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<p>We never needed a CTO until recently, but without Intel cofounders Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, we felt now was the time to get a CTO to help lead the way,” said Intel research sector director Eric Hannah.</p>

Outsourcing improves service and support, and customer retention. Many firms are not set up to quickly implement, maintain and update support programs, including knowledge bases, Wandell explains. They view support as a cost to reduce.

Several companies, including Vicor and Astrodyne, previously introduced versions of so-called microbrick-style converters having a 1- x 2-inch or smaller form factor, often targeting telecoms. Many of the converters are modular designs with varied form factors and pinouts.

By contrast, di/dt and Datel use the quarter-brick pinout. And Celestica has just announced sampling of an eighth-brick. Several other companies are working on eighth-brick designs.

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Call (866) WOW-didtwww.didt.comEETInfo No. 610

OTTAWA — Zarlink Semiconductor Inc. today reported a 2% sequential increase in revenues to $51.7 million in the company's fiscal third quarter, ended Dec. 28, compared to $50.5 million in the prior three-month period. The former semiconductor subsidiary of Mitel Corp. said its revenues were 54% below $112.1 million in the same quarter a year ago.

The company also said it was now looking for a buyer or other ownership options” for its production facility in Plymouth, England, which was once part of Plessey Semiconductors Ltd. The U.K. chip company was acquired Mitel four years ago as part of its expanding semiconductor strategy (see Feb. 13, 1998, story).

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Better-than-expected revenues in the just-ended quarter resulted in an adjusted net loss of $12.3 million, which was less than previously anticipated, according to Zarlink. Including charges and one-time items, the company's net loss totaled $18.3 million in the period.

Zarlink is continuing a strategy to become a fabless semiconductor supplier. Last month, the Ottawa-based company announced plans to sell off its wafer fabs operations in Canada to Dalsa Corp. for $16.8 million in cash and stock (see Jan. 21 story). The sale of its wafer fab facility in Bromont, Quebec, is now expected to be completed by the end of February, and Zarlink is planning to take a $5 million charge in the current quarter for the transaction.

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The company continues to explore various ownership options for its Plymouth England foundry,” said Patrick J. Brockett, president and CEO of Zarlink. These measures, coupled with our focus ontime-to-market improvements are helping to position us for future earnings growth.”

Zarlink's order backlog at the end of 2001 was $60.8 million compared to $74.8 million at the close of the previous fiscal quarter in September. Cash and short-term investments at the company were $128.8 million at the end of the last fiscal quarter vs. $132.4 million in the previous quarter.

Reporting software that's not from switch vendors tends to be available as a standalone product or as a module with call routing packages. Some companies produce reports as part of their consulting services.

A few reporting tools work primarily with phone switches from individual manufacturers. One example is MessageStream from Trango Software (Thornhill, Ontario, Canada), which creates reports using data from Siemens switches. Our focus in this year's article about ACD management tools, compared to last year's, is on software that accommodates a variety of switches.

In this article, we cover software products that generate real-time and historical reports for call center managers based mainly on information from phone switches. With a few exceptions, these products are available from vendors other than switch manufacturers. Information about pricing for specific products appears at the end of this article.

MEANINGFUL METRICS

Before you select reporting software, you have to know what metrics reflect a center's efficiency and what metrics reflect agents' efficiency. Then you need to figure out which data is more useful for identifying opportunities to improve agents' productivity. Let's illustrate this point with an analogy.