Cisco in Turkey, FireSocket for Auto CRM, NetSuite's PRM

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David Sims
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Cisco in Turkey, FireSocket for Auto CRM, NetSuite's PRM

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Only Life by The Feelies:

Cisco Systems has announced what company officials consider a "significant investment initiative" in Turkey, totaling up to $275 million (about 410 million New Turkish Lira… frickin' heck it's down to 1.45 YTL per dollar again, we live here in Istanbul and our rent's set in lira and we get paid in dollars, it's been as high as 1.60ish recently, let's see it do that again) over five years.

This announcement was made by John Chambers, President and CEO of Cisco Systems, during his visit to Central and Eastern Europe and highlights the growing importance of places like Turkey in the global emerging markets.

Don'tcha just love that phrase, "emerging markets?" When I was a journalist here in Istanbul in the early '90s it was an "emerging" market. When has a market emerged as much as it's ever going to, and what do you nicely call it when it does? If you've got a 5'2, 48-year old man you don't call him a "growing man," you call him a "short man."

Chambers discussed Cisco's investment plans in Turkey with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan while in Ankara this week.

Chambers said Cisco's announcement about its investment in Turkey "supports the country's entrepreneurial focus and e-transformation initiatives, which are focused on establishing a more connected country and skilled workforce… and are vital for Turkey to sustain the same rate of growth it has enjoyed over the past four years."

Cisco Systems' five-year investment plan for Turkey will allocate investments in the following areas:

Create technology investment initiatives aligned with Turkey's Networked Economic Agenda to help accelerate country transformation and economic growth.

Support the Turkish Prime Minister's Connected Turkey e-transformation agenda by providing networking technology and prototypes to support pilot programs targeted towards rural broadband for education, as well as connectivity for small and medium businesses, municipalities and local communities.

Develop a Cisco Systems Technology Innovation Center to demonstrate the impact technology has on productivity across the different market segments and foster closer collaboration with local companies and partners to accelerate partner testing as well as customer pilot projects. As part of this, Cisco will provide a lab platform for testing complex new technologies for the Turkish marketplace with local partners and entrepreneurs and increase the number of CCIE engineers in the country to a minimum of 100.

Establish the Cisco Entrepreneurship Institute, an initiative between Cisco, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and the Turkish government, to teach skills for opening and running small businesses. The education partner in the program is the University of Economics and Technology. As part of this initiative Turkish entrepreneurs and small businesses will be eligible for equity and project financing, supporting information and communications technology development in Turkey.

Support the establishment of 200 new Networking Academies in the country over the next five years to provide enhanced technical programs in concert with leading local universities. There are currently 47 Networking Academies across Turkey.

Offer localized products as well as customer service and support for the technical needs and requirements of local service provider customers.

Increase overall headcount of Cisco employees in Turkey from 80 to 400 employees and expand office space to accommodate employee growth.

Cisco first established operations in Turkey in 1996 and today maintains offices in Istanbul and Ankara.

In an announcement sure to warm the cockles of Bob Thompson's heart, NetSuite, Inc., a vendor of on-demand business software suites, has announced the wide usage of NetSuite for Partner Relationship Management (PRM) by such companies as Opal Telecom, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Carphone Warehouse Group plc and key UK resellers.

Partner Relationship Management is basically CRM for businesses dealing with each other, it lets partners to do things like jointly manage leads and customers with their parent organization -- including lead registration, opportunity management, order management (entering orders, invoicing and billing).

Tools like NetSuite's have such features as Market Direct Fund (MDF) management, e-mail campaigns and customer service inquiries through a Dashboard with business intelligence and publishing capabilities.

With PRM tools, Opal Telecom's 150-plus partners can now manage and forecast opportunities as they work them through the sales cycle, providing forecast visibility to Opal Telecom's Dealer Channel sales group against their established quotas.

"Previous to NetSuite, our Dealer Channel sales team -- with about 150 resellers -- operated by way of a paper-based system," said Andy French, Head of Information Systems at Opal Telecom. "PRM capabilities have helped us streamline the process for our Dealer Channel sales teams, with opportunities feeding the forecast, so we now have complete visibility into our forecast for Dealer Channel sales."

The cornerstone of NetSuite's and similar PRM products is the collaborative web of processes for end-to-end business management that it enables. PRM capabilities extend those processes to provide a platform for collaboration among the extended enterprise of partner channels. Because the opportunities are managed directly in the same system as their other sales, marketing, service and finance operations, they get visibility into partner pipelines and forecasts.

Redundant day-to-day partner support is eliminated since partners can now access much of what they need to know simply by logging into the self-service portal. Customers can determine the effectiveness of joint marketing campaigns, and set up and run incentive compensation plans with as much complexity and levels as required.

The neat trick to all this is the company providing this partner access doesn't have to do anything special to enable the self-service portal. There's no complex data to be imported or exported, no tricky XML or Web services to be written. All that's required is a simple point and click graphical user interface to define what data and application functionality a specific partner has rights to view and edit, and the partners can be online.

PRM came out in the early 2000s, but never really took off the way some hoped it would. Nevertheless it remains a good idea, workable in places.

By the way, what are "cockles?"

Software vendor FireSocket has announced what company officials call "significant enhancements" to its enterprise-wide customer relationship management (CRM) platform, DealerSocket.

The upgrade focuses on the automotive service department and includes dynamic appointment scheduling, service management and follow up support tools that promise to optimize a critical but often neglected part of a dealer's business operations.

With as much as 60 percent of the average automotive dealership's profits coming from automotive service and repair departments, these new features stand to be welcomed by dealers. Most CRM technologies focus solely on a dealer's sales and customer service operations.

"Controlling and managing the pace of service is one of those 'make or break' issues in creating the ideal customer experience for a service department's customers," said Ord. "Unfortunately, it's often left to chance at most dealerships."

If read off-site hit http://blog.tmcnet.com/telecom-crm/ for the fully-linked version. First CoffeeSM accepts no sponsored content.



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