CRM and Biz Software Prospects, Cloud Call Centers and Weather, Cloud Collaboration Tools, Broadview's Stevie Award

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CRM and Biz Software Prospects, Cloud Call Centers and Weather, Cloud Collaboration Tools, Broadview's Stevie Award

“With a cloud-based call center, your team can bring home a medal no matter what the competition or the weather sends your way,” wrote industry observer Meghdutt Brahmachari on the Contactual blog a while ago.

That’d be good news to the brave folks in Alabama and across the South these days, who are getting some of the worst that weather can send their way.

Maybe your conditions aren’t that extreme -- let’s hope they’re not -- but as he writes, if you manage a call center “you may have experienced changes in weather, seasonality, and the vagaries of the free market.”

In other words, stay in the cloud so you don’t have to worry about what’s in the clouds! (Pause for laughter) Thank you, crickets, for chirping out there, we’re here every Thursday, tip your waitress.

As Brahmachari says, “if you use call center software that resides in the cloud -- a virtual call center,” you’ll have the ability to adapt quickly. This is because virtual call centers give businesses the agility to adjust to changes, of which Brahmachari outlines three:

Read more here.

“Cloud...” “collaboration...” two buzzwords you hear swirling around in the air. Which naturally raises an important question: What about cloud collaboration? And is there an app for that?

Glad you asked. Yes, in fact, there are quite a number of cloud collaboration apps. Information Week has a good list. Let’s run down a few:

Basecamp. By 37signals. It’s a bare bones Web site, but the client list isn’t, with the likes of National Geographic, Patagonia, Warner Bros. and Fox Sports using its project collaboration tool. Basecamp has about five million other users, supports multiple languages and was also designed for mobile devices such as iPhones and Android smartphones. Available with a free 30-day trial option, 37signals sells Basecamp under three plans: Plus for $49; premium for $99, and max for $149.

OfficeMedium. Based on Drupal CMS open source software, it’s aimed at giving small businesses a tool to collaborate and manage projects “without spending unnecessary resources buying and managing proprietary software,” since it’s well-known how much small businesses hate doing that sort of thing. The product has contact management, events, tasks, calendars; file sharing and client integration for about six bucks per month per user, and a $1 per gigabyte fee.

Read more here.

Broadview Networks, a network-based business communications and cloud services provider, has won a Stevie Award in the “Innovation in Customer Service” category for its eCare Enterprise. Broadview’s eCare Enterprise is the company’s proprietary customer self-service web portal and mobile application.

The award was presented at the fifth annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, an event which we might note we didn’t attend, although our dinner jacket and black tie were pressed and ready to go.

The Stevies are an annual recognition for excellence in business presented by the American Business Awards. Trophies were presented to honorees during a gala banquet at the Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel in Miami Beach, and we hear it was nice.

Last month TMC’s Rajani Baburajan wrote that Broadview Networks, a provider of business VoIP service, announced the launch of its OfficeSuite Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) and Recording for small and medium business customers.

At the Stevies this year, “there were 25 categories for customer service professionals, including Contact Center of the Year, Innovation in Customer Service, and Customer Service Department of the Year, as well as 40 categories for sales professionals, ranging from Global Sales Leader of the Year to Sales Training Program of the Year to Sales Department of the Yea,” Broadview officials said.

Read more here.

Some major U.S. business software firms are expecting to get a boost in sales and profits from a predicted broad increase in technology spending, including business software -- which will cut across nearly all geographies and verticals, according to Dow Jones’s John Kell.

Some business software vendors are seeing it already, according to an analysis Kell published recently. He names Oracle and “smaller players” in the business software market, including Tibco and Progress Software, who have posted higher sales and margins in their latest quarters.

But there are other business software vendors who should get a nice slice of the broad-based tech spend, as Kell describes. International Business Machines. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of $2.30 a share on revenue of $24.01 billion, up from income of $1.97 a share and revenue of $22.86 billion last year.

Kell notes that “IBM has benefited from heavy investments in emerging countries, as well as growth areas, such as business analytics and cloud computing.” Just last month the company said its long-term roadmap “helped it report record results,” Kell said.

Read more here.

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