The Week in Review: May 28, 2004

In the news... A recent survey by Strategem Research reveals that buyers want vendors to demonstrate a better understanding of their business needs and specific requirements. More than 50 percent of senior IT executives surveyed agreed that salespeople generally possess good knowledge of their product, but 23 percent said that aggressive sales tactics are the primary hindrance to prospective sales. According to the survey, the number one concern affecting purchasing decisions is the ability of a product to solve a business problem and do what it says; pricing ranked number five on the list of criteria.
Click Commerce announced that it has acquired bTrade, a secure communications and trading partner management company. With a customer base in manufacturing, financial services, and consumer products verticals, bTrade is also a provider in the market of product item synchronization. The move will strengthen Click Commerce's product offering and extend its initiatives into new markets, according to the company. The Enterprise Application Integration Industry Consortium, a nonprofit industry body responsible for influencing the integration industry, announced that it has changed its name to the Integration Consortium. The decision reflects the feedback of members who say that the issue of integration is a much broader industry challenge than the original name indicated, particularly with respect to the rate of company growth over the past two years. Deals of the week... Harte-Hanks announced that SLM Corporation, commonly known as Sallie Mae, a provider of education funding, has selected the Harte-Hanks Allink Financial database marketing solution. RightNow announced that both Uniden America and the U.S. Census Bureau have selected RightNow technology as their customer service platform. Uniden America has chosen the service for its new customer service center, and the U.S. Census Bureau will use the technology to enhance communications across phone, email, and Web channels. ServiceWare Technologies announced a new contract that will provide its knowledge-powered ServiceWare Enterprise customer service and support application to EADS TELECOM's Customer Support Center. MicroStrategy announced that German mobile telecommunications provider O2 has chosen the MicroStrategy Business Intelligence Platform for enterprise-wide reporting and analysis. IEX, a provider of contact center workforce management solutions, announced that Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance has selected its IEX TotalView SC solution to streamline operations and improve agent performance. New products... Microsoft released the Information Bridge Framework, a tool that enables customers to find, access, and work with information from line-of-business applications within Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and Outlook documents. Key features include the ability to reference Microsoft CRM data and logic directly through XML and Web services for Microsoft Office Applications, and seamless integration that reduces the need to visit multiple systems to obtain critical data. E.piphany announced that its CRM software suite has been integrated into the IBM Insurance Transformation Solution (IITS). IITS addresses core insurance capabilities such as rating, underwriting, policy administration, and claims management. The solution targets Web-enabling and integration of distribution channels, information access for agents, brokers, and customers, and overall customer service. WebSurveyor has introduced a new set of packaged services offerings that are available as fixed-price packages, designed for companies who would like to conduct surveys themselves but may not have the time or expertise to do so on their own. The technology offers assistance from experienced researchers in the areas of consulting, reviewing, and execution. eGrabber, a provider of data entry automation technology, has introduced the AddressGrabber 3.5, a solution that extracts full contact information from any computer screen source and transfers it into a CRM program. The solution can integrate with any CRM system using eGrabber's Software Development Kit, and the use of AddressGrabber requires no formal training. ESRI Business Information Solutions announced that Community Tapestry segmentation is now available at the ZIP + 4 geography level. The solution is designed for mail houses, list brokers, credit card companies, and any business that sends large promotional mailings, and, according to the company, offers more precise segmenting of customer records by appending detailed market segmentation codes to customer records at the ZIP + 4 level. Talisma launched both Talisma QuickStart--a prepackaged edition of the Talisma Customer Interaction Suite--and version 6.0 of the Talisma Customer Interaction Suite. The upgraded technology features enhancements across Talisma Chat, Talisma Analytics, Talisma E-mail Response, Talisma Phone, Talisma Self-service, and Talisma Campaign. ScanSoft has introduced the OpenSpeech Recognizer 3.0, its new speech recognition engine. The tool features enhanced SpeakFreely natural language capabilities, to enable applications such as call routing or customer self-service to respond to callers' naturally phrased requests. The technology also includes an expanded pronunciation dictionary in each language pack for comprehensive coverage of proper names local to that language. SupportSoft released four new software products for the support of automation solutions for the real-time enterprise. Enhancements upon the platform include SupportSoftAuto Discovery and Metering, to block unwanted applications; SupportSoft Knowledge Center Suite, for Web self-service and assisted service, SupportSoft LiveAssist, for a scalable chat solution; and SupportSoft VoiceAssist, for a quick snapshot of a computer's settings and problems when a user telephones for help.
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