OpenAir, a NetSuite company and vendor of cloud computing professional services automation and services resource planning software, has announced new customers from the Asia Pacific region -- AIPEX, Waugh Infrastructure Management, Fronde, and Matsco Solutions.
Through cloud-based product upgrades and product offerings, OpenAir markets its advantages as providing "low total cost-of-ownership by eliminating the need for support staff and on-site server maintenance.
AIPEX is a business and technology consulting firm based in Melbourne which "had no faith in their forecasting capabilities and limited visibility into the key metrics of the business," OpenAir officials said, adding that they integrated OpenAir with NetSuite for financials and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
OpenAir sees its value proposition coming into play when businesses feel like they're overwhelmed with such challenges as manual and inaccurate time and expense tracking, disconnected Sales Force Automation and financial point tools, restricted transparency into performance metrics, lengthy and inefficient billing cycles, and limited visibility into resource and skills profiles.
Waugh Infrastructure Management, a Timaru, New Zealand-based provider of infrastructure management services, reported "an immediate improvement in timesheet submission and approval" due to OpenAir's SaaS model, and Wellington-based Fronde found a reduction in its billing cycle.
OpenAir's product is designed to help users streamline business processes and eliminate "siloed, disjointed data sources," company officials say: "As the cornerstone of an SRP strategy, OpenAir connects time tracking and usage management with SFA and back-end financial data, accelerating the quote-to-cash process." The company has offices in Boston, London and Sydney.
Customer self-service appointment scheduling vendor TimeTrade Systems has released a consumer survey conducted by Beagle Research Group, finding that consumers typically have a maximum 10 to 20 minute tolerance when waiting for services -- depending on the service offered.
The study also found customers value services that are set by appointments more highly and consider them "more professional." The complete findings are available in the Beagle white paper "Improving Service Businesses with Appointment Scheduling."
According to the results, more than 30 percent of the people who visit a business for service expect instant attention -- in some cases even if they do not have an appointment. More than 80 percent said they would be willing to set up an online account to make subsequent appointment scheduling easier. Walk-in services were generally found to be "impersonal, crowded and rushed."
Denis Pombriant, managing principal, Beagle Research Group, correctly observed that "consumers do not like to wait. Service organizations should be more aware than ever that keeping consumers waiting can have a negative impact on their business."
Pombriant said the survey showed that people are generally more patient waiting for professional services than consumer services, and that "shorter wait times improve their impression of the quality of the service. Even so, long waits are not tolerated for any service other than medical."
The TimeTrade personal appointment scheduling tool, TimeDriver, lets users add a self-service scheduling link to Web pages and e-mails so their customers and colleagues can schedule time with them, company officials say, putting appointments into a user's Outlook or Google calendar in times that fall inside user-defined availability windows and do not conflict with other commitments on the calendar.
TeamSupport.com has announced integration between TeamSupport and 37Signal's CRM system HighRise.
"Customer Service/Bug Tracking and CRM products don't typically communicate with each other, so keeping their separate customer databases in-sync can be a painfully manual process," said Robert C. Johnson, TeamSupport's CEO.
Johnson said his company has "made it easy to connect the data dots. TeamSupport imports information for any contact flagged as a 'customer' in the HighRise application, then we monitor the CRM for any changes to those records and update TeamSupport."
He noted that the product can "place TeamSupport ticket information directly into the HighRise customer record as a note, complete with an active URL link back to the support ticket."
TeamSupport, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dallas-based Muroc Systems, was created to address this "need to keep everyone in-the-loop by integrating customer service, product development, sales and QA," Johnson said. "Having both groups working from the same knowledge base enhances internal and external communications."
As millions of college students arrive on campus in the weeks ahead, they'll have something First Coffee never did in college -- a cell phone. And, of course, in the tradition of college students, they'll take time to sit down and learn about cell phone insurance options and the benefits of such programs instead of hitting the campus beer bash, and... hey, stop laughing you.
All right, so Mom and Dad might have to help out there a bit as well.
"Like selecting a college or university that is the right fit for a student, it is important to conduct research and understand the differences among handset protection plans," says David Leach, CEO, eSecuritel. "Not all offerings are equal."
So what might you look for in a policy? Leach suggests considering the question of how long after the initial purchase of a phone you can, in fact, buy handset insurance -- "typically carrier-specific, some service providers require that a subscriber enroll in handset insurance at the point of purchase while others honor a 15 to 30 day post-activation enrollment period."
And the key question: "How much will it cost to replace the cell phone if -- when -- my kid loses it at college?"
Leach notes that if the phone is under a contract, which it usually is for about two years, the phone is heavily subsidized, "so the price you pay for the phone initially will not be the same as what you would later pay if you had to replace it. It will be substantially higher."
Smartphones that can access the Internet are much more attractive to thieves so they should probably be insured. Leach says coverage for protection services for the phone when you prepay for minutes or a specific amount of time, or if you're not under any sort of contract can vary, too.
Leach says in "the majority of cases" handset insurance providers fulfill claims via direct mail fulfillment in as little as one to two days. Others provide in-store fulfillment. The approach is carrier specific.
And, of course, as Leach advises, "read the fine print."
From Bangkok comes the news that True Clarity, a local partner of FrontRange Solutions service and customer relationship management software, has launched GoldMine Premium Edition 8.5.1.
Company officials say it has "true Universal Search" functionality, which lets users conduct a single search for any information associated with a customer or prospect's record, as "one of over 300 enhancements" to latest GoldMine CRM product.
James McCracken, Managing Director at True Clarity, said Universal Search "makes it much easier to access that information in real-time, while you're actually dealing with customers. Say you want to find some account information from a customer that they gave you six months ago, or perhaps a previous sales proposal. With most products you'd need to know exactly where to look for that data. With GoldMine, just one search will find it for you, regardless of where it was saved."
The search functionality introduced in the GoldMine tool covers "every type of information associated with a record," company officials say, including "data fields, e-mails, notes, linked documents, knowledge base articles and more."
Greg Anderson, GoldMine General Manager at FrontRange, said "we've essentially created a hugely powerful search engine within the CRM application itself."
Through the end of September 2009 True Clarity is offering GMPE 8.5.1 and Professional Services at a 30 percent savings from the normal retail price. Potential Clients are welcome to a free Trial of GMPE 8.5.1 for 30 Days via the following http://bit.ly/CeC5L.
Guilford, Connecticut-based INTAgLIO Business Solutions (info) has introduced CRM Jump Start Services for small and midsize companies that "favor Salesforce.com, but don't have the in-house staff to manage the project and can't afford high priced system integrator fees."
But, they add, which also don't want to keep using rudimentary spreadsheet and contact manager tools which "don't foster the strong CRM environment that is essential for running a successful business."
A successful CRM environment, company officials say, "facilitates customer-facing efforts aligned with a common goal" of acquiring and retaining satisfied customers.
"There are a number of best-in-class CRM consultancies around the world who have invested heavily in their Salesforce.com practice," says John Bernardi, INTAgLIO's owner. "However, many companies do not have a need for their deep level of expertise, at least at the outset. They can't afford the fees that are commensurate with their overhead structure."
Telefónica O2 Czech Republic, a fixed and mobile operator in Central and Eastern Europe, has deployed Oracle Communications Unified Inventory Management "as part of its business support system and operations support system architecture," according to Oracle officials.
With multiple existing in-house and third-party inventory systems, Telefónica O2 Czech Republic officials say they were looking to "define, manage and unify" their customer services and associated logical resources, such as phone numbers and IP addresses, and physical resources -- switches and routers, etc., to reduce service introduction times and automate service fulfillment.
"The growing complexity of contemporary IP services was challenging our ability to launch and deliver services," said Tomas Prokopik, business planning and performance manager, Telefónica O2, Czech Republic.
The project included Oracle's Siebel CRM integrated with Oracle Communications Order and Service Management and Oracle Communications Service Activation.