CRM Vendor Autobytel and Polk, Iteration2 and Ideaca, Printable Tech Buys Prospect Smarter, ImNotify fromVBMan

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

CRM Vendor Autobytel and Polk, Iteration2 and Ideaca, Printable Tech Buys Prospect Smarter, ImNotify fromVBMan

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Louis Jordan's Anthology:

Iteration2, a Microsoft Dynamics Gold Certified Partner and 2005 & 2006 US Microsoft Business Solutions Partner of the Year, have partnered with Ideaca Knowledge Services, a Canadian-based technology consulting firm and Gold Certified Microsoft partner, to provide products to clients in extended regions of North America.

Ideaca, the 2006 Microsoft Technology Innovation Partner of the Year, specializes in the development, integration and implementation of business solutions with a major focus on Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Portals and Collaboration tools, custom application development and Business Intelligence. The firm has offices in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Under this newly formed Strategic Partnership with Iteration2, Ideaca will implement and support their Industry Builder, Field Services for Microsoft Dynamics AX throughout North America.

Gary Peterson, Vice President at Iteration2, says that Ideaca's reputation in Canada "will allow us to extend" their products, implementation methodology and customer service to customers in extended regions: "We look forward to developing products together."

VBMan & Company, an Orange County based software firm, has launched ImNotify, an application that enables businesses to "communicate directly with customers via their cell phone or other wireless device," according to company officials.

ImNotify lets companies text message their clients on a recurring, as-needed basis. The service is subscription based, and allows for unlimited usage within a pre-determined timeframe.

"Everyone is on the go these days, so the idea was to develop a unique way for companies to easily and cost-effectively connect with their customers in a consistent yet non-intrusive way," said Manuel Plaza, CEO of VBMan & Company. "With ImNotify, we're able to take CRM to a completely new level."

According to Plaza, there are many benefits to this type of customer contact, including cost-efficiency -- especially when compared to traditional channels, such as direct mail. The company sees guaranteed/timely delivery, precise targeting, storage for repeat viewing and future reference, and other benefits as well.

Messages, which may be sent immediately or pre-scheduled for a specific date, can include a multitude of additional information like directional maps, coupons/promotions, appointment times, and contact information.

"Any company that depends on customer retention and repeat business will benefit from this service," said Plaza. "Whether it is used for reminders of dental or doctor visits, vehicle maintenance, upcoming sales, or service reminders, or just as a way to stay in front of key clients, ImNotify provides an invaluable and unique solution."

Plaza plans a controlled but aggressive rollout for ImNotify, starting first with Orange County based companies and then branching out to additional markets in Southern California and beyond.

Autobytel Inc. and R. L. Polk & Co. have announced Polk has purchased Automotive Information Center, the price and specification business of automotive CRM vendor Autobytel.

Through this acquisition, Polk expects to strengthen its platform for growth within the price and specification sector by adding "key North American market planning information" to its expanding global network of resources, company officials say.

Under the terms of the deal, Autobytel received license to use AIC data with its Internet business, including consumer sites such as Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, CarSmart.com, and Car.com.

Autobytel officials say they have been exploring "strategic alternatives" for AIC as part of the company's continuing focus on its Internet and media-centric strategy. In addition, they view the investment as a "strategic building block" that will expand Polk's customer offerings worldwide.

"This acquisition will provide significant value to our customers on a global scale," said Stephen Polk, chairman, president and CEO of R. L. Polk & Co. "As we integrate AIC's business into Polk, we will use other core assets to change the way customers perceive and use price and specification information in their business."

Autobytel President and CEO Jim Riesenbach said his company will continue to use AIC data on their sites and "are pleased that R. L. Polk & Co. has recognized the extent to which automotive manufacturers, dealers and consumers rely on AIC for objective, extensive and accurate car data."

Printable Technologies, Inc., a vendor of Web to Print workflow and Variable Data Printing products and Software as a Service, has announced the acquisition of certain assets of Prospect Smarter Inc. to create the full spectrum of marketing campaign management tools.

The combination of Printable Technologies' direct mail product and the cross-media tools and workflow from Prospect Smarter are being marketed as a way to "go beyond personalized URLs, beyond microsites, and beyond simple surveys and 'thank you' e-mails" in marketing campaigns and tracking the ROI of marketing campaigns, according to Printable officials.

The Prospect Smarter technology introduces some new functionalities to the Printable Technologies multi-channel marketing platform, including unlimited formats for personalized URLs pointed to the domain of choice, microsite creation and management using Adobe Dreamweaver and database integration with Microsoft CRM, salesforce.com, GoldMine, ACT, and other SFA/CRM systems.

There's also external integration with such systems as templatemonster.com, surveymonkey.com, cevents.com, myspace.com, Microsoft Live, and similar "build a survey," event registration, or other applications.

Arkona, Inc., a vendor of on-demand products for new car franchise, independent and powersports dealerships, has announced Arkona Reflections, what company officials are calling "the latest in new age digital imaging and document retrieval solutions for dealerships."

The Reflections offering integrates with Arkona's ASP-based dealer management system (DMS) and its customer relationship management module (CRM).

There are few industries that suffer more from the lack of integrated document management systems than the automotive retail market, Arkona officials say, "as evidenced by the daily document shuffle that occurs inside a dealership."

With increasing governmental regulations, automobile dealers feel "the pressure to be more efficient and thorough in maintaining customer and transactional data," said Rich Holland, President & CTO, Arkona, Inc. "Reflections is Web-based, which means authorized dealership personnel can access, administer and share documents from the office, at home, or on the road."

The product is billed as offering dealerships improved data security and a superior process for storing, accessing, transmitting and printing data.

Happy birthday, James Joyce.

Oh, and happy birthday, Ayn Rand.

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