Ross SCM, Executive Silence At Oraclestock, CRM For Tactivision, Surado CRM

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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Ross SCM, Executive Silence At Oraclestock, CRM For Tactivision, Surado CRM

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Johnny Cash's At Folsom Prison. It's one of the rare times you hear a celebrity interacting with us commoners without being patronizing or condescending. Johnny could've been pulled from the audience as well as he understands and connects with the guys listening to him, it's a world away from plastic überfake Barbra Streisand haughtily lecturing her audiences:

Ross Systems, a vendor of enterprise software solutions and a division of CDC Software, a subsidiary of the Chinese-owned CDC Corporation, has announced that Guida's Milk and Ice Cream, a dairy based in New England, has installed Ross' supply chain management (SCM) product.

Guida's needed to improve its forecasting capabilities to meet one of its largest customer's scan-based trading mandate, improve operational efficiencies and drive cost savings and competitive advantage.

Guida's looked at Ross SCM as a way to address two critical business issues -- firstly the company needed a forecasting application that would handle all of the inherent variability in the business, capable of replenishing orders based on true demand versus previous order quantities. Without a more efficient method, Guida's would continue to face overstock issues, as well as frequent stockouts, resulting in costly special deliveries in order to keep customer commitments.

Secondly, Guida's needed a way to meet the SBT mandate set by one of its largest customers, a major grocery chain. SBT -- the process of using point-of-sale scan data to manage payment, promotion and replenishment of products -- was new to Guida's.

"Guida's' future with this very large customer hinged on the success of Ross SCM and our new SBT capabilities," said Joel Bartolome, IT manager for Guida's.

Guida's implemented Ross SCM within 45 days during its busiest season to meet the SBT mandate, while its competitor scrambled and failed to meet the deadline. In addition, with Ross SCM, shipped orders reflect true customer demand, saving Guida's more than $4,000 a month by eliminating the need for special deliveries based on inaccurate forecasting.

Interesting report from industry observer Renee Ferguson, attending Oraclestock '06: There was no meeting schedule handed out to press attending the event, because "there are no executive meetings scheduled for press members at OpenWorld 2006." As Ferguson rightly wonders, "What's Oracle got to hide?"

First Coffee has never attended an industry event like Oraclestock and not spoken with executives, and Ferguson hasn't either: "Huh? No executive meetings? Isn't this what these conferences are all about? Getting together, in person, with a company's executives to discuss the news of the day, product road maps, the company's vision for the future?"

Most of the time, as Ferguson says, "it's back-to-back meetings with executives -- and customers -- to the point of exhaustion." Evidently Oraclestock is offering only an executive Q&A, hardly sufficient to understand the executives' underlying thinking or ideas for the future. One PR flack told Ferguson it was because company execs were too busy seeing customers. One wonders why this is the only time of year they can do that, like why the weekend your mother-in-law comes to visit is the one weekend you really need to go help your friend repaint his ice fishing cabin.

Like any reporter Ferguson lets her imagination run rampant when denied the facts: "So that leaves me (happily, I might add) to suss out the news that isn't the news at this event. In other words, what's really going on that Oracle can't make a single executive available for an interview? Are there too many customer meetings packed into this five-day event to manage a few media questions? If so, what does that say about Oracle's commitment to the customer the rest of the year?"

Maybe, as she suggests darkly, "there were questions Oracle didn't want to answer, like what's the real end date for Applications Unlimited, when the payment for extended services outweighs the cost of upgrading to Fusion applications? Or what's going on with all those acquisitions outside PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel?" Maybe they don't want to sit on the hot seat and answer embarrassing questions about Fusion.

First Coffee doesn't know why Oracle execs have chosen to break with standard practice and not meet with journalists one-on-one at Oraclestock. Like Ferguson I can speculate, but like Ferguson, that's all I can do. And believe me, reporters can speculate -- in print -- much worse scenarios than are probably actually the case. This is how rumors start -- "I read on one Web site that Oracle is refusing to talk about Fusion…"

Plus reporters can be as petty and spiteful as anyone when not shown what they regard as the proper obeisance due someone of their exalted calling. I speak from experience here.

Bad move, Oracle.

Integrated Software Development Ltd., a vendor of enterprise software aimed at small- and medium-sized enterprises, has announced that Tactivision, an Israeli communications company, has purchased the entire range of Benefit modules.


Tactivision is an Israeli IT company specializing in machine-to-man communications for the past decade. Company officials say they have purchased the entire range of Benefit modules and plans to operate the software as a comprehensive Customer Relations Management system.

Tactivision provides online support for computer networks and provides IT consulting services to its clients on a large range of IT issues including security, networks, software development, Web sites, hardware, smart telephony systems, and many other fields. ISD also signed a distribution agreement with Tactivision, that allows the company to distribute, provide training and customize Benefit modules for client to which Tactivision acts as a consultant or outsourced service provider.

"For the last ten years, Tactivision has maintained an impressive annual growth rate of 20 percent, not the least due to its very flexible CRM policy, and a system for customizing products to the specific needs of its clients, mainly professional service companies," notes Moti Maram, CEO of ISD. "Our distribution agreement with Tactivision is an excellent opportunity for ISD to capture the off-the-shelf CRM software solutions market in Israel and we expect the agreement to show excellent results within a short time."

Total CRM software revenue grew by 13.7 percent in 2005 to $5.7 billion, according to a recent industry report by Gartner Inc. As buyers recognize CRM as a key driver of customer acquisition and retention, continued market growth is expected with a compound annual growth rate of 11.2% until 2010, with North America as the leading source of small- to mid-sized business application software revenues.

Surado Solutions, another CRM vendor to SMBs, has announced the support of Computer Telephony Integration with ShoreTel IP PBX telephone systems.

Providing out of the box integration is critical for any business using CRM systems today, Surado officials think, so towards that end they company has increased its integration feature set with third party applications and systems. 

With CTI integration to ShoreTel telephone systems, when an incoming call is directed to an extension, Surado CRM CTI application residing on the computer is automatically alerted and pops up the Surado CRM Contact Screen for the person calling in. A variety of features are then available to the end user -- to continue working on the Surado CRM system, to put the contact on hold or to transfer to another extension.

Sundip R. Doshi, Surado CRM CEO said as more and more businesses move towards an IP based telephone system, "having tight integration between telephone systems and CRM applications is critical."

Surado plans to release seamless integration to other popular IP based telephone systems in the next year as demand for CRM and CTI continues to increase.

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