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May 2010

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Force 10, Knowlagent, Open Text, NetSuite, Parature

May 27, 2010

From snail-mail correspondence, to the telephone, to self-service knowledge bases, to social communities, customer service continues to evolve and expand its footprint across a range of delivery channels, according to Parature officials. Parature, a leading provider of Web-based customer support software, has a white paper giving a good overview of channel choice in customer service today. They find it is best determined by a company's business model, but that "most successful businesses today offer a multi-channel approach that gives their customers options in seeking service." In other words, companies don't need to offer every possible channel to their user base - just the ones they find to be most effective, based on their constituency. Determining which ones will be most effective is, of course, the fun. Read more here. ... How'd you like to be able to give your CRM software vendor this recommendation: "NetSuite has simplified our company's operations, given us great efficiency, power, and flexibility, helped us do business on the Web, and has helped unify our customer touchpoints by linking CRM with ERP and Ecommerce.  In IT, NetSuite changed our role.  We're not traditional IT anymore -- we now spend our time adding value rather than answering requests." That's from Advantage Sign Supply, talking about their recent NetSuite CRM software installation. They're a large supplier of sign-making materials and components, and they wanted to attract more franchise customers, improve profitability. Hey who wouldn't? They have to deal with over 15,000 SKUs and frequent price changes by materials suppliers, and were trying to keep a handle on it all with fragmented IT systems, forcing company to set prices manually, SKU by SKU. Read more here. ... Recently call center management software provider Knowlagent published a useful white paper dealing with the question of how to evaluate whether or not an at-home agent workforce is right for your business. "First, you have to determine if a work-at-home program is even feasible for your organization," said Krystal Sautter, CEO of Moving Beyond the Bricks, a consulting firm specializing in home-based workforce implementations, who designed and implemented the at-home program at ConAgra Foods. Then, she recommended, "consider all of the potential costs from office furnishings to supplies, technology, a customer satisfaction and workforce management tool, training, tech support, and any other elements needed to sustain an at-home program." Other recommendations highlighted: Read more here. ... Recently at the Interop 2010 show in Las Vegas, TMC's CEO Rich Tehrani had a chance to both break the house at baccarat and sit down and talk with Geoffrey Anderson, the senior product manager at Open Text, a vendor focusing on content management and enterprise fax over IP products. Anderson works in the fax group, he said, adding that they have three product lines in their group right now, with two fax-based products, one of them being Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition, formerly known as RightFax, which is their mainline fax server product sold to medium to large enterprises. They also offer Fax appliance products, smaller-scale appliances for SMBs, which are also well-enabled with capabilities. "We also have a document management" product, Anderson said, the Open Text Document Server, Alchemy edition, which he described as a "capture and management" product, "strongly tied to our fax products and provides a great archiving application." Read more here. ... Recently at the Interop 2010 show in Las Vegas, TMCnet's CEO Rich Tehrani had the chance to interview Force10's Senior Director of Product Marketing Kevin Wade. Wade said they've had an active couple of months leading up to the show.

Phybridge's UniPhyer, Combest, Dynamic Network Services, 800 Numbers, VoltDelta

May 27, 2010

Phybridge's product, the UniPhyer, is described by company officials as "a new standard for IP telephony infrastructure... a low-cost, risk free, robust, quick and easy VoIP enabler." Basically, the way company officials explain it, the Phybridge UniPhyer uses existing telephony cabling to provide a complete IP network for voice and data, which allows you to centrally converge with the LAN. If that's what you're looking for this is certainly something you want to look into. The Phybridge UniPhyer also provides a dedicated path for voice, QoS and POE to every desktop, if that's on your wish list as well. And if you're looking to transition to IP telephony it's something you might want to check into, especially if you want to have reliable phone systems based on "robust and resilient legacy PBX systems" Phybridge officials say. Read more here. ... Established in 1994, Combest works in design, deployment and management of telephony and data networking. A while ago the Georgia company launched an effort to upgrade their service and support center the industry's best.

Cell Halfalogues, UPS and REMO, Open Source CRM

May 27, 2010

"Ever wonder why overhearing a cellphone conversation is so annoying? American researchers think they have found the answer," goes the Reuters teaser. Frankly, my friend, we wonder about that as often as we wonder why we find Julia Roberts beautiful or why we like banana splits, or why we find cold toilet seats and Justin Bieber annoying. Evidently it's because only half of the conversation is overheard, the researchers say. See, this "drains more attention and concentration than when overhearing two people talking," according to scientists at Cornell University, Reuters reports. "We have less control to move away our attention from half a conversation (or halfalogue) than when listening to a dialogue," said Lauren Emberson, a co-author of the study that will be published in the journal Psychological Science. "Since halfalogues" - ten points for the somewhat cool coinage - are really more distracting and you can't tune them out, this could explain why people are irritated," she theorized, according to Reuters. Read more here. ... The National Foundation for Educational Research, Britain's largest independent provider of research, assessment and information services for education, training and children's services, has selected UPS Systems to "avert disaster with its remote monitoring tool REMO, and reduce the organization's costs," according to NFER officials. The foundation's mission is to aid British government departments and agencies on both a local and national basis by informing and improving policy and practice. As you might imagine, then, its IT systems are essential to its day-to-day operations, and power failures are not acceptable.

UPS Systems is helping NFER with its remote monitoring tool REMO, NFER officials say.

Essence Hot Hair, Parlance, ConnectMe Voice, NEI, Tommy Lee at ACUTA

May 27, 2010

Ever wonder where Tommy Lee ended up? Turns out he was recently spotted on snom's road show at the ACUTA Conference & Exhibition in San Antonio. No, we're not talking about the drummer for Motley Crue (or at least we don't think we are!). Rather, we're talking about the chronicles of a senior snom official who is taking the company's VoIP phones on the road. "Snom IP phones are ideal in the higher education marketplace for both SIP and OCS Unified Communication platforms because they operate in PC, Mac and mixed environments," Lee explained. "Providing this level of flexibility will enable universities to preserve their endpoint investment no matter which way they decide to upgrade." The snom Americas team later went to Los Angeles as part of the same road show, and were seen at The Cable Show in Los Angeles, an exhibition for the entire cable television ecosystem including content providers in the world of entertainment (television and movie producers and executives), multi-service operators (MSOs), and technology providers (infrastructure, equipment and applications). Read more here. ... In 2009, NEI announced new enhancements to its Element Manager 3.0, which now includes enhanced smart services for software developers.

Google and DNS, Amax's Chua, Infoblox's Ness, Corning Cable Systems, Display Link

May 26, 2010

Recently TMC's Group Editorial Director, Erik Linask, had a chance to visit Las Vegas, win his mortgage payments for the upcoming year and talk with Infoblox's Greg Ness, VP of Marketing.

The company automates network infrastructures, Ness said. "Generally when people think of infrastructure, they think of switches and routers, which every three to five years goes to a refresh. What we automate is the core network services of that infrastructure."

Verizon Business, Nice Systems, Radisys, Laszlo Systems, Hi-Def Mobile Boom

May 26, 2010

Laszlo Systems, a vendor that creates rich unified Internet applications for consumers and businesses, has announced the launch of Laszlo Webtop Cloud, a Web-based platform that merges e-mail, voice and messaging with social networking and other applications.

The Webtop platform has been adopted and deployed by many of the Tier 1 service provider, company officials said, "to provide subscribers with engaging personal portals for unifying and managing information, collaboration and communications on the Web."

The launch of Laszlo Webtop Cloud  is intended to extend this Web 2.0 capability to companies of all sizes with a suite of capabilities and services for creating personal portals  that function across devices and "foster brand affinity and deeper levels of customer engagement," company officials say.

Last December TMC had the news that Laszlo Systems announced that it has entered into an agreement with Cincinnati Bell for the deployment of Webtop.

MyFax, StoryCorps, IT and Telecom Convergence, SugarCRM Tour, Alcatel-Lucent

May 26, 2010

Network operators can no longer remain status quo - they must innovate to keep pace with user expectations for services and quality.  So what are the key areas for them to consider?

Fortunately Alcatel-Lucent has put together a highly useful study on this topic. As it says, "network service providers dealing with massive bandwidth demand are struggling to evolve their networks while keeping costs under control."

The paper finds that arriving at "cost-effective, customer-oriented" answers demands a change of perspective - "away from traditional operational preoccupations toward a view guided by financial and strategic business considerations."

Nextiva Office, Speedflow, Sorensen Media, SA Water Corp, Phone.com

May 26, 2010

South Australia Water Corporation is a water utility wholly owned by the South Australian state government, providing fresh water and waste water services to South Australia's nearly 1.5 million citizens.

Founded in 1856, it's been around for a while.

As with many public utilities, call volumes can be wildly unpredictable with call types ranging from service requests and billing enquiries to emergencies, such as water main failures and sewer blockages.

SA Water sought to answer all calls to its customer service center within 20 seconds, and given the wide variety of calls it receives, "decided to seek a more systematic way to forecast call volumes and, more importantly, schedule staff to ensure it achieved its service level commitments," company officials said.

Call Center Turnover, TMA Resources, Clearhub's Chan, VoIP Innovations, Customer Cult

May 26, 2010

Recently, TMC's Erik Linask was in Las Vegas for Interop 2010, and had a chance to interview Michelle Chan, managing director from Clearhub.

As Linask noted, Clearhub provides a mobility suite similar to that provided by BlackBerry. Chan described it as consisting of push mail, instant messaging and voice SMS, among other services.

"We realize there are a lot of people in the market who are not carrying a BlackBerry," Chan said, adding that maybe they prefer the iPhone, Nokia, Sony Ericsson or another smartphone: "We built a product that can cut across any phone and can be used anywhere.

VUI Design, Infonetics Report, Wireless Packet Core Market, IPad Usage, Android Languages

May 17, 2010

"Intelligent design" might be controversial as a theory for how the universe was created, but it's a good way to make VUIs or" Voice User Interfaces" natural and expressive.

Sheyla Militello, who works on Loquendo's marketing and business development, and who was recently appointed Project Manager for different EU projects, wrote an essay for Loquendo that points out, "The necessity of at least partial automation of customer support via CRM, mostly due to economic reasons, is anything but new. There are a huge number of companies that have considerable costs and resources dedicated to call/contact centers and that depend on them for a significant part of their business and support."

Militello says callers want to have their needs quickly and courteously met.

Interactive Intelligence, Speedflow, Parlance's NameConnector, Cloud Computing, Open Source CRM

May 17, 2010

Insurers today are growing through existing products, lines, channels, and geographic areas. They understand that a better understanding of customer needs and improved customer service increases sales and improves retention rates, which drives profitable growth.

Interactive Intelligence has released a fairly in-depth white paper, researched by SMA, a strategic advisory firm for insurance companies and providers, looking at customer communications management. CCM, the paper finds, "plays a critical role in maximizing every customer interaction to capture more information about customer needs, make timely offers, and enhance customer service."

SMA believes that CCM is most valuable "when considered holistically as the integration of all forms of communication and all types of information across the enterprise." In other words, a comprehensive CCM vision is pretty much essential today with what SMA finds to be "the advent of new customer demands, shifting demographics, and the expansion of the various devices and channels that policyholders, agents, and third-party partners use to interact with insurers."

Office Furniture, AutoDial Lawsuits, DOMAINfest, VoIPSwitch, xG Technology

May 17, 2010

Some well-known Internet addresses will be on the auction block this month at DOMAINfest--a live domain auction held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on May 13th and sponsored by Moniker.com.

No, moniker.com is not for sale. But if you want to start at opening bids of $1 million you can bid on the likes of Wifi.com or Jeans.com. The auction will continue online through May 20.

Alcatel-Lucent, Market Advantage Program, Expand's WAN, HD Phone, Qwest Purchased

May 17, 2010

Expand Networks has announced that its advanced WAN Optimization technology is "supporting satellite communication services for one of the world's most important centers for global science research, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego."

According to Expand officials, "deployed across one of the largest U.S. academic fleets, Expand's Accelerators are improving the performance of critical applications and communications over low-bandwidth, high-latency satellite links, enabling communications between the ships and shore." 

Earlier this month TMC's Anil Sharma reported that Expand Networks announced two additions to its Accelerator product family: the 3830 and 3930 models.

Google Search, SugarCRM, Neustar Metrics, Microsoft Social Media, Google TV

May 17, 2010

According to Neustar Metrics, Google recently announced they will be taking site speed into account in search rankings and will be using "...a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites."

As Neustar officials say, "search engine optimization efforts just got a little more complicated, and your site's performance optimization got a lot more important."

The Google Webmaster blog does, indeed, say that "we're including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests."

Applian and Skype, Interop 2010 and Brocade, Talari Networks, ShoreTel, Auto Dialers in Idaho

May 12, 2010

Recently at the Interop 2010 show in Las Vegas, TMC's CEO Rich Tehrani interviewed Jason Nolet, vice-president of application delivery products from data center networking vendor Brocade about the company's latest news.

At the show, Nolet said, the company announced something to help customers get greater control and visibility over their application performance in virtualized data centers and environments. He mentioned a new piece of software that's a member of their ServerIron ADX family, the BARB - Brocade Application Resource Broker.

Essentially what it does, according to information provided by Brocade, is provide visibility into application performance across network and VM infrastructures, and "ensure application service level agreements are met by dynamically allocating additional resources to service increases in application load." 

Interop 2010, Verizon Interview, Ciena's Kaplan, VNA Group, Cisco's Chris Kozup

May 12, 2010

At the recent CTIA show in Las Vegas, TMC's CEO Rich Tehrani had an opportunity to interview Verizon Wireless's Executive Director of Service Performance and Device Evaluation, David McCarley.

McCarley's in charge of the "can you hear me now?" service assurance teams, as he said they have about a hundred vehicles scattered around the US, which will drive over a million miles this year.

When asked what special announcements they were going to make at the recent show, McCarley said the 4G LTE is on the top of the list of their deployments, saying "We're going to get out to 20 or 30 markets this year, and hopefully a third of the US population by the end of the year."

Read more here. ...

Recently at the CTIA show in Las Vegas, TMC's CEO Rich Tehrani had a chance to sit down and talk with Chuck Kaplan, the VP of Portfolio Solutions at Ciena.

Tone Software's Wiggins, Nextiva Connect, vFAX, iPass Update, Trilithic Interview

May 12, 2010

Recently, TMC's Stefania Viscusi interviewed Paul Wiggins, convergence technology manager at Tone Software.

She asked him how proactive quality control management can ensure that overall VoIP service levels are met. Wiggins said that in-depth management is a big piece of ensuring service levels.

"When quality issues arise, technicians need to be armed with a set of metrics that help them diagnose the root cause of the issues, so they can expedite remediation," he said.

BuilderMT and Parature, Flash and Apple, KBCm, Ethernet Study, NEI's Element Manager

May 12, 2010

BuilderMT, based in Lakewood, Colo., which sells production management software for residential homebuilders, was finding its customer support organization stretched to the limit.

They wanted to offer their customers an easy-to-use, Web-based support system for instant 24/7 support from any Web browser, as well as a closed-looped system to integrate multiple communication and productivity applications.

So they selected Parature's customer support software, with BuilderMT officials citing the product's due "integrated support portal, flexible knowledgebase, and closed-loop ticketing system."

The online support portal is incorporated into BuilderMT's company site and serves as the starting point for customers seeking assistance, according to BuilderMT officials, explaining that from the support portal, customers can access knowledgebase articles to quickly find answers to questions on their own.

Parlance's NameConnector, Fujitsu's Cloud, Marvell's Avanta, Fuze Box, Video Conferencing

May 12, 2010

"Even though I have 2,992 names in my PDA, I never seem to have the phone number I really need."

That's from the president and CEO of Akamai Technologies, so if there are problems at that level of technological reach, we're guessing you're having a couple too.

But he found a solution via the Personal Directory application on Parlance Corporation's nameConnector speech-enabled call routing service. A Personal Directory is an application which "has proved popular with customers," according to Parlance officials.

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