Epicor and Microsoft, Go Daddy's Upgrades, Persistent and Rackspace, eGlue and Nationwide

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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Epicor and Microsoft, Go Daddy's Upgrades, Persistent and Rackspace, eGlue and Nationwide

By David Sims

David at firstcoffee d*t biz


The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is John Mellencamp's Dance Naked, generally regarded as one of his lesser efforts in that it lacks the high points of albums such as uh-huh or The Lonesome Jubilee, and okay it's not exactly Exile On Main Street, but it also lacks any songs you have to skip which litter the rest of Mellencamp's albums, and around First Coffee we appreciate solid, workmanlike consistency:


Epicor has announced at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2008 its support of Microsoft's cloud computing initiative Azure Services Platform.

Epicor and Microsoft "share a complementary vision for cloud computing and building applications that bridge the gaps between PC, Web and phone," the Epicorians say, noting that Epicor recently announced its next-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) product Epicor 9 -- expected to be generally available before the end of the year -- which will virtually put "ERP everywhere."


Robert Wahbe, Corporate Vice President, Connected Systems Division at Microsoft, called taking advantage of cloud computing "the next logical step in the evolution of Epicor's service-oriented business applications."


Epicor 9, the company's enterprise business software product designed for companies in domestic and global markets, is built on a second-generation service-oriented architecture, Epicor Internet Component Environment 2.0. It's engineered to combine Web 2.0 concepts, such as Enterprise Search, presence and real-time communication with business acumen, officials say.


Erik Johnson, senior director of development at Epicor, said in his opinion, "Azure Services Platform will be a game changer for cloud platforms -- it incorporates Microsoft's .NET Framework which means Epicor can use our existing skills and code libraries. Azure will also include new storage, identity, and data geo-affinity features that are crucial for deploying commercial enterprise applications in the cloud."


Epicor has been working with Azure Services Platform since mid-July in developing Enterprise Search for its Epicor 9 offering.



Go Daddy officials say in response to the economic slowdown the firm has "implemented product upgrades and service enhancements," including upgrades for businesses and for individuals in need of additional disk space with their hosting accounts, as well as a complete remodel to the GoDaddy.com Web site itself.


Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons said Go Daddy is expanding Web site building services "for people who want to have their site developed without investing lots of time or money."


The company has introduced two plans -- Create-it-for-me Web sites are for those who want an informational site to target customers, company officials say, while "anyone needing ongoing and continuously refreshed content can use Power Content Plans." Both include Traffic Blazer and Traffic Facts for no extra charge.


Go Daddy has also introduced an Unlimited Hosting package designed for those who want more disk space and bandwidth. Unlimited Hosting is available on both Windows and Linux. The vendor's also selling a new integrated product suite which allows users to switch between Website Tonight, Quick Shopping Cart and Quick Blogcast. It's aimed at business users who "want to build a complete online presence," company officials say, "including ecommerce, using Go Daddy's simple-to-use products."


"Our developers actually listen in on customer calls to learn how we can improve products," Parsons said.



Persistent Systems, a vendor of Outsourced Product Development services, and Rackspace Hosting, a vendor of hosted IT services, have entered into a partner agreement where both companies make available each other's product, "ultimately creating a total product stack for customers -- from managed infrastructure to software development and enablement for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Web applications, data migration and application support," Persistent officials say.


Through this relationship, Rackspace officials say, they can recommend Persistent's full array of software development services to their customers, who can use them over the life of their applications and products. This product partner agreement comes on the heels of a successful outsourcing product development relationship between Rackspace and Persistent.


"Rackspace had never worked with an offshore vendor before. We engaged Persistent in order to see how the model would work," said Tony Campbell, director, software development, Rackspace Hosting.


Rackspace officials say they use Persistent's expertise on a variety of projects, and avail themselves of "the knowledge of Persistent's people... its data warehouse and Java competency centers."



EGlue, a software company selling real-time customer interaction products, has announced the deployment of eGlue InterAct at Nationwide Financial Services, an insurance and financial services firm.


Nationwide officials say their contact centers receive more than 129,000 calls per month from consumers and brokers, and that the eGlue product lets them increase the accuracy of handling and routing of these calls.


Diane Martin, Director of Technology Services at Nationwide, said the eGlue product increases efficiency and makes "the experience easier for CSRs and more positive for Nationwide's customers... the asset retention process was simplified, while call information was captured for reporting."


EGlue's customer interaction management product provides customer service representatives with information when needed during the call. Company officials say it builds a profile of the call in progress, interprets the information and applies business rules to send specific instructions to CSRs in the form of "call-outs" or pop-ups.


Dror Pockard, CEO of eGlue, called the eGlue InterAct implementation at Nationwide an "example of how need can be balanced with the business imperative to increase efficiency and cut costs."


The system was tested in a controlled environment at Nationwide to understand the real impact on business results. CSRs were separated into an eGlue InterAct group and a control group, and their performance was compared. During the pilot, Nationwide officials say, the eGlue group was "22 percent more accurate in routing asset retention cases than the control group, hitting the 90 percent accuracy level."



Here's CRM news insofar as anybody involved in CRM has ever wished their mobile phone were louder: Audience has announced a new voice processor that includes a full suite of voice quality enhancements allowing mobile phone users to hear and be heard in noisy environments.


The Audience A1024 Voice Processor is now sampling and provides transmit and receive noise suppression, acoustic echo cancellation, and voice equalization. Want to hear what it sounds like? Hit http://www.audience.com/demo-english.


According to a vice president in the LG Electronics R&D Center, their customers are "delighted with the voice quality of LG mobile phones that include Audience's noise suppression technology."


The Audience suite now provides not only noise suppression but other voice quality features, such as instantaneous transmit noise suppression that provides suppression of up to 30 dB, described by company officials as "enough suppression to remove the noise of coffee grinders, blenders, background music and conversations from a busy coffee shop."


Audience says it also provides up to 18 dB of receive non-stationary as well as stationary noise suppression from the far end, "allowing mobile phone users to receive calls from noisy environments."


The product also claims voice equalization that boosts and equalizes the incoming voice based on the level and for the duration of local background noise as the user moves through different noisy environments like a train station or a busy street.

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