Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Hosted Software Gains More Converts

The board of directors at instant-camera maker Polaroid Corp. last week tapped computer-industry veteran Michael Pocock to run the company. A former VP of strategy at Compaq, Pocock helped the PC vendor develop a direct-sales model, and he's charged with bringing the same playbook to Polaroid as the company looks to boost revenue by increasing its online sales and relying less on its dealer network.

The problem will be to keep customer-support costs in check, but Polaroid expects that using hosted software to automatically generate answers to frequently asked questions and control the flow of customer E-mails to support staff will help it meet the challenge.

Polaroid has subscribed to customer-management software from RightNow Technologies Inc. RightNow's hosted software is significantly less expensive than running those applications in-house, says Yale Cohen, Polaroid's group manager for worldwide service communications. "We've saved a huge chunk of money in growing this self-service environment," says Cohen, who declined to be more specific about the savings.

The return on investment so far has been enough that Polaroid is considering ditching its packaged software from Siebel Systems Inc. for managing customer telephone inquiries in favor of using RightNow to handle that aspect of customer care, as well. "The ideal scenario is to have all transactions in one place," Cohen says.

The U.S. hosted software market grew 35% from $1.7 billion in 2002 to $2.3 billion in 2003, according to data soon to be released by research firm IDC. Vendors are responding to the uptick in demand with new products and richer services.

  • 1