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

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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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

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.

"We have been monitoring the evolution of Microsoft CRM and CRM Live over the last few months and are excited about introducing the combined project workforce/CRM offering to our international customer base," said Randy Urquhart, Director of Product Marketing at Tenrox.

Urquhart said he thinks the market shift towards "a project-driven approach to work delivery" and the emphasis on customer relations and satisfaction levels makes this a "compelling" offering.

"Improved customer relations, project delivery and workforce management is paramount for companies that want to emerge as leaders in their respective market sectors," he observed.

Combining Tenrox's Project Workforce Management with Microsoft CRM is being marketed by Tenrox officials as a way to give an organization's sales team and project workforce a 360 degree view of "customers, engagements, and up-to-the-minute information on project status including key milestones, billing and invoicing information, projects/service contracts that are nearing completion, issues and risks, and scope change requests that could trigger new sales opportunities."

Microsoft CRM licensing under this agreement is now available from Tenrox. Tenrox is currently seeking to partner with Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation companies to build awareness and expertise to support the launch of the new product.

Financial Objects, a tech and CRM vendor for banking, wealth management and energy, has announced "strong uptake from the private client sector" for its wealth management products in 2006.

In its first year of entering the market, the company secured 14 new customers for its activebank Wealth Management Application Suite. Recent contract wins include Concorde Bank, Russian Commercial Bank, ADM Securities Ltd, The Family Office and institutions based in Luxembourg, the Baltics, the Middle East and the UK.

This momentum has continued in 2007, company officials say.

"Today's wealth generation is more financially intelligent than ever and private clients expect a high level of service," said Alois Pirker, senior analyst of Aite Group, LLC. "To be successful in this buoyant market, providers of wealth management products need to recognize the requirements of both wealth managers and their customers."

By providing integrated CRM and asset management capabilities on a single platform, Financial Objects' hopes to increase its market share.

The level of integration of these products means end users can access CRM, portfolio management, risk management, performance measurement and client reporting capabilities in a single system.

"Wealth management is an important sector for us," said Stewart Foster, director, Activebank division at Financial Objects.

QuickArrow, Inc., a vendor of Professional Services Automation and management products, announced their 13th consecutive quarter of revenue acceleration, with fourth quarter revenues 48 percent higher than in the same period last year.

"2006 was a banner year for QuickArrow. We grew our user base by 47 percent," said QuickArrow's CEO, Elizabeth Davis.

She added that "half of all our new business is coming from client referrals and we had a retention rate of 95 percent."

Louise K. Allen, QuickArrow's Vice President of Product Strategy, said the company invested heavily in technology and product innovation in 2006. "In May, we introduced our second generation web services API and enhanced our reporting capabilities. Our Winter '06 Release added AJAX-enabled usability upgrades, and vendor invoice reconciliation capabilities that support SOX compliance."

The company's efforts paid dividends, with 79 new clients signing to add over 7,000 new users in 2006. The company also received The Service & Support Professionals Association's "SSPA Recognized Innovator Award" for its approaches to cutting operational expenses and increasing productivity for professional services organizations.

Ron Jennings, QuickArrow's CFO, credited the "beauty of the SaaS Recurring Revenue model" for their ability to predict their revenue and growth trends "several years out."

In 2007, QuickArrow plans to expand their SharedSuccess CRM and Client Support Programs, including an ongoing series of educational client webinars, the inception of Regional User Groups throughout the U.S. and in EMEA, and their annual SharedVision Conference, which provides services professionals a forum to network with industry leaders and analysts, share ideas and best practices, and view QuickArrow's upcoming product innovations.

Interesting person died yesterday, Sidney Sheldon. While you might remember him, if at all, as a writer of trashy -- albeit highly successful -- novels, he's one of the very few writers to have won an Oscar, Tony and Emmy for his script writing.

He also created and produced the classic I Dream Of Jeannie show, and while producing The Patty Duke Show Sheldon, in his own words, "did something nobody else in TV ever did. For seven years, I wrote almost every single episode of the series."

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