SaaS Goes To Work At Motorola And The Humane Society - InformationWeek

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SaaS Goes To Work At Motorola And The Humane Society

Two real-life deployments show how software as a service works.

Five years ago, software as a service was a curiosity of the CRM market, aimed mostly at small businesses. Today a panoply of providers offer service-based versions of just about any enterprise application to businesses of all sizes.

And the service delivery model shows no signs of slowing. Gartner estimates that by 2011, a quarter of new business software will be delivered as a service.

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For insight into what a SaaS deployment requires, we take a look at two cases: a global CRM deployment by Motorola and a service that's helping the Humane Society comply with Payment Card Industry regulations.

Joe Baksha knows pressure. As global administrator for Motorola Mobile Services, he's responsible for the company's mobile phone customer service operation. Its 1,200 reps respond to phone, e-mail, and instant message queries from 5 million customers a year in 28 countries and eight languages.

Customer service is made easy for Motorola's Baksha --Photo by Bob Stefko

Customer service is made easy for Motorola's Baksha

Photo by Bob Stefko
The customer service unit is a cost center, which means resources are scarce and expenditures scrutinized. To save money, Motorola outsources its global call centers to local contractors that provide staff, equipment, and software. Each contractor uses different software to collect call data and interact with customers, and provides Motorola with customer service data in a variety of formats, including off-the-shelf CRM software, homegrown apps, and Excel spreadsheets. The kind of data being collected also varies from region to region. As a result, it's difficult for Motorola execs to get a consistent view of customer satisfaction with Motorola products and the call center experience itself.

But Motorola is changing that. It's in the middle of a three-year project, XperienceCare, to move its call centers to SaaS vendor RightNow's CRM platform. The single platform will eliminate the inefficiency of collecting and processing call center records from multiple software products and will create one knowledge base that every call center employee can access. It also will give Motorola more flexibility in dealing with contractors. RightNow will provide all the applications used by call center agents, and because the software is available over the Web, all the contractors have to provide are the employees, PCs with browsers, and sufficient bandwidth. Motorola can expand or move a call center without significant disruption, and it can easily change to a different contractor because the apps aren't tied to a specific one. "This gives us more choice," Baksha says.

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