CRM for Virgin From Neolane, Access Data, Sedona and Data Systems of Texas, On Rehearing Sgt. Pepper

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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CRM for Virgin From Neolane, Access Data, Sedona and Data Systems of Texas, On Rehearing Sgt. Pepper

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, an overproduced album of good, not great songs released in 1967 which is today the #124 seller on -- the White Album's #99, Rubber Soul's #108, Abbey Road's #144 and Revolver's #153 -- with 1,040 customer reviews.

Sgt. Pepper is widely regarded by people currently weighing retirement options as the greatest rock album ever made. First Coffee would give it 3.5 stars and concur with Bob Dylan that the songs really didn't need all that production. Lou Reed, who released his band's debut album, The Velvet Underground/Nico in 1967 and watched it get completely overshadowed by the hoopla surrounding Sgt. Pepper, was understandably a tad bitter when he called the album "gooey pap." It's better than that and deep down Lou knows it.

It still holds up as a decent, listenable record, a good one to put in the CD changer between Clapton's Unplugged and Paul Simon's Graceland for your wife's 46th birthday brunch with friends over, but in it one can hear the ominous seeds of pretty much everything bad in rock music after 1967 -- pretentious prog/art rock, the California sound, obnoxious "sensitive" singer-songwriters (Dylan gets unfairly blamed for the whole sensitive-soul-with-guitar plague, but James Taylor, Carole King, Joni Mitchell and their ilk spawn from Sgt. Pepper, not Bringing It All Back Home).

Of course Sgt. Pepper's reputation rests on the fact that it was the first album-as-unified-work-of-art in pop music, and First Coffee supposes there are those who think that's a Good Thing. Its other "innovations" are overrated -- sitars went nowhere, lyric sheets proliferated but, really, so what; sure it's clever cover art but I don't buy albums for the cover art. Dylan had divided the record store into "pop" and "rock" music in the two years before Sgt. Pepper with Highway 61 and Blonde On Blonde, and the Stones showed how to make an album with the same sound but not sounding all the same (Sgt. Pepper does) with Beggar's Banquet.

If this sounds snide or sniping we're sorry, we don't mean for it to. Obviously Sgt. Pepper was a hugely influential record, but whether that influence was all to the good is what we wonder. It's far from The Beatles' best collection of songs, Revolver, the White Album and Abbey Road have it beat cold. But it was Something New, which in contemporary music is the name of the game.

Neolane, a vendor of customer marketing and communication software products, has announced that Virgin Megastores went live on Neolane in mid-August with the goal of winning enhanced returns from customer relationship management (CRM).

Neolane V4, according to Virgin officials, will enable Virgin Megastores to present opted-in customers with communications and incentives that are intelligent to their purchase and preference profiles. Messages will be personalized in content and "highly relevant to each individual," they say, "encouraging customer loyalty, higher response rates and additional revenues."

The product also enables Virgin Megastores to run its online and offline campaigns itself, rather than outsource them. Neolane enables the company to develop and control multiple campaigns simultaneously from a single console.

Steve Kincaid, marketing director of Virgin Retail said they "intend to build on customer relationships by sending highly relevant, useful and engaging communications which bring about greater loyalty and purchase frequency."

Later this year, Virgin Megastores will incorporate Electronic Point of Sale transactional retail data from users of its new student discount card, launched in September. Company officials hope it will enable "even greater degrees of customer segmentation and purchase insight."

"Building customer relationships through communications and incentives is a core brand and revenue strategy for many companies," noted Neil Anderson, managing director of Neolane Ltd.

Neolane UK and its partners will handle the consolidation of customer data from multiple sources across the retailer. They will also support the product with an ongoing data quality foundation to ensure unified, clean and complete customer views.

Virgin Megastores selected Neolane as a hosted service option. The Neolane software is also available through a licensed model.

Sedona Corporation, a vendor of Customer and Member Relationship Management (CRM/MRM) products for small and mid-size financial services organizations, has announced that Data Systems of Texas has selected Sedona as its partner for Member Relationship Management (MRM) application and services.

Data Systems of Texas, a Sharetec Systems provider, recently decided it needed MRM technology to assist its credit union members. Data Systems of Texas selected Sedona due to the company's reputation in the financial services industry.

Sedona's vertical MRM application product, Intarsia, is made and priced to work with the multiple lines-of-business of a credit union. Intarsia provides credit unions with a view of their members' relationships and interactions. Credit unions need knowledge about their members' preferences, needs, and characteristics to more effectively target the right products to the right members at the right time.

Access Data Corp., a vendor of omnibus account transparency and 22c-2 compliance products for the mutual fund industry, has announced that it has established connectivity to the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation's (DTCC) new service called Networking for Standardized Data Reporting (SDR).

This new service from DTCC was developed to provide mutual fund companies with access to underlying shareholder data held by third party financial intermediaries.

Currently, Access Data SalesVision 22c-2 clients can gain access to third party financial intermediary data via the Access Data Exchange network, which enables processing of detailed shareholder data through private conduit connections to financial intermediary platforms.

The SalesVision suite of business applications includes Shareholder Compliance (22c-2), Sales Reporting, Compensation Tracking for internal wholesalers and external distributors, CRM data synchronization and business intelligence tools.

With the addition of connectivity to DTCC's new SDR service, Access officials say, "SalesVision clients will now have the flexibility of collecting third party financial intermediary data directly from the financial intermediary platform, or through DTCC's SDR service, depending upon the client's specific data requirements."

Access Data also announced the introduction of data workflow functionality, called FlexWork, which will provide SalesVision 22c-2 clients with "shareholder data on demand," company officials promise. FlexWork technology will provide SalesVision users with an automated, standardized and centralized method of requesting and receiving information from the DTCC, as well as via private data sources.

The combination of AccessDX to acquire data from financial intermediaries and FlexWork workflow technology for processing data requests, will give SalesVision users straight-through processing of financial intermediary sub-account data in order to meet the requirements of SEC Rule 22c-2, if all goes as planned.

Business efficiency aside, the need for detailed shareholder data has become an important ingredient for meeting the new SEC Rule 22c-2, related to monitoring shareholder trading patterns in order to detect market timers. The Rule, which went into effect in March of 2005, has a compliance deadline of October 16, 2006. Rule 22c-2 requires financial intermediaries to provide mutual fund companies with access to shareholder identification and transaction information upon request.

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