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IT Channel News Briefs, Sept. 19

Today's headlines: HP's offering more data center consulting, and the line between BPM and CRM blurs.

Information technology (IT) channel news in brief for Friday, Sept. 19, 2008.

HP boosts data center consulting

Hewlett-Packard says it has signed 60 customers for its data center design services in the last six months. HP's EYP Mission Critical Facilities, part of HP, advises customers on data center design, planning and operations support. The goal is to produce energy-efficient and adaptable computing sites. The new customers -- across 12 industries and in 27 countries -- include Credit Suisse, UBS, Digital Realty Trust and Power Loft, according to HP. McLean, Va.-based Power Loft will field two new facilities for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

BPM and CRM in the same boat

Business process management (BPM) vendors are increasingly offering customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities, and CRM vendors are beginning to do the same, reported Thursday.

BPM has taken a greater role in CRM, because the challenges around CRM have moved from technology to processes. That became apparent when attendees at a Gartner CRM event were asked to name their top three challenges, and technology didn't make the list. Attendees cited business processes affected by CRM as their top challenge, followed by synchronizing information across the enterprise and assessing tangible returns.

BPM, according to Gartner, now holds the promise of improving the customer experience. The problem is many BPM vendors are still focused on operational efficiencies, rather than improving processes for growth. For example, a Gartner review of BPM vendors' customer case studies found that less than 5% focused on client retention or customer service.

IBM gets social

IBM has set up its new Center for Social Software to work with partners, clients, students and faculties on R&D and testing of social software. The venue is in Cambridge, Mass., home of IBM subsidiary Lotus. Social software is all the rage in technology -- the category includes Facebook, instant messaging and chat and Web conferencing.

Many of these technologies started out in schools and homes and have pushed their way into business -- IBM's domain. IBM wants to create a collaborative environment to take on questions about business models and find new applications. Dow Jones and Thomson Reuters' healthcare unit are already aboard.

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