For the rest of the March 2002 issue of CRM magazine please click here
Steve Jobs believes Apple's new iMac will make customers turn their heads away from PCs and their software. With its ultra-compact design, adjustable flat-panel display, G4 processor, and relatively low price it just might--especially in the retail and call center spaces. Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 come installed in the machine, which is airport-ready and has five USB ports and two FireWire ports.
Cash in the Bag
There are few things more frustrating or inconvenient than having someone redefine "mobile computing" by walking off with your laptop. Although your data will be lost, if your computer was traveling in a Victorinox Travel Gear, a Swiss Army Brand Inc. line of laptop cases, you will get some consolation. Victorinox cases come with a one-year $1,500 insurance policy. And while $1,500 will not replace the lost information, it can at least help replace the laptop. The bags come in a variety of styles and have additional features like fan file systems and detachable cell phone clips.
Raise the Contact Center IQ
Interactive Intelligence Inc. recently released version 2.1 of its Customer Interaction Center (CIC) for contact centers and Enterprise Interaction Center (EIC) for enterprises. Building on the existing applications' functions--including text chat, interactive voice response, and multimedia routing and queuing--the new releases enhance Web interaction, response management, unified messaging, supervisory capabilities, customization, and performance features. Highlights include the Interaction Processor tool, which has been re-written in C++, eliminating the need for a Java virtual machine, and the Interaction Designer graphical application generator used to customize CIC, which now includes a series of tools to enhance communication over the Net.
Get Some Insight
If you are psychic, no need to read on. For the rest of us, who do not know what the future holds, Tacit Knowledge Systems Inc., an automation solutions provider, recently released Tacit Expertise Services Platform (ESP). Aimed at software vendors, Tacit ESP discovers and captures expertise by analyzing content from sources such as e-mail, document-management systems, and electronic discussion boards. While some searches are based on hunches or intuition, ESP's search functions use keywords, Boolean expressions, and example text and can be triggered manually or fully automated.
But That's Not All…We'll Throw in Training
Witness Systems recently released its new eQuality Mid-Market solution. The offering--comprised of the combined eQuality Balance voice and data recording solution and eQuality Evaluation performance evaluation solution--captures and evaluates customer contacts and is targeted at companies with contact centers of up to 150 customer service representatives (CSR). The package also includes a preconfigured, preinstalled server; training for CSRs and managers at the vendor's Witness University in Georgia or via the Web; and professional services from Witness Systems.
Take It on the Run
Pendragon Software Corp.unveiled the latest version of its Pendragon Forms, a rapid application development tool for Palm OS handheld devices. The technology enables users to create and deploy single or multiuser mobile data-collection applications, including surveys and inspections. Enhancements include a new data backup feature that protects handheld data entries by putting them on storage cards via the Virtual File System API found in Palm OS 4 devices. Other additions to the software are new interface features, new scripting capabilities and more flexible synchronization through Microsoft Access and ODBC data sources.
Oracle Partners Online, a recent addition to Oracle Corp.'s E-Business Suite, is designed to help companies build, manage, and maintain their channel partner relationships through the commercial partnering lifecycle. Customizable criteria allow businesses and their partners to create a virtual sales team by referring sales to and sharing sales with each other. Users can access opportunities straight from Partners Online or can retrieve them from Oracle Sales Online or Oracle TeleSales. Managers and reps can track the entire process as they go through the sales cycle, which helps ensure that leads don't languish or go to waste.
Move Over Maxwell Smart
PDAs are great when you are carrying a briefcase or backpack. But unless you have a pair of Dockers mobile pants, sometimes they are just not practical to tote around. Seiko's Spoon line of watches includes the sharp Secret Agent Man model, which stores up to 100 e-mail addresses, phone numbers, or short memos right on your wrist. It also includes a calendar, alarm, and programmed messages, and will store data even when the battery needs replacing. Oh, and it tells time, too.
No budget for a pool of secretaries to track everyone's messages? Communité, a unified communications product from Interactive Intelligence Inc., enables users to access all types of messages from a unified inbox on the Web, a desktop, or a PDA. Toss the fax machine and instead fax from your desktop. Get voice mail in .wav files. Set up personal rules for incoming calls (e.g. page me if the boss calls). Communité, which installs on a Windows 2000 server and integrates with most PBXs, also provides call screening, call recording, and call routing. It is designed to be tightly integrated with Microsoft Exchange 2000 and Active Directory.