CRM Vendor RightNow's Growth, AppEx's Latest, HyperQuality's Funding, ELoyalty's Dividend

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David Sims
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CRM Vendor RightNow's Growth, AppEx's Latest, HyperQuality's Funding, ELoyalty's Dividend

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the underrated Al Stewart's finest achievement, Between The Wars:

RightNow Technologies has announced that it has been ranked 34th in Baseline Magazine's list of the 50 fastest-growing software companies in 2006.

The ranking was based on RightNow's 41.1 percent growth rate for the twelve months ended June 30. Baseline compiled its list after reviewing the performance of 304 publicly held software companies with annual revenue of more than $10 million.

RightNow has achieved 35 consecutive quarters of revenue growth and in October reported third quarter consolidated revenue of $30.1 million. Driving the company's continued growth is "the business value provided by its next-generation CRM solutions, its on demand delivery model, and its commitment to the success of its diverse global clientele," according to company officials.

A couple weeks ago Nikon Europe said it has extended its relationship with RightNow and deployed RightNow Marketing as its out-bound customer communication system. The new deployment gives the camera manufacturer "increased capabilities and capacity for all types of communications including information about latest offers and promotions, training and seminars, and newsletters," according to RightNow officials.

Individual countries will be responsible for driving local marketing campaigns and will be able to segment the registered user base as they please. In France a promotion for Nikon's new D80 camera is already underway. This entitles newly registered users to a free gift. As soon as they register, the marketing tool sends an email to them with an offer for a free SD card.

Nikon Germany and Austria are using RightNow to run a sales promotion to target eligible customers with either a six month "all risk" insurance policy or a cash back incentive. Customers who register a product receive an email containing a link to a Nikon Web page. Once the customer clicks through, adds any necessary additional details and submits the information, the system automatically generates a PDF voucher unique to the contact. This is attached to the customer's personal account and the details emailed to the customer.

Nikon officials like that fact that is now possible to "discern return on investment" for their direct marketing programs and forecast more accurately the result of these. By replacing relationships with external marketing agencies, the application places Nikon in the driving seat, allowing marketers to create, time and execute campaigns.

By adding the marketing application, Nikon is standardizing both its in-bound and out-bound customer touch points on RightNow's CRM suite. As customers communicate with Nikon during registration or a service incident, relevant information will be gathered and used, with permission, for more targeted campaigns. Likewise, Nikon's service agents will also have greater insight into customer histories and preferences.

Deployment of the system is still in its early stages; however projections suggest that the original specification of 2 million e-mails per year may fall short of actual usage, with Nikon Germany already anticipating that it will send 1.5 million emails to customers in 2007.

The pan-European roll out of RightNow Marketing is part of a global program which has seen RightNow Service and Marketing also deployed in the US.


AppExchange just keeps it coming: Axentis, a vendor of on-demand governance, risk and compliance management products, has announced the availability of Insurance Sales Compliance for salesforce.com's AppExchange.

Salesforce.com customers can now deploy Insurance Sales Compliance as part of their salesforce implementation, making it "easier and faster to manage sales training and ensure compliance and certification requirements," according to Axentis officials.

Insurance Sales Compliance is immediately available for deployment at http://www.salesforce.com/appexchange. Applications available via the AppExchange directory are built using Apex.

Robert Hoyt, CEO of Axentis, said that by using the Insurance Sales Compliance tool, brokers and agents using salesforce "now have access to a comprehensive tool that lets them monitor all key compliance requirements from one platform."

Axentis officials say the Insurance Sales Compliance product "makes it easier and faster to manage sales training and ensure compliance and certification requirements." Specifically, it lets users automate and distribute the right compliance content to the right brokers and agents. They can then use the same application for a broad range of governance, risk and compliance applications, including IT risk and Sarbanes-Oxley.

Axentis officials claim they're the only GRC company using the SaaS model to deliver consistent workflow, reporting, security and content and learning management.


HyperQuality, Inc., a contact center quality assurance firm, has announced it has secured a Series B venture capital financing investment of $10 million.

Ignition Partners, based in Bellevue, Washington, is the lead investor; additional  participation came from key, long-term investors Miramar Venture Partners, Rustic Canyon, and Divergent Ventures, all three of whom participated in the earlier Series A financing effort.

HyperQuality officials say they have "extensive plans" for the financing proceeds, including a major investment in new product development and technology, accelerating the expansion of the sales force and further development of the company's infrastructure to support the new growth.

The company expects to use these and other enhancements to attract "substantial" new business from some of the world's largest call centers, ultimately resulting in a projected revenue increase of 200 percent in 2007.

"As quality customer service and support become increasingly significant competitive differentiators, the contact center quality function will grow in importance," said Jonathan Roberts, one of the founders of Ignition, a venture capital firm that invests in a variety of high-tech markets.

"With that as a backdrop, we believe that HyperQuality is poised for significant short- and long-term growth," Roberts added, citing the company's "impressive customer base and growth rate," along with its "profitable track record."

This new round of financing follows a $5.5 million lead investment from Miramar, Rustic, and Divergent in June 2005 to increase the momentum that HyperQuality had generated since its founding in 2003. As a result of that financing effort, HyperQuality almost tripled its client base, multiplied its employee base by 350 percent, and grew revenue by 250 percent.

Starting with its core business of evaluating telephone conversations, HyperQuality today evaluates telephone, e-mail and chat interactions for mid-size to Fortune 1000 companies, as well as implements customer satisfaction surveys. Clients include AOL, Allconnect, Carlson Leisure Travel Services, Covad, Lillian Vernon and Time Warner Cable.


The Board of Directors of eLoyalty Corporation have declared a cash dividend of $0.1785 per share on its 7 percent Series B convertible preferred stock (Series B stock), payable on January 2, 2007 to record shareholders as of the close of business on December 15, 2006. The aggregate amount of this dividend payment will be approximately $732,000.

ELoyalty sells management consulting, systems integration, and managed services "focused on optimizing customer interactions."  It offers a broad range of enterprise CRM services including hosting best-of-breed CRM and analytics software applications.

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