First Coffee for 18 April: San Francisco Earthquake, A CRM Morality Play in Queensland, West Monroe and LxLi Merge, Centive's Record Sales, PacificNet's Excellent Quarter

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for 18 April: San Francisco Earthquake, A CRM Morality Play in Queensland, West Monroe and LxLi Merge, Centive's Record Sales, PacificNet's Excellent Quarter

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is iTunes’s four-song Bob Dylan “exclusive,” current cut “Hero Blues” from the Carnegie Hall 1963 Halloween concert:

CRM services provider West Monroe Partners, a firm of business and technology consulting professionals formed in 2002, has announced an agreement to merge with LxLi, a North American industrial engineering and operational performance improvement services consultancy.

The two companies announced an agreement in principle to merge their respective operations in an effort to expand the capabilities of both firms in the North American consulting marketplace.

LxLi, an industrial engineering consulting firm, offers a range of services focused on productivity and performance management, including methods engineering and work measurement, labor measurement systems, distribution center operations, retail operations, engineered operational turnarounds and logistics and supply chain management services.

West Monroe provides consulting services to the middle and enterprise marketplace, including customer relationship management services as well as supply chain consulting services, enterprise integration services, technology strategy and implementation offerings.

This agreement is seen as a move to improve both companies’ geographic penetration, functional expertise development and breadth of service offerings.

George Bishop, senior vice president and founder of LxLi noted the merger “immediately doubles the Canadian presence of both firms through the integration of our respective Toronto and Montreal offices.”

West Monroe Partners maintains offices in Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Seattle and Columbus, Ohio.

LxLi focuses on process improvements for distribution centers, retail stores and supply chain operations, favoring the Scientific Time Management approach.

Centive, a vendor of on-demand sales compensation management, has announced “record sales” in the first quarter of 2006 with the addition of over 2000 subscribers to Compel – Centive’s on-demand sales compensation management product.

The company credits alliances with CRM and IT consulting providers such as Theikos and Profiling Products for contributing to sales.

Centive highlights closed deals this past quarter with such organizations as Flowserve, a vendor of industrial flow management products and services and Software Spectrum, a single-source provider of business-to-business IT products and services.

Centive CEO Mike Torto said the firm has also delivered an AppExchange version of Compel for customers and prospects. Compel features integration with and other CRM systems.

Australian industry observer Rodney Gedda tells the story of the, well, not- gone- quite- as- expected CRM implementation for the Queensland Department of Child Safety. Read it as a morality play, thou CRM Everyman:

Evidently the DCS has taken its integrated client management system back in-house after dumping Fujitsu and Onyx “in a bloodbath that has seen around 20 contractors marched out the door earlier this month,” Gedda says:

“In September 2004, Fujitsu, Onyx and Microsoft were commissioned by the Department of Child Safety to deliver the design of the Carer Directory, the first of three phases of the new, integrated client management system based on Onyx CRM and Microsoft’s .Net technology.

“This design was delivered to the department in March 2005, but since then the project has taken an abrupt turn with staff being dumped to bring the project back in-house and to also use a Microsoft CRM package.”

First Coffee remembers last July when his mild-mannered reporter alter ego reported on the “embarrassing admission” by the Queensland Government in Australia, which disclosed, according to the Australian, that “a key element of a $44 million IT revamp at the state’s Department of Child Safety --” namely, an Onyx CRM system “-- will be a year overdue despite an increase in the number of children re-abused in care.”

In 2004 the Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission recommended the “development of a CRM system to help manage foster families and children in care,” replacing a manual process to “track children through the system and avoid sending them to foster carers suspected of abuse.”

The government awarded a $9 million contract to Fujitsu and Onyx Software in late 2004 to build what it calls the Integrated Client Management system, a major part of the Department’s Information Renewal Initiative, which also includes a data warehouse, a critical incident reporting and management system, an upgrade to the electronic records management system and a decision support package.

“It’s a concern,” Shadow Minister for Child Safety Rosemary Menkens told the Australian. “It’s taking them so long to set it up, and so much is falling through the cracks.”

According to one source on the project cited by Gedda the system’s costs have already ballooned past $44 million.

“Fujitsu and Onyx made big shows of getting in on this at the time, but it seems the mid-2005 deadline has been overshot and Microsoft has now stepped in,” his source says.

Gedda says the cost blowout is “due to a change in project scope. Initially, the system was being developed for the Department of Child Safety. It is now being expanded across four departments including Department of Communities, its disability support agency, and the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy.”

PacificNet Inc., a vendor of CRM and telemarketing services, call center, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Value-Added Services (VAS) in China, has reported unaudited results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2005.

Q4 2005 highlights include quarterly revenues of $13,368,000, an increase of 33 percent as compared to $10,068,000 from Q4 2004, and a sequential increase of 25 percent as compared to $10,722,000 from Q3 2005.

Financial results of fiscal year ended December 31, 2005 include revenues of $43,975,000, an increase of 48 percent as compared to $29,709,000 from 2004; gross profit of $10,687,000, an increase of 90 percent as compared to $5,635,000 from 2004; operating profit of $4,484,000, an increase of 131 percent as compared to $1,937,000 from 2004; and net income of $2,537,000, or $0.25 per basic share.

First Coffee’s West Coast readers are no doubt aware that today’s the 100th anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake, one of the worst natural disasters in American history.

The earthquake began near dawn, at 5:12 on a Wednesday morning, and lasted for a little over a minute. Scientists later determined that the San Andreas Fault had moved about twenty-three feet. After the city lost its running water firemen attempted to stop the spread of fire by dynamiting whole city blocks.

More than 500 city blocks and more than 28,000 buildings were in ruins. Some 250,000 people were left homeless. Nearly 3,000 people died. But the city was determined to rebuild: three years later about 20,000 new buildings had gone up.

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