By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Tom Waits's Heartattack and Vine. A bit too slick and commercial to be a great Waits album, doesn't really belong in the company of, say, Small Change, Rain Dogs or Mule Variations, but a good listen every now and then, with one stone classic Waits song, "On the Nickel:"
Orga Systems, a billing vendor, has delivered its real-time Bonus and Loyalty Management System, Orga Service Manager and Media Control Point to Turkish mobile telecommunciations firm Avea.
With these products, Avea will get marketing and promotion capabilities for bonus and bundle offerings, loyalty programs, community functionalities and notifications. With Orga Systems' active mediation products MCP and IN mediation, Avea can charge voice, data and content in real time.
By upgrading the OPSC billing system, Avea officials say they want a future proof billing product, especially in a market where Mobile Number Portability will soon be introduced.
"Real-time charging for data services, bonuses based on data usage and the ability to offer service bundles" will "underline Avea's position," company officials say, adding that their plan is that "consumption based campaigns such as 'consume thirty minutes out of which ten are for free,' as well as churn prevention campaigns, will tie Avea's customers to their provider."
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Chordiant Software, a vendor of Customer Experience software and services, has announced Recommendation Advisor 6.1, described by company officials as "a real-time conversation and interaction management product for organizations with high customer interaction volumes."
The product can "listen" to the conversation a call center or branch agent is having with a customer, and re-apply models and rules to every new input. It offers Next-Best-Action recommendations that change based on customer responses, action or inaction.
It also presents customers with personalized, Next-Best-Action-driven offers and recommendations in self-service channels.
"The impact of enterprise decision management on operations is only just beginning to be fully appreciated," says James Taylor, principal and co-founder of Smart (enough) Systems consulting firm and a guy who's never had anybody ask him to sing "Fire and Rain" or say "Hey, so what's Carly up to these days?"
It's built on Chordiant Decision Management, a suite of predictive and adaptive decisioning applications that lets business users develop Next-Best-Action strategies.
It uses models that predict and react to individual customer expectations, propensities and behaviors combined with business rules and segmentation schemes. This combination also forms "decision logic" that can be centrally deployed in the run-time environment for batch decisioning, real-time decisioning or both, across any channel.
Basically, the product assesses everything known about and said by the customer in current and previous interactions and recommends Next-Best-Actions to be taken. These actions can take the form of personalized offers or bundles, advice, questions, compensation or whatever. "At no point during the contact are recommendations or actions scripted," company officials say, adding that instead, it "guides the conversation, determining and adapting actions in real-time based on customer responses."
Research by Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality finds call center experiences are "the key" to a customer's decision to repurchase from a company. "Unfortunately for many companies," Chordiant officials say, "these experiences often have the opposite effect, with agents who don't have all the information they need, don't know what to do, do the wrong thing, give erroneous information, or even lie."
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Now here's First Coffee's idea of a dateline: "Paris, Tokyo, March-en-Baroeul, Dakar, Fredericksburg." That's the kickoff for the news that after five months of continuous operations, Nexedi has announces the first successful implementation of its open source ERP5 in a Central Bank.
The product will be used to manage the monetary system of 80 million people in eight countries, company officials say, adding that "never before has an open source project reached this level of strategic mission critical application." ERP5 Banking is available for download to the 250 central banks worldwide.
Yoshinori Okuji, Nexedi CTO, said ERP5 Banking has been used "every day for five months by 300 power users. It runs on a Linux cluster of 32 nodes. ERP5 processes up to 5,000 complex transactional workflows per hour with perfect linear scalability." He adds that in his opinion, this is "proof that open source can technically meet the most demanding business requirements."
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Azorus, a CRM software and services firm selling to the higher education market, has announced that Canada's St. Francis Xavier University has acquired "the entire suite of CRM capabilities from Azorus."
In the fall of 2007 StFX began using the Azorus Digital Recruit product to capture prospective student information and deliver e-mail to students following a recruitment event.
StFX's Director of Admissions and Recruitment, Robb Parker, said ensuring that the entire recruitment effort is personalized to each student is "critical to us retaining our high profile. Adopting the Azorus CRM system in its entirety allows us to not only build on that level of personalization, but also to streamline many other internal processes."
In Nova Scotia, a province with a declining prospective student population and ten other universities, competition for students is fierce. For StFX, the Azorus CRM system will not only allow them to do a better job "wrapping their arms around these students," Azorus officials say, but to also foster relationships with students in other markets.
Says Parker, "Being able to maintain the percentage of Nova Scotia students is vital to our institutional philosophy. In order to do that, we believe that Azorus will offer us a competitive advantage in terms of speed and personalization, which combined, will put us as a first choice for students in the region."
While maintaining a regional balance is important, other markets are clearly in their crosshairs. As summarized by Parker, "The allure of the Azorus platform is the ability to build not only better relationships, but more of them. Being able to deliver equally high levels of service to students in other countries, two provinces away, or down the street will ultimately help us demonstrate what students should expect once they get here."
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Worldwide customer relationship management (CRM) software revenue totaled $8.1 billion in 2007, a 23.1 percent increase from 2006 revenue of $6.6 billion, according to research from Gartner.
"Although currency buoyed growth, this represents the fourth year of solid market performance for CRM," says Sharon Mertz, research director at Gartner, adding that the market was driven by "greater contributions from emerging regions, continued rapid adoption of software as a service and a continued focus on investments."
SAP was the No. 1 vendor in worldwide CRM software revenue in 2007, accounting for 25.4 percent of the market. Oracle maintained the No.2 spot with 16.3 percent. Salesforce.com and Microsoft registered the highest growth rates of the top vendors with 49.8 percent and 88.6 percent growth respectively.
SaaS accounted for more than 15 percent of total CRM software market revenue in 2007. Growth in SaaS resulted from gains by SaaS pure plays, traditional on-premises vendors offering on-demand products and vendors transitioning their installed base from on-premise to on-demand, Gartner said.
The CRM market remains highly concentrated in Western economies. In 2007 over 53 percent of the CRM market was concentrated in North America, and Western Europe accounted for 32 percent. Growth rates in emerging markets surged in 2007, though, with the Middle East and Africa region and Eastern Europe both exceeding 40 percent growth.
Growth in Latin America is beginning to accelerate, and Asia/Pacific is providing growth prospects for an increasing number of vendors as the CRM market expands into Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and South Korea. Australia continues to be the largest market in Asia/Pacific.
"Looking forward, social networking, collaborative technologies and social software are producing a major impact on the CRM market," Mertz said.