First Coffee for 14 June 2006: Microsoft's Interoperability Council, Art and Materna To Work Together, ISeries Sells Magic CRM to eContact, Altiris Updates IT Management Products, TEC Advises SMBs on CRM

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David Sims
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First Coffee for 14 June 2006: Microsoft's Interoperability Council, Art and Materna To Work Together, ISeries Sells Magic CRM to eContact, Altiris Updates IT Management Products, TEC Advises SMBs on CRM

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Handel’s Water Music:

According to TEC, selections for enterprise software such as ERP, ECM, CRM, or SCM products may fail to meet requirements “if an organization undertakes a selection process without a comprehensive understanding of its unique business needs.”  

TEC believes that problems arise when companies do not prepare a proper request for information to evaluate the pertinent responses from their short-listed vendors. Not surprisingly, TEC sells “sophisticated means for performing requirements analysis will ease the selection burden.”

It’s not a small problem: Gartner research has found that 70 percent of IT projects fail or fall short of expectations. With the growing SMB market spending over $400 billion worldwide annually, that’s a lot of wasted money, time and effort.

EC senior research analyst Hans Mercx has recently stated that “SMBs have tried and failed in the past to perform successful software selections and implementations. SMBs are in need of a streamlined methodology to increase the success rate of their enterprise software evaluations and selections.”

Based on TEC’s involvement with thousands of IT projects, TEC has developed a best-practices approach combining industry knowledge and a decision support tool, in order to deliver an affordable product to the SMB marketplace.

Technology Evaluation Centers is an online source for what TEC officials describe as “impartial technology and consulting evaluations.” It has twenty-four online technology evaluation centers—ranging from ERP, CRM, BPM and SCM, to business intelligence containing thousands of detailed criteria on over 500 technology products.


Altiris, Inc., a vendor of service-oriented management products, has announced “significant” new updates to numerous IT asset management products, according to company officials.

The new PeopleSoft Foundation Suite by Altiris and updates to other Altiris IT asset management products provide companies with various options to discover, track and manage IT assets in the hope of uncovering to uncover and eliminate hidden costs, address compliance requirements, streamline processes, and achieve greater return on IT investments.  

Steve Morton, Altiris VP of product management and marketing, said Altiris service and IT asset management products “simplify the complexity of IT operations management.”

In today’s economy, Morton said, “companies are tasked to reduce IT costs while expenditures continue to grow as a percentage of overall capital costs. Altiris products help promote good governance, enable license compliance and manage IT costs and quality of service agreements.”  

According to research authored by Enterprise Management Associates, Altiris’s approach is to model asset information as an extension of its configuration item models within the CMDB: “Asset information is natively modeled within the CMDB, rather than simply accessed from a separate data store, and includes contractual information, leases, warranties, SLAs and SLOs.”

The PeopleSoft Foundation Suite by Altiris provides out-of-box integration with Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise Financials IT Asset Management Product. With the PeopleSoft Foundation Suite by Altiris, IT organizations can control IT costs for licenses, hardware and service, help ensure compliance with software license agreements and regulations including Sarbanes-Oxley, FISMA, HIPAA, and Gramm-Leach-Bliley, optimize IT asset investments, and align IT help desk and software service resources with industry best practices.

ISeries tools builder Magic Software has announced that it has sold its customer relationship management CRM business to a new company, eContact Software Ltd.

The announcement appeared on the iSeries site.  

Israel-based Magic CRM was introduced in 2001 by the company’s U.S. subsidiary, Magic Americas, billed as a simple, affordable CRM product for midsized businesses.

Lately, though, the company has been focusing on its SAP Partners program and iBOLT Business Integration Suite, the announcement said:

“EContact plans to Internet-enable the CRM suite for the iSeries, Linux, and Windows and to incorporate Voice over IP (VoIP) functions. In addition to the CRM suite, eContact is also buying Magic’s Enterprises eService system for providing Internet-based services, and will use eService as the primary support component in its CRM system, which will include pre/post-paid billing systems for Wi-Fi and Wi-Max systems.”  

According to Magic company officials, eContact was established by a group of investors from North America and England, most of whom came from Bizware, which was acquired by Marconi-UK.

Art Technology Group, Inc.
, an e-commerce sites and corresponding e-marketing and customer service products vendor, has announced that it has signed a wide-ranging partnership agreement with Materna Information & Communications, a vendor of IT service management, customer service management and government services in Europe.

The partnership will “strengthen both companies’ positions within the European marketplace,” according to Materna officials, “offering companies a complete range of technology products that will help increase revenues and maximize sales.” The companies have worked together in the past on e-commerce and portal products.

Peter Ford, ATG Alliances Director, Europe, Middle East & Africa, said in order to achieve “an integrated approach to customer experience management,” companies need CRM and customer experience products that “manage the complete lifecycle, allowing them to identify their most profitable customer relationships and opportunities, and then to provide marketing offers, commerce options, and e-service that help companies retain and grow those relationships.”  

The combination of ATG’s technology and Materna’s experience, officials from both companies hope, will produce “a complete, robust product” giving businesses a tool with which to achieve this goal.

Dr. Winfried Materna, Chief Executive Officer Materna, said “We are delighted to have signed this agreement with ATG. Its business focus is entirely complementary to our own products portfolio in the customer service management and portal products arena.”  

With the “resurgence” of high-end requirements for this sort of technology, and most notably e-CRM, Materna said, “this agreement will position both ATG and Materna at the forefront of this market in Germany.”


Microsoft Corp. has announced that it has formed the Interoperability Customer Executive Council to “identify areas for interoperability improvements across its products and the overall software industry,” according to company officials.

Customers are working in increasingly heterogeneous IT environments and asking for a greater level of interoperability from their IT vendors. “As part of our commitment to Trustworthy Computing, we design our products with interoperability in mind so our customers can connect to other platforms, applications and data easily,” claims Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft.

The council, hosted by Muglia, will meet twice a year in Redmond. The council will have direct contact with Microsoft executives and product teams so it can focus on interoperability issues that are of greatest importance to customers, including connectivity, application integration and data exchange. Representatives from Societe Generale, LexisNexis, Kohl’s Department Stores, Denmark’s Ministry of Finance, Spain’s Generalitat de Catalunya and Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI), and the states of Wisconsin and Delaware have joined as founding members.  

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