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Customer Inter@ction Solutions News
February 2001

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T@W Enhances Functionality With Multimedia Overlay Network
At Communications Solutions Expo Fall 2000, Telephony@Work launched a new Multimedia Overlay Network as part of its CallCenter@nywhere e-contact center solution. It is a means of unifying geographically distributed call centers (including those using legacy telephone systems) into one seamlessly integrated virtual contact center so that ACD transactions on all media can be routed to the best-skilled agent, regardless of agent location. The solution is intended to replace telephone-only switching schemes based on Signaling System 7, which do not address load balancing of any media other than circuit-switched voice telephone calls. Users of the Network can deploy CallCenter@nywhere to unify formerly separate, noncommunicating PBX or ACD systems into a single system view or virtual call center.

Worldwideassist.com Debuts
Worldwideassist.com recently began operations. A Web-enabled customer sales and service provider located in Montreal, Canada, Worldwideassist.com offers live interactive customer care management solutions through multichannel and multilingual services. The company provides e-businesses with a range of technologies and professional services, including certified in-house training and development for customers' employees, professional consulting services and a turnkey customer relation management ASP solution.

New Service From Source One
Source One Communications unveiled Talk2Humans.com, its new offering for live customer service on the Web and on the phone. Talk2Humans.com is designed to handle real-time customer contacts through a variety of media rather than merely processing calls or e-mail. The service seeks to fill a role with clients as a reliable source point for crisis communications, industry expertise, cost-saving advice, consumer profile information and leading-edge technology. Talk2Humans.com uses state-of-the-art telecommunications technology to answer 800 number consumer inquiry calls, e-mail requests and provide live chat on behalf of clients. The Web site also offers a live, interactive demonstration of the service.

Portal Connect Offers Solution To Collections Companies
Portal Connect, Inc. (formerly EIS International) released Centenium XL 3.1 at Communications Solutions Expo Fall 2000 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is the company's newest contact center management solution, featuring comprehensive management tools for the collections market. The client/server-based system is designed to enhance agent productivity and improve control over delinquencies and recovery rates, enabling users to achieve their collections goals. Centenium XL 3.1 includes a suite of features designed for the credit and recovery market, such as digital messaging, diligence tracking, skip tracing, aging capabilities and "do not call" capabilities. The addition of Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)/Domain Name Service (DNS) support allows the integration of the Centenium XL system with corporate networks that use DNS, a centralized directory service containing IP addresses and other information for all network nodes.

The Teltone Heart: Enhanced OfficeLink For Remote Workers
Teltone Corp. announced general availability of its OfficeLink 2000 version 2.2. This latest version incorporates new VoIP capabilities to the original product that are designed to allow access by geographically dispersed call center agents and knowledge workers to the enterprise phone system using a Windows-based PC connected to the Internet via a single IP connection. Remote workers can switch from a VoIP connection to a PSTN connection and vice-versa at any time, ensuring continuous toll-quality voice connections. Product enhancements also allow for dual configuration systems that support both analog and VoIP connections. Operating in the familiar Windows environment, OfficeLink 2000 renders itself as a "soft phone," and users have access to other IP-based resources such as e-mail, the Internet and CRM applications. Also included is AutoClient, an enhanced system capability allowing users to continue handling calls and log out of the ACD in the event of a PC crash or network failure.

Raising CRM To The Eloquent: Interchange From Teloquent
Teloquent Communications Corp. recently inaugurated Teloquent Interchange, an open, multiple communications platform that integrates call center and customer relationship management systems for unified, networked customer interaction and improved customer service. The company said Interchange was developed for businesses as a means to meet customers' demand for personalized, immediate, live support and service. The platform integrates and supports voice, e-mail, and Web contact channels with all CRM applications, providing multichannel interaction routing and queuing. Interchange is VoIP- and wireless-ready. Based on a scalable Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) platform architecture, it is interoperable with any CRM or enterprise application.

New PowerCenter Modules For The Astute User
Five new modules for Astute, Inc.'s PowerCenter product debuted recently. The modules expand the Internet, telephony and reporting capabilities of PowerCenter, which is used to manage customer interactions. In recognition of the increased role of the Internet in CRM, the modules are designed so PowerCenter users can enhance their ability to process e-mail, use their Web site for interactive customer management, decrease response times to customer inquiries and maximize the productivity of customer contact center personnel. The new offerings include PowerCenter Email (integrates inbound e-mails and Web forms); PowerCenter FAQ (online self-help); PowerCenter Chat; PowerCenter Interaction (for managing customer interactions from multiple sources); and PowerCenter Business Intelligence (supplements and integrates with third-party reporting tools).

Workforce Management Solution From Journyx
Journyx, Inc. announced the enterprise-level version of its Work Optimizer is available. Journyx Work Optimizer is a distributed workforce management solution designed to allow companies, employees and third-party partners to share information to better manage projects, tasks, time and expenses over the Internet, while preserving their existing investments in back-office hardware and software. Features include payroll and project management support, customizable project tracking and reporting and the use of user-definable business rules to manage specific classifications of work for payroll and billing purposes. Work Optimizer also automates the workflow and approval processes for timesheet submissions. It enables data entry and access via Internet browsers, telephones, PDAs, wireless Web cell phone applications, and badge readers. Real-time entry and access to information enables managers and knowledge workers to improve productivity and monitor project progress on demand, and generate invoices based on real-time data (e.g., latest employee hours, billing rates and expenses).

Avolent Releases BillCast 3.0
Avolent, Inc., announced the general availability of BillCast 3.0, the latest version of its electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) and interactive customer care software suite. This release introduces additional modules to the BillCast suite: BillCast Personalize and BillCast Industry Applications. BillCast Personalize provides a point-and-click GUI solution for creation of timely one-to-one marketing campaigns, targeted messages and tailored customer self-care to end customers. The BillCast Personalization Center enables service providers to give billers remote access to content, and BillCast Industry Applications provide the framework for billers and service providers to deploy rich, industry-specific EBPP and interactive customer care applications. Modules for communications, credit card, utility and loan-based billers minimize the need for customization by including industry-specific features and functionality.

ViryaNet Upgrades Workforce Management Solution
ViryaNet Ltd. upgraded its core product offering with the release of Service Hub 4.0. This release expands the available platforms for Service Hub by integrating Oracle's database and Internet platform, 8i. Service Hub 4.0 includes new capabilities, such as: improved Internet-based wireless workforce management capabilities; preconfigured business templates and enhanced workflow editing tools; and interface to ClickSchedule, an advanced scheduling product from ClickSoftware. ViryaNet's workflow tools conform to the workflow model defined by the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) and the Object Management Group (OMG) Workflow Facility.

IEX Integrates TotalNet With Tekelec Softswitch For Enhanced Support
IEX Corp., a subsidiary of Tekelec, confirmed that its TotalNet Call Routing solution now supports intelligent routing of calls in IP and other packet switched telephony environments. Supporting a variety of ACD and network infrastructures, including IP telephony, the system provides pretermination routing of incoming calls based on business rules. Patented call processing algorithms determine the best answering resource for each incoming call using real-time ACD information and agent skill requirements. The TotalNet solution is designed to enable businesses to effectively predict and manage incoming calls; balancing volume and service level across multiple contact centers, including those using differing ACD or network providers. Integration with the Tekelec VXi 2000 MGC media gateway controller (or "soft switch") extends the TotalNet solution into IP, ATM and other converged voice/data topologies. 

TeleDirect Extends Liberation Capabilities
TeleDirect International, Inc. now provides thin client capabilities for its Liberation 6000 system, a Windows-based marketing campaign automation solution designed to help improve call center capacity and campaign effectiveness by increasing agent call rates and earnings per call. It combines predictive dialing technology with a GUI application development environment giving call center managers real-time campaign and call management control over the agents' desktops. Thin client support permits a Liberation 6000 system to utilize agent workstations having MS DOS, MS Windows 95/98/ NT/ 2000 as the local operating system. The agent software can operate on any PC that has a processor speed of 486 or greater and at least 8MB of RAM. With this release, remote agents can log in and utilize the same capabilities as local agents via modem dial-up or Internet connectivity.

Peregrine Smoothes Feathers Of Ruffled Service Desk Diagnostics
Peregrine Systems, Inc. introduced ServiceCenter Automated Resolution, a new product geared to increasing service desk productivity by quickly pinpointing infrastructure problems and providing a visual "map" of the affected area. ServiceCenter Automated Resolution is designed to automatically identify the root cause of infrastructure malfunctions and allow the frontline agent to see the devices that connect the end-user to an IT service. The product enables fast diagnosis and impact analysis, minimizing escalations and downtime. An enhancement to Peregrine's ServiceCenter service desk solution, Automated Resolution automatically detects and isolates problems in the infrastructure, enabling operational staff to address critical issues before users are aware of them.

XChange Enhanced; Goes International
eshare communications, Inc. released eshare XChange 4.2, the latest version of its multichannel customer contact application, for worldwide distribution. Enhancements in XChange 4.2 over earlier versions include international telco network support, fax support, inbound/outbound VoIP, improved inbound call routing and improved call blending. Additionally, XChange 4.2 offers several automated tasks, including telebanking and automated directory assistance, and combines extensive e-mail, monitoring and reporting capabilities.

Pronexus Strengthens VBVoice Capabilities
Pronexus, Inc., announced the release of VBVoice 4.3, its IVR software geared for providing a rapid development environment for creating sophisticated communications solutions. Among its new capabilities are WAP support, speaker verification, text-to-speech engines and speech recognition with dynamic grammars. These features are designed to provide the functionality needed to create communication solutions in the midst of converging technologies; i.e., telephones, speech technologies, wireless devices, dynamic data storage/retrieval and the Internet. Applications can be created quickly and easily using drag-and-drop components and a graphical user interface (GUI).

Say The Word And Get Connected
Intraco Systems, Inc. introduced the X-Site Dialer, a personal dialer service that uses Intraco's speech recognition technology to place and route calls. Sold as an enhanced service by telecommunications carriers, the X-Site Dialer is a remotely hosted dialer service that places calls over both VoIP and standard telephone networks. Users say the name of the person, department or company they wish to reach, and X-Site Dialer dials the number corresponding to the name. According to Intraco, the X-Site Dialer is easy to set up and administer, with secure access provided to a Web-based administration page where users can enter, organize and update up to 500 names and 2,500 numbers. Businesses can create custom directories, entire address books from popular contact management applications can be imported and complete databases can be synchronized into the system. The X-Site Dialer may also be purchased as an add-on module to Intraco's X-Site Operator, a voice-powered call routing auto attendant service. Both products are hosted at Intraco Data Centers, so no customer on-premise equipment is necessary.

KnowEx Tailors eCRM Solution For Small Business
KnowEx Solutions Inc. recently introduced KnowEx Interact Small Business, described as a low-cost solution tailored for companies with two or less customer service representatives interacting with Web site visitors. The product is designed to allow companies to provide instant customer service on their Web sites through live chat and streaming of images and Web pages, and assist in closing more sales and providing improved service. The product includes the KnowEx Interact Web Server and a Windows-based CSR desktop. The CSR desktop has a number of features, including quick messages, a built-in Web browser, media folders and drag and drop capabilities designed for ease of use. The product can be evaluated for 15 days for free and is available through a download on the KnowEx Solutions Web site.

Telestream Simplifies Streaming Media Flow
Telestream, Inc. launched FlipFactory, a software application designed to eliminate the complicated process of encoding and delivery usually associated with streaming media by automatically "flipping" source files into user-specified formats and then forwarding the files to appropriate servers. Supporting both file-based media and live Webcasts, FlipFactory is geared for corporate communications departments, the television and entertainment industries and Internet service providers. FlipFactory is an automated solution that simultaneously transcodes source video into multiple streaming formats and bit rates and sends it to FTP servers, Web servers, caching networks and individual mailboxes in the format each destination requires. High-quality video, created in any source format, is automatically re-coded by FlipFactory and delivered to servers for distribution anywhere with an Internet connection. Media delivery takes place in Internet time, using a "smart network."

The IceMon Cometh
eNetSecure, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Applied Signal Technology, Inc., announced the commercial release of IceMon, a telecommunication intrusion detection system for protecting computer networks against outsider infiltration as well as insider information leaks executed through an enterprise's PBX telecom switch. Previously sold exclusively to U.S. government agencies under the name Model 2600 Modem Sentry, IceMon monitors dial-up modem, fax and voice sessions passing through the office phone network, the "back door" considered the most likely source of security violations. The system identifies the origin and destination of each communication, generates real-time alarms in the event of suspicious activity, archives and reconstructs the file, making it possible to ascertain the precise content transmitted or received. Data is automatically reconstructed, including the TCP/IP packets that are the basis of many sophisticated network attacks.

Resource Manager 2001 Unveiled
User Solutions, Inc. announced availability of Resource Manager version 2001. Designed as an add-on to the familiar Excel spreadsheet, Resource Manager 2001 is described as a low-cost planning and scheduling solution that can be immediately implemented by all operations, and is designed to manage critical resources (e.g., manpower, materials and work centers) in near real-time. End-users can use their familiar desktop tools to assist them in delivering products and services on time, reducing cycle times and inventory shortages, planning labor and work center requirements, and tracking schedules. Resource Manager 2001features an advanced planning and scheduling (APS) module with detailed work center calendars that can be adjusted at any time and a Flow Manufacturing option (allowing for variable transfer sizes for work center processing). There are new reports and a data integration wizard to assist clients with reading in bills-of-materials, routings, orders, inventory levels, etc., from a variety of ERP systems.

Wireless Client From Talisma
Talisma Corp. rolled out its latest eCRM solution, Talisma Wireless Client. The Wireless Client was developed to give mobile users of any device equipped with a Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) browser (such as cellular phones and personal digital assistants) remote access to Talisma Enterprise's suite of sales, service and marketing tools. Talisma Wireless Client's advanced technology is designed to optimize the small screens and low bandwidth of mobile devices. With a minimum of keystrokes, the user can employ many "desktop" features, such as routing of urgent customer interactions based on a rules-based routing engine; wireless access to customer data stored on the corporate server; ability to send personalized responses to customers; automatic notification of the correct salesperson or mobile customer service agent when the nature or details of an interaction change; one touch dialing to customers from the user's information screen; and access to scripted responses for customer requests from a knowledge base.

Digital Tap Card From ASC For Multivendor Switch Support
ASC, a manufacturer of communications recording and call center solutions, announced a new, multivendor, digital tap card. The card connects ASC's Marathon voice recorder directly to many popular digital PBX and ACD telecommunications systems, including Alcatel, Aspect, Bosch, Comdial, Ericsson, Intercom, InterTel Axxess, Lucent, NEC, Nitsuko, Norstar, Nortel, Siemens and Telrad. The direct connection provided by the card is intended to eliminate third-party, digital-to-analog converters and the cumbersome wiring of handset audio. In addition, the card should provide flexibility for companies desiring to replace their PBX/ACD systems with another supported manufacturer. ASC indicated it will be expanding the supported switches in the near future.

DSC's PACER Series Of Predictive Dialers
database systems corp. offers the PACER series of predictive dialers in combination with its Telemation call center control system software. The PACER series is based on industry standard components: Intel Pentium processors, the Microsoft Windows NT server and Dialogic telephony cards. The series is targeted at small and medium-sized call centers as an affordable, yet feature-rich, alternative to other systems available on the market. DSC characterizes the PACER series as a call center-oriented phone switch with functionality usually found only in large scale switches, such as the ability to check phone status, call recording, monitor another call, initiate outbound calls, accept inbound calls, call transfer and conferencing, etc. DSC's Telemation product supports operation of the PACER series, including call list and campaign management, site control and operator parameters, campaign and operator statistics.

Mobius Rolls Out Enhancements
Mobius Management Systems, Inc. announced the availability of e-Search & View 1.3 and DocumentDirect for the Internet 1.3, new product versions designed to enhance Web content management, searching and presentation. Both products are parts of Mobius' ViewDirect software suite for managing diverse content for use with CRM, electronic bill presentment and payment and other e-business applications. e-Search & View is a Web-based search engine for content that is inaccessible with other Web search techniques. The new version has an enhanced user interface that includes embedded on-screen help to assist the user in creating personalized searches and viewing results. A date-selection drop-down box allows users to specify date ranges. DocumentDirect for the Internet 1.3 features enhancements to facilitate Internet document access and can export documents as Extensible Markup Language (XML), including documents in formats such as AFP, DJDE/Metacode, PDF and text. Additional enhancements include flexible content presentment, a Web template designer and a forms overlay feature.

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NEC Gains Advanced Networks
NEC Business Network Solutions, Inc. announced the acquisition of Advanced Networks Corp., a network integration company headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. This acquisition enables NEC BNS to expand its market share in the Boston area and participate in the growth of what has become a major technological center. Advanced Networks' primary market focus has been in the financial services, software and Internet/dot com arenas. The company's service offerings include network baselining (including topology review and assessment of network architecture), configuration, installation, troubleshooting, security and remote network monitoring services.

Microsoft Fences In Great Plains
Microsoft Corp. has reached an agreement to acquire Great Plains Software Inc., a supplier of mid-market business applications. The acquisition is structured as a stock purchase and is valued at approximately $1.1 billion. The major goal of the acquisition is leadership in providing interconnected business management solutions to small and mid-sized customers. Once the deal is completed, Great Plains will become Microsoft's Great Plains Division. The new division is expected to provide new capabilities that complement Microsoft's online service for small companies, bCentral. The integration of technologies will create an interconnected group of business applications built on Microsoft's .NET platform, accessed by a range of devices (e.g., PCs, terminals, handheld and wireless devices) and deployed as Web-based services (hosted applications) or on-premise, locally managed solutions according to the customer's business needs and customization requirements.

Access Direct To Precision Response
Precision Response Corp., a provider of integrated customer care for large corporations and high-growth Internet-focused companies, recently acquired Access Direct, a provider of customer care and sales support services. Access Direct operates six centers and employs over 1,200 customer care professionals. The acquisition is expected to enhance PRC's existing customer relationship management services and strengthen the technology infrastructure that supports its business-to-business customer care initiatives. PRC is a division of USA Networks, Inc.'s information and services unit.

Teleservices Company Launched, Acquires A Pair Of Centers
Call_Solutions.com, Inc. has formed Call_Solutions, a new company focused on the acquisition and development of next-generation call centers. Headquartered in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Call_Solutions is led by chairman and CEO George D. Dalton, founder and former chairman and CEO of Fiserv, Inc. Call_Solutions also revealed it has acquired two call center operations, GLS Direct, Inc. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Advantage Line Telemarketing, Inc. of Williston, North Dakota. GLS TeleServices has call centers in Clearwater, Florida and Omaha, Nebraska, and operating agreements with three facilities in North Dakota. Advantage Line has call centers in Williston, North Dakota, and in the Montana cities of Billings, Glendive and Harve. With these acquisitions, Call_Solutions has annualized revenues of approximately $20 million, over 900 full and part-time employees and 550 total workstations in seven call centers. Clients of the call center and fulfillment operations include: government agencies, financial and health services providers, insurance companies, credit card marketers, telecommunications, publishing, catalog retailing, membership enhancement and market research companies.

Agilera Poised For Applicast Take-Over
Agilera, Inc., a full-service "pure-play" application service provider (ASP), signed a definitive agreement whereby it will acquire California-based Applicast, Inc., a vertical industry-focused ASP, in a stock-for-stock transaction. The new company, which will operate under the Agilera name, brings together a substantial portfolio of complementary products, resources and market strategies. Spokespersons noted the synergy in both companies' business models, process expertise, "product packaging" and content, and expect these factors to enhance the new company's ability to offer more diverse solutions to its target vertical industries and provide greater opportunities for growth.

SR. Teleperformance Gains Majority Of BRI
SR.Teleperformance acquired 80 percent of Business Response Inc. (BRI), a U.S. provider of teleservices, database marketing, business services and project management. Donald Kornblet, president of BRI, retains a 20 percent interest in that company. The acquisition of BRI further strengthens the position of the SR.Teleperformance Group on the U.S. domestic market. Daniel Julien, co-president of SR. Teleperformance, said that BRI brings a strong client service culture and outstanding project management delivery to the company. BRI has four contact centers comprised of 495 fully computerized workstations, and its operations consist of 40 percent inbound/business services and 60 percent outbound.

TeleTech Adds iCcare
TeleTech Holdings, Inc., a provider of customer management and business-to-business infrastructure services, has acquired Hong Kong-based iCcare Ltd, a CRM provider in greater China, in a $4 million purchase transaction. TeleTech spokesmen said that acquisition positions it as a global eCRM solution provider in the Asia-Pacific region and strengthens its international reach, giving it the ability to provide voice and Internet-enabled customer management solutions to its client base from Asia. iCcare's client base is comprised of corporations in the financial services and telecommunications industries, two key areas within TeleTech's vertical market focus.

!hey's ReallyEasy Internet Acquisition
!hey inc. announced the acquisition of ReallyEasy Internet, Inc., a Dallas-based provider of multimedia communication solutions for Web-centric customer interaction. Through the acquisition, !hey adds ReallyEasy's collaborative online voice, instant voice messaging, IP voice and Web conferencing, and shared surfing capabilities to !heycenter, its customer interaction product suite. The merger also adds ReallyEasy's patent-pending automatic firewall compensation technology to its customer engagement product suite.

Aperian Deal Sealed For Infinity
Aperian, Inc., a provider of managed hosting and Internet consulting services, has acquired Infinity Interactive, a company specializing in shared Internet Web site hosting. Infinity Interactive currently hosts more than six thousand Internet Web sites and domain names for businesses. One result of the acquisition is that Aperian expects to broaden its product line to include service to all portions of the managed Web hosting and shared Web hosting market, especially for small and medium sized businesses. Under terms of the merger, Alan Tone, COO of Infinity Interactive, will become director of shared hosting services. Infinity Interactive CEO Dan Arnot will become director of sales and marketing for that business unit.

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InstantService Adds New Features For Its Live Interaction Technology
InstantService.com released three new features designed to provide its clients with competitive functionality to deliver to their customers: Desktop Streaming, Smart Button and Reseller Administration. The Desktop Streaming capability allows clients to have shared desktop control with another remote desktop. A Desktop Streaming host can see and control everything that is on their client's desktop as their clients can view all of the host's actions, facilitating interactive communications. The InstantService "chat" button changes its appearance and content based upon client agents' availability to accept chats. Whether all agents are busy or not logged in, the Smart Button sends a special message to your customer who is then immediately aware of agent availability. The Reseller Administration feature allows InstantService resellers to create, modify, delete and monitor end-user accounts, which can be administered individually or aggregated for billing and tracking purposes.

Have You Accepted The Call Center Challenge?
Echopass Corp., an ASP offering integrated Internet and telephone contact center communication services, is running what it calls the 11% Call Center Challenge; guaranteeing clients a boost in agent productivity, customer satisfaction and a cut in operating costs by at least 11 percent. The program is a 30-day, risk-free offer. Here's how it works: when customers agree to take the Challenge, they will sign a 12-month agreement. Echopass will take 20 of a prospective customer's call center agents, customer care representatives or technical support technicians and switch them over to the Echopass Web-based communication services. For 30 days, clients can utilize all of Echopass' services, including daily agent productivity reports, scalability, and unified messaging technology. If, within 30 days, the Echopass agent group does not improve its productivity by 11 percent or more, then the prospective client owes Echopass nothing.

mynetsales Changes Name, Goes Wireless
Boston-based ASP, mynetsales.com, changed its name to Salesnet last month. The moniker modification was made to mark the company's growth and reflect its position as an enterprise provider of Web-based sales management solutions. At the same time, Salesnet formally launched Salesnet Wireless, its customizable wireless solution intended to give customers the ability to access and update their critical sales information in real-time from any location and from any device. Salesnet Wireless is designed to seamlessly format information to a wireless device based on its screen size and character layout. The solution can be accessed on over 25 handheld wireless devices, including PDAs and WAP phones, and offers the advanced operability so users can read, edit and delete information. The company believes its wireless offering will fill an important need by providing a powerful sales force automation service to mobile sales personnel.

Tele-Response Secures Accord With Wishing Well Foundation
Tele-Response Center, Inc. entered into a three-year agreement with Wishing Well Foundation, USA to conduct a public awareness and fund raising campaign. Wishing Well Foundation USA is a charity that grants wishes to terminally and chronically ill children. Wishing Well Foundation, USA operates out of its national headquarters in New Orleans, Louisiana.

billserv.com Appellation Alteration
billserv.com, an Internet bill presentment and payment outsourced solutions provider, changed its name to Billserv, Inc. Spokesmen said that the new name better reflects the company's evolution to a comprehensive billing solutions provider and its commitment to complete bill service delivery. Billserv serves an intermediary role between billers and bill aggregators by consolidating customer billing information from multiple billers and then securely delivering it to aggregators.

NSDI Garners ISO-9002 Certification
NSDI Teleperformance, the U.S. subsidiary of SR. Teleperformance Group and a provider of outsourced CRM solutions and teleservices, announced it has received ISO-9002 certification. The certification process requires an ISO-accredited, third-party registrar to assess, audit and register a company's quality management system (QMS). ISO criteria must be met both in the development of the QMS and each step of the certification process. The ISO 9000 series certification requirements are established by the International Organization for Standardization. The organization's goal is the development of standardization and quality processes to facilitate the international exchange of goods and services.


CustomerAsset Launches New eCRM Facility In India
CustomerAsset, an eCRM services company, recently opened a 25,000-square-foot facility in Bangalore, India. The center will increase the company's capacity to service the eCRM needs of its clients in the U.S., the U.K. and India. The Bangalore facility is one of the largest operations in India dedicated to meeting the needs of multinational companies for outsourcing of eCRM functions, and is part of CustomerAsset's strategy to provide redundant infrastructure along all parts of its operations, ensuring 24/7 reliability.

Comverse Goes Dutch
Comverse Infosys, Inc., a provider of multimedia recording and monitoring systems, announced the opening of a new office in the Netherlands. The office will handle all business activities for the Dutch and Belgian markets including sales, marketing, account management, support activities, installations and upgrades. In the past year, Comverse Infosys' customer base has grown substantially in the North European sector. In response, the company has added a local presence to provide customers with timely assistance in their own language.

Akibia Relocation
Akibia Inc., a service provider of eCRM solutions and IT support services, has relocated its corporate headquarters to Westborough, Massachusetts. The 86,000 square-foot facility enables the company to consolidate its executive management, marketing, sales and customer service functions (including its customer support center) into a single location. The company will also maintain a consultancy headquarters in Boston.

Tele-Response Opens Off-Campus
Outbound teleservices agency Tele-Response Center, Inc. opened a new call center in State College, Pennsylvania. The call center opened with 27 predictive dialer stations and plans to add additional 40 stations within three months. Also, the company reported that it has doubled the size of its Parkersburg, West Virginia facility with the addition of 48 predictive stations.

vCustomer Customer Contact Center Debuts In Bombay
vCustomer Corp., a furnisher of outsourced solutions for customer service and technical support, dedicated its new contact center in Bombay. The facility has capacity for 4,000 customer care agents. The company indicated that, by building out a robust communications network and creating multiple centers in India, it can offer a flexible, reliable and highly scalable solution to businesses seeking the advantages of offshore outsourcing. vCustomer currently operates centers in New Delhi, India, and Seattle, Washington, and is in the process of surveying sites for additional centers in India planned for construction this year.

SITEL Announces Canadian Expansion
SITEL Corp. announced the selection of St. Catharines, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec as the sites for two new contact centers to accommodate and further its business expansion in North America. These centers will feature state-of-the-art CRM technology and employ approximately 1200 people combined. Both contact centers were expected to open in January 2001. The new contact centers will handle inbound customer service engagements, outbound sales applications and fully integrated CRM programs. Currently operating contact centers in Toronto and Markham, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec and Calgary, Alberta, SITEL cited the growth of the outsourced CRM market in Canada as a major factor in its decision to expand northward and continue growth in this important market.

Afni Has Affinity For Opelika
Afni, Inc., a provider of accounts receivable management and customer care solutions, selected Opelika, Alabama as the site for its newest call center. The 25,000 square-foot facility opened in January and is expected to add 450 jobs to the Opelika area. The center, Afni's sixth, will operate primarily as an inbound customer service center.

CallTech Cuts Ribbon In Florida
CallTech Communications, LLC opened open its newest call center in Fort Myers, Florida in January 2001. The center will offer CallTech clients customer service capabilities via phone, fax, e-mail and click-to-chat. The 25,000-square-foot facility will house 425 seats. Initially, CallTech hired some 100 operators to provide customer service and support, with employment at the center eventually growing to an estimated 500 positions. The expansion also increases CallTech's geographic diversity and boosts its redundancy-based security. CallTech also operates call centers in Columbus, Ohio and Brownsville, Pennsylvania.

VegaStream Opens U.S. Headquarters
VegaStream, supplier of voice over IP gateways, opened its new US headquarters in San Francisco, California. Mike Hafferty, CEO of VegaStream worldwide, will be based in the new office. In addition, three key U.K. staff members will relocate to San Francisco and recruitment of further staff has commenced.

European MIND Expansion
MIND CTI, a furnisher of next generation billing and customer care solutions, has opened an additional office, MIND Software SRL, based in Jassy, Romania. The new subsidiary was established to enhance MIND's R&D team and to support the company's growing European customer base. The software development team will focus on add-on modules for MIND's main product lines. The support team will concentrate on the installation and support of the company's billing solutions, mainly in Eastern Europe. Monica Eisinger, MIND's president and CEO, said Romania was chosen as a European base "to take advantage of the country's highly-skilled workforce of software engineers." Liviu Serea, previously technical director, manager and shareholder at Ace Computers in Romania, has been appointed general manager of MIND Software SRL.

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Pegasystems And Acxiom Ally For Intelligent CRM
Pegasystems announced a strategic technology alliance with Acxiom Corp. to deliver a multichannel CRM solution combining Acxiom's detailed user information with Pegasystems' rules-based CRM products. The intent is to provide companies with a single, complex view of their customers to facilitate greater cross-sell/upsell opportunities and increased quality of service. Pegasystems has developed an integration connector between its eCRM Foundation Template for rules-driven customer service and Acxiom's Solvitur4 framework for customer data integration (CDI). The connector combines Pegasystems' ability to automate customer service transactions and drive customer interaction based on flexible, best practice rules and Acxiom's real-time, multipoint CDI and data enhancement capabilities.

CELLIT Joins Siebel Alliance
CELLIT Technologies, a provider of comprehensive customer interaction management (CIM) solutions, announced it has joined the Siebel Alliance Program as a Premier Software Partner. Siebel Systems is a provider of eBusiness applications software. The alliance enables CELLIT to seamlessly integrate its ContactPro software with Siebel eBusiness applications. CELLIT will submit the integration to the Siebel Validation Program for technical review. The combined solution aims to empower enterprises to utilize customer context to provide a consistent and personalized customer experience across multiple communication channels. CELLIT's CIM solution incorporates inbound skills-based routing, outbound predictive dialing, e-mail management, Web chat and collaboration, IVR with voice recognition, monitoring, recording and reporting. Siebel Systems integrated family of eBusiness applications software enable multichannel sales, marketing, and customer service systems to be deployed over the Web, in call centers, field, reseller channels, retail and dealer networks.

Bridgecom.com, OfficeTool.com Ally
Bridgecom.com, Inc. entered into an alliance with OfficeTool.com for integrating Bridgecom.com's unified messaging services with OfficeTool.com's Internet-based collaboration, organization and productivity tools. The alliance creates what Bridgecom.com terms an information access portal (IAP), where users can combine business productivity tools with an enhanced communications suite. The IAP is aimed at small and medium-size businesses, home offices and affinity groups.

PeopleSoft Partnership For Mobile CRM: JustTalk
PeopleSoft and JustTalk, Inc. formed a strategic partnership through which they expect to provide field sales personnel the means to capture, access and share data using speech recognition over any telephone. Plans call for the integration of JustTalk's speech recognition technology with PeopleSoft CRM's mobile sales force automation software and the PeopleSoft 8 pure Internet financial, human resources and supply chain products. With JustTalk's service, PeopleSoft's sales force automation customers can review contacts, initiate conference calls, organize appointments in their calendar and manage their to-do lists using simple voice commands using any phone. The integration is expected to provide a "friendly" alternative for field sales personnel who are sometimes reluctant to use sales force automation systems due to their complexity.

Avaya Makes Astute Alliance; Strengthens Multichannel Interaction
Astute, Inc., a full-service solution provider for the eCRM industry, and Avaya, Inc. announced an alliance that will integrate Astute's PowerCenter customer interaction management system with Avaya's customer relationship management (CRM) solution, CRM Central. Under the alliance, Astute will add the multichannel communications and workflow management capabilities of CRM Central to its solutions for eCRM. CRM Central provides the ability to support multichannel customer interactions, value-based work distribution and case management and integration of existing enterprise applications. The combined product solution is expected to offer Astute's customers the ability to strengthen customer service efficiency, responsiveness and customer loyalty.

BroadVision And Chordiant Partner
BroadVision Inc., a supplier of personalized e-business applications, announced a partnership with Chordiant Software to provide an integrated CRM solution featuring highly personalized sales and service via the Internet, telephone, e-mail or retail outlets. By combining BroadVision's One-To-One applications and Chordiant's Unified CRM Solution, the partnership is expected to result in a more complete solution for presenting personalized offers through a wide range of customer communication channels. The companies anticipate providing a solution that delivers a real-time, single view of each customer; multichannel integration; a consistent, unified message with every customer interaction through business process automation; and rapid deployment of the CRM solution. BroadVision and Chordiant will be working with Andersen Consulting to deliver this solution.

Net2Phone And CallWave Ally For Call Handling Over IP
Net2Phone, a provider of voice-enhanced Internet communications services, and CallWave, a provider of Internet call waiting, announced a strategic alliance to develop and cross-distribute services that integrate inbound and outbound voice over IP targeted at both individuals and businesses. Under the agreement, CallWave will integrate a Net2Phone-branded version of its free Internet Answering Machine into Net2Phone's product line. The integration will enable users to return a call while online with a single click. In addition, Net2Phone will provide CallWave-branded versions of its outbound calling services, including free domestic and paid international PC-to-phone (for outbound calls) and paid calling cards.

Avolent And Portal Partner For EBPP And EIPP Platform Delivery
Avolent, Inc., a vendor of electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP), electronic invoice presentment and payment (EIPP) and interactive customer care solutions, announced an alliance with Portal Software, Inc. Targeting wireline, wireless, Internet/IP, broadband and cable industries, the partnership will enable Avolent to further extend its reach to telecom companies and other service providers. In turn, the alliance is expected to enhance Portal's ability to offer its customers a comprehensive business-to-business or business-to-consumer EBPP solution to complement its own robust, real-time customer management and billing capability. The alliance between Avolent and Portal will offer service providers in the telecom industry a highly flexible, scalable billing and invoicing solution that offers end-users a personalized experience for Internet bill and invoice presentment and payment.

NICE And Astound Offer Experience Management Solution
NICE Systems announced a partnership with Astound Inc. to deliver integrated e-learning solutions for customer contact centers. Astound's e-learning solution is designed for enabling contact centers to deliver multimedia training sessions to agents' desktops for access on an as-needed or on-demand basis. The Astound solution is a new enhancement to NICE Systems' platform for customer experience management and will be sold through NICE's global distribution channels. The goal is to deliver focused training to agents based on their specific requirements to reduce training time and costs while improving performance levels. The integrated solution is expected to provide a wide range of enhanced features, including rules-based e-learning and the ability to use recorded content for training and real-time reports.


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