First Coffee for October 12, 2005

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

First Coffee for October 12, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is solid ol’ classic rock, Stephen Stills’ 1972 Manassas, released in the last year of the Great Era for rock’n’roll, and which can stand in the same company as the year’s other redwoods, such as Exile On Main Street, St. Dominic’s Preview, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Eat A Peach:, the provider of on demand customer relationship management software who aspires to play in the, NetSuite and RightNow league for SMB hosted CRM, has announced an enhanced administrative upgrade feature for Salesboom users.

Dubbed the Salesboom “SmartUpgrade,” the new feature will allow Salesboom administrators to select which updates they wish to use and when to introduce them to their users.

Salesboom has been releasing new updates to their hosted CRM, with an update at least every 4 weeks. The new “SmartUpgrade” feature will allow system administrators more control and flexibility over which updates they would like to see launched. The new “SmartUpgrade” system will be available to all Salesboom users with the upcoming release of Salesboom v7.0.

The Halifax, Nova Scotia-based touts their frequent updates as their competitive advantage of the trio of established players in the space: “Yet even with the versatility of the Software-as-a-Service model, the biggest online CRM providers [see above] continue to hold that functionality over their customers’ heads,” company officials say, adding, with the not-completely-accurate insinuation that others don’t release patches and feature updates ahead of scheduled version updates, that “with Salesboom’s SaaS model, customers don’t have to worry about waiting months for promised features and patches, as they are released in a system of scheduled and transparent updates, occurring at least every 4 weeks.”

Fargo, North Dakota-based Vtrenz, Inc. has announced product enhancements for its marketing automation platform. Vtrenz iMarketing Automation is engineered to give marketers tools to plan, build, manage, execute and measure both online and offline marketing activities, designed to help companies “generate, qualify and nurture leads as well as retain and win-back customers,” according to company officials.

Adding behavior-based segmentation capabilities, a new integrated campaign management tool, and multi-track rules-based campaign automation, iMarketing Automation has improved its offerings for running automate marketing campaigns triggered at the time most appropriate for the contact instead of the time most convenient for the sender.

It’s billed as “built for non-IT users; marketers, sales representatives, or other business professionals.”

When SAP’s VP of CRM application solution management, Siegfried Leiner, said in an interview last week with ComputerWire that hosted CRM is “commodity CRM,” dissing it in favor of componentized, platform-based CRM where CRM functionality is integral to the application infrastructure, it was up to someone from the hosted community to swing back.

Kudos to founder and CEO of hosted CRM supplier RightNow Technologies Inc, Greg Gianforte, for picking up the gauntlet, pointing out that SAPs approach is just an attempt to save an outmoded way of operating, according to ComputerWire.

“Chopping its application up into bite-sized pieces is not going to save SAPs bacon because they still insist that all elements have to be used with its costly and impractical NetWeaver platform, negating the flexibility of choosing which applications to run,” he said. “Maybe this complex, technology approach to CRM is why SAP has more than 3,000 customers but only 1,000 that are live.”

Zing! Ball’s in your court, SAP. But hey, the one thing Gianforte and Leiner – and pretty much anyone else in CRM – can agree on is bashing: “I agree that at the low end where plays, selling to very small companies, the market is commoditizing,” Gianforte tells ComputerWire. “But at RightNow, 30%-40% of our revenues come from companies with greater that $1 billion in revenue – definitely not small fry.”

As to the question at hand, which is the model of the future for CRM, First CoffeeSM would note that on-premises vendors Siebel and SAP are introducing hosted products, but none of the significant hosted vendors are introducing on-premises products.

The word is that Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk will be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature tomorrow. The Nobel Prizes, of course, have descended into self-parody, what with naming career mediocrity Mohamed El-Baradei and his pitifully inept International Atomic Energy Agency recipients of the once-prestigious Peace Prize, which used to mean something before it was awarded to people like Yasser Arafat, who will go down in history as the man responsible for inventing the airplane hijack.

As a friend of First CoffeeSM’s asked, are they going to give it to North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il next on the grounds that he could have nuked South Korea but didn’t?

And of course it goes without saying that nobody has ever heard of any of the Literature recipients in the last 20 years – $10 if you can name last year’s recipient. Give up? Bitter, hateful Austrian novelist Elfreide Jelinek, whose detractors describe her work as turgid, nihilistic, violent, unreadable, sexually brutal sludge and whose supporters describe her work as socially observant turgid, nihilistic, violent, unreadable, sexually brutal sludge.

First CoffeeSM remembers working as a journalist in Istanbul in the 1990s, when Turkish Kurdish novelist Yasar Kemal was yearly touted as a certainty to win, as he was an outspokenly political Kurd at a time when such were fashionable. Only thing is, he didn’t write books anybody outside of Turkish-Kurdish intellectual circles had ever heard of, let alone read. First CoffeeSM struggled through his signature work, Mehmed, My Hawk and hopes never to have to read anything as boring again.

Yet Kemal visited the newspaper First CoffeeSM worked at then, and was a thoroughly gracious man, so it would have been nice to see him win.

Handicapped as Pamuk is by the fact that he dares to write books people outside of leftist literature faculties like – Snow and My Name Is Red are good places to start – he is an acceptably politically outspoken author from a politically trendy country who says politically correct things and gets in trouble with the political authorities for doing so, acts which impress the small-minded, politically-fixated Nobel committee and should balance out the fact that commoners actually read and enjoy his books, usually the kiss of death in Nobel Literature Prize considerations.

First CoffeeSM is considering securing citizenship in Uzbekistan – no Uzbek author has ever won the Nobel Prize for Literature! What indefensible cultural prejudice! – adopting the currently popular politically-correct beliefs and churning out childish rants against Worldwide Corporate Hegemony and Western Cultural Imperialism and in a few years cashing a check for 10 million kroner.

First CoffeeSM met the shy yet polite and courteous Pamuk at a party in Istanbul back in those days, he was in the middle of defending himself in some court proceeding for saying something the government didn’t like, and was swapping stories with an American journalist who was also in trouble with the authorities for writing stuff the government didn’t like – that was back in the era when Turkey was second only to China in the number of journalists killed on the job.

To First CoffeeSM’s knowledge no CRM writer has ever been killed on the job. Funny how once Mrs. First CoffeeSM agreed for better or for worse such considerations became more, well, considered.

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