ITEXPO begins in:   New Coverage :  Asterisk  |  Fax Software  |  SIP Phones  |  Small Cells

ShoreTel Launches ShoreWare Contact Center 4.66
ShoreTel, a provider of Pure IP Unified Communications solutions, has announced ShoreWare Contact Center 4.66. This suite of applications was designed to improve customer service while reducing the cost of deploying and maintaining high-performance inbound or outbound multimedia call center. ShoreWare Contact Center 4.66 is designed to support more simultaneous agents while offering several new features to enhance the customer experience. Such an execution will make it ideal for expanding mid-sized contact centers.

Aspect Brings Unified Communications To The Contact Center
Aspect’s unified communications solutions bridge the divide between the contact center and the rest of the organization in a way that allows every person in an organization to become an integral part of the contact center in a manner that maximizes efficiency, customer service and sales levels. Contact center software with integrated workforce management has become an excellent way for organizations to manage their agents to achieve maximum efficiency. The irony is that generally speaking, the lower paid workers in an organization are in the call center. The more expensive “informal call center” agents have much higher compensation yet they aren’t part of workforce management systems.

Merced Systems Intros New Service to Sales Best Practice And Benchmarking Study Enterprise performance management solutions provider Merced Systems has launched the Merced Systems 2008 Service to Sales Best Practice and Benchmarking Study. The goal of the study is to assist organizations which are considering changing their customer service operations into blended service and sales operations. The study will examine current service to sales practices to help participants benchmark their transition strategies against those of other companies. Areas of focus include industry benchmarking and status of current service to sales transition programs; scope and challenges in making a transition to sales; and use of supporting tools and processes.

Microsoft CRM Vendor Tectura Partners with SalesCentric
Tectura Corporation, a vendor of Microsoft Dynamics products, has chosen to partner with SalesCentric in offering Relationship Charts to their mid-market companies and large enterprise division CRM customers. Relationship Charts is an add-on to Microsoft Dynamics CRM allowing account managers to view the relationships within a prospect’s organization, including vendors and suppliers, before the deal has passed. It integrates with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, meaning users already familiar with the CRM package will require minimal training.

Salesforce.com Named To Forbes Tech Growth List
Salesforce.com has, once again, been named to Forbes’ “Fastest Growing Tech Companies” list. With annualized sales growth of 85 percent over the last five years, Salesforce.com ranked second only to Google on the list of technology innovators. Selection criteria for Forbes’ “25 Fastest Growing Tech Companies” include a minimum of $25 million in sales over the last four quarters; 10 percent annual sales gains over the five previous years; profitability over the past 12 months; and 10 percent estimated annual profit growth for the next three to five years.

SAP AG, Intel Announce Expansion of Partnership
Building upon its recently announced fast-start program for SAP Business All-in-One products, SAP AG has announced plans for an expansion of its partnership with Intel. SAP and its long-term technology partner Intel intend to introduce a product offered on Intel Xeon-based systems via original equipment manufacturer and hardware system providers based on SUSE Linux Enterprise from Novell and the database SAP MaxDB. SAP officials say the offering targets midsize companies in the manufacturing, service and trade industries and is intended to address the demands in these market segments for implementation, and products at “predictable costs.”
www.sap.com and www.intel.com

SaaS Adoption ‘Rising Steadily’ Among SMBs, AMI Partners Finds
Among U.S. small businesses (1-99 employees) and medium businesses (100-999 employees), SaaS adoption is “rising steadily,” according to the Access Markets International Partners report, 2008 U.S. Small and Medium Business Applications & Solutions Market Overview. The report found that 21 percent and 31 percent of SBs and MBs currently use SaaS products, which is double the percentage of adoption in 2004.

Pegasystems Announces New Versions of Business Process Management Solutions
Healthcare systems vendor Pegasystems, which sells business process management products, has announced new versions of its Customer Process Manager solutions for healthcare. Built on Pegasystems’ SmartBPM platform, the product uses customer processing capabilities that automate and optimize the service requests handled through a healthcare organization’s contact center. Pegasystems’ intent-driven processing is designed to anticipate both customer and service representative needs.

Google Maps For CRM Tool
Sydney-based CRM Works, in collaboration with Web site development company iCatchIT, has announced SMaps, described by company officials as “a mapping tool that connects customer relationship manhas announced a partnership with telisma, a speech recognition technologies provider. As per the partnership, the Holly Voice Platform will offer support for telisma’s speech recognition software, teliSpeech. This will allow service providers to more easily create and deploy speech recognition-based services in CRM including natural language self-service or intelligent routing and automation of call centers.
www.holly-connects.com and www.telisma.com

CRM Software: The Benefits Of Salesforce Automation Systems
CRM software is without a doubt crucial to the everyday functions of field sales professionals. With CRM software, field sales professionals are able to easily track and attain information about customers, leads and other necessary information. Offering field sales professionals the “back-office tools to keep them in front of their most valuable customers throughout the day,” is sales force automation systems.

Astute Solutions Patents Virtual Agent Technology
Astute Solutions has announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a Notice of Allowance for the company’s RealDialog patent. The patent covers automated customer service via an intelligent virtual agent that is trained using customer-agent conversations. Human-assisted support has traditionally provided a higher quality of customer service than machine-assisted support, but it is far more expensive due to labor costs such as high turnover rates, training expenditures and rectifying human errors. To avoid these escalating expenditures, companies are opting to reduce costs by implementing self-service solutions. Self-service, however, can go only so far in rectifying customer issues.

InfoCision’s Taylor Named to Power 100 List
Akron, Ohio-based InfoCision Management Corporation announced recently that its chairman and founder, Gary Taylor, was named to the Power 100 list in the February issue of Inside Business Magazine that lists the 100 most powerful individuals in Northeast Ohio. Inside Business is a regional business publication serving Northeast Ohio, including the cities of Akron, Cleveland and Youngstown.

Customer Care Institute Names New Fellow
The Customer Care Institute announced that it has named Dr. Frederick C. Van Bennekom a Fellow of the Institute. As a Fellow, Van Bennekom will develop new tools and techniques to assist customer care professionals with their customer satisfaction measurement programs. The Institute expects that Van Bennekom’s experience as an author, lecturer and instructor on service management will add new dimensions to the group’s work.

Vonage Plus SaaS CRM Equals High Functionality For SMBs
Software-as-a-Service CRM provider CRM ASP announced the availability of Vonage VoIP services fully integrated in the CRM platform. Available immediately, Vonage integration brings small businesses full integration with Free CRM and CRM ASP licensed products, providing one-click calling and automating phone dialing and outbound sales campaigns with Vonage. CRM ASP provides CRM solutions to over 75,000 companies and 90,000 subscribers. The announcement means that businesses can realize cost savings and reduce complexity by taking advantage of Vonage VoIP services integrated within the FreeCRM.com product. According to the company, FreeCRM.com was the first on-demand CRM product to integrate the Skype calling platform and is now the first to integrate Vonage VoIP services directly within the CRM system.

Five Tips For Picking A Virtual Call Center Solution
There are so many claims floating around about virtual call center on-demand contact center solutions (sometimes referred to as “on-demand” solutions) that it can be quite confusing to know what actually matters and how to pick a vendor that will live up to its promises. To cut through the confusion, Contactual is offering a new white paper, On Demand Contact Center Technology: 5 Evaluation Criteria. According to Contactual, there are five main considerations associated with choosing a virtual call center solution. These are: software, hardware, planned maintenance, call center configuration changes, and integrated multimedia management.

Five9 Becomes Corporate Member Of ATA
Hosted contact center services provider Five9 has become a corporate member of the American Teleservices Association (ATA). “We are pleased to welcome Five9 into our membership,” said Tim Searcy, ATA CEO. He emphasized that its companies like Five9 whose growth and recent successes serve as evidence that their industry continues to thrive. Searcy said that Five9 will certainly benefit from participation in their education and networking events.

Really Simple Systems Debuts White Label CRM
Really Simple Systems, a British hosted CRM vendor, has announced general availability of their white label product, Really Simple OEM. Company officials say it allows marketing, sales organizations and traditional CRM resellers to offer a “hosted CRM system with their own branding.” Really Simple OEM allows resellers to offer a hosted customer relationship management (CRM) system under their own brand, with their own contact and support details, personalized domain and at their own commercial terms. As well as addressing the technical and legal aspects of reselling hosted CRM, Really Simple Systems has “solved the commercial issues around reselling subscription services by billing the reseller monthly in arrears for usage,” company officials say, “leaving the reseller free to set their own end user commercial terms, which are normally a year’s subscription in advance.”

LiteScape and Spanlink Announce Reseller Partnership
Unified communications applications provider LiteScape Technologies, Inc. announced recently that Spanlink Communications will resell LiteScape’s Unified Communication (UC) applications. The partnership is expected to enable Spanlink to provide its customers with more powerful, agile solutions that deliver organizational competitiveness and agility. LiteScape’s UC applications are designed to extend the power of an organization’s enterprise infrastructure — directories, Web conferencing, CRM, office applications, e-mail, PBXs — to its phones and computers.

THE EXCHANGE Launches Call Center CRM Solution
E-commerce solutions provider The Exchange announced the launch of its new call center CRM system, based on its Officeweb back-office solution. The new system is now live with the first client, Click Group, a fast-growing, U.K.-based secured loans and life cover specialist. The Exchange’s Officeweb call center solution was launched as a market-wide proposition that can be tailored to the needs of any financial intermediary business or any other call center-orientated businesses that requires a CRM solution integrated to their telephony systems. The new system was developed in partnership with Callmedia, a UK technology provider of contact center and CTI software.

PerSay Releases New Version Of Speaker Verification Platform
Tel Aviv-based advanced voice biometric solutions provider PerSay has announced the official release of its Version 6.0 speaker verification platform. The new version features enhanced security to address the evolving challenges of delivering remote services via contact centers and the Internet. With a primary focus on security, the improved platform, based on existing .Net and Windows technology, underwent rigorous evaluation by third-party security experts to map potential vulnerabilities of every component and ensure the best possible protection against security threats and breaches.

Calabrio Renames Its Unified Interaction Suite
Workforce optimization and unified desktop software provider Calabrio, Inc. has announced a new architectural direction for its software that will be built in an Enterprise 2.0 framework. According to the company, the new approach is expected to help improve business process integration by providing unified, flexible views of customer interaction, workforce optimization, performance management and analytics activities within the contact center. To reflect the new direction, the company has chosen Calabrio One as the new name of the suite of products formerly known as the Calabrio Unified Interaction Suite.


NEC’s Suite Of IPTV Solutions For Carriers; Partnership With Alcatel-Lucent
NEC Corporation, a global provider of network solutions to enterprises, service providers and government agencies, is getting in on the IPTV market in a big way: The Japan-based, multinational conglomerate, which has been a key player in the communications services market since the early 1900s, will soon be launching a full suite of end-to-end IPTV solutions for service providers. As per a company press release, these IPTV solutions will cover the full gamut — from network architecture to delivery servers and household terminals. For these network solutions the company is utilizing a “Full Line Full Layer” approach, which will make it easier for service providers to guarantee the Quality of Service (QoS), Quality of Experience (QoE) and advanced security.

Objectworld: Unified Communications Without VoIP
Objectworld Communications announced in March that its Unified Communications Server now enables businesses to reap the benefits of unified communications as an adjunct to existing PBX systems. President and Chief Executive Officer of Objectworld, David Levy, said in a statement that a large number of businesses believe that they require a whole new VoIP system just to get unified communications. He noted that Objectworld UC Server Standard Edition makes unified communications widely available as Windows-based software that easily integrates with most mainstream PBX systems without needing a new PBX system, new phones, or VoIP.

Digium Widens Reach With New Version of Switchvox IP-PBX
Asterisk company Digium has released Switchvox SMB 3.5 and the AA60 Switchvox Appliance for small to mid-sized businesses. Switchvox is the most widely used communications system based on Asterisk, the open-source project headed by Digium and strengthened by the contributions of hundreds of developers around the world. Switchvox SMB 3.5 introduces features and enhancements that larger companies require and the AA60 Switchvox Appliance was designed specifically with the needs of small business in mind, highlighting the expanding market for the Switchvox product line.

Nortel Government Solutions Delivers For USPS
The U.S. Postal Service has recently awarded a one-year, estimated six-million-dollar IT services contract extension to Nortel Government Solutions to support the PostalOne! automated mail handling system. Chuck Saffell, CEO, Nortel Government Solutions, said Nortel is continuing to work with the USPS not only to keep PostalOne! running efficiently, but also to provide new applications and enhancements designed to help raise the level of customer service. This new contract follows a one-year, $9.6 million extension in 2006. Nortel explains that the PostalOne! system helps integrate and optimize business mail handling, which is a nearly $40 billion annual business for USPS. In addition, this system provides financial management data, as well as online access to tracking and status information for both the USPS and its business customers.

Power For Excellent Call Center Service
Customer satisfaction should be a key focus within each and every call center. As the key interaction point between the customer and the organization, the call center should be the first place the customer can be guaranteed an excellent experience. While some have fallen short of this goal, others are being noticed for it. Network Solutions is the latest to be recognized for call center operation customer satisfaction excellence by J.D. Power and Associates’ Certified Call Center Program. This is the third year in a row that Network Solutions has received this distinction, which acknowledges a strong commitment from its call center operations to provide “An Outstanding Customer Service Experience.”

Research Focuses On Asian Contact
Center Industry

The Indian contact center industry is one of the most competitive in the world, offering high-skilled talent, low wages, low overhead and an ample supply of educated individuals. The area still poses its own challenges and many are not exclusive just to this particular industry. According to callcentres.net’s newly released 2008 Asian Contact Center Industry Benchmarking Report, the biggest challenges for the Indian contact center industry include employee attrition, recruitment, agent training and implementing new service channels. This report also indicates that Indian contact center executives are attempting to improve human resource management results by offering financial incentives, reward and recognition programs, as well as better career planning for agents. Currently, average tenure for an Indian contact center agent is lowest in the region at nine months.

Zeacom Communications Center 5.0 Offers New Applications For Mobile UC
Zeacom, which offers unified communications solutions for the SMB market, recently demonstrated the new capabilities of its Communications Center 5.0 platform during VoiceCon Orlando 2008. This latest version of the company’s flagship UC product offers voice conferencing and also brings unified communications from the desktop to mobile devices. Its conferencing capability lets organizers set up voice conferences quickly and easily, without the need to adhere to rigorous “schedules” imposed by third-party conferencing services. Conferences can be established “on the fly” for as many as 64 parties – plus it is a lot easier to postpone or re-schedule conferences, compared to using a third-party service. In addition, organizers have greater control over call volume and meeting participation, including automatic Caller Line Identification (CLI) based log-in, arrival and termination notifications.

Non-Profit Organizations Turning To MPower For CRM
Not-for-profit organizations are recognizing the benefits of customer relationship management solutions. According to MPower, more than 200 charitable organizations, as well as consulting firms and professionals working in the philanthropic community, have downloaded MPower. This CRM software is positioned as the most open, flexible and powerful solution for non-profits since its availability as an open source offering without licensing fees on March 11. In the first week following MPower’s move to an open source model, the company’s software has been downloaded by a broad spectrum of non-profits and consultancies that serve these organizations. This includes some of the nation’s 50 largest non-profits as well as SMBs, U.S. and international groups focused on education, broadcasting, seniors, environmental issues and the arts.

Tech Data Unveils IP Communications Services For SMBs
Tech Data Corporation has unveiled a comprehensive suite of IP communications services resellers can use to deliver onsite or hosted voice and data connectivity to small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs). This suite of IP communications services will enable Tech Data customers to more easily generate recurring revenue by including these services with their networking and telephony solution sales. Tech Data provides resellers with access to an array of IP communications services from Cbeyond Inc., Televations Inc. and XO Communications. These services include converged network connectivity for voice and data systems and hosted and managed telephony solutions that are ideal for SMBs seeking to adopt VoIP but unable to make the investment necessary to support their own solution.

› CIS Table of Contents
| More