Canada Post to integrate voice, Internet services

ORLANDO — While the Internet and e-commerce may be saving users the hassle of having to send mail the old way, Canada’s postal service wants to provide better snail mail service using e-business software.

Canada Post Corp. plans to go live with a customer relationship management application, SAP AG’s mySAP CRM, by the end of July.

“Canada Post has been using customer relationship management for a long time,” said Tracey Devlin, general manager of Canada Post’s SAP Center of Excellence. “It’s not new to the corporation. Canada Post has been using contact management, sales force automation and telephony for years, but we lacked integration.”

Devlin made her remarks Wednesday at Sapphire, SAP’s annual users’ conference.

The postal service, which employs about 60,000, delivers nine billion pieces of mail per year and makes over $5 billion in revenues, plans to use mySAP CRM to tie its interactive voice response (IVR) and Internet services. Canada Post plans to have three call centres, which it estimates will handle about five million calls per year.

The goal, Devlin said, is to ensure that the company always knows the status of customers’ orders and can answer their questions.

For example, she added, when a customer calls asking about a package that is available for pickup, Canada Post customer service reps should be able to access accurate information about the customer.

“I would not be surprised if many of our customers called us with the same question three times and received three different responses,” she said. “They can access us via the telephone, over the counter or on the Internet. As a result of all these channels, it’s not easy to manage relationships with our customers.”

Keeping track of information from different systems was a recurring theme during Sapphire, where the German business software vendor announced upgrades to its products, which include supply chain management software (mySAP SCM) and a product life cycle management application, mySAP PLM.

For example, mySAP CRM works in both SAP and non-SAP environments, the vendor states.

Large organizations rarely use the same vendor’s software for all applications, said Hasso Plattner, SAP’s co-founder and chief executive officer.

During a keynote address before a crowd of nearly 5,000 at the Orange County Convention Center, Plattner said companies need to connect with partners, customers and suppliers, and the best way to do this is through a browser-based portal and by integrating data using eXtensible Markup Language (XML).

SAP is targetting both the private and public sectors with its e-business applications, said Patrick Dunn, SAP Canada Inc.’s vice-president, Ottawa Region.

During an interview with Technology in Government, Dunn said the Canadian public sector is perceived as a leader in customer — or citizen — relationship management.

In the 1999 Throne Speech, the federal government stated it aims to be the government “most connected to its citizens” by 2004.

In addition to CRM, some government organizations could use product life cycle management software, Dunn said.

For example, he added, the Department of National Defence could use product life cycle management in order to collaborate with large defence contractors on equipment specifications.

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