CRM for New Zealand Universities, SplendidCRM, Benchmarking MSFT CRM, Commit Adds QuickBooks To CRM

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CRM for New Zealand Universities, SplendidCRM, Benchmarking MSFT CRM, Commit Adds QuickBooks To CRM

By David Sims

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is a CD my brother-in-law sent me, a compilation of a band named Plain White Ts, not bad stuff:

Commit Business Solutions, a vendor of management software products for small to mid-sized computer service and support businesses, has announced the launch of its new QuickBooks Link in its CRM product.

Maayan Porat, CEO of Commit, said the new feature of Commit CRM will help their customers to more efficiently manage their day-to-day activities, "particularly their billing" procedures.

"Our customers can now easily and accurately bill their customers for every service or repair they've provided without worrying about duplicate data entry and wrong data, errors that are common to manual data entry," Porat said.

"Integrating with Intuit QuickBooks was an obvious decision on our part," he said, since "most of our customers already use QuickBooks, and Intuit has offered us a great integration platform. The Commit QuickBooks Link integrates with a wide range of QuickBooks versions and editions, including the US, Canadian and UK editions."

New Zealand-based industry observer Campbell Gardiner has reported that Wellington's Victoria University has "expanded its RightNow CRM functionality with the purchase of sales consoles for the system."

University officials say the consoles will be used for admissions management for international students.

Victoria has operated RightNow since 2004. Gardiner reports that "it is mainly used as an e-marketing tool to recruit prospective students from as far afield as China, Germany, USA and Malaysia."

E-marketing coordinator Charles Brooks says the consoles will help streamline its e-marketing, sales and admissions processes; important in a competitive international student market.

"One of the biggest issues for New Zealand universities is to maintain their international student numbers in a market that's going through a bit of a downturn. RightNow has helped us maintain our market share, and the enhancements put us in a good position to grow that," Brooks says.

Victoria's international website receives around 10,000 user sessions each month and RightNow provides "a timely response" to a range of student enquiries, Gardiner says: "It provides customized and automated responses, online self help and also captures and uses information for outbound marketing purposes."

As Brooks says, "there's no real alternative to e-marketing for us. We can't go and advertise on BBC or CNN and, given we're looking for a tiny result in a lot of different markets, doing local campaigns isn't an option either."

Gardiner reports that "there are 3,000 international students at Victoria University at any point in time; and to maintain an international focus the university aims to have 16 per cent of all students coming from overseas."

SplendidCRM Software, Inc. has announced the release of SplendidCRM 1.2 for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and SplendidCRM 1.1 for Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10.

With these two new releases, SplendidCRM is offering what company officials call a "cross-platform CRM for companies that wish to tightly integrate a CRM with their back-office systems."

"Using the Mono platform, we are able to use the .NET tools from Microsoft, but still allow copy deployment… we can compile our application on Windows, copy it to a Linux installation that supports Mono, and run it," said Paul Rony, President of SplendidCRM Software.

"Not enough people realize that Mono can support copy deployment. Beyond allowing a single code base, copy deployment will allow them to ship a single set of binaries," stated Miguel de Icaza, Vice President in charge of Mono at Novell.

SplendidCRM has also announced the availability of a free Runtime License to hosting companies who license SplendidCRM Professional.

The company provides live demos of its software running on SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, and MySQL. A live demo of SplendidCRM running on Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 has been made available at

Avanade Inc., a technology integrator for Microsoft enterprise products, has announced the results of a benchmark study of enterprise-scale use of Microsoft CRM.

You're holding your breath to learn if the results are positive or negative for Microsoft, right? I know, the suspense is deadly.

The Avanade test… drum roll… envelope please… "demonstrated the capability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 to scale under a medium to heavy sales force load with response times averaging less than 0.5 seconds."

Mike Pazak, vice president of Enterprise Business Solutions at Avanade explained that the benchmarking exercise is part of Avanade's work "to help even the largest customers maximize the value of their CRM investment, and is a response to market demand for extending the success of Microsoft CRM implementations to support more users."

According to Brad Wilson, general manager for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, "We're seeing a strong demand in the enterprise space for CRM solutions that are fast, flexible and affordable."

During the benchmark tests conducted at Avanade's Seattle development center, data load was carefully simulated to represent records that would be generated by about a year's worth of heavy sales activity.

Peak-hour benchmark performance highlights with a 3,000 concurrent user test parameter included 22,260 CRM business transactions per hour (you know, like you do in your business on a daily basis), 355-millisecond average response time, zero authentication errors and "66.77 percent database server utilization."

Avanade completed the study using the same methodology as Microsoft-based performance tests that were conducted in the early part of 2006. Avanade set up the benchmarking study to measure the software's performance with minimal customization using a default installation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 configured for Web clients only, deployed on three dedicated Web servers.

Tuning was performed to optimize application performance, and Avanade Connected Architecture Infrastructure for .NET was used for optimal configuration of the application infrastructure, including network design, identity and access management, and platform design and deployment.

Hardware components were selected for their enterprise-class characteristics, including a Sun Microsystems V40z Windows database server with four dual-core 64-bit AMD Opteron processors, 16 GB of RAM and Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition for 64-bit computing; and two 2-GB Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN) adapters connected to a fully meshed SAN fabric with eight paths to an EMC(R) Symmetrix 8430 storage array.

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