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April 2000

00CCSed.gif (3861 bytes) Three Solutions, One Theme: CRM HiPath From Siemens 

An e-commerce enterprise faces two immediate challenges: equipping itself with the systems and applications necessary for serving its existing business strategies and goals, and providing an avenue of technological growth that is both cost-effective and provides for continuity of service as its business expands. The core support for e-commerce expansion is communication technology. Siemens Information and Communication Networks, Inc. believes that future communications will be characterized by multimedia workflows of voice, video, data and image. Siemens' view is that multimedia call centers will be closely linked to e-commerce and that the Internet, IP and e-business will be the drivers for future solutions.

HiPath, Siemens Enterprise Convergence Architecture, is a suite of convergence solutions. It strengthens business communications by enabling a company's existing voice and data infrastructures and applications to operate over all networks. Based on open standards (e.g., H.323, TAPI, ECTF) and distributed architectures, HiPath is designed to provide a flexible, affordable and rational path to the highly integrated communications and applications associated with IP. Siemens describes HiPath as evolutionary; it is meant to give customers the choices of when and how to implement new applications predicated on their business strategies and time frames. To that end, Siemens said that its HiNet IP products and Hicom communications servers are integral parts of HiPath's evolutionary strategy. Additionally, third-party products and solutions can operate with solutions based on the HiPath architecture.

HiPath includes offerings for customer relationship management, Web-based call centers and e-business, and interoperability between applications, workpoints and networks. It enables scalable, end-to-end solutions to operate over voice and data networks and offers the same standards of availability, reliability and quality currently available with existing telephone service. HiPath manages enterprise communication by supporting centralized and/or distributed servers, access points, applications and administration as a single system, regardless of component geographic distribution. HiPath provides multivendor capability, supporting comprehensive solutions through integration of Siemens' communications products and applications. This also applies to non-Siemens PBXs, all information and communications network infrastructure and components from various manufacturers and selected partner applications.

Based upon market research, Siemens concludes that the first solutions in this evolutionary strategy will be needed by small to medium-sized companies. For this segment of businesses, the availability of HiPath products, applications and solutions is slated for late 2000, with release for large and/or global companies during the last quarter of 2001.
No. 508, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo 

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00CCSed.gif (3861 bytes) IMAGINE: Visual Meeting

Traditional modes of commerce are inexorably giving way to Web-based, interactive electronic commerce supported by multimedia technologies. To continue delivering effective client and customer service, new approaches must be considered for meeting the opportunities and challenges inherent in e-commerce.

IMAGINE Ltd.'s Visual Meeting is a software communications solution designed to Web-enable traditional call centers with a variety of multimedia and connectivity tools. It links customers, business partners, suppliers and employees in one seamless environment. Visual Meeting manages IP connections and all of the interactions between clients and agents in a standard environment. Its contact management tools are designed for providing high levels of collaboration between users and agents. Features include two-way sharing of applications and information; remote control and tracing for agents to control, manipulate or follow users' PCs and screens for real-time problem resolution; shared browsing and toolbox shortcuts designed for frequently used applications, FAQs, URLs, video clips, etc., for quick presentations or resolution of common questions and problems. A Whiteboard tool provides annotation capability in real-time, including text editing, free-form graphics tools and a clipboard.

The Visual Meeting software solution includes an integrated, Windows NT-based automatic call distributor (ACD) for call management. Its call management capabilities include call logging, forwarding, transfer and hold; call routing and weighting based on specific algorithms or criteria established by the support center; media and stream media on hold for delivering messages and information to customers while waiting for assistance and a customizable quality of service utility that defines how calls are handled by the support center based on a customer's specific needs. Call administration tools provide dynamic status of agents, agent stations and calls in a customizable display, and basic and customizable reports for analyzing support center activity and performance. System Management tools furnish administrative features for managing the support infrastructure, such as user-defined profiles detailing agent skills, responsibilities, scheduling and availability; a complete history file of every transaction and structured query language (SQL) data to permit archiving of all transactions. Complementing Visual Meeting are software developers' kits for client and agent applications meant for enabling development of customized configurations for unique customer interaction applications.

System architecture is straightforward. Visual Meeting agent and client run on Windows 95/98 or Windows NT (Service Pack 3 or later), require NetMeeting 2.1 or above, Internet Explorer 4.0 or above, full duplex sound card, 200MHz processor (133MHz for Visual Meeting client) and 64MB (32MB) of RAM. Visual Meeting ACD server runs on Windows NT (Service Pack 3 or later) and requires a Microsoft ODBC compliant database, a 200MHz processor and a minimum of 128MB of RAM.
No. 509, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo

Editors' Choice Awards eOffers From MarketSoft

MarketSoft Corporation is attempting to transform e-business with a new breed of e-marketing solutions meant for accelerating online and offline buying cycles for companies in the b-to-b and b-to-c sales-assisted markets. In MarketSoft's view, organizations typically consist of marketing and sales hierarchies that communicate with customers across multiple channels, resulting in duplicated and uncoordinated exchanges with customers that detrimentally affect existing and planned sales efforts. Mixed or contradictory messages to customers, lack of personalization, absence of integration between demand creation and fulfillment and the inability of customers to have a hand in controlling the process are problems that have been exacerbated by the emergence of Internet opportunities and related media in today's marketing mix.

eOffers is MarketSoft's proposed remedy. It is a Web-based offer management and offer optimization solution intended to give marketing professionals the power to instantly create, coordinate and control promotions for distribution to prospects and customers in real-time, using online and offline media, and measure the results. Marketing promotions can be created based on data and intelligence from customer databases, click-through data, advanced algorithms and data mining/OLAP analysis tools.

eOffers' rules engine simplifies creating, distributing and managing offers with intuitive wizards. These wizards allow for collaboratively designed offers by marketing, sales and partner organizations. The hierarchical architecture of the solution is meant for ensuring organizational process control and adherence to corporate standards. The eOffers' "offer broker" maintains the inventory of all previously defined offers, their content, who sent them and to whom. Users can view a library of offers, their rules and their success rates. Rules can be defined that restrict the number of messages and eliminate inconsistent or repetitive messages to the same customer. Customers are given controls, embedded in offers, enabling them to set limits on the content and frequency of the offers they receive. These preferences become a rule associated with that customer that eOffers applies to subsequent offers.

The eOffers solution and eLeads, MarketSoft's sales and marketing lead-management system, are components of MarketSoft's Marketing Network. The integrated solution intends to coordinate the various marketing and sales entities in an enterprise to ensure communications with a customer in a consistent, targeted manner. With eOffers creating demand for its users' products and services on the Web and eLeads fulfilling that demand, the Marketing Network aims to turn customer prospects into buyers.
No. 510, www.ccsmag.com/freeinfo

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