Avaya, Radicati Study, Salesforce.com, Bendigo's Contact Center, Ace Hardware and Targus

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

Avaya, Radicati Study, Salesforce.com, Bendigo's Contact Center, Ace Hardware and Targus

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is The Grateful Dead song "Brown-Eyed Woman" - in nine versions from various live shows, and including a fine cover from The U-liners. No, First Coffee isn't a Deadhead, this is the only Dead song I have more than one version of:

Avaya, a vendor of business communications systems, software and services, has announced a new program to attract Nortel resellers to the Avaya Business Partner program.  
New Nortel partners joining Avaya, company officials say, will be fast-tracked with programs and incentives to help them deliver Avaya's unified communications and contact center products to new small, medium and large businesses. "For Nortel channel companies, it's an opportunity to add the Avaya product line, including the Avaya Aura platform," says Todd Abbott, senior vice president and president, Field Operations.

Avaya recently announced Avaya Aura, an architecture designed, company officials say, to simplify communications networks. The company has also announced it's stepping up implementation of a High-Touch Channel-Centric strategy to try to grow its business through indirect sales.

Avaya invites Nortel channel partners to participate in this new era of communications by joining the Avaya Business Partner program. Nortel channel partners will be fast-tracked with training, sales, marketing and services support to help enable them to quickly succeed in the market, and will receive bonus incentives for every new Avaya customer and product order.

The communications vendor claims over 120 former Nortel and Siemens channel partners have joined the Avaya Business Partner program since the beginning of the year.

The latest study by The Radicati Group, titled "Hosted Unified Communications Market, 2009-2013," provides analysis of the field, including installed base and revenue market share by vendor, four-year forecasts, and breakouts by region and business size.

Radicati analysts found that the Hosted UC market is "showing strong growth," with revenues expected to reach $2.3 billion in 2009, and growing to nearly $5 billion by 2013.

The Hosted Unified Communications market basically comprises services that offer integrated voice, messaging, collaboration, and presence capabilities accessed and managed through a single interface. This study looks at the Hosted UC Providers, and Telecom UC Providers segments of the market.

The study looks at a range of Hosted UC Providers, including Apptix, AT&T, CallTower, Cypress Communications, Hutchinson 3G, Intelliverse, Intermedia, LightEdge Solutions, Microsoft, NTT DoCoMo, Onebox, Orange SA, Skype Technologies, Sprint Nextel Corporation, Telus, USA.NET, Verizon Communications, Vodafone and others.

Salesforce.com has announced that RehabCare Group is using the Force.com platform to build a custom health care application to run on its staff's Apple iPhones.  

Built in just four days, the application is said by Radicati officials to be designed to enable RehabCare staff to shorten the time needed to process patient pre-screens, "from as many as 18 hours to less than sixty minutes."

RehabCare is one of the 59,300 companies counted as part of the Salesforce.com customer base as of April 30.

"We have a multiple-step screening process that helps ensure we match our services to our patients' needs. Unfortunately this process was taking too much time and was impacting our ability to admit patients quickly," says Dick Escue, chief information officer at RehabCare, adding that using Force.com, they designed and built something to fit their needs "in just a matter of days." If we had tried this with .Net, we would have faced at least three months of development time."

RehabCare's patient screening process involved completing an evaluation form that was filled out manually by employees in the field. The evaluations were then passed to a program director for review and, finally, to a medical director for approval. With the Force.com platform, RehabCare automated the system to run on employees' iPhones, while ensuring "protection of patient health information" and addressing concerns around unauthorized access to the information, RehabCare officials say.

The Force.com platform, which powers the Salesforce CRM applications, is used by over 800 ISV partner applications. Applications built on the Force.com platform can be distributed to the cloud computing community through the Force.com AppExchange marketplace.

Excelior Chief Executive John Watkinson happily accepted a $300,000 grant by Australia's Government of Victoria to support the education and retraining of employees at the company's Bendigo contact center, saying the funding was vital to keeping jobs in the region and facilitating expansion.

At the same time, Watkinson announced a $500,000 investment in new IT technology at Bendigo.

"While we have had some significant success in attracting additional contact center work to Bendigo, dramatically slowing the phased ramp-down of jobs that we had feared after our major client AAPT withdrew, we needed this State Government assistance to maintain our viability," Watkinson says.

Watkinson said the funding "enables us to provide a blended contact center, providing businesses and governments" with the opportunity to access the services available to the corporate sector. He added that he is "optimistic of expanding our services at Bendigo to include assisting other government departments to manage their contact center responsibilities." Recent new client wins at the center have included a Federal Government department, Close-The-Loop, PMP and Carrier Air Conditioners.

Mr Watkinson said that as far as possible, Excelior would be using local Bendigo firms and trades people to carry out the company's technology expansion program to keep work within the local community.

Excelior is an Australian customer contact center operator with specialist capabilities in contact center management, recruitment and training. Established in 1999, it employs more than 2,000 people across 60 sites in Australia and New Zealand.

Ace Hardware Corporation, which probably actually is, as the company boilerplate publicity claims, the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the home improvement industry with over 4,600 stores, has partnered with TargusInfo to improve the new member sign-in process in its customer loyalty program.

With consumer information from TargusInfo, the feature allows Ace Rewards retailers at over 700 locations to create new memberships in real-time at the point of sale. Customers who join the Ace Rewards loyalty program receive an Ace Rewards Card at the point of sale and immediately begin accumulating points. Ace locations enroll new Ace Rewards members with phone number and On-Demand Identification services from TargusInfo.

It "significantly reduces" the customer's time to complete an application, and increases the accuracy of the customer's contact information, Ace officials say. Brian Wiborg, director of consumer marketing for Ace Hardware, said the move has "decreased the turnaround time for the sign up process" and "increased the accuracy of the customer's contact information."

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