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Technology Highlights

October 2001

Go Right To: [ InSite On The Netherlands ]



SITEL Enters Into Panamanian Alliance
SITEL Corp. and Cable & Wireless (CW), a supplier of Internet, data and voice solutions to business customers, reported that their affiliates have signed a letter of intent to form an alliance to build and operate a 400 workstation, expandable to 700 workstation, multichannel contact center in Panama. CW Panama will utilize SITEL's contact center expertise to design and build the center. Once the center is complete, CW Panama will outsource some or all of its existing in-house customer care services to SITEL, which will service CW Panama's customers from the new center. SITEL will manage and operate the center with an initial staff of over 300 customer service professionals. The multi-year arrangement also provides for SITEL and CW Panama to utilize the center for any new business acquired in the Central America region through the joint marketing efforts of both companies. Services to be provided at the center include customer care, technical support and inbound and outbound sales activities through all communication channels. The alliance is strongly supported by the Panamanian government, which has targeted contact centers as one of the leading growth industries for their country. The First Vice-President of the Republic of Panama, Mr. Arturo Vallarino, representing the Government, was present at the signing of the letter of intent.

EDS Puts Finishing Touches On Latest Canadian Center
The City of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, EDS Canada and General Motors Corp. announced plans for the creation of 275 new jobs at a new customer interaction center to support the GM Roadside Assistance program in the U.S. The facility, currently undergoing renovations, is slated to be operational this fall. The 35,200-square-foot call center in "the Sault" will work in tandem with another EDS facility in Phoenix, Arizona. Both centers will support EDS' long-standing relationship with General Motors. GM's Roadside Assistance will be the anchor client at the Sault Ste. Marie facility, which will be used exclusively for inbound telephone traffic. Through the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, the city provided assistance and support to secure additional land and resources needed for the customer interaction center. EDS Canada contributes CAN$599.8 million a year to Ontario's economy. These new employees will raise the number of EDS employees in Ontario to over 3,500, more than half of the company's Canadian workforce. Across the country, EDS Canada's economic contribution totals CAN$884.8 million a year. "This is a great win for our community," said Sault Ste. Marie Mayor John Rowswell. "The EDS Canada Customer Interaction Center will provide new employment opportunities, while further enhancing Sault Ste. Marie's position in the growing global technology industry."

OPC Bows In Singapore, Establishes Presence In Asia-Pacific
Customer Operations Performance Center Inc. (COPC), a performance management organization for the customer contact industry, launched the latest phase of its corporate strategy, focusing on the Asia-Pacific region by opening a regional headquarters in Singapore. This furthers the company's overall global expansion plan of gaining a significant customer presence in the most prominent geographic segments worldwide. Elizabeth Prakasam will serve as CEO, drawing upon her previous experience as vice president of customer service at Singapore Telecommunications, where she managed all of the company's call centers. Andrew Cranshaw will serve as vice president of the office and joins from eLoyalty Australia, where he was senior partner. Prakasam commented that COPC is "...poised for explosive growth in this region as more customer-focused companies in the region become aware of the company's services and the benefits of certification to the COPC-2000 Standard." The COPC-2000 Standard for operational assessment and analysis provides a framework and an operational benchmark for customer service providers to improve their cost, service quality and performance. It includes specific components in four categories: processes, planning and leadership, people, and performance measurement. Currently, over 200 locations in 30 countries are using the Standard to improve performance.

Stream Flows Into Glace Bay
Stream International has selected Glace Bay, Nova Scotia as the site for its next Canadian customer interaction center. The global CRM outsourcing and support services provider reported that close cooperation with the government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia through its economic development fund, Cape Breton Growth Fund, cemented the agreement. When fully operational, Stream expects the facility to employ up to 900 people. The company has begun recruiting for all levels of employment positions, and expects to fill its site management positions primarily from the local Cape Breton region. The Cape Breton Growth Fund will contribute CAN$10 million to the project, conditional upon the creation and maintenance of the 900 jobs. In the first year, Stream will also receive various rent subsidies, and a CAN$2 million contribution from Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC). In connection with the new location, the company has entered into a ten-year lease for the former General Mining Building in Glace Bay. The site will become its third Canadian site and twenty-second overall. Stream expects to complete the build-out of the center this month and that it will be fully operational by the end of November.

[ Return To October 2001 Table Of Contents ]


InSite On The Netherlands

Bordering the North Sea on the west, Germany and Belgium to the east and south, the Netherlands comprises a surface area roughly the size of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. Although small in area, the Netherlands occupies a strategic geographical location for which it has earned the name "Gateway to Europe," serving as a major transit country for global trade and commerce. About 160 million European consumers, about half of the European Economic Community's population, live within a 300-mile radius of Amsterdam, the Dutch capital. The government's commitment to e-business excellence has prepared the Netherlands for a major role in the Internet economy. The Dutch infrastructure includes a totally digital network, the most extensive glass fiber network in Europe, one of the largest bandwidths on the European continent and the opportunity to lease secure Internet connection lines. Telecom deregulation has resulted in a substantial reduction in toll-free international calling costs, and increased competition within the industry has spurred higher quality support and network performance.

Together with temporary employment agencies and training institutes, the Dutch government has developed special training units where call center employees, from agent to supervisor, are trained. These job centers provide information to job seekers to guarantee an influx of high-quality employees. As a result, most job centers have a pool of call center agents who can be called upon immediately.

Dutch cities and regions have developed business parks for call centers near major transport junctions and are leveraging the expandable telecom infrastructure. Over 50 buildings in cities throughout the Netherlands have been specifically designed for call center operations. Operating costs for these centers are among the lowest in Europe. Many regions in the Netherlands have special programs in place to attract call centers. These programs consist of assistance in finding suitable locations, staffing and financial support. In some regions, grants are available towards initial capital investments. Other regions offer subsidies to cover training or start-up costs. Some areas also offer tax incentives.

For additional information, contact the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), a division of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. It facilitates U.S. companies' direct investments in the Netherlands. The NFIA has offices in Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois;
New York, New York; and San Mateo, California. 

[ Return To October 2001 Table Of Contents ]


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