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Cardtronics extends ATM relationship with Walgreens

BY Marianne Wilson

Houston — Cardtronics, the world’s largest retail ATM owner, has extended its ATM services agreement with Walgreens. Cardtronics is a preferred provider of ATM services for Walgreens. Since the relationship began in 2004, Cardtronics has grown its ATM presence in Walgreens locations significantly — from fewer than 400 initially to roughly 3,250 today.

The company is also the exclusive ATM provider for Walgreens in many states across the nation. 
Along with the relationship renewal, Cardtronics will support the new Walgreens Balance Financial prepaid program. Balance Financial cardholders can access their cash, surcharge-free, by using the ATMs at Walgreens stores.

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Survey: Application support holds significant savings potential

BY Dan Berthiaume

Sunnyvale, Calif. – Application support and maintenance (ASM) may hold potential to deliver $6.8 billion in savings to Fortune 2000 organizations. According to a survey of 300 U.S. and U.K. CIOs released by IT services provider HCL Technologies Ltd., ASM now accounts for 38% of large organizations’ overall IT budget each year.

Based on the IT expenditure of Fortune 2000 companies this equates to $11.3 million per organization annually. Furthermore, 83% of respondents stated that the cost of maintaining and supporting these applications was increasing year on year, while during the last 12 months organizations have on average seen a 29% increase in support tickets for ASM.

IT departments are also finding it increasingly difficult to prioritize application problems and/or service requests. About nine in 10 (88%) of the large enterprises surveyed admitted they found prioritization a challenge. At the same time, with IT underpinning a number of business functions, 90% of respondents said that resource and skills restraints were making it difficult to align business and IT objectives. Only a small percentage (14%) of organizations stated they have mapped business benefit from IT.

“ASM represents a disproportionately large proportion of IT spend,” said Vijay B. Iyer, senior VP global head of applications outsourcing, HCL Technologites. ”Many organizations are struggling to meet users’ heightened expectations of application performance, which in turn is leading to a growing number of support tickets. With the need to drive greater efficiencies and business value from IT, organizations can no longer allow their current ASM functions to stagnate. By taking a more proactive and efficient approach they can free up capital that could be allocated towards more innovative transformational projects.”

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Report: Fake Bieber CDs ‘droplifted’ into stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles – An electronic musician reportedly planted 5,000 copies of his own CD inside fake copies of the Justin Bieber “Believe” CD in retailers including Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart on April 1. According to the Associated Press, the musician, Paz Dylan, said he saw the stunt as more of a performance art piece than an April Fools’ Day prank.

The CDs are contained inside exact duplicates of the “Believe” packaging, including the bar code, which scans properly at checkout. The interior artwork and album inside are from Paz, however.

This is at least the second high-profile prank to hit the Los Angeles retail industry this year. In February, comedian Nathan Fielder briefly opened a parody Starbucks store called “Dumb Starbucks” as a gag for his cable TV show.

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