By David Sims
The news as of the third cup of coffee this morning, and the music is frankly a bad song with an unprintable name, but hey, it's the one on the iPod rotation as I was typing this, so what can you do? Pretend you were listening to Abba instead?
QuickMobile has released Version 2.0 of its Contextual Mobile Marketing Platform, described by company officials as allowing brand managers and marketers to create permission-based campaigns for mobile device.
Version 2.0 includes new permission-based features, the ability for customers to create multi-layered campaigns and two new applications -- Mobile Polling and Mobile Results.
The product also includes enhancements such as double opt-in, permission based services, enhanced security, end-user defined preferences and automatic start and end functionality.
Version 2.0 lets companies "deliver information customers actually want on their cell phones in a relevant, personalized, valuable and timely way," said CEO Patrick Payne. "The potential for improved end-user experience and interaction is tremendous."
Mobile Polling is a self-managed audience response system with a Web-based dashboard letting presenters "interact and engage with their audience like never before." Mobile Results is a reporting and analytics tool
Officials of Iowa Valley Community College District, which operates two community colleges and a satellite campus, say they have adopted unified communications from Avaya and a network infrastructure from Extreme Networks to link faculty, staff and students across 15 buildings located within a 90-mile radius.
"Iowa Valley wanted to consolidate seven disparate phone systems and five different voice mail systems" into an IP system, said Jim Wilson, director of technology, Iowa Valley Community College District.
The district also wanted to give its staff and faculty four-digit dialing across locations, an online telephone directory, "and mobility features so they could be reached wherever they're working," Wilson added.
The Avaya system gives the district the ability to troubleshoot and monitor its own network and handle similar tasks for all switches simultaneously.
Iowa Valley chose a communications system and software from Avaya, and a network foundation from Extreme Networks. Avaya provided an IP communications product, including an Avaya S8720 Media Server at the main site and over 400 Avaya IP phones.
FTS, a vendor of Billing, CRM and Business Control products for communication and content service providers, has announced that iBurst, a South African broadband provider, has selected FTS' Leap Billing as its real-time billing product.
IBurst sells wireless services to a large customer base in South Africa. The company offers service bundles of data and VoIP services. FTS' Leap Billing platform will be integrated with Softline's Sage Line 500 ERP system, Aradial's AAA and other components to cater for the provider's service requirements, including VoIP.
Leap Billing will also support quota management, VoIP interconnect, and customer management functionality, including financial transactions.
Cobus McQuirk, iBurst's Head of Information Services, said his company was "looking for a low-OPEX product that will also enable us to streamline our billing operation to offer more service packages to a growing subscriber base."
Gil Hurwitz, FTS' Chief Operating Officer, called the iBurst deal part of "FTS' commitment to fortify its presence in the African market."
Leap Billing lets providers bill for services delivered over single or multiple network technologies. Based on FTS' business-control technology, the product captures events in real time and responds to them based on a preconfigured set of business policies or actions.
More than 40 percent of large businesses have cut their IT budgets this year due to the global economic slowdown, according to a new survey by Forrester Research titled "The State Of IT Services: 2008."
The Forrester Business Data Services report surveyed nearly 950 senior IT managers across North America and Europe regarding their IT services spending and overall services strategies and priorities, finding that "43 percent of firms have already cut their overall IT budgets in 2008 in reaction to the slow down in the global economy, while 24 percent of firms have put discretionary spending on hold."
Twenty-eight percent of respondents said the economy has had no impact on their IT budgets, which seems reasonable to First Coffee, seeing as how America has yet to have even one quarter of negative growth and grew at 3.3 percent last quarter. Recession? What recession? Oh, must be a national election coming up. Make the economy look as bad as possible, might get Democrats elected.
Asked how the economy will affect IT services spending, 70 percent of respondents told Forrester they will likely negotiate lower rates with suppliers, and 16 percent said they have already cut their IT services spending.
IT departments in the financial services industry were hit hardest, the study found: 49 percent of IT shops in the financial services sector have cut their budgets. At the other end of the spectrum is the media, entertainment, and leisure industry, where only 39 percent of respondents said they have had to reduce spending.
Again, stands to reason; when people are worried by media scare stories they tend to increase their consumption of entertainment. I'd be surprised if beer sales were down, too.
The study found that whereas 49 percent of North American firms have cut their IT budgets, 31 percent of respondents in Europe have -- "although it should be noted that the Forrester survey was fielded in Q2 2008 prior to the deteriorating economic conditions in Europe," the study's authors say.
"This is not an across-the-board spending slowdown; the impact of the economy on IT budgets varies widely by industry and geography," said Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst John C. McCarthy. "The demand for enterprise IT services has not dropped significantly."
The demand for services holds steady, Forrester officials say: "Forty-five percent of firms plan to increase their use of applications outsourcing, while 43 percent of firms are increasing their use of infrastructure outsourcing. Forty-three percent of respondents said they are moving more work offshore."
In fact, the study found, "satisfaction with outsourcing remains low. While overall firms are satisfied with their decision to use a third party, 52 percent say their biggest challenge with existing IT services and outsourcing relationships is that cost savings are lower than expected. Other noteworthy challenges include inconsistent or poor service quality (40 percent) and the inability of the vendor or contract structure to respond rapidly to changing business needs (35 percent)."
SAS has announced the global launch of SAS for Customer Experience Analytics.
Debuted in the UK in February 2007, this addition to SAS' comprehensive Customer Intelligence suite is "the result of a global teaming agreement with Speed-Trap," described by SAS officials as "a UK-based provider of software that uses Web 2.0 technology to deliver complete on-line customer insight."
The product captures real-time data from the Web channel and integrates it with data from other channels to provide "multi-channel customer intelligence," according to company officials.
"SAS for Customer Experience Analytics has enabled us to know where to focus our attention enabling us to give our customers the best possible service," said Stephen Lonergan, program manager, HSBC Global Transaction Banking.
SAS for Customer Experience Analytics was developed using Dynamic Collection technology from Speed-Trap. This data collection system has been built into SAS' existing Enterprise Intelligence Platform.
Customer experience analytics emphasizes insight on the customer by combining data about their Web behavior with data from other touch points, such as the call center or point-of-purchase history.
The idea is that applying analytics to this combined data can, among other things, identify customers that prefer to research online and purchase offline and determine which online campaigns were most successful in acquiring customers that turned out to be loyal and highly profitable.
It's also supposed to identify which products customers are researching online so an appropriate offer can be made.