The Week in Review: January 16, 2004

In the news... Retail banking institutions will be spending approximately $1.4 billion though 2006 towards revamping their branches, according to research from Datamonitor. This presents great opportunities for IT vendors, according to Christine Skouenborg, financial services technology analyst at Datamonitor. She says CRM investment should increase, as banks try to turn their tellers into better sales agents. And to keep tellers from getting tied up with simple tasks, Skouenborg asserts, more investment in customer self-service should be made. According to the Enterprise Application Integration Industry Consortium (EAIIC), the two major influencing technologies for the year ahead will be the standards-based enterprise service bus (ESB) and Web services. "Currently Web services are bits of a jigsaw. If these gaps aren't filled this year, then companies are going to conclude that Web services are all hype, and they'll have to find something else," Steve Craggs, European vice chairman of the EAIIC said in a statement. He added that ESB applications can do 80 percent of people's integration demands, but for 10 percent of the price. iPhrase Technologies has acquired Banter Systems, a provider of automatic classification software, in an all-stock transaction. The combination gives iPhrase more tools to help companies with complex offerings automate their sales, service and support operations across multiple communications channels. iPhrase says it now has 150 customers, more than a dozen leading CRM and Web-infrastructure partners, and a seasoned management team. The deal doubles the size of iPhrase's engineering team and will enable the company to rapidly bring new solutions to market.
Deals of the week... E.piphany has announced that Churchill Downs has licensed the E.piphany CRM suite to better identify and market to its customers. Wausau Financial has chosen ServiceWare to provide the company with knowledge-powered customer support. JP Financial has selected Alcatel subsidiary Genesys Telecommunications to provide its call center solution. Executive changes... Epsilon has announced that it has appointed Janice Rudenauer as senior vice president, CRM consulting. Rudenauer previously served as a consultant with FleetBoston Financial and Wheelhouse Corporation. etalk Corporation has appointed Rusty Coleman vice president of worldwide sales. Prior to joining etalk Coleman was CEO of Braxtel Communications. Surebridge announced it has appointed Paul Shorthose, the chairman of the board for ATG, to its board of directors.
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