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January 2007

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Graham Tech and SBSA, Tenrox and Microsoft, Financial Object had a Good 2006, so did QuickArrow, R.I.P. Sidney Sheldon

January 31, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music has rolled on to the Dave Holland Quintet:

Graham Technology, a provider of customer-oriented business software and services, has announced that it has been selected by Standard Bank of South Africa to provide a contact management product for its front-office contact center.

SBSA operates across 17 African countries and 21 countries outside of Africa. It is the largest South African banking group ranked by assets and earnings and employs more than 40,000 people worldwide.

The bank is currently undertaking an enterprise contact center consolidation program, and Graham Technology’s software will provide the bank’s front-office contact center with advanced contact management capabilities.

Mike Hughes, managing director, Graham Technology, said landing "yet another large international customer" is "another great validation of our company’s strength in the contact center CRM market."

As part of a joint project team, Graham Technology and global IT services firm, Dimension Data, will roll out the product in a phased approach, with delivery in the first quarter of 2007.

The deal also further cements the strong relationship between Graham Technology and Dimension Data in the South African market, and hopefully adds impetus to the recent trend towards improving customer experience in the country.

Tenrox, a vendor of workflow-driven Project Workforce Management products, has furthered its relationship with Microsoft after executing an agreement that allows Tenrox to offer the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 under the Microsoft ISV Royalty licensing program and Services Provider Licensing Agreement.

Under this new agreement Tenrox will release a new version of its Project Workforce Management software that uses the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 feature set for a product that can be hosted or deployed on premise.

"Tenrox Project Workforce Management for Microsoft Dynamics CRM is an integrated product that connects the sales team to the project and service delivery teams," said Brad Wilson, General Manager for Microsoft Dynamics CRM at Microsoft.

ProfitLine's AOTMP, Foundry Networks and London Internet Exchange, Continuous and Raza, SAP's CRM and ERP

January 31, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and we've selected a progressive sequencing of jazz CDs, getting off the ground with Hank Mobley's sturdy Soul Station, gathering speed with Thelonious Monk's Brilliant Corners, then diving into the Dave Holland Quintet's Conference of the Birds, finally launching into orbit with a personal favorite, Jaco Pastorius' self-titled CD.  Might finish off with some Sinatra for re-entry:

ProfitLine, a vendor of outsourced telecom expense management, has announced its participation in the AOTMP Certification Course. 

AOTMP is a telecom management best practice organization providing best practice standards, educational content and resources, and professional certification programs.

The focus of the collaboration between ProfitLine and AOTMP, according to ProfitLine officials, is to "achieve a common body of knowledge and language among ProfitLine's auditors to provide uniformity in knowledge content, expertise and best practices."

"Uniformity in process means the client is served efficiently and consistently," explains ProfitLine Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Business and Client Development, Andreas Schenck.  "The more standard the process is, the shorter the cycle time for example in applying credits resolving billing error disputes, so our clients benefit sooner."

Processes are designed to work efficiently for auditors and customers alike, Schenck says, adding "It puts all of our auditors on the same playing field and results in unvarying service expectations among our clients."

As part of AOTMP's certification program, individuals must complete five days of "boot camp" training, complete a skills-based project and pass a certification exam which includes competency in the wireless arena. 

Focusing on three telecom management disciplines -- Organization & Resource Management, Financial Management Strategies, and Technology Selection & Negotiations Practices -- the wireless and wireline certification training shares step-by-step methodologies that enable telecom professionals to effectively overcome time, resource and budget constraints. 

CRM for Cars -- Auto/Mate and Phone/Mate, AutoSurvey, myEZCarCare

January 30, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is John Prine's "Sweet Revenge:"

Auto/Mate Dealership Systems has announced the addition of Phone/Mate, what it's calling "a salesperson productivity tool" within its CRM module, Customer/Mate.

Available as an option, Phone/Mate is powered by Toll Free Edge, Inc., a vendor of voice software applications.

Phone/Mate is described by Auto/Mate officials as "a tool for tracking inbound and outbound sales calls," allowing the dealership sales management team to "create salesperson accountability, increase salesperson productivity, and measure advertising campaign results."

"One of the biggest problems dealers have is salesperson productivity," said Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate Dealership Systems and former dealership General Manager. "As all dealers know it's not what you expect it's what you inspect."

Must be a car industry thing.

Phone/Mate, he said, "helps managers identify areas in which the salespeople are effective and areas that require improvement. By implementing this knowledge on a day to day basis, managers can help their salespeople become more successful."

The way it works is throughout the day, managers can see that the salespeople are making their calls since Phone/Mate will automatically update call status within the manager's view on Customer/Mate CRM.

RightNow CRM and Xactly Alliance, Zoho and Omnidrive Partner, mySAP Goes Postal, Smart Online

January 29, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Beatles' White Album. For some reason I just never really got into these guys, despite liking most of the music around them -- First Coffee's a fan of the Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, The Supremes, Van Morrison, The Kinks et al, but never really warmed to The Beatles.

Oh I've heard all their stuff, I respect them and all that, but I rarely think "Hey, let's listen to The Beatles." Maybe if I just put all the albums from Rubber Soul through Abbey Road -- which I have, the way people keep Bibles in their house but never read them -- on the changer and played 'em all through in one shot I'd have a different perspective.

Xactly Corporation, a vendor of automated on-demand sales compensation management, has announced that they are working on a strategic alliance with RightNow Technologies.

Motivating sales and service staff is "a critical component to any customer experience strategy," Xactly officials say, adding that "focused and well compensated sales representatives are more likely to provide the high touch experience customers expect."

"Xactly Incent is an excellent complement to RightNow's offerings," said Christopher W. Cabrera, Xactly founder, president and CEO.

Infor, Epiphany for Folksam CRM, PacificNet Drops Auditors, VirayNet and Victoria's CRM, Sales Simplicity

January 27, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the North Mississippi All-Stars' Electric Blue Watermelon:

Infor, a vendor of enterprise software, has announced that Folksam, a Swedish insurance company, has chosen Infor CRM Epiphany to implement its five-year CRM plan.

Infor CRM Epiphany will enable Folksam to "implement an advanced user interface for an ambitious CRM strategy that commenced in 2003," according to Infor officials.

The project's initial phase focused on data warehousing, analysis and process development. The deployment of Infor CRM Epiphany sales, service and inbound marketing will be "supported by one system with one comprehensive customer view, enabling Folksam to completely implement all defined CRM processes and realize the full benefits of the strategy," Infor officials say.

Queplix and John Deere, Seagull's Line of Credit, Kintera's Expanded CRM, All Hail King Roger

January 26, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the sound of my son's violin practice. The one thing I swore up and down I'd never let a kid do, learn violin. Oh well. Probably my fault -- he liked my Irish music.

Keeping up with the products out there, Queplix, a vendor of commercial open source software for customer care, has announced that its flagship product, QueWeb Customer Care, has been in successful production for more than three years at John Deere, the world's leading manufacturer of agricultural and forestry equipment and vendor of lawn, grounds and turf care equipment.

Bet you didn't know Deere not only also makes construction equipment and engines used in heavy equipment but provides the financial services and other related activities that support its core businesses.

Minneapolis 3-1-1 Update, Digisoft Call Center Upgrades, MyFax , New Autonomy Analytics Warehouse

January 25, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Weather Report's Heavy Weather and Return To Forever's Romantic Warrior: Few...shun!

Lagan, a provider of enterprise software dedicated to providing public services to constituents, has reported a successful year-in-review from the City of Minneapolis' first year in 3-1-1 Call Center operation.   

You might as well know this is something First Coffee is in favor of, citizen contact centers designed to streamline interactions with municipal authorities, get actual potholes filled and garbage picked up with one phone call.

In such systems, put in place in Chicago, Albuquerque, Minneapolis, Hampton, Virginia among others, the city takes on the onus of making sure the call gets routed to the right department, instead of making John Q. Taxpayer run the maze of "Sorry, that's not this department's responsibility" calls all morning.

A 3-1-1 system lets you call in once, explain your problem, and the operator takes it from there. Chicago even gives out case tracking numbers, so you can call back to check on the progress of your complaint and any operator will be able to pick up the thread.

Ascendix Gets MSFT Cert, Compass Wants Partners, First Research and CRM, Sand and BO, salesforce.com, Factiva and Dow Jones

January 24, 2007

By David Sims

A second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is… the sound of the wind in the windows here in Istanbul, where it's pret-ty windy about now:

Ascendix Technologies has achieved certification of Real Estate Advantage for Microsoft Dynamics CRM V3.0 Test for ISV Solutions.

The certification was achieved last quarter and was administered by VeriTest. The program identifies applications that successfully integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM V3.0.

The testing and verification program ensures that applications integrate with CRM V3.0 in a supported manner, maintain the stability of the program, do not restrict any of the core functionality, and continue to function when service packs or upgrades to the base product are applied.

VeriTest also confirmed that Real Estate Advantage adheres to all published specifications as outlined in the CRM V3.0 Software Development Kit.

"We worked very closely with the Microsoft ISV team to make certain our product has the native look and consistent feel of Microsoft CRM, yet meets the complex demands of the commercial real estate professional," stated Todd Terry, Managing Partner and CTO of Ascendix.

CRM Foils Ticket Scalpers, SAP's Mid-Market Product, RezOvation Upgrade, iCentera 4.1

January 24, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Jim White's Wrong-Eyed Jesus:

Today's Fun Fact: It was on this day in 1849 that gold was discovered on Sutter's Mill in California, triggering the Gold Rush, the event that more than any other opened up the American West, supplied the North with the revenues to fight and win the Civil War, provided the San Francisco professional football team with a name and gave a business opportunity to a young Bavarian immigrant who figured out how to make tough canvas trousers for miners, who up until then had to make do with normal street pants which ripped easily in the tough terrain. His name? Levi Strauss.

At its annual conference to report full-year fiscal results, SAP AG has revealed further details, but not many, about what they call "a next-generation product and an additional business model" that will, company officials promise, "reshape the way midsize companies purchase, adopt and finance software applications."

At the conference, SAP CEO Henning Kagermann outlined plans to introduce what company officials characterized as a new midmarket product offering "breakthrough innovations" in "faster, lower-risk implementation, continuous adaptability and easier user adoption."

Complementing SAP's existing portfolio for midsize companies, the product will use what's being described as a new "enterprise service-oriented architecture by design" platform and will be available to customers through on-demand and hosted delivery.

SAP officials say they want to more efficiently reach untapped midmarket segments, and this new product is how they want to do it.

Voxify Announces Hires, CDC in South Korea, Amdocs 7 Debuts, Tacton Launch, FTS Gets Integrator

January 23, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the coffee break today, and the music is, at this random moment in the iTunes shuffle, David Bowie's "Modern Love:

Voxify has announced that John Gengarella has joined the company as President and CEO. Gengarella has worked in CRM and high tech for over twenty years.

He joined Siebel Systems in 2002 as General Manager of Siebel's Travel, Transportation and Hospitality business unit. He also led operations for Siebel's vertical applications development group up through the acquisition of Seibel by Oracle.

Altitude Software's uCI 7.5 Available, Sage's Real Estate Deal, Konica Minolta's DRM, Willow CSN Now Arise

January 23, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a great rendition of "Don & Dewey" from It's A Beautiful Day's Creed Of Love live album. Pretty muscular guitar and bluesy harp for a late '60s/ early '70s San Francisco prog band:

Back from a long research weekend in Florence, great city if you enjoy running into a lot of American expat English teachers, the only recommendation I'd make to anyone going there is if you're looking for a great home-style trattoria for dinner, run literally by Mom and Pop, where all the focus is on the reasonably-priced food and wine and not chintzy décor, try Trattoria La Burrasca on the Via Panicale near the Mercato Centrale.

I've never had better tortellini anywhere at any price, and my friend, who's lived in Italy for years, said it was the finest lasagna he's had.

Okay, so what's been going on since I've been out of action…

Datelined "Lisbon, Portugal" comes the announcement that Altitude Software, an independent contact center vendor, has announced the availability of Altitude uCI 7.5, the latest release of the contact center suite.

The Altitude uCI 7.5 is the latest release of the contact center software with fifteen years of service. The latest release enables contact centers to" embrace change, profit from virtualization, increase productivity and grow proactive customer service practices," according to company officials.

According to a recent study published by tech researchers Gartner, multisite organizations in industry verticals such as the financial services sector are "consolidating their use of contact center technologies -- focusing on improving service delivery, while optimizing the costs associated with customer interaction."

This has evidently driven a focus on "more effective use of established technology through improved desktop applications delivery, better initial call screening, more use of scripted customer interactions, self-service automation and multichannel contact management," according to their "Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure, EMEA, 2006" report written by Terry Wright, Steve Blood, Bern Elliot last March.

The uCI 7.5 release has native IP supports for distributed operations -- including home-based and remote agents -- and streamlining IT investments and optimizing human resources, company officials say, adding that the tool gives managers the tools to "centrally design and implement flexible service-delivery models that profit from increased agent productivity."

Company officials break down the suite's benefits in a couple areas:

Virtualized operations.

CRM From CDC's Pivotal, JMsolutions and DealerUps' Auto CRM, Effective CRM and British Air, Salesforce's Winter '07

January 17, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the afternoon cappuccino, as First Coffee will be traveling until Monday afternoon this will have to last you until next Tuesday, and the music is the Woodstock soundtrack.

What's that? "Which one?" Isn't it past your bedtime, sonny?

CDC Software, a wholly owned subsidiary of CDC Corporation and a provider of enterprise software applications, has announced that The 401(k) Company has chosen the Pivotal Customer Relationship Management (CRM) suite of software applications.

CDC officials say it's because of its industry-specific functionality, which will allow 401(k)'s employees to "develop deeper insight into their clients' needs, preferences, and influencers," accompanied by tools that will help automate multi-step processes, track performance and, the hope is, provide better team collaboration.

A subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Financial Services, one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world, the 401(k) Company is focused on employers' defined-contribution plans.

INeo's LMA, Nortel and Timken, NeoSynergy and MotorAlley's Auto CRM, Worst Tech Ever

January 17, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Clash's Sandinista!:

INeoMarketing has announced the release of its new suite of lead management automation (LMA) products, a package that includes the PluraPage, PluraCom, and PluraPage+ software applications.

These applications provide customized marketing communications delivered through personalized microsites that "nurture customer relationships" and serve to "increase the quality and quantity of leads for sales departments," according to company officials.  

According to Laura Ramos, a vice president at Forrester Research, B2B marketers "can no longer afford to emphasize lead volume over lead quality. This practice reduces sales efficiency, increases costs, and fuels the gap between sales and marketing."  

To develop its lead management tools, that gauge the buying stage of the customer and act accordingly, iNeoMarketing produced its iNeoMarketing software suite consisting of the PluraPage, PluraCom and PluraPage+ products.

Second Cup Of Coffee: Altico and Baptist Hospital, VoiceNation, CRM In '07, Autonomy

January 16, 2007

By David Sims

Here's a second cup of coffee, there appears to be a lot in the pot this morning so drink up, campers. Music's Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited:

Altico Advisors, a Microsoft Certified Partner headquartered in Massachusetts, has announced that all proceeds from the Year End Class conducted every December for Altico's Microsoft Dynamics GP clients have been donated this year to the New England Baptist Hospital.

"There are a lot of incredibly worthy causes that we could support, so choosing just one is always a difficult task. This year we chose an organization that was close to our heart and had personal meaning for us," says Rich Maloney, who is Altico Advisors' CEO, Chairman of the NEBH Finance Committee and Vice Chairman of their Board of Trustees.

CRM For Athletes From Athletrak, SalesNexus, FTS Leap Billing, Auto Mate's Dash Mate

January 16, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the late Slim Dusty's "Losin' My Blues Tonight." Dusty's by far the most celebrated musician in Australian history, and his country sound is best described as what Jimmie Rodgers might sound like channeled through Hank Snow with a good country-rock bar band behind him. Much better than you'd probably expect, it's a shame this man never hit it big in the States:

Here's an interesting bit: First Coffee's seen CRM verticalized for just about any industry you can name off the top of your head, sport -- as in the athletes themselves -- is a new one.

Australia's New South Wales Institute of Sport will "embark on a new information race starting this week, with a new customer relationship management (CRM) system which will link the sporting data of more than 700 athletes in 28 different sports from across the state," according to industry observer Penny Jones.

Signing with Sydney-based Australian sports performance start-up Athletic Logic, Jones reports, "the institute will do away with two disparate systems instead putting all its money on a AU$50,000 customized CRM system called Athletrak."

Americans use CRM to track fans, ticket buyers and targets of sports merchandising. Using CRM to track the athletes themselves, well, if this is happening in America I haven't heard of it.

Last summer CRM vendor Sage announced that the Buffalo Sabres National Hockey League team implemented Sage CRM to automate ticket sales, customer service and marketing activities.

CRM Vendor Business Objects and Rent-A-Center, Dick Lee and Long-Term CRM, Zebra RFID, Amdocs Forecast, Selling To Win

January 15, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Beatles' Revolver:

CRM customer analytics vendor Business Objects would like to you know that Rent-A-Center, a rent-to-own operator in the U.S., has been using its business intelligence and enterprise performance management products to "manage its significant expansion rate due to organic growth and major acquisitions."

"As we continue to grow, the amount of data we collect has expanded significantly," said Tony Fuller, CIO of Rent-A-Center, adding that Business Objects has helped his company "consolidate, process, and analyze data from several disparate sources to gain insight into our customers and our merchandising efforts, among other things."

Through analysis of inventory turn and promotion performance data, Fuller says, his merchandise managers can "more easily make adjustments to our up-sell, cross-sell, and pricing strategies to help improve store performance."

The recent Business Objects XI release 2 has been billed as providing retailers with the most advanced and complete solution for performance management, planning, reporting, query and analysis, and enterprise information management. The company was recently ranked as one of the top ten software vendors in the retail industry, based on a survey of senior retail executives conducted by RIS News, BO officials say.

According to a recent George Washington University School of Business Research Report, the "fundamental dilemma" facing companies trying to use CRM to increase their long-term competitive edge is "finding out which CRM approaches have the greatest positive impact and result in building long-term customer value and thus financial impact."

VendorGuru.com has interviewed noted CRM expert Dick Lee, vice president of a consulting firm that specializes in designing and developing customer-centric business strategies and author of Strategic CRM: The Complete Implementation Manual, about just that topic. Lee stresses two important steps to successful implementation of CRM software: developing customer-centric strategies and finding the technology that fully supports them.

Note the order.

FrontRange's GoldMine 4.0, Trey and SWK and CRM's Sage Software, ClickFox in Japan

January 13, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The New York Dolls' "Fishnets and Cigarettes." Yes I know I slagged off the Dolls' 1973 debut yesterday as unmitigated tripe, or something like that, thanks to Meri Bishop for writing in and encouraging me to give the band a second chance.

So to be fair I downloaded a song from the reconstituted 2006 Dolls lineup, the aforementioned "Fishnets and Cigarettes." It's kind of hard to compare the this New York Dolls to the '73-'74 Dolls, since four members of the original Dolls have died, but frontman David Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain are back with a pretty good, tight band and this song does sound good. I might have to listen some more.

Saying they're "responding to customer requests for tighter integration between front- and back-office data," FrontRange Solutions has announced the general release of GoldMine Plus Accounting 4.0. This add-on to the organization's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product allows users to draw information from Inuit Inc.'s QuickBooks, and see it alongside the standard GoldMine data in order to "gain a unified view of all transactions that relate to a given customer account."

Updates can also be sent from GoldMine back to QuickBooks.

CRM From 1Touch, Jacada and Lillian Vernon, Interactive Intelligence, Xeequa's Web 2.0, Dilley Joins NetSuite, New York Dolls Stink

January 12, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is as guilty and pleasurable as guilty pleasures get -- literate dance music, specifically ABC's late-career live album, Lexicon Of Live:

Jacada Ltd., a customer service operations vendor, has announced that Lillian Vernon, a 54-year-old national catalog and online retailer selling gift, household, children's and fashion accessory products, has selected Jacada WorkSpace as its standardized unified agent desktop for its customer service operations.

Mike Muoio, CEO for Lillian Vernon, said his company is standardizing on Jacada WorkSpace "as our unified desktop to create greater operational efficiency, increase agent and customer satisfaction and reduce agent training times, which is critical during our peak seasons." 

Instead of having to locate customer data in multiple systems, using Jacada WorkSpace, all relevant data can be automatically displayed when and as the agent needs it, "significantly reducing the amount of time it takes to navigate through complex customer interaction processes," according to Jacada officials.

Jacada WorkSpace, using non-invasive integration methods, will unify many unlinked processes into a single, intelligent desktop for each of the 500 Lillian Vernon agent desktop environments.

By the way, a couple days ago I thought I'd go back and fill in the gaps and catch a piece of rock history I'd overlooked the first time around by downloading the "underground classic" album New York Dolls, frequently cited as one of those hugely influential records nobody's ever actually heard, much more talked about and namedropped than listened to.

What a waste. Mind you my Stones-Ramones-Velvets-Clash-X-Pistols-Supersuckers credentials are fully in order, but man, this album stinks. $5.99 I wish I had back. It's one thing to be a genuine punk, it's another to derive influence from genuine punks, but I have no use for smarmy mannequins who simply try to imitate punks.

Microsoft CRM Titan '4.0' Previewed, Louisville Picks Visitar CRM, Kyliptix's SMB CRM

January 11, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Beatles' Rubber Soul:

"We said last summer that Titan will be out in summer 2007 and it will," promised Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM as That Little Ole Software Company From Redmond announced that it is previewing the next major release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM -- code-named "Titan" -- with what company officials said was "a broad range of partners through the company's Technology Adoption Program."

The new version introduces an advanced multitenant architecture, and uses a single code base to support on-premise deployments as well as software-as-a-service deployments through hosting partners and through the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM service.

As industry observer China Martens writes "Titan, which will probably be officially known as Dynamics CRM 4.0, will be the first Microsoft CRM release based on a multitenant architecture and using a single code base to support three types of usage -- on-premise, hosted by partners or Microsoft."

Company officials say the Titan release is an evolution of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 product, and will offer "a smooth upgrade path" for existing on-premise and SaaS customers. It's seen within Microsoft itself as a continuation of  the vendor's long-term ambition to provide customers with the option of on-premise or SaaS deployments and access to CRM capabilities within Microsoft Office Outlook, through a Web browser, and from mobile devices.

Wilson said Microsoft's partners will get look at the upcoming release, as well as the upgrade path it will provide to current customers. With early access to the new release, he said, partners "can develop common offerings that span the deployment options -- on-premise, partner-hosted or Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM."

The Titan TAP program includes approximately 300 partners in the first quarter of 2007, and will include over 1,000 partners in the second quarter of the year.

M2M Hires Chuck Stewart, Vontoo Call Tech for Grizzlies (But No Politicians, Please)

January 10, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a nice k.d. lang CD my Canadian sister-in-law sent, Hymns of the 49th Parallel.

M2M Holdings Inc., a vendor of enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management products, has announced that Chuck Stewart, former founder and general manager of Encompix, a business unit of M2M Holdings and provider of ERP for project-based, engineer-to-order manufacturers, has assumed the position of vice president of Industry Solutions.

In his new role, Stewart will report directly to CEO Jeff Tognoni and be responsible for the strategic growth and development of each of the microvertical ERP packages that have been acquired by M2M Holdings over the past three years, including DTR Software (plastics), Cimnet Systems (printed circuit boards), AXIS Computer Systems (metals, wire and cable), Encompix (project-based ETO), and Relevant Business Systems (aerospace and defense).

Eric Binning, former director of pre-sales and product manager for Encompix, will replace Stewart as general manager of Encompix.

DTG's Auto CRM, Cyber Gear, TouchStar Software, Nice Systems

January 9, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow/ What A Wonderful World:"

Dealer Technology Group has announced that DiversiForm, a vendor of service department retention marketing and CSI products and services, will begin to market DealerLOGIX, DTG's customized sales process suite.

The integration of the companies' products is intended to create a "total service-drive sales product for the retail automotive industry," according to DTG officials.

"In most cases, automotive dealers do not have formal sales processes for the service advisors on the service drive. That's where DealerLOGIX comes in," said Mark Brandon, CEO and founder of DTG, adding that combining DealerLOGIX with the DiversiForm’s TRAX Services "will now provide a complete up-selling product to their customer base as part of their total CRM package."

Most dealerships build their businesses through marketing and customer feedback, Brandon says, "leaving out the most important piece -- a sales process." The DealerLOGIX Suite has what are called "Service Advisors" with a PC, or Tablet PC-based sales tool which "allows them to maximize sales with each customer visiting the service department."

DiversiForm already provides marketing and feedback services through its customer retention programs, ScanTRAX, PhoneTRAX and ReminderTRAX. DealerLOGIX will allow the company to include a sales-driven method, "which will complete the full circle of service CRM capabilities," DTG officials said.

DiversiForm designs and delivers printed forms and customer retention services to the automotive industry.

Dubai-based Cyber Gear has announced the launch of customized Web-based SMS gateway products "for organizations in the region." Organizations that need to communicate via SMS to their clients and prospects can directly send personalized SMS messages from their Web site.

According to Sharad Agarwal, CEO of Cyber Gear, the Web-based SMS product "allows organizations to communicate with their clients using our SMS gateway.

A Brief Outline To Appreciating Elvis

January 8, 2007

Here's a free extra cup of coffee. Consider it a refill on the house.

Today's Elvis Presley's birthday. Were he still alive he'd be 72.

If you were born anytime after the Vietnam War ended you probably don't really understand why he was such a huge deal, much as you probably wouldn't think a Model T Ford was such a big deal, as cars go.

A Call Center Conversation With Salesforce.com

January 8, 2007

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is, above the sound of sirens rushing past my window, the theme song of First Coffee -- "Ol' Milwaukee's Best," by Adam Carroll:

Recently First Coffee heard that salesforce.com was getting into call centers. Intrigued, I sent some questions to Rich Caballero, the call center czar over there, and he kindly took time to answer some questions, excerpts reprinted here. Thanks to Chris Nguyen for facilitating the conversation.

FC: Salesforce.com isn't known as a call center vendor, why do you want this to become part of the company's identity?
RC: Today, call centers are the primary way that companies develop and sustain long term relationships with their customers, and therefore are a key component of any CRM strategy. If you think about your own experience, 80 percent of interactions with your utility company, phone company, bank or other vendors are focused on service.

SES and Comverse, Luxoft's IT Forecast, SuperOffice and Orbis CRM Deal, Open Solutions, Skura and Blue Diesel

January 5, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is John Prine's "Let's Talk Dirty In Hawaiian:"

Philippine CRM vendor SES has announced that Comverse has selected Effective, SES's flagship CRM software suite, to "improve its marketing and sales operations in the Far East."

Comverse, a unit of Comverse Technology, Inc., and a supplier of software and systems enabling network-based multimedia enhanced communication services, has acquired the Effective suite in order to "enhance handling and follow-up of marketing leads, proposals and customer relations," according to SES officials.

Comverse Technology is an S&P 500 and NASDAQ-100 Index company with numerous customers in the Far East and sales are performed by several account managers/agents.

"We are pleased that Effective has been chosen by Comverse, a company that provides software and systems to more than 400 wireless and wireline telecommunications network operators, in more than 100 countries," said Clarisa Rojo, CEO of SES, noting that the deal "has the potential to develop for additional business for SES, expanding to other branches of Comverse world wide, and including other SES modules such as Service and Project management."

Effective is a Customer Relation Management (CRM) tool built for the current and future needs of small to medium enterprises as well as large telecom operators, mainly in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.

Luxoft, a Russian provider of IT outsourcing development and services to companies like IBM, Dell, Deutsche Bank, T-Mobile and others, has issued its… drum roll please… predictions for the IT outsourcing industry in 2007. Among others, then, these forecasts include:

Outsourcing Gets More Agile. In 2006 there was increasing interest in employing the Agile development methodology in outsourced environments.

E.E.S. OS for CRM, Hotel CRM, Ascendix and MicrosoftCRM, Blackbaud, Lagan

January 4, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited:

E.E.S. Companies, Inc. will be exhibiting at Mac World Expo San Francisco next week, highlighting the release of their POS/OE 4 version 8. The company's flagship product, it's a business system suitable to many environments, available in mixed-platform, single or multi-user and multi-location versions and offering enterprise features encompassing ERP, CRM, Point Of Sale and eCommerce, among others.

This release offers myriad new features, company officials say, including a new Smartphone/Wireless PDA Interface, eCommerce Store Interface and Inventory Matrix Option. The database engine has been upgraded to a newer more flexible version as well.

The Mobility Interface lets users of Smartphone/Wireless PDA devices connect them to the office, and allowing them to look up critical data including customer contact information, or sales statistics for the day.

Unica's Appointments, SES's CRM for Anheuser-Busch, Wi-Fi From SpectraLink, Listrak's CRM

January 3, 2007

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is one of First Coffee's favorite songs anytime anywhere, The Kinks' "No More Looking Back:"

Unica Corporation, a vendor of Enterprise Marketing Management products, has announced the appointment of two new executives to drive sales growth in Europe. Georges Anidjar has been named sales director for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) to expand Unica's sales of web analytics and internet marketing products.

Jean-Christophe Peaudeau joins Unica as the sales director for southern Europe and the country manager of Unica France to build Unica's sales team and generate sales for Unica's EMM offerings.

In his new position, Georges Anidjar is responsible for the creation of a European team dedicated to expanding sales of Unica's Affinium NetInsight, Unica's signature Web analytics product, and for developing a network of partners.

Before joining Unica, Anidjar worked as director of southern Europe for Omniture, a web analytics company.

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