SugarCRM, SharePoint and Microsoft, Cablevision's Optimum, OnState Communications and Aspect

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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SugarCRM, SharePoint and Microsoft, Cablevision's Optimum, OnState Communications and Aspect

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Tom Waits's across-the-years collection Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards. If you're going to leave studio tape lying around on shelves to be pulled out and anthologized one day, make sure it's as quality material as these tracks, most of which are the equal of anything Waits was putting out as official product at the time:

SugarCRM has announced the beta release of its new Web services framework, platform improvements, and enhanced mobile features for SugarCRM. The release, company officials say, lets users and developers "create and manage customized CRM experiences." The new capabilities are on Sugar Open Cloud, and available to the SugarCRM community to test in beta today. General availability is expected this summer. 

CRM is "most valuable when customized for each business and integrated with other mission-critical systems,ews for modules designated for mobile use. Users can then select which modules to view in the wireless client and tailor the layouts and fields for the wireless client from within Sugar Studio.

The new mobile studio is supposed to allow developers and Sugar users to design purpose-built mobile views into the SugarCRM system. A streamlined view of the customer support case module, for example, could help field support agents and manage customer case information to provide troubleshooting for customers.

SugarCRM is also introducing capabilities to let users add multiple individuals or teams to a CRM record to "enhance collaboration on complex projects," company officials say, adding that "for example, a user could assign an executive sponsor, professional services team and customer advocate to a given account, rather than simply assigning the account to an individual sales representative or sales team.

SharePoint Solutions, a vendor of Microsoft SharePoint products and consulting, has announced the creation of a product that integrates Microsoft SharePoint and

The product is available as extensions to the SharePoint Data Zoom Web Part, a free tool that allows SharePoint users to build content on any page. "Armed with the SharePoint Data Zoom Web Part and the extensions for sales objects," company officials say, "users will be able to pull into SharePoint all data from leads, opportunities, contacts, accounts and users." The SharePoint Data Zoom extensions for cost $4,995 per Web front-end server

"SharePoint and are the two biggest business software successes of the past five years," says Jeff Cate, president of SharePoint Solutions, adding that Microsoft represents the traditional software company in which users purchase licenses for software that is installed on computers, whereas represents "the new breed of software companies that provides software via the Internet on a subscription basis. From the customer's perspective, Microsoft's SharePoint is the best portal and team collaboration software available, and makes the best Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sales Force Automation software."

Users can also design reporting and inquiry tools to increase CRM data visibility to those who can access an enterprise's portal, but don't have a account.

Cablevision Systems officials say the company is offering business customers across its service area the option to select up to 24 lines of Optimum Voice phone service, "enabling Optimum Business to serve businesses with up to 100 employees." 
Each Optimum Voice line features low flat-rate pricing, unlimited local and long-distance calling within the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada with -- they promise -- "no hidden fees or taxes," and 14 business calling features "at no additional charge, such as Enhanced Voice Mail, Find Me, Rollover Hunting and Three-Way Calling."

Joseph Varello, Cablevision's vice president of voice and small and medium business services, said with the offer, Optimum Business is "addressing a segment of the market that has historically been underserved by legacy phone companies -- mid-sized businesses with up to 100 employees." It's his opinion that along with the recent introduction of Optimum Online Ultra, the value and benefits of Optimum Business "extend beyond small business and apply to a much larger segment of the commercial market."

Designed for commercial and small or home-based offices that require high-speed Internet and voice communications, Optimum Business provides predictable flat rate pricing, unlimited calling and voice and data services. Optimum Online Ultra, according to company officials, delivers downstream speeds of up to 101 megabits-per-second for residential, small and medium businesses customers.

The Optimum Business offering includes Optimum Online and Optimum Voice, each for $29.95 per month for one year. For customers with four to 24 lines, each additional Optimum Voice line is available for $29.95 per line. Optimum Online Boost with Static IP is available for an additional $24.95 per month, and Optimum Online Ultra is available for $99.95 per month.

OnState Communications, a vendor of on-demand virtual PBX and virtual call center business communications systems, has announced new product features for its business presence monitoring system. 
In addition to a number of dashboard and performance enhancements, company officials say, features in this release include the addition of OnState Mobile, real-time account tracking on a centralized dashboard and SIP phone support.

The addition of OnState Mobile extends OnState's virtual PBX and virtual call center capabilities to iPhone and BlackBerrys. Or should that be "BlackBerries?" Somehow "BlackBerrys" just doesn't look right. Okay, let's say "to BlackBerry devices and iPhones." There. A bit clunky but grammatically non-nebulous.
OnState Mobile is designed to track the business presence of your remote or traveling employees, who can now use an iPhone or BlackBerry -- singular or plural -- to participate as part of your call center operation. In other words, with this new feature, employees can directly receive incoming customer calls on a mobile phone, transfer the call to another employee in the company, or act as a secondary support resource to your core sales and customer support teams.

Call center managers can now view account information on a centralized dashboard. Available information that includes the total number of user licenses purchased and configured is displayed along with existing account credit balance, which is required to make or receive public switched telephone network calls. OnState customers handle the majority of calls using a soft phone based on Skype, SIP, or Google Apps, but the new release of OnState's software supports a range of SIP desktop phones.

The Frost & Sullivan 2009 North American Outbound Dialing Systems report, according to Aspect officials, has found that the unified communications vendor is "the leading outbound contact center vendor in market share." 
Frost highlighted Aspect's predictive outbound modes and the company's enterprise market across a wide range of industries in the report.

"The outbound market grew about three percent in 2008," says Joe Outlaw, principal analyst, Frost & Sullivan. "The features work with other Aspect product platforms and third-party products, making them an option for companies in the contact center," as well as companies that require outbound tools such as financial services, outsourcers, and telecommunications industries.

Aspect's outbound capabilities are components of several UC applications for the contact center, including Blended Interaction and Streamlined Collections. Aspect's UC applications help companies target operational objectives with specific capabilities.

Serge Hyppolite, director of interaction product management, Aspect, says that by taking "a unified approach to implementing outbound functionality," combined with other capabilities such as inbound routing, voice portal, and campaign management, "companies can lower costs by up to 20 percent and improve sales by up to 10 percent."


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