June 18, 2001

In today's issue:



NativeMinds Selects Inktomi Search Technology to Enhance Natural Language Virtual Representative Solutions
NativeMinds, a provider of software to build automated, natural language customer service representatives, announced a technology agreement with Inktomi Corp., developer of scalable Internet infrastructure software, to enhance the online customer self-service experience by adding highly relevant corporate Web site search results to its sophisticated virtual representative-assisted responses. As part of the agreement, NativeMinds will offer the Inktomi� Search Software as a recommended component of its NeuroServer� software. NativeMinds vReps will use Inktomi Search Software to effectively answer general research questions by combining its immediate, two-way conversational response with a list of appropriate search results (URLs) from the host company's Web site.

PeopleSoft to buy SkillsVillage
Fresh off a spectacular first quarter, PeopleSoft bought services procurement vendor SkillsVillage for $32 million in stock and cash. PeopleSoft has long been the first name in Human Resources (HR) systems. Adding SkillsVillage's system for locating and hiring services and contingent staff is a strong addition to PeopleSoft's long-time strength. The addition of the SkillsVillage functionality allows PeopleSoft to offer an end-to-end system for the sourcing, selection, administration, and management of enterprise services. source: AMR Research.

YesMail� Powers Permission Email Marketing with ITXC Push to Talk(SM) Service
ITXC Corp, a provider of worldwide Internet voice services, and yesmail.com, a permission email marketing solutions provider, jointly announced today that YesMail� is now offering its clients the ability to add voice capabilities to their email campaigns using ITXC's patented Push to Talk(SM) service. YesMail will resell the Push to Talk service to email marketers on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis. A Push to Talk button included within the email message lets consumers communicate with marketers in a more personal, interactive manner than traditional email. With one push of a button, recipients can establish a voice call and speak with a company representative through any available phone or directly from a computer.

supportindustry.com and Help Desk 2000 Partner for e.Support and Knowledge Management Survey
supportindustry.com and Help Desk 2000 have partnered to conduct another valuable survey to capture up-to-the-minute data on the topics of eSupport and Knowledge Management, two areas that are becoming increasingly important to support operations today. This concise survey will gather important data that will help you benchmark your support organization against others in the industry. The results of the survey will be made available for free to all who participate. Responses are requested by May 18, 2001. To take part in the survey, link to:


Slowdown? Tech Spending to Double in 4 Years - Gartner
Worldwide information technology services spending should double by 2005 to $1.4 trillion a year, despite the economic slump, according to a report released on Wednesday by Dataquest Inc. The unit of research firm Gartner, Inc. said the information technology (IT) market is projected to grow 12.1 percent from $665.87 billion in 2000, after expanding by 9.7 percent from 1999. Although a slowing economy has put a damper on the market, the report said the industry has good growth opportunities in the long term. Dataquest analysts said the Asia-Pacific market would grow at the fastest clip, more than tripling to $124.8 billion in 2005

CRM: At What Cost?
As corporations feel pressure to build customer relationship management (CRM) solutions due to competition, customer complaints, or the pursuit of profits, they are creating sophisticated CRM plans. Meanwhile, CRM costs are skyrocketing due to overlapping product offers and poorly coordinated spending, according to a new Report by Forrester Research, Inc. Companies can either save money by managing their investments and leveraging CRM systems to meet their most pressing problems or plan on spending an unsettling $60 million to $130 million over a three-year period.

Forrester's newly released report, "CRM: At What Cost?" throws up a red flag for corporations that embark on the road of CRM spending without a clear view of their needs, goals and budgets. Forrester said CRM costs are skyrocketing because of overlapping product offerings and poorly coordinated spending -- and estimated that as much as 20 percent of CRM implementation is wasted due to these factors.



Beyond Personalization 101
Today, customers are as likely to interact with a sales associate as a Web site or call center agent at 2 a.m. With the competition often just a click away, and price no longer a deciding factor, it's come down to the customer experience. Delivering a consistent, positive customer experience is what attracts and keeps the customers coming back. However, including a customer's name in an e-mail or on a Web page, or mentioning it during a service call does not equal personalization, nor does it truly enhance the customer experience. If this is your approach, expect your results to be less than stellar. Today's customer-centric economy requires that every customer interaction - regardless of whether it is on the Web, in a store, or via e-mail - be personalized. http://www.digitrends.net/ebiz/13644_15550.html

The Knowledge Crunch
A KM portal is a single point of access to multiple sources of information and provides personalized access. Companies are starting to pay attention to portals because they offer an efficient way to capture information. This article discusses Frito-Lay, where a KM portal would give the sales department a central location for all sales-related customer and corporate information and cut down on the time it took to find and share research. In addition to different types of information about the team's customers-including sales, analysis and the latest news-the portal would contain profiles on who's who in the corporation, making finding an internal expert a snap.

Creating An Online Community
An online community can serve as a backup to your tech support department. Users tell each other what works, and how to avoid potential problem areas. Discussion boards also can give your marketing department unique insight into customers' concerns; participants will tell each other--and you--what they really care about. Plus, a community keeps your customers committed to your product, which is a benefit that's difficult to quantify. Online community building can involve message boards, real-time chat, and file sharing. In this article, we'll look at the issues involved in setting up a Web-based discussion forum. http://www.informationweek.com/834/oocom.htm

Measure of Success
Measuring return on investment (ROI) has always been the Achilles' heel of training, as most organizations have neither the staff time nor the expertise to pull it off. Companies trying to evaluate ROI on e-learning often don't have the tools or the skills to do the ROI themselves. That's partly because new ways of delivering training may not fit into the old models for measuring results. As organizations struggle to evaluate their return on e-learning, many are coming up with new ways of measuring results. http://www.onlinelearningmag.com/new/may01/cover.htm



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Three Clicks Away: Advice from the Trenches of eCommerce
by Michael Drapkin, Jon Lowy, Daniel Marovitz

On the Web, you should never be more than 3 clicks away from the information you need. This book is a tactical guide that demonstrates how to develop e-commerce strategy, revamp the organization so that it can support e-commerce initiatives, and manage complex multidisciplinary projects. 3 Clicks Away provides the solutions and tools executives and managers need to successfully launch and maintain e-commerce sites. It provides critical information on organizational, financial, and project management tactics.






Don't forget to participate in this week's survey!
This week's topic is e-Mail Support Requests



Slide Show and Session Transcripts Now Available!

Leadership and Support Strategy
Pete McGarahan, Chairman of Help Desk 2000�

The session and slides were extremely informative! You can view a copy of the slide show and notes at the following URL: http://www.supportindustry.com/asktheexpert/leadership.htm


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