There was a lot about managing data in the retail sector this week with the launch of a new customer relationship management tool from Autonomy and a survey that shows the public is ready to go paperless . Also, HyperOffice makes data mobile with HyperSynch beta.

Automony’s New CRM Tool

Gartner’s (news, site) UK Customer Relationships Management (CRM) conference has only just opened, and Autonomy (news, site) is trying to hog the limelight with the release of its new customer analytics tool Autonomy Explore.

Autonomy Explore takes all the points of contact between a company and a customer, analyzes them and produces a customer profile that enables businesses understand not only where their customers are coming from, but also they are likely to go.

So it’s just another CRM system you say? Well, yes it is, but one that analyzes not just emails, blogs, document, social media, and any other point of contact with the customer, it’s also one that throws all the information together for a clearer picture of customers.

The difference with many other CRMs is that this can take information from all channels together, not just one channel at a time, and give a much broader picture of what’s happening than would normally be possible.

HyperOffice Takes HyperSynch To Beta

You may remember last week that HyperOffice (news, site) took its collaboration suite out of beta and made it generally available. Well, this week it began beta testing of HyperSynch, a software package that taps into corporate networks, takes the data and updates mobile workers smart phones.

With support for over 1700 phones, it doesn’t look like HyperOffice is taking any chances on companies not being able to find a suitable mobile device to use it on, with the HyperSynch software bringing mobiles users updated email, contacts, calendars, projects, tasks and notes to whatever mobile they happen to use.

And that’s the real joy of it -- companies with even the beta release of HyperSynch won’t have to decide on whether to invest in Blackberry Enterprise Server or Microsoft Exchange Server or MobileMe based on the mobile device their employees are using, as HyperSynch works with them all.

In effect, what it is doing is putting HyperOffice collaboration suite on the road and comes with bi-directional syncing between mobile device and desktop with data uploaded to any desired location, and data downloadable for any location too.

Currently, a subscription to HyperOffice collaboration suite with business-class hosted email services costs about US$ 10 per month per user. Now HyperSynch will be included too for free.

On-Premise, Cloud, or Hybrid?

If you are interested in finding out how you should be using technologies and what technologies you should be using, you might want to check out the recently release paper from HP (news, site)  entitled A Hybrid Approach to Enterprise Technology.

While it’s not a very long paper, it does have some interesting points that are worth taking on board when it comes to deciding what kind of document management processes you are going to implement and whether you are going to deploy document management software or not.

The principal conflict at the moment, the paper says, is that companies are now faced with a situation where many of the document management processes are now available in the cloud and companies need to decide whether to trust the cloud or not.

Pricing aside, the cloud is an attractive option as deployment. It is easy with a whole range of possibilities through many different vendors, different use and deployment options.

However, the key question for many companies is security and whether their data is going to safe in the cloud. The paper doesn’t deal with that and no one can really definitely say for certain, but it does discuss a third alternative apart from on-premise and cloud -- a hybrid of the two.

Properly deployed, this option offers the price benefits on some levels of the cloud, with security issues covered by on-premise solutions. If you’re at the crossroads, it’s well worth a read.

Public Goes For Paperless Office

We hear all the time about companies that are embracing the paperless office with document management systems and turning to electronic documents to stamp out the scourge of paper. However, there has been little research as to how the general public will respond to electronic documents issued by companies in the form of invoices, insurance policies, mortgage statements and so on.

Research by NewRiver -- a financial services customer data systems provider -- seems to suggest that the public is just as interested  as the corporate world is in getting rid of paper.

The research looked principally at insurance documents, but many of the insurance documents surveyed had legal and compliance issues around them, so it’s probably safe to assume that many other documents could be sent electronically too.

The research showed that there is a strong demand from variable annuity (VA) and variable universal life (VUL) policy holders to receive prospectus and compliance documents electronically.

More than half of the respondents who were not offered electronic delivery of documents from their VA/VUL company said they would be interested in electronic delivery if it were available. In fact, only one in four (26%) could ever recall being notified about the option.

For those that did not want electronic documents, nearly three out of five (59%) said it was due to the difficulty in reading compliance documents online. The findings are available for download, but you will have to register first.