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

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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E.E.S. OS for CRM, Hotel CRM, Ascendix and MicrosoftCRM, Blackbaud, Lagan

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. A remote user can update a customer or vendor's contact information, or access sales orders. 

Managers will be able to monitor telephony data, viewing active and recent calls, as well as viewing key sales and system activity data.

According to industry journal Hospitality Net, "this year at least a third of all hotel bookings will be generated from the Internet -- 29 percent in 2006, 25 percent in 2005. Another third of all hotel bookings will be influenced by the Internet, but done offline -- call center, walk-ins, group bookings, etc. By the end of 2010, over 45 percent of all hotel bookings will be completed online (Merrill Lynch)… is there such a thing as customer loyalty in this environment?"

Encouragingly, some think yes, there is and that CRM is a way to achieve that. Industry commentators Max Starkov and Jason Price pen a New Year's Resolution for the hotel industry which all would do well to follow:

"I will embrace Electronic Customer Relationship Management (e-CRM) as part of my hotel's 2007 strategic objectives and develop programs and action steps to address all main e-CRM aspects: knowing your customer, customer service in this interactive age, personalization, one-to-one eMarketing, and building customer loyalty. I will continue Building Interactive Relationships with my customers. In this new online environment I don't just want to provide great service to my guests, I want to 'own' the customer throughout the travel planning and decision making cycle and not allow the third-party online intermediaries to own my customers. I will make it my mission this year to build mutually beneficial interactive relationships with my customers in order to increase repeat business, boost revenues, and retain loyalty."

Yeah, and the ab crunches four times a week, no swearing on Sundays in front of the children and being nice to your mother-in-law too, remember.

Ascendix Technologies has announced the schedule for the Real Estate Advantage product launch tour, with the first event being held at the Microsoft offices in Irving, Texas, on February 6, 2007. View it at ascendix.com.

Each product launch event presents what Ascendix officials are calling "an opportunity for professionals from the commercial real estate community to have an in-depth review of the product offering, as well as interact with select contacts from Microsoft and Ascendix Technologies."

With this industry product built on the MicrosoftCRM platform, "companies are able to invest in an enterprise-capable product and still meet the specialized needs of the commercial real estate professional. Prior to Real Estate Advantage, the industry was limited to boutique applications that lacked the flexibility and scalability of CRM, or expensive, over-extended back office and ERP systems," said Wes Snow, President and CEO of Ascendix Technologies, Inc.

Real Estate Advantage is a specialized CRM product helping commercial (office, retail and industrial) real estate companies manage assets, leases, tenants, vendors and prospects in marketing, service, sales and support functions. Built on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 platform, Real Estate Advantage uses Microsoft Outlook, Excel, Word, MapPoint and SharePoint.

The Zoological Society of San Diego and Blackbaud Inc. have announced a collaborative relationship to "strengthen the Society's fundraising efforts and streamline its development operations," according to Blackbaud officials.

Without a robust CRM system, the Society has never been able to launch a multi-year fundraising campaign. The Zoological Society executed agreements with Blackbaud to make this technology investment in the second quarter of 2006.

The Society, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, has more than 250,000 member households and 130,000 child memberships, representing more than a half million people. It raises almost $25 million each year.

Mark Stuart, the Society's chief development officer, said "what impressed me the most was that Blackbaud could have delivered the system that we asked for, but what they are doing is delivering us the system that we need."

The Society plans to use The Raiser's Edge, Blackbaud's fundraising management product, to provide a single source of data for staff members, prompt tasks, and streamline operational activities.

The product "will revolutionize our workflow and how we manage and maintain our relationships with our prospects and donors," Stuart said. "The fundraising axiom is 'people give to people,' but we need -- as busy fundraisers -- a management tool that will allow us to use our time most efficiently and effectively."

The Society has an initial goal of raising $30 million in 2007. "We hope that adding The Raiser's Edge to our fundraising program will allow us to raise our goal to $35 to $40 million each year," Stuart said. "Today, even thinking of raising a total like that is hard to comprehend with our current database management system."

Invest Northern Ireland has signed a new contract for Lagan's case management product to provide Invest NI with the ability to manage client information more effectively in support of its role in accelerating the growth of the Northern Ireland economy.

Historically, economic development in Northern Ireland was serviced by five unconnected agencies focused on different areas of business development such as local enterprise support, industrial development, research and development, tourism and training. In 2002 all those activities were brought under one agency creating Invest NI which as a result left the organization with a whole raft of underlying databases that essentially dealt with the same clients but were unable to interact with one another.

Brian Dolaghan, Director at Invest NI, said that while competitor products "offered us traditional, generic sales orientated CRM systems, Lagan's product provided the degree of flexibility and customization necessary."

The Lagan product -- which Invest NI terms its Client Contact Management System -- is designed to provide the organization with a single integrated view of all previously disparate information relating to all of its clients. The new system, in tandem with the organization's Electronic Document Management System, will allow users to source any document, in any given area almost instantaneously.

The Lagan system will integrate seamlessly with standard desktop products such as Microsoft Outlook and Office.

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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