Aspect Opens in China, Open Solutions in Mexico, Mobile Worker Security, Bw.Connect for Salesforce, AMI Looks at Vendors

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David Sims
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Aspect Opens in China, Open Solutions in Mexico, Mobile Worker Security, Bw.Connect for Salesforce, AMI Looks at Vendors

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is Frank Sinatra's great Nice 'N' Easy album. As my son just said, "It's a Frankie Friday:"

Aspect, a vendor of communications and contact center software and services provider, has announced the opening of its new technical support center in Dalian, China. The 4,055 square foot contact center will provide support services to customers and partners across the Asia Pacific region.

"It is critical that organizations are able to manage their customer inquiries with no downtime, so this new center in Dalian is designed to ensure that calls are handled by knowledgeable Aspect experts," said Lui Simhua, senior vice president, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, Aspect.
The new contact center reflects what Aspect officials characterize as "the company's growth in the Asia Pacific region" and allows Aspect to provide service to its customer base by offering extended global technical support on a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week basis.

The technical support engineers at the Aspect Dalian contact center "have received extensive training," company officials say, and are "well-equipped to respond to customer inquiries."

The Dalian contact center is designed to provide issue resolution through remote support abilities and distributed field services personnel, support for system performance with ongoing application updates that refine system capabilities and the ability for Aspect users to ensure "Aspect products are always up and available to service customers."

Mexican-based El Banco Deuno officials say they have implemented Open Solutions's enterprise-wide database core banking product, The Complete Banking Solution: DNA. Open Solutions sells integrated enabling technologies for financial services providers.

Headquartered in Mexico City, El Banco Deuno, a de novo institution, is a subsidiary bank of IXE Banco, which serves the upper end of the financial market in Mexico and signed with Open Solutions in December 2007.

Currently, the bank is in the process of upgrading its core technology platform across all verticals to ensure each business unit is using the same front- and back-office system. El Banco Deuno, the first business unit to go live with this project, was founded to reach the historically under-banked, mid-to-low retail markets in Mexico and offers universal financial services, focusing on consumer and commercial loans for small- and medium-sized companies.

During 2007, IXE Banco was recognized by Expansion magazine for the customer service and assistance within the financial system it provided. Also in 2007, 33 new branches were opened, totaling 92 branches, and deposits grew from Mexican $10.3 billion at year-end 2006 to Mexican $16.7 billion.
El Banco Deuno opened with 12 branches and has an aggressive growth plan for the near future, company officials say. The bank determined that Open Solutions could support the bank's goals and its exponential five-year growth strategy.

"The bank was founded with a very specific goal and market in mind, making the enterprise-wide, core platform decision an even more critical one," said Javier de la Calle, general manager and CEO of El Banco Deuno and a director of Ixe Grupo Financiero.

In addition to The Complete Banking Solution: DNA relational database core banking platform, El Banco Deuno will be implementing Open Solutions' StreamLend Velocity retail and commercial loan origination platform (paperless, end-to-end loan origination). El Banco Deuno also has plans to use Open Solutions' advanced ATM switch, POSH, and its multifunctional capabilities, as well as its ConCenter ATM management platform and the cView CRM/business intelligence application.

Bluewolf has announced the availability of bw.Connect for Salesforce CRM Ideas on the AppExchange.
Bw.Connect for Salesforce CRM Ideas is a product designed to let organizations manage and act on the information gathered using Salesforce CRM Ideas, company officials say: "Salesforce CRM Ideas helps companies build their own online communities to collaborate with customers, partners, or employees in an interactive, online forum."
Salesforce CRM Ideas is a SaaS application from that allows customers to post, discuss, and vote on ideas of their customer and employee communities. It lets organizations tap into their online community, as a constant source of innovation, using it as a tool to be more responsive to market demands.
Bluewolf is a provider of consulting services for Software as a Service, Open Source and Cloud Computing products, and provides a product around Salesforce CRM Ideas. Built using the Platform, bw.Connect for Salesforce CRM Ideas is available for test drive and deployment on the AppExchange.
Bluewolf officials say bw.Connect for Salesforce CRM Ideas lets organizations "tie every comment submitted via Salesforce CRM Ideas back into Salesforce CRM at the contact record, closing the loop on community feedback." Additionally, it's engineered to enable what Bluewolf calls "E-mail to Idea," allowing customers to submit input by e-mail, eliminating the need to require customers to log in.
The product also aggregates all submitted activity by user, providing organizations a customer-specific view of comments and feedback.

Fiberlink Communications Corporation, a vendor of enterprise software and services that solves mobility issues, has announced survey results looking at mobile employees' thoughts on mobility, security, IT and work-life issues.
The firm commissioned Kelton Research to conduct a survey of 300 employees who work at companies with more than 500 employees and work remotely on company-issued laptops at least some of the time.
The survey showed that many employees are aware of the importance of IT security on their corporate laptops: "Seventy percent of remote workers would rather get their work done on a secure network connection even if it meant their assignment would be late," the survey found.  However, many admit to actions that have the potential to put their companies at risk.  "For instance," survey officials said, "nearly a quarter of the survey respondents have either altered security settings or purposefully delayed security updates."
When company laptops and other mobile devices are connected to the Internet but are out of reach of conventional security defenses, IT experiences what Fiberlink calls the "mobile blind spot," defined as "a gap in network security that can leave an organization exposed."
The survey found that 43 percent of respondents "download personal pictures and videos." Thirty-one percent "download software for their own use," and 25 percent admit they've "visited a blacklisted or inappropriate Web site."

24 percent "altered security settings," and 23 percent "delayed security settings purposefully."
Whatever actions you take, you'll need to address mobile workers, since 55 percent of survey respondents plan to "b
ecome more reliable on remote and mobile connections in the next year" and 46 percent plan to "rely more on video conferencing than they do now."

It won't be an all-bad thing, either: Forty two percent of laptop-toting employees work more hours each week when working remotely, the survey found, adding that "thirty-five percent of these employees work more than 30 additional hours each month, and twenty-four percent work 10 to 14 additional hours when working remotely each month."
Oh, and what percentage of remote workers surveyed think there are "advantages to having a laptop provided by their employer?" 99 percent. Really makes you wonder about that one percent, doesn't it?

"Adding Fresh Value to the SaaS Equation: Six Vendors to Watch" is the new study from AMI Partners looking at the approaches that smaller, newer vendors are taking to help accelerate adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) products in the small and medium business markets.

The report examines how, specifically, Boomi, Dreamfactory, LucidEra, MyBizHomepage, Zoho and Zuora are bringing new value to SMBs by "concentrating on making SaaS products more affordable, accessible and flexible.

The SaaS model, as popular as it might be in pockets, isn't mainstream yet: "Currently, about 26 percent of small businesses, and about 33 percent of medium businesses currently use or plan to use SaaS," according to the AMI survey:

"Especially as some established SaaS players move upstream to focus on large and upper mid-market customers, ample opportunity remains for other vendors to innovate and add the kind of value needed to pull more SMBs into the market," says Laurie McCabe, VP of SMB Solutions & Insights at New York-based AMI-Partners.
Though often more affordable than traditional, on-premise products, many SaaS products are still out of reach for cash-strapped SMBs, the survey finds: "Vendors such as Zoho and MyBizHomepage are reducing the pricing barrier with free and low-cost products; others, such Zuora and Boomi, are slashing infrastructure and integration costs for SaaS developers, who can pass their savings on to customers."
The shift from product-centric to service-centric businesses is "well underway," the survey finds, adding that vendors such as Zuora, with its Z-Billing and Payments products, and Zoho, with Zoho Creator and Marketplace make it easier for other vendors to make the shift.
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