SAS and Healthcare, HighTower, Quantum's GoalTrak, Callidus On-Demand, F&S Call Center, RoadComm's LifeInPocket

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David Sims
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SAS and Healthcare, HighTower, Quantum's GoalTrak, Callidus On-Demand, F&S Call Center, RoadComm's LifeInPocket

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Round II of War of the Records. Yesterday Elvis Presley's From Elvis In Memphis edged out Tom Waits's Rain Dogs.

Today is truly a monumental clash of the titans -- Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited against The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers:

"With the entire US health care system under the microscope of reform efforts," SAS officials say, "parts of such change depend upon health insurers controlling costs, improving health care outcomes and maximizing member satisfaction."

And SAS would like to take this opportunity to remind you that "nearly all of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensees use SAS Business Analytics to drive those measures."

Of the 39 companies within the oldest and largest family of health plans, say officials of SAS, the CRM analytics tools vendor tucked away in a bucolic campus in Cary, North Carolina, "all but four have deployed SAS software."
In fact, they say, "one in three Americans -- more than 100 million residents -- counts on a Blue Cross and Blue Shield company for health coverage."

With increasing pressure from health care reform for health insurers to cut costs and invest in modern technology architecture, "technologies such as advanced analytics are increasingly a key element in cost control," says Kunal Pandya, Senior Analyst, Health Insurance Practice at Aite Group, an independent business technology research firm. "For health care insurers, such technologies can assist with detecting fraud, managing risk driven by preventative interactions and other areas that make the system more efficient and effective."

The SAS Business Analytics Framework is described by company officials as a blend of data integration, analytics, reporting as well as "an ever-expanding portfolio of industry and line-of-business" products for organizations to address "immediate business issues."

Highway 61's going first. Man, after the double-barreled shotgun blast of "Like A Rolling Stone" and "Tombstone Blues" and knowing it finishes up on "Desolation Row" it's going to be hard to beat.
Chicago-based HighTower, an advisor-owned financial services firm described by company officials as serving "high net worth clients" -- as if any financial services firm would say "Hey, we serve low worth clients! Bums, ragpickers, losers, we go after 'em" -- announced that it has "deepened" its open-source platform and services with the addition of new international capabilities and advisory talent.

Elliot S. Weissbluth, HighTower's CEO, says the open-source model of financial services firms "allows concurrent input of multiple clearing firms and multiple custodians and significantly differs from the closed, centralized models of product distribution and unified platforms."

HighTower expanded its international advisory talent by adding Matthias Paul Kuhlmey, formerly of UBS, to the firm. HighTower officials say Kuhlmey was chosen for his international expertise and "nearly 20 years of experience serving ultra high net worth private clients who reside overseas."
His expertise includes buying and selling of foreign ordinaries. This lets clients who seek to buy and hold foreign equities not listed on U.S. exchanges to do so within the respective foreign currency.

"Investors are seeking increasingly sophisticated financial services and counsel," said Mr. Kuhlmey, Managing Director, HighTower. "HighTower sets a new bar for offering a comprehensive and product-agnostic platform that enables advisors to tap an incredibly wide range of products, capabilities and unique opportunities. I look forward to joining this impressive partnership of talent and innovative thinking."

HighTower has also added Christopher Towle Davis to the firm. Davis has wealth management experience, specializing in advising foundations, endowments, faith-based institutions, and nonprofit organizations.

In September the company expanded its global research expertise with the appointment of economists Martin Eichenbaum and Sergio Rebelo as Chief Economic Advisors.

"At HighTower, we're defined by our advisors," Weissbluth says. HighTower is headquartered in Chicago and maintains corporate centers in New York and San Francisco and offices around the country.

Quantum Voyage has announced new goal setting, executive coaching and mentoring software as a service tools via GoalTrak.
Now available "any time, anywhere via mobile Internet devices and an updated Web site," company officials say, GoalTrak is described as a product to help organizations "collaborate to set goals and use real-time data to increase productivity."

A study by Robert Rodgers of the University of Kentucky and John E. Hunter of Michigan State University in the Journal of Applied Psychology, 1991, Vol.76, No.2, cited by Richard Lewine, Quantum Voyage President, showed that "when top managers commit to participation in goal setting, decision making and objective feedback, productivity-gains yield 56 percent."
GoalTrak is described by company officials as a Web-based performance management system with a "nine-step process" to "collaboratively create and align goals with the vision, mission and strategy of the organization."

GoalTrak EV for enterprises and GoalTrak CV for executive coaching and mentoring let users access user-friendly dashboards any time to see real-time, actual performance against goal targets, conduct objective performance appraisals based on up-front, measurable agreements and know what colleagues are doing -- "and use peer support to increase accountability and productivity," company officials say.

It's also designed to let users communicate and conduct private mentoring with an internal, GoalMail system, review goals via results areas, individuals, top level, work groups, and other categories and maintain total control of the data and make results management part of the organization's "system."
Highway 61's done, we've caught our breath and are in Sticky Fingers now... "Sway" is absolutely smoking the speakers... this will be a close call.

Callidus, a vendor in the Sales Performance Management space, has announced that a European mobile telco provider has selected the Callidus On-Demand software application to automate its sales performance and incentive compensation program and manage its indirect sales force.
Under the agreement, the company will deploy Callidus On-Demand for its indirect channel.

Bill Schuh, vice president for Europe at Callidus Software, says the deal proves that on-demand is no longer a mid-market phenomenon: "On-demand is gaining widespread acceptance from IT organizations and business users alike. The cost-profile of SaaS is perfect for clients in the current economy."

Callidus On-Demand is billed by company officials as a tool for end-to-end performance management platform, handling "the entire sales lifecycle from sales on-boarding, to quota and plan deployment and payment."

From Manila comes the news that the contact center industry "needs to increase its focus on customer acquisition and delivering customer experience with people, processes and technology."

That's the assessment of Frost & Sullivan officials at the recently-concluded Customer Contact Philippines summit 2009.

Kevin Panozza, CEO of Engagement Matters, says that companies today no longer compete with one another to make sales, instead, "they compete for opportunities." 

Shivanu Shukla, industry manager, ICT practice at Frost & Sullivan, notes that while the recession shifted the focus in the contact center industry towards efficiency, "such as cost reduction and optimizing resources, "as the economy begins to revive, efficiency will continue to be a driving factor."
Shukla also foresees that a "focus on effectiveness will return and re-assign importance on customer satisfaction, customer acquisition and revenue generation activities."

The Asian contact center industry is expected to see steady growth, driven by "increased investments by enterprises on beefing up their customer service infrastructure, as well as increased levels of outsourcing expected in 2010," he concludes.

RoadComm has made available the enhanced LifeInPocket mobile suite to RIM's BlackBerry smart phones.

Free of charge -- nice words, those -- LifeInPocket will upgrade BlackBerrys with increased functionality, company officials say: "Those features include GPS, navigation, actionable location messaging, friends and family locator, local listing and reviews, satellite map, street view, cheap gas finder, news, video, traffic, Twitter, e-mails, IMs, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube, music, movies, local events, TV guide, weather, finance, banking, sports, flights, magazines, fashion, cooking, transportation, travel, yellow or white pages, dictionary, translation, the Bible and much more real-time information and services."
Pause for deep breath.

The LifeInPocket product offers a Location Messaging Service powered with navigation and other GPS-based services with turn-by-turn navigation prompts with voice guidance.

Using synced address book, BlackBerry address book and its online trip-planning tool, company officials say, LifeInPocket Navigation "virtually eliminated the need for typing on tiny keyboards and surpassed those expensive phone navigation services."

LifeInPocket "enables address book sync and import with many Web address books, company officials say, adding that users can one-click on those synced contacts to "call," to "mail" and to "navigate" via their phones using LifeInPocket address book or BlackBerry address book.
And as the last notes of "Moonlight Mile" fade away, we have to award this round to Sticky Fingers. Well played all.

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