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Technology Highlights
September 2001

September Labor Daze Relief


2001 Editors' Choice Awards

TOM And TIM: More Than A Couple Of IT Guys
www.aperserv.com/703-760-8200
AperServ Technologies, Inc. seeks to help ensure that your IT service outsourcer meets its service level agreement (SLA) goals and your mission-critical IT system performs at optimized levels. With that objective in mind, AperServ launched a pair of services: its Technology Outsourcer Management system (TOM) and Technology Internal Management system (TIM).

TOM enables enterprises to proactively manage the performance of third-party outsourcers and SLAs. TOM is a Web-based remote service that does not require hardware or software installation and maintenance by the enterprise. TOM automates the SLA management process, from identifying problems, alerting the appropriate personnel and tracking problem resolution to automatically comparing performance to SLA thresholds and requesting credits from providers when necessary. The result is less IT downtime, faster IT performance, and fewer errors and service lapses: all of which can translate into substantial cost savings. TOM is designed to eliminate the need to conduct internal troubleshooting, manage IT outsourcers, track and prove SLA violations or work on problems that have already been solved. TOM features the Problem Diagnostic Alert and Problem Resolution Alert systems, customized intelligent agents that test your enterprise, identify and pinpoint problems before your customers know about them and automatically work to resolve those problems with your vendor. Problem Diagnostic alerts are e-mailed to personnel you specify (including internal staff and/or your IT outsourcer) with the information needed to improve performance. Users can indicate how, when and under what conditions these personnel should be notified, including via PDA devices. Problem Resolution alerts are e-mailed to the outsourcer in real-time when the problem is resolved. TOM also notifies the user when the problem is resolved and how long it took to do so. The system can be used alone or integrated with an existing internal problem tracking system. Real-time performance reports provide historical trends to track recurring problems over time and better manage both the enterprise and an IT service provider.

TIM is intended to resolve internal IT problems before they escalate into serious end user issues, and to help keep employees linked to their business-critical applications and customers connected to an enterprise's e-commerce and other Web-based functions. TIM helps you assess your network, systems and application needs. Built on industry standards, TIM's technology is flexible and independent of an enterprise's IT platform, so it works seamlessly with any outsourced portion of the enterprise. Like TOM, TIM immediately detects system or network problems and provides instant notification for resolution. TIM is customizable and provides all of the automated diagnostics, analysis, alerts and reporting features found in TOM.

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2001 Editors' Choice Awards

Trillium Treats Disparate Data Dilemma
www.trilliumsoftware.com/978-436-8900
To paraphrase Len Dubois, vice president of marketing for Trillium Software (a division of Harte-Hanks, Inc.), CRM is (in part) about creating an environment that leverages the entire range of economic, demographic and historical customer information to improve communicating, serving and marketing to customers. Key to fostering that environment is the ability to combine fragments of customer data into intelligently connected information that delivers benefits to an organization's business goals and consistent customer experiences across the enterprise.

Trillium 5.0 "Enterprise Energy Edition" is a multiplatform solution that helps create a unified customer view based on information from every touchpoint (e.g., multiple channels, formats and languages) to ensure accurate customer data and relationship matching. It is an enterprisewide solution for data cleansing, customer identification and relationship matching that resolves data quality problems. To facilitate deployment of a quality-driven data warehouse, operational data store or data mart, Trillium provides functionality to root out data held in legacy and other operational systems, and gives the ability to transform the data into critical decision support information for forecasting and planning or responding to new and existing business opportunities.

New Trillium 5.0 features include a client/server model with a graphical user interface that makes it easier for remote users to access data and permits all users to access the Trillium user interface at their desktops. A pure Java Windows NT or 2000 control center provides users with a consistent delivery method, eliminating the need for emulation software. The enhanced Postal Directory Browser enables users to browse the postal directories of nine countries for data verification and auditing address discrepancies. Non-name and address data processing identifies relevant data in freeform text, recognizing any definable pattern in text. It identifies data by literal text values and patterns, and corrects, recodes, reconciles and standardizes phone numbers, e-mail addresses, social security numbers, product codes, etc. The Java-based data dictionary language (DDL) editor now allows for easier set-up of formats for the inputs/outputs for the Trillium process, tying the format of the data to the data itself. Real-time XML processing enables rapid, more accurate online customer identification. Customer Key Manager, a new accessory to Trillium 5.0, is a utility that provides a consistent view of customers and relationships over the customer lifecycle, recognizing changes in customer data over multiple interactions. In addition, enhancements were made to data file and format verification and customized data matching rules.

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2001 Editors' Choice Awards

Interaction Management Any Way You Want
www.synchrony.net/877-796-2663
Research organizations have unanimously concluded that the CRM "market" will be worth billions of dollars over the next five years. Whether companies are willing to spend those billions is another matter, since corporate retrenchment appears to be the rule of the day. So-called Net-native solutions have an immediate advantage over client-owned software and hardware: rather than burdening companies with frequent upgrades and supporting older releases, an ASP can concentrate on delivering new features to its solution(s) that customers can use immediately. On the other hand, many companies, over concerns for security, prefer to own the application(s) and run it on their own server.

Synchrony Communications, Inc., known for its ASP- model CRM solution and services, bridged the above-mentioned gap when, late in 2000, it launched its Hosted Anywhere application platform: Internet-based software offered either as a subscription service or as a direct installation in a company's data center. Synchrony 4.0, the latest incarnation of this customer relationship and interaction management solution, provides new features and functionality in a variety of areas. It is a full-featured product, offering multichannel communication, intelligent routing, front- and back-office integration, and provides real-time customer analysis, employee performance and other business metrics. Synchrony's Integrated Workflow Management (IWM) allows organizations to automatically process complex tasks and workflows, providing operational improvement (and cost savings), better case management, improved customer service handling and better alignment of suppliers and partners into a company's business processes. Two features drive IWM: Nested Activities and Task Management. Nested Activities are the relationships created between activities. They enable full automation of business processes and related dependencies. Countless sub-activities (and multiple branches of them) can be mapped to a "parent" activity and can be graphically displayed in a tree structure. Task Management enables users to create, prioritize and assign tasks. Each user has a "task tab" that lists tasks assigned to an individual or work group.

Enhanced contact management functionality, particularly for managing complex business-to-business relationships, permits creation of records and activities for organizations. Individual contacts, business activities, interrelationships between organizations and the like can be established. Through the client-hosted chat collaboration, users can keep track of customers' clickstreams during chat sessions, and agents can push pages to them as they browse. Self-service is integrated with all communication channels so customers needing escalation to assisted service do not have to reidentify themselves or restate their question or problem.

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2001 Editors' Choice Awards

TARGUS Ties IVR And Data Aggregation
www.targusinfo.com/800-6-TARGUS
For the past eight years, TARGUS Information Corp. (TARGUSinfo) has actively engaged in the development of real-time intelligence solutions that help businesses to more productively process both customer and prospect transactions. Through the TARGUSinfo Intelligence Portal data service, companies access information useful for transaction-based applications and services. Through one interface, the user has access to many pieces of information that may be useful for identifying, routing, profiling, locating or billing a customer transaction. The portal simplifies access to this information by eliminating protocol conversions, formatting issues, network concerns and many complications of blending data. It links virtually every household and business telephone number in the U.S. and Canada with a variety of information; e.g., names, postal addresses, predictive consumer purchase scores, and both risk management and store locator information.

TARGUS has also launched Speech-Capture Express, a product that automates name and address capture with high accuracy -- and with a twist. Merging speech recognition and speech capture technology with its Real Time Intelligence system, SpeechCapture Express is designed to integrate into a company's existing interactive voice response (IVR) system. It handles both the connection to the TARGUS Intelligence Portal and interactions with the name and address grammars available through the client's speech recognition unit. Name grammars are built from a knowledge base of speech patterns, accents, phonetic representations and occurrences. According to the company, they deliver a potential match rate of over 90 percent of all callers. Address grammars provide coverage of all U.S. mailing addresses and consist of separate grammars for ZIP codes, street names and numbers, pre- and post-delivery directions, building names and apartment numbers. The technology behind the product is based primarily on dialog application components (DACs). DACs are dialog subroutines used for specific purposes -- in this case, capturing a caller's full name and/or address. DACs are essentially software components residing on the client's IVR system. They interface with the IVR application and handle all integration with the Intelligence Portal, allowing application developers to take advantage of the real-time data without implementing new protocols. DACs also communicate directly with the client's speech recognition environment, where the grammars reside. SpeechCapture Express eliminates "blind" calls, reduces in-queue and abandoned calls, automates address verification for mail delivery and integrates seamlessly with other automated contact center applications.

[ Return To September 2001 Table Of Contents ]


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