CRM Vendor Epicor Announces Results, SasS from Smart Online, Pivotal CRM for Boca

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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CRM Vendor Epicor Announces Results, SasS from Smart Online, Pivotal CRM for Boca

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is "Functional" by Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane:

And a big happy birthday to Bob Kane, born in the Bronx in 1916, the man who created Batman as a way for his employer, DC Comics, to compete with Superman. First Coffee wasn't into comic books as a kid, no more so than any other relatively normal kid, but I always liked Batman, the cheesy TV show aside, because you could think about being Batman -- he didn't fly or really have any other special powers.

Pivotal Corporation, a vendor of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) products and a division of CDC Software, a subsidiary of CDC Corporation, has announced that Boca Developers, one of South Florida's largest and most successful builders of luxury condominiums, has implemented Pivotal CRM from CDC Software.

By the way, if you want a great novel about South Florida real estate types and you've read all of Carl Hiaasen's books -- if you haven't read all Carl Hiaasen's novels that moves to the top of your To Do On The Train list, by the way -- get John D. MacDonald's Condominium.

Selling luxury, multi-family waterfront properties in South Florida, Boca Developers saw its annual sales jump from $400 million in 2004 to $600 million in 2005 and promptly realized hey, our methods of manually capturing and reporting critical sales data are inconsistent and inefficient and, like, so completely lame.

Like many builders, Boca Developers works with numerous sales offices, and of course everybody and their brother needs their own cotton-pickin' method of capturing and reporting data. The company also works with sales brokers, who aren't direct company employees and who lack incentive to follow a specific sales methodology or data collection scheme. Repeat after me, campers: "If there ain't no incentive…"

So Boca implemented Pivotal CRM to improve sales processes and create the marketing, sales and data infrastructure that would basically get everyone on the same page data-wise.

So with Pivotal CRM, all of Boca Developer's customer, prospect and lead information is in a single, centralized system so that a common, consistent and consolidated view of their data is accessible to a variety of different users. Heck, Vito and his cousin Guido, not unknown characters in South Florida construction projects, probably have their own CRM these days, too.

"Using Pivotal across the organization has not only saved time, it has also eliminated a lot of confusion and increased our confidence in terms of understanding our sales activity," said William Davis, systems delivery manager of Boca Developers.

Company officials say the CRM system has performed the way they hoped it would -- Boca Developers has been able to accelerate and simplify a variety of steps in the sales process just by having a clearer process and critical information more readily available.

"The ability to access all customer information and pinpoint their stage in the sales cycle – when you need another signature, another deposit, and so on – and being able to control it from a central location has become invaluable," said Davis.

Davis also cited the scalability and reliability of Pivotal CRM as major benefits. "We knew ahead of time that Pivotal would support our need for scale, and it has proven to be very stable and very thorough in its end-to-end processing," said Davis.

Smart Online Inc., a vendor of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for the small business market, has announced the release of its enhanced Web-based Group Calendar software.

Sorry, First Coffee doesn't know of any novels written about the on-demand CRM group calendar software field. I don't know why there'd be such a gross oversight, it's not like the world of South Florida real estate, with its beautiful locations, shady characters, Mafiosos, beautiful women, eco-activists, guns, diamonds, Jewish retirees from New York and dashing lawyers filing and defending multimillion dollar lawsuits is any more exciting to the average reader than on-demand CRM group calendar software. I guess it's because in on-demand CRM group calendar software it's relatively rarer for pet poodles to get eaten by alligators in the back yard than it is in South Florida real estate.

Anyway, this less literarily-appealing application is included in Smart Online's monthly subscription for its entire suite of software and offers a real-time view of daily, weekly, or monthly events and activities.

"Small businesses are often challenged with managing their daily activities, as they cannot always afford to pay upfront for software and may lack the IT staff required to set up and maintain traditional calendar software," said Michael Nouri, president & CEO, Smart Online Inc., pointing out that while currently, no, the software does not offer a feature protecting poodles from getting eaten by alligators, if customers demanded such a feature Smart Online would do its durndest to satisfy that customer demand.

"Smart Online's upgraded Software-as-a-Service Group Calendar application enables our customers to share their calendar with others in their company, and access our entire suite of software with such applications as Salesforce Automation (SFA), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Contact Management, Accounting, and Human Resource Management. This allows a small business owner full visibility of their day-to-day activities and control of their business data," he said.

Smart Online's enhanced Calendar software allows users to compare their own calendar and the calendar of a colleague side-by-side, the Quick Add and Quick View features allow users to schedule appointments and view information without going to a different page. color coding events allows users to visually distinguish between types of events on their calendar, the Pending Invitation feature allows users to view their outstanding invitations (as well as the more mundane ones), Enhanced Day and Week views include more information on each event and the Electronic Reinforced Steel Fence feature is one tough nut for alligators to solve if they're hungry for a Fluffy dinner.

CRM vendor Epicor Software Corporation, which sells primarily to the midmarket and divisions of larger firms, has announced that based on preliminary financial data, the company expects total revenue for the third quarter ended September 30, 2006 to be between $95 million and $96 million, exceeding the company's earlier provided third quarter revenue guidance.

Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share for the third quarter is also expected to exceed the company's guidance.

On July 26 the company announced total revenues for the third quarter were expected to be approximately $93 million, with non-GAAP earnings of $0.17 per diluted share based on a weighted average share count of approximately 57 million shares.

George Klaus, chairman and CEO of Epicor, credited the  preliminary results' performance to "solid organic growth, complemented by the contribution from the CRS Retail Systems business, which we acquired in December 2005."

It's a bit early for this sort of announcement, but as Klaus said "With our annual customer conference -- Epicor Perspectives 2006 -- beginning this morning in Las Vegas, we felt it was important to provide, in advance, our preliminary revenue and earnings results."

The Company expects to report consolidated financial results for its third quarter after the close of market tomorrow. The company will host a conference call to discuss its financial results at 2:00 P.M. Pacific Time.

Epicor was named one of FORTUNE magazine's 100 Fastest-Growing Companies in 2006.

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