A global consortium of Internet commerce firms released a complete specification for the ‘Open Trading Protocol’ yesterday. The specification has been posted at otp.org for public comment and pilot implementations. The ‘OTP’ standard enables a consistent framework for multiple forms of e-commerce, ensuring an easy-to-use and consistent consumer purchasing experience regardless of the payment instrument or software and hardware product used. The protocol builds on ‘XML’ and supports ‘SET’.
American Express Corporate Services, the world’s largest corporate card and business travel services provider, today announced a strategic alliance with Portable Software Corporation, the worldwide leader in travel expense automation solutions based in Redmond, WA, to integrate Portable Software’s automated expense management system into its corporate travel product set for companies in the U.S. and around the world.
This alliance enables American Express Corporate Services to offer an integrated set of intranet-based travel management tools — from travel reservations to management reports to expense management — as part of RoundTrip Services(SM), a variety of products and services designed to help companies better manage travel and entertainment.
American Express will offer Portable Software’s Xpense Management Solution(TM) (XMS) in place of the Expense Manager software American Express developed for an e-mail platform, introduced in 1996.
The Xpense Management Solution, in use by more than 65 Fortune 1000 and multinational companies today, is an enterprise-wide solution that enables companies to reduce administrative costs by automating the entire T&E expense management process. XMS gives business travelers convenient access to electronic data, including information on charges to their American Express Corporate Cards. The software enables them to easily complete and file expense reports from their PCs and speeds reimbursement by seamlessly integrating with corporate accounting systems.
XMS will be the first enterprise expense management system to be released in a multi-platform Windows and intranet version in March of this year. Future versions of XMS will include additional enhancements for American Express Corporate Card customers and fully integrate with American Express’ AXI(SM) (American Express Interactive) corporate online travel reservation system, which was jointly developed with Microsoft Corporation.
“We’ve seen a dramatic shift in demand in recent months toward intranet-based T&E systems as companies took for ways to integrate travel booking with expense management in an easy-to-use application that employees can access any time, from any place,” said Mike Mulligan, Senior Vice President and General Manager, American Express Corporate Services Interactive group. “Portable Software’s XMS, integrated with AXI for trip booking, will enable us to meet this growing demand with an intranet-based solution that supports multiple languages, currencies and international expense practices.”
“We’re excited about working with the industry leader in corporate card programs,” said Steve Singh, President and CEO of Portable Software Corporation. “Many of our existing Fortune 1000 and multinational customers are American Express Corporate Card customers. This alliance will enable us to work with American Express to build in product features that fully leverage the advantages of an integrated end-to-end travel and expense management system.”
Controlling Corporate Travel Costs
Travel and entertainment (T&E) is typically a company’s third-largest controllable cost, and the average company spends an additional 5% of its annual T&E budget just processing the paperwork related to expense reports. A manual process costs the average company $36 per expense report, according to a recent in-depth American Express study. Automating the process can cut that cost to $8 or less and reduce the time employees spend per expense report from 55 minutes to 15 minutes or less.
By integrating XMS with American Express’ full array of RoundTrip Services, including Web-based travel booking system AXI and its traditional travel agency services, American Express offers companies a comprehensive way to ensure that corporate travel guidelines and negotiated rates are applied consistently, whether reservations are initiated by PC or telephone. And, companies can reduce the time and effort travelers spend making reservations and filing expense reports.
“My goal as a travel and financial director is to implement solutions that streamline and reduce the overall cost of travel,” said Elliot Grissom, Director of Accounts Payable, Travel, and Financial Systems for Solutia Inc., formerly the chemical businesses of Monsanto Company. “The integration of American Express’ Corporate Card and AXI solutions with Portable Software’s XMS solution will ease the strain on a company’s travelers. It will encourage them to follow spending guidelines and use corporate discount rates, as well as provide companies with the information to better manage travel budgets and vendors.”
American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Express Company — a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance, and international banking. More information on American Express Corporate Services may be found on the World Wide Web at [http//www.americanexpress.com/corporateservices].
Since 1993 Portable Software Corporation has been developing and marketing travel and entertainment automation software and services that serve the entire enterprise, from business travelers to corporate accounting departments. Its flagship product, the Xpense Management Solution (XMS), has been chosen by more Fortune 1000 and multinational companies for enterprise-wide T&E expense automation than any other travel expense solution. As the recognized worldwide leader in T&E expense automation, Portable Software has already automated travel expense management processes in over 250 companies around the world.
Aladdin Knowledge Systems Ltd. (www.aks.com), a global leader in information security and licensing, announced Monday that ASE — The Aladdin Smartcard Environment — has been singled out in Byte Magazine’s key January feature, “1998’s Top 25 Technologies.”
In a feature entitled “The Smartcard Invasion,” Byte predicts that the United States is about to be “hit” by the “ubiquitous” smartcard, at last catching up with Europe where they have been in use in for over a decade.
Byte highlighted Aladdin’s ASE development platform as part of the Smart Card Forum, the industry’s consortium which includes major card producers Schlumberger and Gemplus. The Smart Card Forum also includes Microsoft, who have approved Aladdin’s technology as a development partner for PC/SC, the interoperability standard for PC-based smart card applications.
“Smartcard technology has been singled out as a mainstream technology in the USA, and we are pleased our pioneering role in the development of easy-to-use tools for smart card applications has once again been recognized,” says Aladdin’s Director of Smart Cards, Eyal Manger. “The response to our launch of ASE-II in November has been very encouraging. The market is ready for PC-based smart card applications, and so are we!”
Aladdin’s ASE II is invaluable for designers of virtually all kinds of smart card applications and Internet-based commerce. Successful applications developed and deployed with the first generation of ASE products include access control, prepayment vending systems, authentication, digital signature, health care, electronic purse, biometric recognition systems and software distribution. Further details of such applications can be seen on Aladdin’s Web site — [www.aks.com].
The key components of ASE II are:
– ASEDrive Pro, the most versatile PC-based smart card drive on the market with highly secure architecture supporting industry standards, internal and external connection interfaces and various power options. Other new features include support for additional memory card protocols, optional real-time clock for time signatures, and a new ergonomic design.
– ASESoft, the smart software environment is PC/SC compliant. ASESoft offers same host multi-drive and multi-application support, asynchronous tracking of reader/drive events, a comprehensive library of administrative, diagnostic and script tools as well as card editing utilities. ASESoft is designed so that even a relatively inexperienced programmer can easily develop applications and bring them rapidly to the market.
– ASECards include memory, protected memory, CPU and cryptographic cards, all of which can be accessed via a single base Application Programming Interface (API). This facilitates the easy integration of various card types into user applications.
Aladdin Knowledge Systems is a global leader in the secure licensing, management and distribution of digital content. Aladdin’s product range includes HASP(R) and Hardlock(R), key-based software security systems which monitor software licensing and prevent unauthorized use of computer programs; Privilege(TM), a suite of software licensing and metering tools for developers and corporate IT managers; and ASE(R) — The Aladdin Smartcard Environment — a set of smart card application development tools for integrating smart cards with PCs. Aladdin is an ISO 9002 accredited company with headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel, 5 international offices and distributors in more than 40 countries, serving over 20,000 clients worldwide. For more information, visit the Aladdin home page at .
Evolv is the emerging technology company that specializes in harnessing the dramatic power of artificial intelligence to create the business and internet “killer apps” of the future. Recent product innovations have included the introduction of Skipjack IC (Internet Commerce), a secure internet transaction software snap-on for Microsoft Internet Information Server. This inexpensive program supports credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, Diners Club and JCB), debit cards and even checks. It is completely secure owing to Evolv’s proprietary encryption technology.
The philosophy behind Skipjack IC is simple: it is an easy-to-use, cost-effective, turn-key solution for merchants. As such, it allows companies of any size to instantly and confidently open up shop on the Internet.
In that spirit, Evolv has forged their first credit card processor alliance with the highly respected Midwest Payment Systems. MPS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fifth Third Bank and one of the top ten processors in the nation. With 25 years in the business, the firm provides unparalleled service and support for a customer base of over 17,000 representing more than $22 billion in credit card volume.
“They have a great track record and are very dedicated to service. We feel confident that MPS will be able to meet and exceed merchant expectations,” says Brad Hoeweler, Evolv’s CEO. “This new technology is very exciting and we’re looking forward to welcoming a whole new breed of merchant to a profitable Internet experience,” adds Ray Neugebauer, Sales Officer at MPS.
Skipjack IC requires Microsoft Windows NT Server version 4.0 with Service Pack 3, Internet Information Server 3.0, Active Server Pages, a modem and an analog phone line. It retails for $1,495.00 US (introductory price), and includes online documentation, a sample web site, 800 number, test credit card account and email support.
To purchase Skipjack IC, contact Scott Valetti at [email protected] or 513-563-2907. Additional information about Skipjack IC and the product itself is available at Evolv’s website: .
iCat Corporation announced Monday it will support Secure Electronic Transaction 1.0, the standard protocol for safeguarding credit card purchases made over the Internet. Unique to the industry, iCat is working with three of the SET frontrunners, IBM, VeriFone, and Outreach Communications, to offer merchants SET technology on a wide range of server platforms, including NT and Sun Solaris, as well as HP in the future. Merchants will choose from three different set-enabled ‘cash registers,’ including IBM’s CommercePOINT eTill, VeriFone’s vPOS, and Outreach’s SET cash register, giving them access to the broadest selection of financial institutions and processing firms in Europe, Asia, Canada, and the United States for secure credit card clearing.
“By making CommercePOINT eTill available to iCat and its customers, IBM provides a way to secure electronic commerce payments using the SET protocol. IBM is delighted at the opportunity to work with iCat in making the Internet more secure for e-business,” said Mark Greene, vice president of electronic payments and certification at IBM.
“SET represents another milestone in the development of e-commerce, and iCat is proud to be the only Internet catalog software vendor supporting these three SET leaders,” said Craig Danuloff, CEO and president of iCat. “IBM, VeriFone, and Outreach have been the pioneers in implementing the SET initiative, and have more than seventy-five percent of all the SET trials underway. We have also put in place educational programs and hardware agreements to help our ISP partners prepare for the demands of SET. With this strategy, merchants and hosts for the first time can choose the solution that best fits their existing infrastructure and financial relationships with our SET portfolio.”
“VeriFone is pleased that market leader iCat is including VeriFone’s vPOS as an integral part of its SET 1.0 enabled electronic commerce offerings,” said Dana Gauthier, VeriFone’s Director Sales, Americas. “This turnkey solution provides a complete, secure e-commerce system which will surely garner the confidence of consumers and merchants alike.”
Robert Lynch, CEO and president of Outreach Communications added, “Outreach’s focus, like iCat’s, is on the merchant. Outreach’s cash register includes a sophisticated Internet fraud protection module to further the safety for merchants conducting commerce over the Internet. That, coupled with an easy-to-use GUI, makes the iCat-Outreach combination a compelling solution for merchants.”
To further round out iCat’s SET strategy of integrating the payment software into the next version of iCat Electronic Commerce Suite, iCat has also teamed with server accelerator manufacturer, nCipher, and leading Internet Certification Authority, VeriSign.
VeriSign and iCat have inked a joint marketing agreement to promote and educate merchants on the issues surrounding SET, including authenticating consumers and managing digital certificates involved in electronic transactions.
On the hardware side, nCipher’s nFast is one of the first line of products on the market to provide flexible, scalable and cost-effective acceleration of cryptographic key processing for commerce and transaction servers. “By attaching one of nCipher’s cryptographic accelerators to the transaction server, shoppers in an iCat catalog will have much faster credit card processing,” said Alex van Someren, president of nCipher. “Our nFast accelerators will help online vendors adopt the highest levels of cryptographic security without having their servers bogged down processing cryptographic keys. By partnering with a leader like iCat, online businesses can have the confidence in the security of online transactions.”
In addition to the SET options, merchants who have built iCat catalogs can choose from many transaction option methods, including CyberCash, First USA Paymentech Inc., Open Market, First Virtual, InternetSecure, Atos, Tellan Software, and Kleline. The company has also partnered with 45 additional complementary technology vendors that add advanced functionality to the Web catalog, including order processing and fulfillment, accounting, and tax and shipping. For more information on the payment processing solutions as well as a complete list of the third party technologies integrated into iCat’s Suite, visit .
About iCat Corporation
iCat Corporation, founded in 1993 and based in Seattle, Washington, is solely dedicated to providing corporations and merchants with the most complete, powerful, and flexible solution for creating Web catalogs with secure transaction processing. The privately held company has technology and marketing relationships with over 350 companies including UPS, Compaq, HP, EDS, and GTE. Its flagship Electronic Commerce Suite has won more than twenty industry awards, including PC Magazine’s “Editor’s Choice Award” for electronic storefront software in November 1997. The software is available in the US, Canada, France, Germany and Japan from any of iCat’s business partners, leading distributors such as TechData, Ingram Micro, MicroAge, and Trans Cosmos Incorporated, and resellers such as Software Spectrum. For more information, visit the iCat Web site at , or call 888-BUY-ICAT.
Intuit Inc.’s Quicken personal finance products claimed over 80% of retail market share units, according to PC Data. In the first full month since the Quicken 98 family of products became available on October 23, Quicken Deluxe 98 was the #1 best-selling personal productivity software.
“Quicken has been the #1 personal finance software program for every month since PC Data began collecting industry data in 1991,” said Ann Stephens, president of PC Data. With the introduction of Quicken 98, Intuit continues to lead the category, with no competitor even coming close.
According to PC Data’s November 1997 report, Quicken 98 outsold the #2 title in the personal finance category (Microsoft Money) by a margin of 4 to 1 as measured in units. With Quicken 98 retail unit share at 83%, Quicken 98 products generated 88% of sales revenue for the personal finance software category. PC Data is the leading market research firm for software and hardware point-of-sale data. Their research is based on analysis of reseller software sales by forty-two major retailers including CompUSA, Best Buy, Egghead, Office Depot, Babbages and Price Costco.
The Quicken 98 family — Quicken Basic 98, Quicken Deluxe 98, Quicken Home & Business 98, and Quicken Suite 98 — are the most popular personal finance software products available today. “Quicken is a critical part of our fall selling season,” said Marty Lobkowicz, vice president and general merchandise manager of Office Depot. “Customers demand the product, and we do everything we can to make it easy for them to find the version of Quicken 98 that best fits their needs.”
“Quicken is certainly among the hottest software products on our shelves,” said Scott Maentz, vice president of software product marketing at Tech Data, a leading full-line distributor of personal computer products. “We’re seeing strong demand from our resellers and retail dealer customers for both Quicken 98 and TurboTax, Intuit’s tax preparation products.”
Quicken 98 combines the benefits of the desktop and the Web, creating a powerful but easy-to-use solution that takes consumers beyond organizing and into the realms of making smarter investment decisions, finding great deals on insurance and mortgages and being prepared for emergencies. Additionally, Quicken 98 directly links to Intuit’s award-winning website, Quicken.com, to give customers access to objective financial information, including personal finance news and tools as well as the leading mutual fund and insurance sites on the World Wide Web.
With Quicken 98, customers can make online payments with any U.S. financial institution. Quicken 98 works with 53 of the nation’s leading financial institutions covering 47 million checking accounts and 29 major credit cards covering 80 million accounts to download statements into Quicken. In addition to the growing number of financial institutions who support statement download for checking and credit card accounts, Quicken Deluxe 98 for Windows today supports investment transaction download from four major brokerages — Charles Schwab, E*TRADE, Fidelity Investments(R), and Waterhouse Securities. Quicken Deluxe 98 supports investment transaction download from more investment firms than any other financial management software. By early 1998, eight other financial institutions — Accutrade(R), American Century Investments, Ameritrade(R), Discover Brokerage Direct, DLJdirect, PaineWebber Incorporated, Smith Barney, and T. Rowe Price — will offer online investment tracking as well.
Quicken 98 is available for Windows 3.1 as a 16-bit application and for Windows 95 as a 32-bit application. Typical retail pricing for Quicken Deluxe 98 is $59.95 minus a $20.00 rebate from Intuit for previous Quicken users. Quicken Basic 98 is $39.95 minus a $10.00 Intuit rebate for previous Quicken users. Quicken Deluxe 98 and Quicken Basic 98 are available in versions for Macintosh with the same prices and rebates. Quicken Home & Business typically retails for $89.95 minus a $20.00 Intuit rebate for previous Quicken users; Quicken Suite 98 retails for $89.95 minus a $20.00 Intuit rebate for previous Quicken users.
Source: PC Data, personal finance market units, all platforms, month ending November 30, 1997, with over 70 percent of retail customers covered.
Intuit Inc., a financial software and Web-based services company, develops and markets Quicken, the leading personal finance software; TurboTax(R), the best-selling tax preparation software; and QuickBooks(R), the most popular small business accounting software. Intuit’s Quicken.com Web site offers a complete set of personal financial news, information and tools, including the leading mutual fund and insurance sites. Intuit’s products and services enable individuals, small businesses, and financial professionals to better manage their financial lives and businesses.
This press release contains forward-looking statements about results or other events that have not yet occurred. This includes, but is not limited to, statements related to the expected launch and other details of the online investment tracking feature in Quicken. The actual results or events may differ materially from those anticipated. Such factors include, but are not limited to, potential technical problems in developing the feature and integrating it with a variety of brokerage firms’ systems, and Intuit’s ability to successfully negotiate agreements with brokerage firms. Intuit assumes no responsibility to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events occurring after the date of this press release. Information about other factors that could affect future results and events is included in Intuit’s fiscal 1997 Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
NOTE: Intuit, the Intuit logo, Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax, among others, are registered trademarks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. Quicken Financial Network, among others, is a trademark of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other names or brands may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders and should be treated as such.
Peter Palumbo, Jr. has been appointed as an account manager at Imperial Technology Solutions (“ITS”), a division of Imperial Bank, announced Debra K. Hubers, president of ITS. In his new position, Palumbo will act as a liason for customers using ITS’ Receivables Payment Manager (“RPM”) system. Palumbo will report to Brian Fitzpatrick, vice president of national accounts at ITS.
Palumbo has more than 12 years of experience in the Electronic Funds Transfer (“EFT”) industry. Prior to joining Imperial Bank, Palumbo served as account executive for Electronic Data Systems Corporation (“EDS”) in El Segundo, Calif., where he was responsible for developing and maintaining products and selling service applications for his clients’ EFT business. He also worked at GTE EFT Services as a settlement agent, where he coordinated all settlement of funds for an off-site ATM and POS network, throughout California. To reach Palumbo at ITS, call (310) 725-4285.
Imperial Technology Solutions, until recently known as Imperial Bank’s Health Care Technology Group, is the only division of a major bank in the country with a team of healthcare, technology and marketing specialists solely dedicated to providing financial technology solutions to the healthcare industry.
Imperial Technology Solutions has created a series of products under the banner of Receivables Payment Manager designed to drastically cut healthcare providers’ accounts receivable, which is a multi-billion dollar problem nationally. The RPM product line includes an easy-to-use ATM-like credit card terminal, a highly sophisticated server application integrated into a clinic or hospital practice management system, and a revolutionary Internet and intranet applications.
The first two RPM products being introduced and used in the marketplace are the “plug ‘n play” super terminal, which incorporates credit and debit card processing and on-line insurance verification at small provider offices exceeding $100,000 per year with the RPM terminal. One large Midwestern MSO using the integrated server application has estimated annual patient billing processing expense savings to exceed $1.2 million per year.
With over $4.5 billion in assets, Imperial Bank is one of the leading independent business banks in the West, offering a wide range of financial services tailored to corporate customers, entrepreneurs and professionals. For more information, contact Imperial Technology Solutions at (301) 725-4331 or (800) 716-9777, or visit its World Wide Web site at [www.itsrpm.com]. Imperial Bank is the principal subsidiary of Imperial Bancorp (NYSE – IMP) and can be found on the Web at [www.imperialbank.com].
Schlumberger Electronic Transactions announced the availability of MagIC Management System, a customer-oriented software solution for remote management of MagIC point-of-sale (POS) payment terminals. The innovative management system uses the power of remote computing to enable Value-Added Resellers (VARs), Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs) and distributors to easily and efficiently download and initialize new applications on MagIC payment terminals already installed in the field.
“The growing demand for electronic payment systems is driving rapid development of a diverse array of applications for credit, debit and smart cards,” stated Xavier Chanay, General Manager, Schlumberger Electronic Transactions’ Bank, Retail & Health division. “Schlumberger’s new MagIC Management System provides VARs, ISOs and distributors with a remote means of installing these exciting new applications on their customers’ payment terminals without the time-consuming, costly effort of sending staff into the field.”
Mirroring Schlumberger’s commitment to technology excellence, the MagIC Management System combines a Windows NT(TM) operating system, Oracle database and high-level programming languages, such as Visual C++, to provide a strong, efficient and flexible solution. Schlumberger’s MagIC Management System is user-friendly with easy-to-use menus, online help and a Microsoft-like interface, making operation much easier than complex DOS-based systems.
The MagIC Management System also provides superior security for downloading and initialization functions. Encryption and authentication keys in a smart card provide secure communication between the MagIC Management System and payment terminal, multiple passwords provide authorization to security-sensitive functions and digital signatures ensure the integrity of applications downloaded.
Worldwide distribution is planned for the first quarter of 1998.
The MagIC Management System is designed for remote management of Schlumberger’s MagIC line of POS terminals. All MagIC terminals feature advanced, flexible architecture that allows for the development of applications which can run stand alone or simultaneously with other applications. MagIC terminals are designed to meet the emerging needs for customer-activated transactions and are compatible with conventional credit and debit cards, as well as new-generation smart cards.
Schlumberger Electronic Transactions offers a flexible portfolio of smart card-based solutions for businesses and communities of all kinds. The company provides cards, terminals, development tools and support in open configurations for operators, developers, integrators and distributors worldwide. Under The Smart Village brand, the Schlumberger offer includes the milestone Cyberflex card, the industry’s first Java-based smart card.
Schlumberger is unique in that it provides both smart cards and turnkey solutions along with a full range of tools and services for Telecom, Banking, Retail, Mass Transit & Parking, Healthcare and Networks. The company has design and manufacturing facilities in Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America. Its manufacturing capacity exceeds 850 million cards annually to fulfill the needs of government and private sectors as they move toward cashless, p.pless transactions.
The Electronic Transactions group employs over 5,000 people and operates 45 facilities. Among dedicated facilities in 34 countries, the group has 9 research and development centers strategically located in Europe, Asia and North America.
Schlumberger Electronic Transactions is a business segment of Schlumberger Ltd., a $9 billion global technology and service company providing oilfield services, natural resource management, smart card transactions-based technology and associated systems, and semiconductor test equipment.
The six-month old joint venture between Microsoft and First Data signed its first banking institutions to pilot its electronic bill presentment and payment service yesterday. Wells Fargo and KeyBank have agreed to test MSFDC’s new service on their respective online banking platforms. MSFDC has set mid-1998 as the target date to launch its bank-branded, Internet e-bill service nationally. Other players with the intent to commit to the MSFDC pilot include Chase, GE Capital, Advanta and Payment Systems for Credit Unions. Participating billers pay MSFDC a fee for electronic delivery of a each bill. The company says the cost is “roughly equivalent to the cost of postage”.
In conjunction with yesterday’s keynote address by Bill Gates at the BAI Retail Delivery Conference, Microsoft, KeyBank and Diebold demonstrated a new ATM software architecture that will enable banks to deliver new products and services via various Internet technologies. Diebold’s new ‘OPTimum’ architecture is based on the ‘Component Object Model’ and supports ‘Windows Distributed iNternet Architecture for Financial Services’. As a result ‘OPTimum’ is less dependent on the delivery channel or operating system which enables financial institutions to introduce applications quickly into multiple environments.
Clarify Inc., the leading provider of front office solutions, today introduced ClearCallCenter 2.0, a comprehensive solution for call centers that supports both inbound/outbound sales and service. The new Clarify release adds advanced scripting and post-call follow-up capabilities to turn leads and inquiries into profitable, long-term customer relationships.
“The call center is becoming a consolidated entity that handles all types of contacts, from all types of sources — whether it’s a customer calling for general information, requesting simple service, or submitting an order via fax, email or the Web,” said Donna Novitsky, Clarify’s vice president of marketing. “Competitive companies need a centralized resource for collecting and managing this data, plus representatives who are empowered to provide a broad range of services. ClearCallCenter provides one-stop customer care, allowing the representative to do more for the customer at the initial point of contact.”
Using ClearCallCenter, valuable customer information — from raw list data to established customer files — can be centralized and shared with everyone throughout the enterprise for consistent interaction no matter what the intent. “With ClearCallCenter,” Novitsky noted, “the call center becomes a strategic tool to capture information and enables the agent to quickly provide prospects with the information they need so that eventually, that phone call or Web-based request turns into a lasting customer relationship.”
Clarify’s ClearCallCenter supports complete customer sales and service, where certain issues — such as complex sales cycle or technical support questions — are escalated to another department or specialist within the organization. ClearCallCenter is integrated with the entire Clarify front-office suite, which supports the full customer life-cycle, from pre-sale to post-sale.
Puma Technology to Deploy ClearCallCenter
Puma Technology, Inc. (), a leading provider of Mobile Data Exchange(TM) software providing solutions for advanced synchronization between mobile computing devices and PCs, has selected Clarify’s ClearCallCenter to centralize the information on prospects and customers being gathered at its San Jose, Calif.-based call center.
“ClearCallCenter is a powerful system that helps solve our business needs,” said Steve Magidson, vice president of corporate communications, Puma Technology. “Centralizing the customer database has given our sales professionals a ‘one point access center’ which has enabled them to capture the details of every customer call, and then share them across the company. Puma has been able to use this information to enhance our marketing campaigns and help shape the development of our IntelliSync synchronization solutions for mobile computing devices. Our goal is to ensure that all customer needs are thoroughly met, and ClearCallCenter is one of the important tools that has assisted in our achieving this goal.”
Puma Technology’s decision to purchase ClearCallCenter was also based on the product’s seamless integration with other Clarify products, and the company’s successful experience with ClearSupport, Clarify’s technical support management system. “Clarify’s products deliver true out-of-the-box functionality,” Magidson noted. “We implemented ClearSupport in just two months — long before the scheduled date — without any difficulties at all.”
New Release Adds Workflow-Based Action Items, Script Manager ClearCallCenter 2.0 is the next generation of Clarify’s ClearTelebusiness system, announced in April. ClearCallCenter replaces ClearTelebusiness and delivers expanded call center functionality. The latest release incorporates several new and powerful features, including workflow-based action items, which allow users to create follow-up activities that automatically remind the representative when that task is “due” to ensure that no sales lead or customer request “falls through the cracks.” Routine tasks such as sending out promotional materials are automated, thereby increasing the efficiency and profitability of the call center.
Also new in version 2.0 is an enhanced scripting engine designed to improve the effectiveness of every customer contact. ClearCallCenter’s Script Manager allows the call center manager to associate one or multiple scripts with a campaign. The system automatically presents the designated script to the agent based on inbound sales opportunities or lead sources. Script Manager provides dynamic branching based on the caller’s responses, ensuring that the agent asks the appropriate questions for that caller. Based on the caller’s responses, Script Manager then generates a rating for the prospect, which can be used with Clarify’s workflow to ensure proper handling of the opportunity. Script Manager also prompts the agent with upselling or cross-selling opportunities. In addition, the entire script — with branching and workflow — can be easily administered by a call center manager with Clarify’s point and click system.
ClearCallCenter: Powerful Tools for Every Call Center Process Clarify’s ClearCallCenter provides all the tools necessary to maximize the efficiency — and profitability — of every customer interaction.
* Service Request Management: ClearCallCenter provides customer service management so that service representatives can make basic changes to the customer database — such as a new address, phone number or account — and the ability to answer routine product questions, as well as to electronically route difficult or complex issues to designated technical support specialists. Fully integrated with the Clarify front office suite, ClearCallCenter gives agents a 360 degree view of the customer situation — enabling them to provide better and more personalized service, as well as the ability to identify potential new sales opportunities.
* Campaign Management: ClearCallCenter provides a point-and-click capability for planning, implementing and tracking multiple sales and marketing campaigns. The system supports the import/export of data, such as purchased lists or fulfillment requests. ClearCallCenter tracks special pricing, costs, lead sources and other vital demographics. In addition, it can determine the amount of time and money spent on a campaign, forecast the expected return and make calculations during the actual process of a campaign, allowing management to make appropriate changes, as needed.
* Lead Accountability: ClearCallCenter automates the process of identifying, qualifying and managing sales leads. Imported leads can be queued to specific agents and outbound calls can be automatically placed to leads. Every lead that enters the system is owned and managed by a sales representative. Users can easily define notification and escalation procedures so that leads not acted upon within a prescribed period of time will trigger a notification to a manager or automated reassignment. An activity log provides information about each person who worked on a lead, enabling companies to quickly and easily calculate commissions and recognize revenue. Clarify’s workflow also facilitates collaboration across the enterprise and with outside partners, such as resellers, while adhering to a strict ownership paradigm in which leads or inquiries must be “accepted” before they are reassigned. This unique Clarify capability is critical in the sales environment, where a misplaced lead can easily prompt a customer’s call to a competitor.
* Literature Fulfillment: ClearCallCenter allows representatives to mail, email or fax literature from their desktop. Clarify is the only vendor who can track the inventory and automatically notify the appropriate person when the stock levels fall below a reorder level, as well as track inventory as it is used. The system’s open architecture enables integration with third-party fulfillment systems, so that literature requests can be automatically passed electronically to an outsourcer.
In addition, ClearCallCenter is fully-integrated with Clarify’s ClearExpress Publisher module, a leading-edge Internet “push technology” product that allows the call center representative to proactively send appropriate information to a prospect or customer, utilizing a wide variety of customer-defined delivery formats (e.g., Web, email, fax, pager).
* Quotation Management: ClearCallCenter assists representatives in quickly developing customer quotes and taking orders. Quotes can be sent electronically to the customer and then accepted over the phone. Clarify’s architecture allows for real-time or batch interfaces to other applications, such as credit card verification, price books and order management systems, enabling representatives to close business immediately. The Clarify system supports multi-national pricing based on a campaign, product or customer.
* Analysis and Reporting: ClearCallCenter provides easy-to-use tools to analyze results and identify opportunities for improved profitability. Each lead generated can be associated with a primary lead source based on a campaign or list. Clarify automatically calculates and presents detailed analysis to assess the effectiveness of individual sources or entire campaigns. Users can view the number of leads that were generated for a particular campaign and track them in terms of resulting revenue. Leads that are still in the sales cycle are included, enabling organizations to identify those that are most likely to result in sales. Management can measure profitability of individual campaigns, sales representatives or products.
Pricing and Availability
ClearCallCenter 2.0 is available immediately for a $20,000 (U.S.) application fee, plus $3,750 per concurrent user. The push-enabled ClearExpress Publisher is available for a $20,000 (U.S.) application fee.
About Clarify Inc.
Clarify is the leading provider of front office solutions that bring companies closer to their customers. The company’s proven approach to sales and support solutions have made it the trusted partner of Global 1000 corporations, such as Amoco Corp., Cisco Systems, GE Medical Systems, Georgia-Pacific, Hewlett-Packard Co., MCI, Microsoft Corp., Motorola, Sprint PCS, Toyota and Transamerica Corp. Clarify focuses on delivering total solutions through strategic alliances with world-class companies including Aspect Tele-communications, Cambridge Technology Partners, CrossRoads Software, Ericsson, Ernst & Young LLP, KPMG and Nortel. Founded in 1990, Clarify is headquartered in San Jose, Calif. Its products are sold through sales and service offices throughout the world. Clarify can be reached at 408-573-3000; via e-mail at [email protected]; or via the Web at .
First Data Resources announced at this week’s BAI Retail Delivery Conference a new card issuing system that enables banks to issue credit and debit cards instantly at their branch locations. The ‘QuicKardz’ system consists of DataCard’s card production equipment and FDR software. FDR says the system offers the ability to personalize cards at a lower issuance cost while incorporating numerous security features.