• October 15, 2004
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Wires: News and Technology for October 15, 2004

Art Technology Group (ATG) has introduced ATG Adaptive Customer Outreach, an e-marketing product designed to analyze customers' Web interactions, preferences, and behaviors. The application uses the customer's actions on the Web to help marketers personalize campaigns: Adaptive Customer Outreach draws from a set of customer profile information, including the customer's behavior on the site, as well as demographics. The program will automatically answer a customer's email and respond with upsell or cross-sell offers, based on the buyer's purchases, segment information, and interaction history. "The purpose is to try to focus a companies e-marketing and to get people to interact with a retailers Web site," says Victor Beck, director of corporate communications for ATG. "We want retailers to build a relationship with customers online, even for first-time visitors."

InQuira introduced InQuira Contact Center Advisor and InQuira Information Manager, targeted for release by the end of the fourth quarter. The former, which was designed from significant customer input, according to Mark Woollen, vice president of products, takes InQuira's intelligent search capability and embeds it into contact center agents' CRM dashboard or cockpit. It is available as a plug-and-play module for CRM systems like Siebel and Amdocs Clarify. "Contact Center Advisor is designed to...significantly transform contact center agents and contact center performance," Woollen says. "From a user-interaction, user-ability standpoint it addresses the nuances of call center agents having a different set of usability needs than customers in a customer-facing environment having their own usability needs on a Web site." The second component, Information Manager, which is built on the underlying intelligent search technology, provides a comprehensive set of content-manager capabilities and workflow-driven capabilities.

Cognos announced that it has strengthened it relationship with Deloitte Consulting. Deloitte, a charter member of the Cognos Global Partner program, is now a partner in performing supply chain management for Cognos customers. The joint Cognos and Deloitte solution, Supply Chain Performance Accelerator, will provide customers with supply chain planning, monitoring, and execution solutions.

Alliance Data Systems announced it will acquire Epsilon Data Management, a provider of integrated direct marketing and customer management. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2004. The total transaction is valued at approximately $300 million. As a result, Alliance Data Systems has revised its third-quarter earnings announcement. Projected 2005 revenues are $1.45 billion to $1.47 billion.

Dotomi, a provider of permission-based messaging tools, announced a partnership with Right Media. The online media company will incorporate Dotomi Direct Messaging into its network to deliver personalized ad banners to the company's publisher-customer Web sites. Dotomi Direct Messaging is designed to allow marketers to deliver personal and data messages within ad banners on publisher sites within the Dotomi network. The partnership with Right Media will add more than 250 publishers to its distribution network.

IEX, a provider of workforce management and business optimization technology for contact centers, announced the general availability of version 3.8 of its TotalView Workforce Management system. Designed to improve contact center productivity and agent satisfaction, some enhanced features include Security Roles, which allows easy global changes to access permissions for a specified group of users, and Forecast Objectives, which can be set based on service level goals, average speed, or maximum occupancy.

Cole Systems announced OrderPad Enterprise, a new software application that aims to help field sales representatives be more effective during in-person sales calls. The new program is optimized to run on the Tablet PC and includes such features as digital ink and ink-to-text recognition, and operates in real time. Mobile salespeople can manage routes, track POS items, take orders, track expenses, and create suggested orders based on sales history and information that is passed down through regular updates.

SAP announced the release of SAP Classified Advertising Management. It aims to help newspaper and magazine publishers streamline classified advertisements from order to cash. The new program combines the content management and commercial processes for classified and semidisplay ads into one, instead of the usual multiple software applications. SAP Classified Advertising Management was tuned and tested at The Washington Post and will go live at WaPo in mid-2005.

eGain Communications has announced its latest service suite, Service 7, available for in-house or on-demand deployment. It contains integrated applications for Web self-service, email, fax, and letter management, live Web collaboration, KM, case management, and service fulfillment. "The eGain Service 7 suite is based on feedback we were getting from our most innovative customers over the last 18 months," says Anand Subramaniam, vice president of marketing. "With Service 7 we have implemented a closed loop content performance management capability where the contact center will be easily able to identify hot spots in self-service and issues in self-service content. The system will automatically trigger tasks to ensure that the content is optimized for maximum performance through workflow, through triggers, and so on." Ashu Roy, eGain's CEO, refers to how feedback from one customer, Virgin Mobile, impacted an element of the suite. "...There are a lot of times when content tends to get stale or become ineffective in different parts of the self-service system, and there is no easy way for the business to be told that this part of the content is working or not working well.... We designed this dashboard for them based on their needs."

Salesforce.com announced the availability of Sforce Toolkit for the IBM WebSphere Studio Application Developer (WSAD), along with support for the newer IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software. In conjunction the Sforce on-demand application and IBM's application aim to let enterprises integrate customer and sales information throughout the company. Sforce partners and Salesforce.com customers can download the Sforce Toolkit for WSAD at no charge.

ASC, a provider of performance improvement solutions for contact centers, financial institutions, public safety, and government organizations, announced a new data compression rate of 4.8 kilobits per second for the Marathon Evolution communications recording systems. This new rate will mean 100,000 channel hours per recorder may be stored online with improved voice quality.

Additional reporting by Coreen Bailor.

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