By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Velvet Underground's legendary 1969 live album. This band is either, as the inimitable Cap'n Marvel suggests, the most overrated underrated band ever, or the most underrated overrated band ever, First Coffee isn't sure which, what's difficult is to wade through the welter of wordage critics have hyperventilated out over the years and simply get back to enjoying the actual music:
Convergys, a vendor of relationship management products, has released findings from a recent study it commissioned by Frost & Sullivan on the Australian banking, financial services and insurance sector, looking at challenges facing Asia Pacific organizations to meet rising customer expectations, and how to address them with best practices in global sourcing strategies.
The analysis confirms that customer service "remains a critical focus of the Australian BFSI and telecommunications sectors," the study's authors find, adding that with the Internet, SMS, mobile broadband and social networking, customers have various channels with which to interact or voice their concerns.
"As a result customer expectations are increasing," the study finds: "Businesses are driven to meet these demands while managing costs."
One answer to the problem of achieving more with less suggested by the study is -- brace yourself, now -- to "outsource the contact center function to an offshore location." Out of 25 respondents from the BFSI sector surveyed for the study, 64 percent cited "cost savings" and 40 percent cited "access to skills" as reasons for outsourcing.
The demands of more sophisticated customers and a competitive market are pushing more organizations to "rethink their customer engagement strategies," says Max Tennant, Senior Account Executive at Convergys. "Global sourcing may offer the solution to these and other issues."
Convergys officials tout global sourcing as a way to meet "the contradictory demands of today's business conditions -- rising customer expectations and the need to maintain high customer satisfaction while managing costs.
Boston-based OnePIN, which sells social address book products for mobile operators, has announced the opening of offices in Brazil, France and Turkey to service its CallerXchange person-to-person contact exchange service.
CallerXchange is a product used to build social networks on mobile phones. Subscribers can exchange contact information with one click, "simplifying a tedious process," company officials say in one of the truest statements First Coffee's read from a company official in many a moon, giving phonebooks a fighting chance to stay more or less updated.
The new offices in Sao Paulo, Paris and Istanbul will help OnePIN market to mobile network operators adopting CallerXchange in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Middle East and Northern Africa and Latin America.
Rather makes First Coffee a wee touch homesick for Istanbul, as we moved from there to here in New Zealand's Northland last month. Oh we like it here and all, it's everything Istanbul is not -- clean, green, quiet, slow and blessed with an abundance of fine, inexpensive table wines.
"Social connectivity products are skyrocketing in the PC market and CallerXchange is extending these offerings to more than three billion mobile subscribers," said Feyzi Celik, founder and CEO and possessor of a quite Turkic name. Merhaba, arkadash.
OnePIN's technology "transforms mobile phonebooks into social address books, improving customer retention while increasing voice and data revenue for mobile operators," company officials say: "OnePIN's CallerXchange is a person-to-person contact exchange service that connects people and enhances social networks.
Oslo-based Opera Mobile 9.5 has introduced Opera Widgets for mobile Internet use, enabling one-click Web content access. The Operatics call this "the second Opera Mobile 9.5 beta for Windows Mobile and the first-ever beta for UIQ-based phones."
A developer version of S60 Widget manager is also available within the Opera Widgets SDK.
T-Mobile has already embraced Opera Mobile with Widgets, now other operators can incorporate Opera Widgets into their customer offering. This means, company officials explain, that customer-selected Web content "can be accessed from a list of icons on the home-screen," and serve as a means of customer communication, as automatic notifications are now easier to send to subscribers.
Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software, said in addition to Opera Widgets, "this new test version promises to be a smoother ride than the previous version, as we have improved page loading times."
Several Opera Widgets are now installed in the Opera Mobile 9.5 beta builds. Additionally, Opera offers downloadable widgets at http://widgets.opera.com.
First Coffee would like to present a few thoughts from Adam Leach, a principal analyst at Ovum. With both Nokia and Google choosing an open source model for their mobile platforms over the past twelve months, "the pressure is on independent software vendors (ISVs) in the mobile market to adopt an open source strategy," he says.
ISVs "need to be familiar with open source environments to be able to respond to demands to integrate customers' products into those environments," he says, adding that OEMs and operators "will start to expect similar levels of transparency and collaboration on key areas of interest for them." As a result, he says, ISVs will need in some cases to embrace an open source business model.
From a product perspective, Leach thinks, adopting an open source strategy "can involve as little as deciding to use an open source component, through treating open source as a supplier, to deciding to adopt an open source license for the entire product. In both instances the risks associated with the use of open source need to be managed." And in such cases, "adopting an open source license for an entire product development for a company that does not derive its main revenues from software royalty involves less risk."
He gives the example of Google, which makes its money through advertising, not selling software. "Sun Microsystems makes most of its money through selling servers, not software," he points out, and " Nokia's business is based on hardware sales. So open sourcing products for these companies poses fewer issues and does not require completely re-engineering their businesses."
Potential areas of revenue? Glad you asked: "Professional and value-added services," he says, as companies looking to use open source in a commercial context "will require professional services and product indemnity." High-value features -- "software vendors need to understand the higher-value aspects of their product offering and structure pricing around these." Open source mobile messaging company Funambol structures its prices so that mobile operators using some advanced features of the product pay a premium for those services, he says
Rockville, Maryland-based Intelliworks, a vendor of relationship management and marketing software aimed at higher education clients, has announced the launch of Intelliworks Program Management, described by company officials as "a new extension to its core platform designed to enable program managers to handle course marketing, registration and payment processing for open enrollment, certificate and non-degree courses."
CRM is "moving rapidly beyond the admissions and development offices to include a more diverse set of institutional departments and programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level," said Nicole Engelbert, Lead Analyst, Datamonitor.
Several graduate, continuing education and executive education programs are already using Intelliworks Program Management, including Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business
With the Intelliworks Program Management, higher education institutions can facilitate program, course and event registrations, handle day-to-day contact management with individual students, manage online inquiries and create program micro-portals, process invoices and payments for program registrations and measure the success of programs and track campaign effectiveness, company officials say.
If read off-site hit http://blog.tmcnet.com/telecom-crm/ for the fully-linked version. First CoffeeSM accepts no sponsored content.