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Technology Highlights
May 2002

You Can All Join In: Software For Collaboration


2002 Editors' Choice Awards

ChannelWave 5 For PRM

Having the greatest product in the world will do a company little good if it's depending on a distribution channel where its partners have irregular, spotty contacts with the company and are not clear on the company's goals and tactics. According to Drew Williams, vice president of marketing at ChannelWave Software, Inc., 'worldwide, 30 to 70 percent of all products flow through indirect channels.' Williams made the point that PRM (partner relationship management) is more about the end customers than CRM, as for many companies the majority of customer contacts are actually through indirect channels, which makes having in place a coordinated system of handling those contacts a priority.

Based on the open standards of J2EE and XML, ChannelWave's PRM suite, ChannelWave 5, is designed to support pre-sales, sales and post-sales activities through a suite of Web-based applications. With a many-to-many architecture, the system can be modeled to map to a company's distribution network.

The suite includes Partner, Market, Sell and Service solutions. It supports partner relationships by providing collaborative recruiting, planning and management resources. For marketing, it is designed to improve demand creation through more effective communications, campaign planning and lead generation. For sales, it is designed to support team selling and channel commerce by streamlining partner orders and transactions and improving opportunity forecasting and management. For service, it provides access to online training, self-service support and maintenance resources.

The feedback manager can be used to create a survey to find out how partners or programs are doing and help partners improve their margins through analytics. The channel promotions module can be used to create incentives programs and the guided selling tool can provide info to partners or route to call center, provide after-sale service and recruiting.

www.channelwave.com/800-862-5596

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2002 Editors' Choice Awards

Collaborative CRM Through TightLink Service 3

As the old sayings go, 'Two heads are better than one,' and 'many hands make quick work,' but when trying to provide sales and support for complex software, hardware or manufactured goods, perhaps it should be added, 'provided everyone is on the same page.' Software designed to keep everyone on the same page is the goal behind TightLink Service 3 from TightLink Corporation, now available as a software license model as well as an ASP service.

TightLink Service 3 is a multichannel, Web-based application that allows agents, customers, partners, suppliers and employees to securely view and participate in a shared, Web-based dialog to solve multiparty, multilevel service issues. According to Mitch Bishop, vice president of marketing at TightLink, Service 3 provides business rules and workflow for case management, as well as integrated knowledge management for structured and unstructured data. Service 3's workflow engine gives agents the ability to pull others into the workflow when required, no matter if they are in other departments or other companies through secure, roles-based access with personalized views of collaborative case threads. This same secure, roles-based access applies to customers, who can check the status of a case and view any open action items. Workflow and notification features are designed to ensure that customers get the level of service expected and a system for automating the escalation of service issues is in place to give accountability.

Beyond collaborative case management and workflow, TightLink Service 3 components, which integrate into contact center routing systems and existing enterprise applications, include: multichannel communications support, including integrated phone, e-mail and Web in a common view; cross-enterprise reporting; service level agreements; customer management; employee and partner management; integrated knowledge management, where the customer has access to a knowledge base and enhanced searching capabilities are available to agents; and administration. Built on an architecture that is pure Java, J2EE-compliant and supports XML, Service 3's configuration tool can be used to add new components 'on-the-fly' without coding.

www.tightlink.com/877-464-3763.

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2002 Editors' Choice Awards

Informative Customer Feedback

As companies have expanded the channels they provide their customers for interactions, so, often, has the valuable insight given by customers about products or services been distributed to the proper departments, such as marketing, sales, service or human resources, too late for effective action to be taken.

According to Cliff Apsey, vice president of marketing at Informative, Inc., the Informative c-Feedback Suite provides businesses with the tools to manage customer feedback in a way that immediately addresses problems or finds business opportunities. Apsey said that, unlike traditional market research data, the c-Feedback Suite provides real-time management of attitudinal data in a one-to-one presence with the customer as well as the ability to push customer data to the proper person or group who needs it or can resolve the customer's problem. For example, customer service reps can immediately connect to customers to solve problems or marketing team members can collect user feedback about new products or services to adjust marketing campaigns.

The Informative c-Feedback Suite provides a variety of capabilities. The Enterprise Management module is used to control campaigns and their status, users, privileges and deployments. The Authoring and Business Logic module is used to design and deploy feedback campaigns through various channels, such as Web site pop-up on entry or exit, e-mail, call center, banner ad or hyperlink, or mobile devices. The Reporting and Analytics module gives users real-time data collection and online reporting capabilities so that customer feedback can be routed to key personnel and they can take appropriate action based on that specific customer transactional and intentional data. Expert Modules are expert libraries that provide questions and feedback tracking and they include: Brand Interpreter, for understanding comments on the company; Customer Satisfaction Interpreter, for understanding products and services comments; and Website Interpreter, for understanding comments on the effectiveness and the usability of the company's Web site. c-Feedback Suite also contains Question Libraries for Customer Feedback, Website Feedback, Employee Feedback, Brand Feedback, Advertising Feedback and General Feedback.

www.informative.com/800-829-1979

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