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Symon Solution Rated Avaya-Compliant
Digital signage provider Symon recently announced that its Symon Enterprise Software R9.2.01 (SES) is compliant with Avaya IQ 4.0, a reporting and analytics platform that consolidates real-time data from Avaya customer service solutions and enterprise business resources to deliver reports that relate activity to results, providing insight into the total customer and agent experience. Features of the Avaya IQ solution include reporting tools, easy customization, standard reports, and dashboards that support monitoring of key performance indicators (KPIs) with cross tabs, drill down and roll up capabilities for easy analytics.

Cemaphore Delivers SaaS E-mail Solution For Gmail
Cemaphore Systems, Inc. has debuted a new way for people to manage and protect their e-mail content with the announcement of MailShadow for Google Apps (MailShadowG) that synchronizes e-mail, calendars and contacts between Outlook, Exchange and Gmail. MailShadowG is, according to the company, the first software-as-a-service (SaaS) e-mail continuity and disaster recovery solution using the Google Apps cloud-based services. The offering makes these business-critical services affordable and accessible to end users, SMBs and enterprises.

LiteScape And Spanlink Announce Reseller Partnership
Unified communications applications provider LiteScape Technologies, Inc. has announced 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.

Salesforce.com Releases Customer Satisfaction Ratings
Salesforce.com has shared results from customer satisfaction surveys conducted by independent research firm CustomerSat. Of the over 4,100 Salesforce users from around the globe who responded to the surveys, a full 94 percent said they “definitely will” or “probably will” continue to use Salesforce products.

Apatar Intros Open-Source Address Verification Solution
Apatar, a vendor of open source software tools for the data integration market, has announced the official release of its new StrikeIron US Address Verification connector for the Apatar Open Source Data Integration toolset. The feature relies on U.S. Postal Service-certified technology to verify, correct, and enhance any address in the United States with live data. It “cleans customer data before it gets into CRM/ERP systems, databases, flat files, and RSS feeds by correcting extracted addresses, adding ZIP+4 data, specifying congressional districts, carrier routes, etc.,” according to company officials.

Mindshift Technologies Acquires CRM Vendor Collaboration Online
Mindshift Technologies, which sells
managed IT and VoIP services, has acquired Burlington, Massachusetts-based Collaboration Online, a privately-owned vendor of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Collaboration Online does business under multiple brands such as GroupSpark and AgileWave CRM, selling hosted Microsoft Exchange Server, Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

CRM Vendor Graham
Technology Acquired By Sword Group

Graham Technology has been acquired by international IT company Sword Group. “It is expected that the acquisition will help drive global uptake of Graham Technology’s flagship customer interaction platform, ciboodle,” Graham officials say. With offices in 16 countries, Sword employs over 2,000 people worldwide and has expertise in sectors including banking, insurance, energy and telecoms. Through the acquisition, Graham Technology officials say they expect to be able to use Sword’s resources to “maximize” the company’s geographic reach.

CRM Vendor Autonomy Named Leader By Ovum
Analyst and consulting firm Ovum has placed CRM vendor Autonomy as “the leader in the enterprise information access market,” for “market position and breadth of functional scope and appropriateness for the enterprise” in a recent report. The report, titled “The Future of Search,” notes that “through the acquisitions in 2007 of the archiving specialist Zantaz, and most recently UK records management specialist Meridio,” Autonomy has earned the recognition. The report says Autonomy has “potentially the highest market awareness for search,” and that its two 2007 acquisitions give it “significant capabilities in the compliance and eDiscovery field.”

Study Finds North American Consumers Want More Self-Service Options
Self-service options are growing in popularity amongst American consumers, the latest research from NCR Corporation has found. Consumers are not only showing favoritism to businesses who offer “do-it-myself” options by choosing to do business with them, but are also strengthening their brand loyalty as a result. The NCR Self-Service Consumer survey found that 86 percent of U.S. and Canadian consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers the ability to interact using self-service via the Internet, on a mobile device or at a kiosk or automatic teller machine (ATM).

SpeechCycle Announces 50 Million Automated Calls With Rich Phone Applications
SpeechCycle has announced it automated more than 50 million natural language contact center interactions using its Rich Phone Applications (RPAs). SpeechCycle’s Rich Phone Applications (RPAs) offer callers an advanced experience by integrating customizable voice user interfaces with enterprise applications and web services. The company has also announced it is expanding into new markets and will take the success of the SpeechCycle rich phone application model for Triple Play technical support to also offer speech applications that integrate natural language with enterprise applications and transactional business processes in new industries to enhance customer care experiences.

Verizon Wireless Files Lawsuit To Stop Unknown Telemarketers From Calling
Verizon Wireless announced that it has filed a lawsuit to stop unknown telemarketers from calling its customers and employees with an offer of an extended car warranty. The lawsuit claims that telemarketers have illegally used an auto dialer to reach Verizon Wireless customers with incorrect Caller ID information showing calls made from a variety of area codes including the 281, 614, 801 and 562 area codes. These numbers are displayed via “spoofing” techniques that mask the origin of the calls. The lawsuit, filed in New Jersey Superior Court, alleges violations of the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which makes it illegal to use an auto dialer to make calls to wireless phones, as well as state fraud and privacy laws.

SynerG Intros Unified Application And Contact Center Solution
A new unified application has been launched by SynerG Software. This provider of enterprise-ready business mashup solutions for multiple lines of business launched this application in order to help organizations contain costs and increase operational efficiency. SynerG aims to allow business users to access real-time information and logic from multiple enterprise systems to create a customized application designed to streamline user workflow, improve productivity and increase customer satisfaction. With the company’s interactive business mashup solution, the need to perform critical job functions across multiple applications is eliminated. Employees are able to work more efficiently as business users customize information relevant to their specific duties through a unified application.

SugarCRM Partner Awarded For SugarCRM-SAP Connector
Open source CRM solutions provider SugarCRM has announced that its partner, Kinamu, an Austrian provider of their solutions, was awarded the most innovative IT and communications solutions in the On-Demand category at CeBIT for its solution connecting SugarCRM and SAP. Kinamu’s offering brings together Sugar Professional and SAP ERP for a ‘solution-as-a-service’ offering that makes it possible for companies to “integrate Sugar Professional with SAP in real-time, synchronizing system parameters and customer master data such as account and contact details.”

Remote Access “Homeshoring” Trend Shows Commitment To Green Technology
Companies in a variety of industries, including customer-facing call and contact center organizations, are looking for ways to leverage technology in new ways to lessen impact on the environment. Remote access systems are one way to be “green” by reducing the need for employees to commute. The interest in remote access systems has given rise to a number of firms that specialize in this very technology. TMCnet recently turned to one such company for some perspective on the “homeshoring” trend. Connie Adcock, vice president of VSC relations, operations and results at Arise Virtual Solutions, shared her insight into why companies are finding it makes sense to give employees the tools they need to work from home.

damaka Introduces Computer-Telephony Interface
damaka has launched its computer-telephony interface (CTI)-capable Personal Softswitch application. Satish Gundabathula, damaka CTO, said CTI is used to implement intelligent call routing and calls can be routed based on account and/or caller specific information. The damaka application can now perform intelligent call routing and management at the end user level. The company explains that damaka enterprise application could be CTI enabled by integrating to a CTI Server, which is linked to the PBX. The CTI Server has the ability to both receive event data from the PBX as well as command/control the PBX.

ClickFox Takes Customer Experience Analytics Beyond The Contact Center
When people talk about the customer experience and customer satisfaction, they should be referring to the complete picture, from the moment a customer first enters a retail outlet or online market, not merely the contact with a call center agent or IVR system. Certainly, contact center activity is critical, but it’s also directly related to other previous engagements, and that’s what businesses need to be able to understand in order to truly understand the customer experience. ClickFox has taken that to heart, and is providing Customer Behavior Intelligence (CBI) solutions to businesses, allowing its customers to identify and analyze the complete customer experience.

Altitude Software Launches New Partner Program
Altitude Software, a global independent contact center solutions vendor, has announced its new Altitude Software Partner Network Program (ASPN). This new program is designed to offer increased benefits and improved services and resources targeted for Altitude uCI solution system integrators, consulting companies, distributors and value-added resellers worldwide. Partners are provided access to business development and marketing resources, as well as joint marketing activities in specific markets and market verticals. Partners are also provided with sales and technical training, sales and sales engineering specialists focused on business partners, and priority access to the company’s ISO9001:2000 globally certified Technical Customer Assistance.

Loquendo MRCP Now Rated Avaya Compliant
Loquendo, a speech technology provider, has announced that its Loquendo MRCP Server, in its version Loquendo Speech Suite 7.0, is compliant with key, open standards-based Web self-service and Internet Protocol (IP) telephony solutions from Avaya. The MRCP Server from Loquendo offers an optimized server-based solution designed for large-scale telephony deployments of speech technologies, including contact centers, message and e-mail reading and self-service applications. Loquendo MRCP Server enables clients to take advantage of the full range of Loquendo speech technologies using a flexible, standards-based, client-server architecture. It is positioned as the ideal solution for system integrators looking for high quality, multilingual speech technologies to boost the performance of their existing interactive voice response (IVR) services.

VoiceXML Forum Certifies Verizon Business’ Hosted IVR Platform
The hosted interactive voice response (IVR) platform from Verizon Business has now been certified by the VoiceXML Forum as compliant with the VoiceXML 2.0 standard and the latest release of the forum’s VoiceXML 2.0 test suite. The VoiceXML Forum is a global industry organization chartered to promote and accelerate the worldwide adoption of VoiceXML-based applications. The VoiceXML open standard makes interoperation between telephone-based speech applications and Web applications possible. In one example, a Verizon Business customer is using speech recognition to allow callers to check road conditions via telephone, with an underlying VoiceXML application retrieving updates in real-time from the customer’s Web site.

Convergys Turns To Configuresoft To
Maintain Compliance

Configuresoft, an enterprise server configuration management company, has announced that Convergys selected Configuresoft’s Enterprise Configuration Manager (ECM) to help manage and maintain compliance with multiple regulatory and industry standards, including PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). Convergys serves a strong customer base with its relationship management solutions and more than half of its clients are Fortune 50 companies. The company selected ECM for its scalability, performance, rapid and granular data collection of IT assets, compliance content and templates, and enterprise remediation capabilities.

Genesys Intros iCFD To Transform Customer Service
Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, an Alcatel-Lucent company, has introduced a new set of solutions designed to employ a business rules engine to shift call answering away from frustrating IVR menus and “voice mail jail” to an intelligent blend of self-service and live-service. The new Genesys intelligent Customer Front Door, or iCFD, transforms the experience for customers entering the “telephone front door” of the enterprise. The iCFD is a combination of unique Genesys Dynamic Contact Centre components and advanced self-service applications that are designed to discern the identity and intent of a caller in the fewest steps; gather relevant information from back-end data to understand the context of the call; determine how
to treat callers based on established business rules; and match
the most relevant
and available resource
to deliver the best customer experience.

Survey Finds Consumers Demand Quick E-mail Response
Call centers throughout the world have realized the benefits that can be experienced through a multichannel platform. While such a strategy can appeal to customers who want more information anywhere and at any time, multiple channels can also help to curb the cost of live customer support. It is difficult to actually realize these benefits, however, if the organization is not treating all channels with the same importance. If calls must be answered within a matter of seconds, but e-mails can be ignored for up to 48 hours, customers will likely experience dissatisfaction with the service they receive. According to Numero, a customer interaction company, the expectations of time it takes a customer services department to respond to customer e-mails is increasing year on year.

Impact 360 Workforce Optimization Now Avaya Compliant
Verint Systems has announced that its Impact 360 Workforce Optimization solution has been recognized by Avaya with a new compliant rating with key contact center solutions. The Workforce Optimization solution has been successfully tested by Avaya for compatibility with Avaya IQ 4.0, the reporting and analytics platform designed to consolidate real-time data from Avaya customer service solutions and enterprise business resources to deliver reports that correlate activities to results. Part of the Verint Witness Actionable Solutions business line, Impact 360 is a unified suite comprised of analytics-driven workforce optimization solutions that include quality monitoring and call recording, workforce management, analytics, eLearning and performance management.

Hosted Contact Center Software Solutions Fit For Growth
Rumors are flying that the U.S. is in store for a significant economic downturn. A simple stop at the gas station or local grocery store reveals signs of a recession. As consumers, we understand what such conditions are doing to our pocketbook. For organizations, they are feeling the crunch as well and their ability to embrace it will be key for not just growth, but survival. In a variety of industries, price as a competitive factor has lost its power as many products and services have been reduced to commodities. As a result, organizations must turn to other methods in order to achieve differentiation. For many, that differentiation is found in their approach to customer service.

Survey Shows Price is Bigger Factor In Outsourcing Negotiations
Although the global outsourcing market is showing significant growth, the threat of an economic downturn appears to be having a greater impact on outsourcing contracts than the promise of current growth. Now, client organizations are concerned about a looming economic downturn and as a result are pressing outsourcers for price reductions of up to 23 percent as they negotiate extensions of long-term deals. Management consulting firm, Compass, completed a 12-month analysis of 120 global deals worth more than $60 million each. This study found that renewal negotiations are increasingly being driven by pricing pressure.

LiveOps On-Demand Call Center Platform Now Available On AppExchange
LiveOps, a virtual call center company, has announced the successful integration and certification of its On-Demand Call Center Platform with the Salesforce CRM application suite. This integration is set to provide inbound and outbound telephony management, call routing, agent availability, CTI screen pop and call control for use with Salesforce CRM. Agents using the Salesforce Call Center application can benefit from skills and performance-based routing, immediate access to caller information through CTI and the ability to manage calls with the click of a mouse within Salesforce. A demo is now available on the AppExchange.

Alcatel-Lucent Enhances IP Service
Routing Portfolio

Alcatel-Lucent has announced extensive enhancements to its IP service routing portfolio. The company implemented these enhancements in order to help operators around the world meet the demand for higher bandwidth and scale, a richer service mix, reduced cost and increased availability. The 7750 Service Router (SR) and the 7450 Ethernet Service Switch (ESS) have been enhanced to deliver Terabit performance in order to provide the bandwidth, scale and service awareness required to support the growing market for more personalized, broadband offerings such as IPTV, WebTV, Virtual Private Networks and 3G/4G mobile.

Unica Enhances Affinium Suite To Optimize Marketing Across Multiple ChannelsUnica Corporation, a global provider of enterprise marketing management (EMM) solutions, has announced enhancements to its Affinium suite. These enhancements are expected to improve marketers’ abilities to optimize the selection and delivery of the most relevant and profitable marketing messages for each customer across many channels. This latest release is designed to deliver performance enhancements and tighter suite integration for improved productivity, time-to-market and accuracy. Marketers continue to feel mounting pressure to deliver more relevant and frequent inbound and outbound offers and Unica’s automated analytics, integrated suite, and cross-channel capabilities can help streamline the entire marketing process.

8x8 Intros SalesForce.com CRM Integration for Packet8 VoIP
In the race among service providers to differentiate IP communications offerings, some competitors are targeting the customer relationship management (CRM) market. Integration with CRM systems is common in large enterprises and even smaller companies have embraced the concept. Now, small business customers utilizing a hosted solution have access to a cream-of-the-crop hosted CRM package: SalesForce.com. 8x8’s Packet8 service now integrates with Mark Benioff’s creation. What does this mean for the market? Simple: powerful services are becoming available to smaller and smaller business customers.

Nortel’s Customer Experience 2.0
Perhaps one of my most interesting vendor meetings as of late was with Nortel, during which David Murashige, VP and general manager of Multimedia Applications, and Debora Glennon in Multimedia Applications Marketing, really got me thinking about the way customers are serviced today. For example, Glennon started talking to me about customer experience 2.0, which reminded me a great deal of the Call Center 2.0 event TMC currently sponsors twice a year. But Nortel really takes the 2.0 to the next level as they integrate the Web with their customer service solutions. They feel that the company of the future needs to worry about social networking, blogging and all other areas of Web 2.0. The scary thing about customer service today is that a single customer can tell millions of other potential customers about how unhappy they are with your company.

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