First Coffee for 4 March, 2006

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

First Coffee for 4 March, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Rolling Stones’ “Stray Cat Blues:”

Technology Evaluation Centers, a global company specializing in on-line services for software evaluation, has launched a Spanish-language Customer Relationship Management Evaluation Center as part of what company officials describe as a strategy to “provide comprehensive software selection services to the Latin-American market.”

TEC added CRM to its Spanish offerings because of the notable growth in this area. According to IDC, the Latin-American market is valued at an estimated $166 million, with an expected growth rate of 13 percent in the next two years. Overall, TEC says, it has seen continuous demand for CRM evaluations during 2005, experiencing over 200 requests a month.

TEC has made information on approximately thirty CRM products and its decision-making tool, eBestMatchTM, available in Spanish. More products will be available in the future.

Latin-American companies can evaluate and compare CRM applications for different industries and company sizes to determine which products fit their particular business requirements. TEC says users of its CRM Evaluation Center can reduce the risk and resources associated with the application selection process, perform a more objective and impartial selection and use detailed information to lead negotiations with vendors.

All vendors have completed TEC’s detailed request for information, containing over 1,100 criteria on features and functions. With eBestMatch, a product’s capabilities are weighed against the company’s needs enabling decision makers to make informed choices.

The CRM evaluation tool is available for a two hour free trial, and can be licensed and customized for enterprise software selection projects. The evaluation center also offers request for proposal templates, vendor capability reports, articles, and white papers in Spanish.

InvisibleCRM plans to release the beta version of its flagship products SalesDesktop, Outlook integration application for Salesforce.com soon.

InvisibleCRM says SalesDesktop was popular at its first successful demonstration at DreamForce in September. “Particularly, it has attracted a lot of attention from sales users, as it provides a single unified online/offline workplace that acts exactly like Outlook, giving people the native 'look and feel' Outlook environment they are used to when working with Salesforce.com,” company officials say.

SalesFolder, another successful product from the InvisibleCRM product line, will be released after the launch of SalesDesktop by InvisibleCRM. Realizing that uploading documents via the HTML online interface is traditionally a “tedious and unreliable process,” company officials say, SalesFolder allows users to organize, manage and work with files locally, while keeping both online and desktop file repositories up-to-date.

Basically it recreates the file structure of an online system by using standard Windows folders on the desktop. The smart filtering engine is customizable and this ensures that files are transferred by rules defined by user, thus solving the problem of huge data accounts.

We’re all relieved that RIM finally “took one for the team” and found a settlement to the BlackBerry dispute, aren’t we? I know I am. Frankly $612 million with no future royalties and no stake in the company is a pretty good deal for RIM, some analysts were expecting numbers in ten digits with royalties.

The Associated Press reports that Judge James R. Spencer “expressed impatience with RIM and urged a settlement,” and I love this quote from Rod Thompson, patent attorney at Farella, Braun and Martel in San Francisco: “He basically questioned the sanity of RIM, and said it wasn't acting very rationally. His prodding of the parties worked.”

CRM vendor Open Solutions Inc., which also sells enterprise-wide data processing technologies for banks and credit unions, has announced that it has completed its acquisition of the Information Services group of New Jersey-based The BISYS Group, Inc., a vendor of outsourced products to investment firms, insurance companies and banks.

As previously stated, Open Solutions believes that this transaction will enable it to expand its product offerings, further increase its presence in the financial services marketplace and extend its client base to include the healthcare, insurance and corporate finance industries.

Under terms of the completed agreement, Open Solutions purchased the Information Services group for a total cash consideration of approximately $470 million, subject to adjustment. The transaction was structured as a stock purchase with a section 338(h)(10) tax election.

Huh? Origami? Japanese paper-folding, right? Here, I’ve made some pretty impressive boulders, see? What’s that? Microsoft? No, no idea, sorry. Really, I know nothing. Honestly, I’m waiting for March 9 like everybody else. Move along, nothing to see here.

CRM vendor Hansen Information Technologies has announced that a team consisting of Hansen and partner Rock Solid Technologies was selected by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Municipal Collection Center to provide a comprehensive billing and tax management product for the entire Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

The team of Hansen, a software vendor which sells to the government, and Rock Solid, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was selected to provide application software and professional services to CRIM to streamline all aspects of their billing and tax management processes.

"The Hansen software will be used by all 78 municipalities on the island, including nine regional offices and the main central office in San Juan, which will make this Hansen's largest billing and tax customer with 1.2 million accounts billed per cycle," said Carlos Thomas, Director of Billing & Tax with Hansen. "Our project team, together with Rock Solid Technologies, will provide the Hansen system to about 1,200 users."

The Hansen team will be replacing CRIM's legacy system, which generates over $800 million in revenue annually, and convert five years worth of CRIM account data.

The product will be integrated into their current financials system (Oracle), which will allow for accurate reporting and disbursement of funds to the 78 municipalities.

You know, if somebody dropped down from Mars and wanted to know what this whole “rock ‘n’ roll deal” was, you could do a lot worse than to play The Rolling Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Yas Out. A lot worse.

Since one of its unidentified subsidiaries outside of the United States failed to pay some municipal taxes, made accounting mistakes and may have done more, Sitel Corporation, which sells customer support services, will restate earnings “for the fiscal years 2000 through 2004 and potentially for each of the three-month periods covered by the interim quarterly reports for the fiscal year 2005.”

“The irregularities include certain accounting errors and the failure to remit certain municipal taxes, notwithstanding receipt of official certificates indicating otherwise. Management identified the irregularities during its periodic audit and procedural review of the business unit,” Sitel said in a prepared statement.

The company notified the SEC of the problems, and is continuing to investigate.

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