Microsoft's Completely Expected CRM Announcement, Say Thanks, Lasik in Istanbul, NetSuite, Southwest Airlines

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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Microsoft's Completely Expected CRM Announcement, Say Thanks, Lasik in Istanbul, NetSuite, Southwest Airlines

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Slobberbone's "Pinball Song." Happy Battle Of the Boyne Day:

As Steve Ballmer said, Microsoft made the least surprising announcement in its history in Boston yesterday, that they'd like a bigger slice of the software as a service pie.

We've all seen this coming a mile or twelve off, that Microsoft lusteth heavily after, NetSuite, RightNow et al's success selling CRM and other business software online.

But first they needed a CRM worth selling online, and they think they have it fourth time around -- third, to be technically correct since they punted 2.0: According to industry observer Andy Patrizio, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, code-named "Titan," provides true multi-tenancy, "which will allow for multiple customer accounts on a single server."

This, Patrizio says, "will make Microsoft CRM much more competitive with software-as-a-service providers like, Microsoft's primary target with the release of CRM Live."

We'll see. Marc Benioff remains sanguine, of course, professing not to really care one way or the other what happens in Redmond.

A year ago RightNow CEO Greg Gianforte told First Coffee that as far as the likes of SAP and Microsoft jumping into hosted CRM goes, "there is nothing to be nervous about. These companies are simply recognizing that the hosted model we've been delivering more effectively than anyone else for almost a decade now is the way to go."

Their problem, Gianforte said, is that "they can't possibly beat us at our own game. SAP, for example, would have to completely re-write all of its applications from scratch in order to build a multi-tenancy architecture to match ours. And, from a business perspective, they would have to replace this huge services ecosystem they've developed over the years that thrives on complexity and difficulty."

This is last September that Gianforte's saying this, now. "Microsoft faces similar hurdles," he said at the time. "Enterprise applications are something you have to sell direct, which they don't do. And Microsoft's customers are in IT -- not the business unit, which is where the on-demand buyer is."

Basically, as far as Gianforte's concerned, "the dinosaurs of the software industry can make all the noise they want to. To really come after us, they'd have to completely cannibalize their existing business. They can't afford to do that, and Wall Street won't let them."

Got an e-mail yesterday I'd like to pass on:

With more than 15,000 cards signed in the first week, Xerox Corporation's new Web site,, is a great way for people to send messages to deployed soldiers to show their thanks and support.

Specialist Tommy Brooks of the Illinois Army National Guard says there's nothing like getting mail from home.  After recently completing a 12 month tour in Iraq, Brooks recalled how "with regular mail, it's all yours to keep and take with you when you're on the move."

Visitors to simply click on their favorite free postcard, designed by children from across the country, and enter a message of support.  Xerox will then print and distribute the postcards to soldiers in care packages sent by military support organization Give2TheTroops.

First Coffee's been to the site and encourages readers to take a few minutes and let our soldiers know that yes, moonbats to the contrary the vast majority of Americans do support and appreciate the sacrifices they're making on our behalf.

On-demand CRM vendor NetSuite, Inc., has announced that Business Solutions from The Carphone Warehouse, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Carphone Warehouse Group (a UK FTSE 250 company), has selected NetSuite CRM+ for its sales force automation (SFA), marketing automation, and customer support.

Business Solutions from The Carphone Warehouse has licensed 400 user seats and will implement NetSuite in three phases starting with SFA for prospecting, opportunity management and booking orders; marketing automation for executing targeted campaigns; and customer support and service for all business users of Business Solutions from The Carphone Warehouse.

In light of what BSCW officials call "the successful results its sister company Opal Telecom has achieved using NetSuite," Business Solutions from The Carphone Warehouse was sold on giving it a shot.

Got a great comment on First Coffee's recent post lamenting Southwest Airlines' trying out assigned seating:

How about all of us who disagree with SW changing into a traditional airline with reserved seats take a little action?

I suggest every passenger concerned about this simply take your sweet old time boarding. A minute extra moving a little slower down the jetway to the plane, say hello to the flight attendant at the door and exchange a few words, find your assigned seat and rest a few moments before you put your suitcase in the overhead bin. Make sure your seat is the way you like it before you sit down.

SW says they are evaluating if assigned seating decreases the amount of boarding time required for a flight. Register your complaint as above and perhaps they'll get the answer and abandon this stupid (new) management thinking.

Excellent idea. The whole principle of Customer Relationship Management is that customer service is a two-way contract between vendor and customer. If one side does something that affects the other side, those effects need to be communicated in a way that'll merit attention.

Sorry the column's a bit late this morning, I've had to take frequent breaks to rest my eyes because I had Lasik surgery yesterday. Greatest $800 I've ever spent.

Had it done here in Istanbul for a total cost -- visits, checkups, operation for both eyes, etc. -- of $800 by a world-class Lasik doctor who spends a week out of each month operating in Germany and Holland, but who stays in Istanbul because hey, when you live in a house your grandfather built and your mother and the rest of your family still lives on the top floors, you don't leave.

But I went from not being able to read billboards across the street without my glasses to 20/20 vision in both eyes. Went out and bought a pair of $100 sunglasses, which my kids'll either break or lose next week, to celebrate.

Things like spoons, books and pens look about 20 percent bigger than they did before, and you realize the world isn't as… curved around the edges as you'd thought. There's some discomfort the first day, but after that you're fine.

So fly here, stay in a fine hotel, have the operation, spend a day or two or five in one of the greatest tourist cities in the world with plenty to test your new, improved sight on and you'd still spend less than you would having it done in America.

We have better coffee and shish kebabs here, too.

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