Monday, December 29, 2008

U.K. Call Centers Performing to Expectations

Commissioned by fifty of the U.K.'s leading call centers, new independent research has shown that 93 percent of customers get through to the call center on their first attempt. This study is part of The Top 50 Call Center Initiative, commissioned by Siemens.

The number of customers reaching the call center on first attempt rose to 98 percent in the retail sector, followed by 95 percent in the financial services and entertainment, leisure and travel sectors. The public sector returned a performance of 87 percent, lagging behind the telecoms and utilities at 90 percent.

Surprisingly, a staggering 96 percent of customer inquiries were resolved by the initial call. The retail sector proved to perform the best in this area, achieving a 98 percent first call resolution rate. Financial services and telecoms and utilities returned a 97 percent. For the Public Sector, this number fell to 92 percent.

The survey found that it takes on average just 1.3 minutes for customers of the Top 50 Call Centers to get through to speak to an actual person. This figure accounts for time waiting to get through, as well as time spend selecting IVR or touch-tone options, before getting through to a customer service representative.

This study also found that 58 percent of callers got through to a Customer Service Representative in less than one minute. The retail sector performed even better as 74 percent of callers reached the company within 60 seconds. The telecoms and utilities sector was the lowest performing, at 52 percent, just ahead of the entertainment, leisure and navel and public sectors, both at 53 percent. Apologies tend to be lacking in these call centers, according to this study. For those callers that had to wait more than one minute to get through, only 27 percent received an apology for the delay. Again retail performed the best at 35 percent, and entertainment, leisure and travel returned a 20 percent.


More information on the call center industry can be found at

Monday, December 15, 2008

SAAS User Satisfaction Skyrockets

Cutter Consortium's fourth annual survey of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) market has revealed that a whopping 97% of responders are satisfied with their SaaS deployments.

The benefits enterprises are enjoying that have lead to such an unprecedented satisfaction level include reducing infrastructure costs as a result of SaaS solutions, greater functional capabilities from their SaaS solutions, better application reliability and performance, and higher productivity and more systematic software updates and upgrades.

Another key finding of this study is that more than 50% of the respondents expect to generate 11%-30% cost savings from their SaaS solutions, while nearly one-fifth expect more than 40% savings.

More information on the service and support industry can be found at

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Downturn in U.S. Economy Has Significant Impact on SMB Priorities and IT Spending Plans

The downturn in the U.S. economy is having a significant impact on small and medium business (SMB) priorities and plans for technology acquisition. The concern is real, and impact potentially profound, with variations by company size, industry, and attitude segment, according to a recent IDC survey. As a result, 38% of small firms are more likely to delay IT spending, and 42% of medium-sized businesses are more likely to reduce IT spending.

Among other key findings are the following:

  • Businesses in the architecture/engineering, legal, retail, and manufacturing sectors are the most likely to delay IT spending, and wholesale, insurance, and legal firms are the most likely to reduce IT spending.

  • Small and medium-sized businesses are more likely to focus IT investment on tactical projects, which deliver immediate benefits, than strategic projects.

  • Cloud computing initiatives are not being driven by economic concerns, save for the small minority of SMBs that indicate that they will look more closely at hosted solutions as a result of the economy.

  • Fewer than 50% of SMB 2.0 firms, the most forward-looking group, are extremely or strongly concerned about the U.S. economy, compared with approximately 70% of IT Indifferent firms and 60% of Pragmatist firms.
  • More information on the service and support industry can be found at

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    Tech-Spending Growth Is Seen Slowing

    Technology spending will grow at its lowest rate in six years in 2009, a research firm said, as businesses shift their buying habits in response to the economic downturn. Businesses and other organizations in the U.S. will spend $573 billion on computer software, hardware and services next year, just 1.6% more than they spent in 2008, according to new data out from Forrester Research Inc. In contrast, U.S. tech spending grew 4.1% in 2008 and 7% in 2007. Earlier this year, Forrester predicted U.S. tech spending would grow 6.1% in 2009.

    The results are based on several factors, including real gross domestic product growth and how technology is valued by businesses. Forrester also doesn't anticipate that tech spending will contract the way it did when the tech bubble burst in 2001. Back then, businesses overinvested in technology. In this downturn, information-technology departments may not cut as much as other departments.

    Forrester predicts that software revenue will only grow 3.4% in 2009, with much of that coming from support fees for previous purchases. Software companies say that they've already seen a shift in the way businesses buy tech products. Historically, businesses would buy more software and hardware than they needed at the time of the purchase in anticipation of future growth.
    Source: WSJ

    More information on information technology can be found at

    Tuesday, December 9, 2008

    Supply Chain Technology Market Will Grow 7% Annually to $9.2B in 2012

    AMR Research has released a study that estimates the supply chain management (SCM) applications market will grow 7% annually for the next five years, despite the gloomy economic conditions of 2008. Now a $6.5B market, AMR Research forecasts steady growth will bring the SCM applications market close to $9.2B in 2012. Based on its analysis, AMR Research predicts there is a high likelihood the economic challenges of the coming years will offer much greater opportunity for supply chain technology adoption.

    The study named five major forces that will be at work in the economy and society in the foreseeable future, and how the supply chain and the technologies that support it will help companies in the next five years.

    --High inflation – Inflation will force supply chain managers to play an important role in protecting product and company margins through cost control and increased efficiencies in their operations.

    --Rising commodity prices – Pressure from higher commodity prices will bring supply more in line with demand and reduce inventory levels from raw materials to the finished product.

    --Threats to brand security – Counterfeiting, the gray market, and questionable quality standards will make brand protection a top priority. Companies will look to adopt risk mitigation and global trade technologies as well as analytics to monitor distribution channel buy-and-sell patterns.

    --Sustainability becomes a component of corporate decision making – Public sentiment will force substantive measures by industry to become more environmentally friendly. This will present opportunities to more directly connect product development efforts with supply chain management to minimize waste and material usage.

    --Cash is king – Capital spending will come under great scrutiny as companies preserve cash. Technologies that increase the velocity of cash collection, including B2B e-commerce, will become a critical component of future initiatives.

    The report also found that SAP, Oracle, and Manhattan Associates were the three largest SCM vendors by revenue in 2007, with a market share of 13%, 10%, and 5% respectively.

    More information on the information technology industry can be found at

    Friday, December 5, 2008

    Overloaded With Information? Get Back to Business in 2009

    Should you disconnect the cell phone? Boycott voice mail? Throw the PDA out the window? As a chaotic 2008 comes to a close and workers resolve to regain sanity in 2009, where do they go for answers to questions about how to cope with information overload?

    For more than 30 years, Xerox Corporation social scientists have been studying how workers communicate, organize and generally get things done. Inspired by their Future of Work study, they provide nine tips to help workers save time and manage information overload.

    *Breathe. It may sound simple, but not enough people take the time to do it. So schedule breaks into your daily working routine. It helps productivity -- even stepping away from your desk for a moment. Even a quick nap helps you regenerate and be more productive. Research supports this, we swear.

    *Simplify Your Schedule. Try scheduling all of your meetings on specific days so you have more time on non-meeting days to process information coming in –- it’s much easier to focus when you don’t have a meeting looming in 20 minutes.

    *Back It Up. No information is worse than too much. Make sure you have a solution in place for regular back-up.

    *De-clutter Your Desktop (both of them). File, pile or toss papers as soon as you receive them. Scan and save important documents to reduce desktop clutter instead of filing. On your computer, consider getting rid of folders altogether and using desktop search engines to find things when you need them.

    *Touch it Once. Often we waste time dealing with the same piece of information again and again. Respond as soon as you receive it, put it in its file or delete it/shred it the first time you touch it.

    *Forget the Free Stuff. It comes at a price (e-mail garbage and unsolicited offers). Choose quality over quantity. Manage your bills and accounts online and sign up for the do not call lists and the no junk mail lists.

    *Use Your Tools. Make use of your phone for getting the right info at the right time. For instance, you don’t have to waste time printing maps if you can access them from your phone. GPS phones have the smarts to give you the right information based on your actual location.

    *RSS Reprieve. Sign up for an aggregator. It helps you see all your news in one place.

    *Manage Mobile Madness. Use a mobile device with e-mail support to make hours way from your desk more productive. Keeping track of e-mail throughout the day can help you anticipate future work, and take care of mini-projects as they arise instead of waiting until later to sift through a huge pile of e-mail.

    More information on the Service and Support industry can be found at

    Wednesday, December 3, 2008

    CIO Survey: E-mail, In-Person Conversations Preferred Forms of Communication

    While smartphones, instant messaging and other communication tools may be distracting at times, there appears to be an upside: A majority (57 percent) of chief information officers (CIOs) interviewed recently said they feel more connected to colleagues given the prevalence of new technologies in the workplace. Still, e-mail and in-person conversations remain the preferred ways to communicate, according to 43 percent and 36 percent of CIOs, respectively.

    The survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. It was based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees.

    More information on the Service and Support industry can be found at

    US IT Spending Forecast Worst Since 2001

    ChangeWave's latest corporate IT purchasing survey shows an accelerating collapse in U.S. business spending that has reached historic proportions - with record pullbacks occurring both in the current 4th Quarter and going forward.

    In one of the survey's few upbeat findings, the corporate smart phone market continues to show growth - with Research in Motion (RIM) maintaining its huge lead, but Apple (AAPL) continuing to make inroads in small to medium-sized businesses.

    A total of 1,926 respondents involved with IT spending in their organization participated in the ChangeWave survey, conducted November 6-12, 2008.

    Simply put, the IT spending projections for 1st Quarter 2009 are abysmal - the worst ever for a ChangeWave survey dating back to 2001. An unprecedented 45% of respondents say their company's IT spending will decrease (or there will be no spending at all) in the 1st Quarter - 16-pts worse than our previous survey.

    Only 10% say spending will increase - a 3-pt drop from previously.

    Most disturbingly, spending is plunging at a time of year when we normally experience seasonal increases. This becomes immediately apparent when you look at the change from each November - beginning with November 2003 - in the Projected IT Spending chart above.

    It we also asked of respondents if their IT spending was on track thus far in the current 4th Quarter. By a wide margin, these results are also the worst on record.

    Nearly four-in-ten (39%) say they've spent "Less than Planned" so far this quarter - 9-pts worse than in our previous survey. Just 8% have spent "More than Planned" - a 4-pt drop from previously.

    Moreover, in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, respondents do not see any immediate improvement occurring in their company's IT spending. In fact, nearly half (48%) now believe IT spending won't pick up for their company until the 3rd Quarter of 2009 or later - a two-fold increase since our August survey.

    More information on the IT industry can be found at