightNow Technologies officials have announced that BT Business is rolling out RightNow Chat to let contact center agents "respond to customer queries via its BT Business' help and support Web site."
RightNow Chat will be expected to allow BT Business agents to serve several customers at a time through simultaneous chat sessions. Agents will also be able to respond to commonly asked questions by using hot keys, which provide standard answers, freeing them from repeatedly typing similar responses.
If needed, they can escalate queries to a team of specialist support agents. If a customer has a complex issue, he can grant permission to an agent to remotely assist and share the customer's computer screen for instant incident resolution.
An alternative to self-serving via the Web, e-mailing or calling into the contact center, the chat facility is intended to be an additional interaction channel for customers through which they can receive a response. Also during online interactions customers can continue with other tasks. Once a chat session is completed, customers can print the conversation for future reference or ask for an e-mail summary.
In addition, the RightNow Chat feature will help BT Business to "capture the voice of the customer" by offering a short survey to customers on completion of a chat session, RightNow officials say. Survey results can be used to help BT Business improve the overall customer experience.
Nick Witte-Vermeulen, Online Support Manager, BT Business, said initial feedback is "positive, and customers comment they prefer it to the phone for certain types of enquiry, because they can multitask better. We also gather feedback on our service via chat, so we can strive to provide a better customer experience offering."
BT Business will also use RightNow to track the types of questions asked via chat and ensure that popular questions are always included in the self-service area of the BT.com site, which should reduce the number of repetitive questions coming into the contact center, freeing agents to assist with more complex issues.
EGain Communications, a vendor of multichannel customer service and knowledge management software, has marked the 10-year anniversary of eGain OnDemand, the hosted version of its eGain Service software suite.
EGain has been selling its set of deployment options for customer service software, including on-premise, on-demand, and managed service, since 1998.
EGain OnDemand, which company officials refer to as "the industry's first-ever hosted enterprise applications software," is based on "the Power of One," they say, "the concept of one unified platform for multichannel customer interaction and knowledge management."
EGain OnDemand customers over the last decade include financial services, retail, communications, consumer goods, technology, healthcare, media and consumer services.
Many of these are clients took a hybrid approach to deployment, starting with one approach and seamlessly migrating to the other.
"As CRM SaaS products have gained more acceptance and usage, buyers are starting to consider using SaaS in more creative ways," writes William Band, VP and Principal Analyst and Pete Marston, Analyst for Forrester Research in the report "Best Practices: The Smart Way To Implement CRM SaaS Solutions," dated May 7, 2008.
Rather than thinking about SaaS products and on-premise CRM products as "mutually exclusive," Band and Marston say, users are "starting to implement hybrid deployments: implementing an on-premise product for large user populations with complex business processes and supplementing with a SaaS product to fill the needs of remote or specialised business units."
"On-demand customer service products can accelerate the time to customer service and business benefits, while reducing the need for specialised help," said Johan Jacobs, Research Director at Gartner.
Headquartered in Mountain View, California, eGain has an operating presence in 18 countries and serves more than 800 enterprise customers
Selectica, which sells sales and product configuration and enterprise contract lifecycle management products, has announced the availability of the Selectica Simplexity Configurator 9.2 with new features designed "to boost the performance of complex configuration and support pricing in the field."
The product allows field sales personnel to load models they require for customer meetings right from their hard drive rather than having to access the corporate server.
The Selectica Simplexity Configurator 9.2 can load sales and product models "five times faster and only requires users to load 28 percent of the product model knowledge base to operate," company officials say, adding that "if information is missing on the local hard drive, the configurator engine stores the information for synchronization later."
The new version now supports Microsoft's Vista, making it easier for Selectica's reseller partners to support their field sales staff using the latest Vista-enabled laptops.
The new release supports both dynamic and parallel loading of product model knowledge bases so field sales can import model information as needed, and request loading a knowledge base using multiple threads asynchronously.
"Product options continue to become more complex and field sales reps are under increasing competitive pressures to satisfy the needs of their customers immediately," said Stephan Sorger, Vice President, Product Marketing, Selectica Sales Configuration.
The Selectica Simplexity Configurator uses a declarative constraint engine, which provides a method of describing complex business processes. Where rules-based sales configuration engines must apply a linear process, a declarative constraint engine allows users to model business logic directly. Users can set parameters once and be assured that the business rules remain in force.
For example, Selectica officials say, when modeling a complex blade server system with preset power requirements, "any change to the parts list or bill of materials automatically validates the new part against the existing power specification. This eliminates problems in complex product orders."