By John Moore  |  Posted 2005-05-23 Print this article Print

Call 2005 the year of the add-on for customer relationship management.


The City on the Web

The city of Indianapolis' initial customer relationship management deployment has also spawned additional projects. The Mayor's Action Center, the city's call center to field questions and complaints from citizens, switched on Siebel's Public Sector software last June to manage the process.

In one project, the city is building a Web portal that will allow citizens "to see pretty much what we see," says Patrick Holdsworth, administrator of the Mayor's Action Center. One example: The self-service application will let residents track the status of complaints (such as abandoned vehicles and sewer-system backups) filed with the city. Holdsworth's team customized a Siebel module to build the e-government feature, which he expected would debut by the end of May.

With the portal coming online, the city plans to beef up its servers, Holdsworth says. Indianapolis officials already tap the Siebel servers to run reports—say, to determine whether animal control officers are able to meet the city's goal of responding to a complaint about stray dogs within 24 hours. "We need to make sure we aren't slowing citizens down with the reports we are running," Holdsworth explains.

Portals also top the list of customer- relationship enhancements at IHOP, which oversees nearly 1,200 pancake restaurants nationwide, most of them franchises. The company last year launched guest and franchisee call centers using Oracle's TeleSales software.

IHOP also installed Oracle's property and contract management software for its franchises. The company holds about 700 leases on restaurants it built for franchisees, and the property management software allows executives to track those leases and variable rent information. IHOP now requires franchisees to build their own restaurants, and corporate managers use Oracle's contract management application to keep tabs on their progress. Another element, Oracle's Customer Data Hub, pulls together information from the call centers and ancillary applications to give IHOP executives a consolidated view of its franchisees.

That's where the portals come in. IHOP executives can access information on franchisees through a Web application that taps into the Customer Data Hub, says Patrick Piccininno, vice president of information technology. To build the interface, he explains, IHOP used a combination of Oracle's portal code and custom application development.

John writes the Contract Watch column and his own column for the Channel Insider.

John has covered the information-technology industry for 15 years, focusing on government issues, systems integrators, resellers and channel activities. Prior to working with Channel Insider, he was an editor at Smart Partner, and a department editor at Federal Computer Week, a newspaper covering federal information technology. At Federal Computer Week, John covered federal contractors and compiled the publication's annual ranking of the market's top 25 integrators. John also was a senior editor in the Washington, D.C., bureau of Computer Systems News.


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