One of the best benefits of being a TechRepublic contributor is covering IT trade shows and conferences. These gatherings are the perfect place to connect with other IT professionals and see the latest technology. I just register myself as a TechRepublic writer, and every company with a new product wants an appointment with me.

I recently attended the Customer Relationship Management (CRM)/Support Services Conference, held Oct. 24-26 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. During the show, I met with countless vendors wanting access to TechRepublic readers. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough conference hours to meet with everyone, but the following vendors had some great products that can benefit your support organization.

Integrating call center communications with CRM applications
Teloquent chose the CRM/Support Services conference to launch its new product, Teloquent Interchange. Jeff Spot, Teloquent’s VP of marketing, described Interchange this way: “Customers have an increasing array of communication choices—telephone, e-mail, and chat rooms to name a few. Teloquent Interchange is technology that enables a company to combine any and/or all the choices and integrate them with all CRM applications.”

Many help desks offer several ways for users to contact them. Teloquent Interchange can now integrate these communications methods with an organization’s call-tracking software. Interchange works with Remedy, Heat, and several other call-tracking products. Visit Teloquent’s Web site for more information.

Tri-dimensional, neural network knowledge base from KMS
Next on my list was British-based Knowledge Management Software Inc. The company’s latest product is Deskartes Domain 3.0, a knowledge base system for help desks and customer service centers. Chief Operating Officer David Rosalski described Deskartes Domain as a “tri-dimensional, neural network system,” not just another keyword database.

Deskartes Domain allows help desk analysts to type questions using the caller’s own words. The software then attempts to decipher the question through the use of synonyms and spelling corrections. A list of possible answers is presented, and each answer is given a probability of being correct. If the analyst indicates that one answer did actually solve the problem, Deskartes updates its databases so that the next time the question is asked, the answer chosen before will have a higher probability of correctness.

Although this technology looks fascinating, I’m not sure of its practicality. Many users don’t have the technical vocabulary to properly describe computer problems. A user may report a stuck mouse, when in fact their computer is locked up. However, Deskartes may benefit an inexperienced support analyst. As the answer “computer is locked up” is used frequently to resolve the problem “mouse is stuck,” the new techs will be more likely to try this solution first. To learn more about Deskartes Domain 3.0, visit the KMS Web site.

Hit the ground running with Remedy’s SetUp@Work
Remedy Corporation designs products for both CRM and IT support. Remedy feels strongly that CRM and IT support are no longer separate, and the only way to gain customer loyalty is through products integrating them both.

With this concept in mind, Remedy has developed SetUp@Work, which allows managers to announce a new employee to every part of the company. IT support is alerted to install the new employee’s hardware and software. The telecom department is notified that the new employee will need voice mail and a new phone. Office supply will know to install desks and office equipment. The idea is that an employee should be productive from day one. For more information on SetUp@Work and other Remedy products, visit the company’s Web site.

Until next time…
This was just the first day of the CRM/Support Services 2000 Conference. There are still two more days to go, so look for more reports and product previews. With so much to see and do, it’s hard to take it all in, but I’m going to try. Tune in next time when I’ll have opinions and comments from other conference attendees.
Have you ever attended a CRM or Support Services conference? What did you like the most? What did you like the least? Would your IT organization use any of the new products Pat mentions? Let us know what you think? Post a comment below or send Pat Vickers an e-mail.