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March 2007

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Turkcell Noted for CRM, Luxoft and Deutsche Banks Do CRM, OS2i's oRPO

March 30, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Greg Brown's "Mose Allison Played Here:"

Infor has announced that Turkcell, Turkey's largest mobile phone operator and Europe's second largest GSM operator, has won the Gartner CRM Excellence Award 2007 for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Turkcell was singled out for its successful deployment of Infor CRM Epiphany, which Turkcell officials say has "dramatically improved" interaction with Turkcell's 31.8 million customers.

Infor CRM Epiphany is a CRM product marketed for integrated marketing, sales, service and analytics.

Turkcell, the only company here in Turkey listed on the NYSE, manages more than 23 million customer interactions per month through 19 different communication channels.

What CRM is Not, NetSuite at Linden Lab, GoldMine's Facelift, Agassi Out at SAP

March 29, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Pogues' rendition of Eric Bogle's "Waltzing Matilda," a fine song about the World War I campaign by the ANZACs at Gallipoli, not the unofficial Australian national anthem:

It's a favorite pastime for those of us in CRM to spend lots of time and effort defining what CRM is -- Paul Greenberg's done a heroic job -- but First Coffee would like to take a few moments here to define what CRM is not. Orthodox theologians would call this the apophatic approach -- defining by the negative.

For example, CRM is not the Wild Horse Coordinated Resource Management Project, scheduled to begin this year near Ellensburg, Idaho, according to local reporter Mike Johnston:

Ascendix CRM, Summit, Prestige, Infusion Software CRM, Star B2B, IcoSales EE, Oracle Siebel CRM, Exile On Main Street

March 28, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is… well, we're back to our touchstone here, the album we have to listen to at least six times a year, the greatest rock album ever made or which will ever be made, the Rolling Stones's shambling kudzu sprawl of a masterpiece, Exile On Main Street, a runaway freight train joyriding between Chicago and New Orleans at night with Hank Williams, Keith Richards and Robert Johnson passing a whiskey bottle around the locomotive as the ghosts of Mississippi Delta blues guitarists and white Southern gospel shouters trade off at the throttle, a freeway crash of blues, country, gospel and rock with a tanker-truckload of the Rev. Billy Joe McAllister’s Kentucky Gospel Whiskey on your way to see what those Delta Sunday morning gospel musicians do in the juke joints on Saturday nights:

Research firm Forrester Research, which has to First Coffee's knowledge never been described as " a freeway crash of blues, country, gospel and rock," has recently named Oracle's Siebel CRM as having a strong current offering in their report "Forrester Wave Evaluation: Enterprise CRM Suites for Financial Services, Q1 March 2007." 

Forrester also names Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM and Siebel CRM On Demand as "strong performers" in this recent report.

To assess the state of the CRM market, Forrester analyzed strengths and weaknesses of various enterprise CRM suites vendors across 464 criteria in three areas of current offering, strategy and market presence.

According to the vendor summary cited in the report, "Through years of experience, the Siebel CRM product has developed in such a way that it routinely provides critical but undervalued functionality.  It is one of the few products in this evaluation to offer strong field campaign management to accommodate bank branches, insurance agent offices and investment broker offices."

Now that the subscription delivery model is getting more popular, Oracle's expanding its hosted CRM offerings. What with more than 12 new product releases in just over three years, Oracle's Siebel CRM On Demand delivers a well-thumbed hosted CRM product. 

Microsoft CRM for Raymond James, Sophos for CDC Software, Tigerpaw CRM Expands, IBM and 3Com's IP Telephony Platform, Gilchrist for Captivate Network

March 27, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Tom Waits' Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards:

Raymond James Financial, Inc., a U.S. financial services firm, has selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM as its software of choice for customer relationship management, which means that the St. Petersburg, Florida-based company "now recommends that its nationwide network of more than 4,600 financial advisors adopt Microsoft Dynamics CRM as its primary customer relationship management tool," according to company officials.

Raymond James will initially offer 3,000 Microsoft Dynamics CRM licenses, but expects to increase the number to more than 5,000 in response to demand over the next two or three years.

Tim Eitel, chief information officer of Raymond James, said Raymond James advisors who took part in head-to-head testing to determine the company's preferred CRM product consistently chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM, "including advisors who had already personally purchased other products."

Features which helped to sell the brokerage of Microsoft CRM, according to company officials, included "greater efficiency and tight integration." Most of Raymond James' corporate technology systems run on Microsoft software, Microsoft SQL Server and the Microsoft Office system. Financial advisors can input and access customer data directly through Microsoft Office Outlook, a program they already use throughout the day.

CRM for Law Firms from RainMaker, Mobile-Worx ZestADZ, Bacon at Vendavo, Applix and UFIDA CRM, Access PowerSite

March 26, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Frank Sinatra's A Swingin' Affair! album:

Access Business Technologies, has announced the launch of its PowerSite product, which provides mortgage Web sites for mortgage companies. Company officials say it includes borrower loan applications designed to "integrate directly with ABT-hosted LOS and CRM systems."

It's being marketed as having tools and content to "launch a Web presence" for mortgage companies, including mortgage calculators, customer advice and mortgage terminology glossaries.

"Adding, editing and changing content on PowerSite can be performed with no knowledge of HTML code," company officials promise. Still, "a complete training course for PowerSite is provided by ABT upon subscription."

There's also the Loan Officer Portal, which "provides access to the loan officer’s business tools directly from their site," company officials say.

CDC Pivotal CRM for RS, UDS Group and DevStudios, Infor's MOM, Satmetrix Webinar, DataFlux and DSM

March 23, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is It's A Beautiful Day's hot live album, Creed Of Love, which makes you believe that, yes, a violin can be a rock'n'roll instrument:

CDC Software, the wholly owned subsidiary of China-based CDC Corporation, has announced that RS Components Hong Kong, part of Electrocomponents PLC, has selected the Pivotal suite of CRM applications for its 14 offices throughout the Asia Pacific area, including its seven offices in China.

RS officials say they will be using Pivotal CRM to manage and track customer services including contact and activity management, telesales and sales account planning, account territory alignments and scorecard tracking as well as tracking visits to customers and prospects.

The company will also be marketing and distributing its trade catalogues and comparing customers and prospects data to their customer marketing management lifecycle data using the Pivotal application since the product allows for bi-directional integration of contacts between Pivotal and the legacy ERP system used by RS Components.

Established in 1937, RS sells "a part for every job, from research and development through pre-production to maintenance and repair," according to company officials, and has been operating in China since 1999, selling parts from electronic components, electrical, mechanical, tools and consumer products.

"The RS business model is extremely customer-centric," noted Richard Huxley, Asia Pacific Regional Manager, RS Components, adding that the company offers "a strong local sales and marketing force of more than 250 people, and two state-of-the art call centers with technical support."

UDS Group, Inc., a Boca Raton, Florida-based vendor of CRM and other delivery management products, has announced the formation of a new partnership with DevStudios International, Inc.

DevStudios is a tech firm operating in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This new partnership, according to DevStudios officials, allows UDS "unlimited rollout capabilities and eliminates costly onsite equipment installations."

DevStudios has finished development on a Remote Print Agent dispatch module for use with the UDS call center product, a module which "allows for any remote store location in our delivery program to make a connection to the UDS Delivery Processing Center without requiring any additional hardware," according to one UDS official.

SAP for Harry and David, Convergys and Rosetta Stone, Plexus, Access CRM on AppEx, CustomerQ, Deacom and SEM

March 22, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Arlo Guthrie's Amigo album. You've all heard of Alice's Restaurant, but musically this is his best.  Get this one, add in "Comin' Into Los Angeles" and "City of New Orleans," okay, "Alice's Restaurant," a handful of others and there's your essential Arlo right there:

Medford, Oregon-based Harry & David Operations Corp., a premium gourmet food retailer known especially for , has selected SAP for Retail solutions to develop a scalable, integrated IT platform.

"It's a real peach of a program," a Harry & David officials should have said, but alas, didn't.

Harry & David officials said they selected SAP over Oracle, as it looks to "gain greater long-term efficiencies and visibility into its retail and wholesale businesses."

The company is one of the nation's oldest catalog mail-order companies and currently operates stores in 34 states.

$11.6 Billion for Asian SMB IT Says AMI, Commit CRM 4.0, iCentera and ADC, ReachForce on AppEx

March 21, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Aimee Mann doing acoustic versions of some of her best songs, current track "That's Just What You Are:"

Small and medium businesses, generously defined as those with under a thousand employees, in the retail vertical across the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan are on track to spend a whopping $11.6 billion on CRM and other IT-related investments this year.

Computing -- which includes PC and server hardware -- and IT Services will be the top drivers of retail SMB spending in 2007, according to the latest study by Access Markets International Partners Inc.

Although CRM and ERP/SCM spending in the retail mid-market segment is expected to grow less than 10 percent in 2007, CRM as SaaS (software as a service) is expected to increase two to three times the growth of the traditional application delivery platforms, the study found.

Key countries in the region which will drive retail SMB IT spending this year include Australia, China, India, South Korea and Taiwan, the study finds.

"While retail SMB IT spending in emerging markets such as India, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam are set to grow more than 15 percent year-on-year in 2007, spending in mature markets such as Australia and Singapore will grow less than 10 percent in 2007 over 2006," says Nishant Dave, AMI's Singapore-based Research Director for the Asia-Pacific.

Retail medium businesses, those with between a hundred and a thousand employees, are looking closely at the services delivery platforms in addition to IT infrastructure to enhance their competitive edge, according to the study.

"Both types of companies will face the disruptive threat to their business models from larger retailers which will compel them to re-invent themselves using IT as a competitive differentiator," Dave says.

SugarCRM's Project Management, Par3 Now Varolii, MTC, InvisibleCRM, Axentis

March 20, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is an iTunes (version 7.1.1!) shuffle. Current song: The Archies' "Sugar Sugar:"

SugarCRM Inc., a vendor of commercial open source customer relationship management (CRM) software, has announced the immediate release of Project Management for its Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise product lines.

Sugar's Project Management offers what company officials call "the advanced capabilities of a standalone project management application" integrated into SugarCRM's CRM suite.

"As companies become more service-based, managing customer and internal projects becomes even more critical," said John Roberts, CEO of SugarCRM.

According to a recent on-demand survey by Nucleus Research, 32 percent of on-demand customers are using on-demand CRM and only 23 percent are using on-demand project management. 

CRM from Ruf Strategic , Gosport Call Center, ERP Works and iCatchIT, Orbitz Complaints, Cricket: Not So Bad

March 19, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Neil Young's Live Rust:

Got an e-mail from a Dear Reader who had the same terrible customer service experience with Orbitz that First Coffee did a while ago:

How did you find Orbitz E-mail address , I also want to write because after booking a flight they never came through with confirmations as they say. Calling a phone number got me talking to some rep in India [which again got me promises ]  NO RESULTS ! 

Very poor business people which I want them to know if you can provide me with their address.   Thanks much.

Now someone explain to me how Caiman.com's still in business.

It might be a function of living in Istanbul, where the sports channels are Fox Sports and EuroSport, but First Coffee is enjoying watching cricket.

Microsoft CRM Replaces salesforce.com, Dominion Buys Resite, Vormittag IBM and Extol, PacificNet Gambling

March 17, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is an iTunes Grateful Dead assemblage, highlights being "Scarlet Begonias" and "Row Jimmy." Get past all the bushwa, all the skeletons and flowers and smoke and stumblebum Deadheads not in possession of a life, and you have an excellent American blues-folk rock band which understood song structure. The guitar work on the longer jams gets real boring real fast, yeah, but maybe that's why you had to take all the drugs to sit through the shows:

So I'm 32 for 32 in my brackets, how about you?

Seriously, First Coffee's 23-9. Smartest pick: VCU over Duke. Stupidest pick: Wright State over Pitt. 

UMB and Oracle Siebel CRM and Contact Center, NetSuite, Sand Results, SAP All-in-One, Markit and Plexus, Exony Contact Center Study

March 16, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is From One Good American To Another by Kinky Friedman & The Texas Jewboys:

Fresh off announcing the release of Siebel 8 for life sciences yesterday, Oracle has announced that UMB Bank, n.a., an independent bank in the United States, has deployed Oracle’s Siebel Sales and Siebel Universal Customer Master. UMB is also deploying Siebel Contact Center.

“With Oracle’s Siebel applications and infrastructure software, we have created an integrated customer information system that brings together data from 11 disparate systems," with the goal of providing "both our front- and back-office personnel with a comprehensive and consistent view of the customer," said Kanon Cozad, senior vice president and director of application development for UMB Bank.

Kansas City-based UMB deployed Siebel Universal Customer Master in its commercial lending and asset management operations. The bank now has a customer data hub that unifies customer information across multiple business units and functionally disparate systems.

The bank, which has operations in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska, also deployed Siebel Sales in its commercial lending and asset management operations following a complete redesign of the sales process. 

UMB is using Siebel Sales to automate core sales processes, including sales call planning, follow up and reporting. 

Siebel CRM 8 for Life Sciences, Centric CRM 4.1 Released, Consona Buys Knova, Microsoft Demos CRM Offering

March 15, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is It's A Beautiful Day's Live In Seattle:

Software vendor Oracle has announced specific enhancements to Siebel CRM 8 for the life sciences industry, with the new features enabling pharmaceutical companies to manage, synchronize and coordinate all customer interactions across multiple channels. 

Siebel Life Sciences, part of Siebel CRM 8, has capabilities designed to help support institutional sales forces, Oracle officials say, adding that the release offers "significant enhancements designed to optimize territory realignments and clinical trial activities."  

The product release is part of Oracle's "Applications Unlimited" program, and offers users choice of multiple deployment options, what Oracle officials claim is "ease of manageability" and integration.

Tomomi Shozen, head of Bayer Healthcare O&I Japan, pronounced his firm "pleased" with Oracle's "continued commitment to and support for the Japanese pharmaceutical industry."

The Oracle-solicited endorsement from the Japanese vendor isn't coincidental, In some regions, particularly in Japan, sales representatives do not target physicians individually, but rather based on their institution affiliations. Drivers behind this approach include the need to recognize the influence of a physician within an institution while accounting for the importance of the institution itself. 

So a lack of physician-level prescribing data, which forces companies to rely on sales revenues by hospital, is also a factor in this approach. 

ARC Places Oracle MDM, Seagull 's BlueZone Vista Compliant, Interactive Intelligence, DealerAdvance Auto CRM, OpenBox 9.0 CRM

March 14, 2007

By David Sims

David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the theme song to Hawaii Five-O:

ARC Advisory Group, an independent research firm in manufacturing and supply chain management, has named Oracle the "leading supplier in the worldwide master data management market."

In ARC Advisory Group's recently published report, titled "Master Data Management Worldwide Outlook Market Analysis and Forecast Through 2011," Oracle is characterized as "the clear MDM industry leader with 39.8 percent market share of total MDM software and services, and year-over-year growth of close to 50 percent.

IBM placed second with 8.8 percent market share.

"Oracle MDM is a core 'Fusion' technology that will enable them to integrate their diverse portfolio of acquired solutions (PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, etc.) and allow them to work together much more effectively," according to Steve Banker, ARC's Service Director and author of the MDM report. 

MDM is -- evidently -- a key component of Oracle's middleware strategy to "aggressively target heterogeneous environments -- products running on different databases, operating systems, and using different data warehouse or analytical products," the report said. 

Oracle sells ERP and CRM applications, "but more broadly," the report notes, "they are a provider of core platforms that help pull together and harmonize all a company's IT assets." 

According to ARC Advisory Group, Master Data Management provides the ability to consolidate and federate master information from disparate systems and lines of business into one central data repository, or hub.

Seagull Software, which sells products to "transform legacy business applications into service-oriented architecture assets," has announced that BlueZone Version 4.1 has achieved Windows Vista certification from Microsoft.

Microsoft's Vista certification program is designed to ensure that third-party software applications operating on Windows Vista meet specific technical requirements.

SugarCRM in Dublin, SaaS Customer Survey Results, TomorrowNow's New Version Release

March 13, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The New Riders of the Purple Sage's "Louisiana Lady:"

TomorrowNow Inc., a vendor of third-party maintenance and support for enterprise software applications, has unveiled the newest version of its patent-pending TomorrowNow Support TechnologyT which, according to company officials, "enables the company to deliver real-time, high-quality support response services globally."

By the way, First Coffee isn't sure if that "T" on the end of the product name is supposed to be there or not, if it's a truncated "TM" or what. We'll let it go for now.

With its broad applicability, company officials say, this technology can also be used by any service organization needing "always-connected," around-the-clock emergency support. Such as, oh… yours?

TomorrowNow uses the company's proprietary technology not only to route and solve problems with clients' enterprise business applications, but also to monitor and track the routing and response system's health.

AXA's IBM CRM, Enforta WiMAX in Russia, WorkSmart.net, DIB and @task, A Little Bracketology

March 12, 2007

By David Sims

David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a CD I burned over the weekend with some White Stripes, Raveonettes, Strokes, Dropkick Murphys and New York Dolls, and with The Godfathers' great "Birth, School, Work, Death" tossed in:

Enforta's a company that's a bit out of First Coffee's usual haunts, but it's doing interesting things with WiMAX in Russia, and it was a great help back when First Coffee was reporting on that shell game of a company, GlobeTel, now delisted.

Enforta has announced that it will extend its wireless broadband network to an additional six cities during the second quarter of 2007. The additional six cities will include:  Voronezh, Lipetsk, Penza, Samara, Tula, and Yaroslavl.

The company also plans entry into eight cities during the second half of 2007.

Enforta currently operates WiMAX and pre-WiMAX networks in 18 cities, giving the company what Enforta officials claim is "the largest high-speed wireless broadband footprint in Russia."

To finance the expansion, Enforta concluded an additional round of investment with its current shareholder group plus the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

SplendidCRM, Tableau for Microsoft CRM Analysis, Nutrihand Food CRM

March 10, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Raveonettes "Whip It On:"

Tableau Software, a vendor of visual analysis software, has announced Tableau for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, described by Tableau officials as software for analyzing CRM data.

The new product, scheduled for general availability on April 17, 2007, is designed for use by information workers in all job functions and industries. Tableau for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, according to company officials, "enables people to summarize and analyze CRM data with an intuitive interface," and generates visual displays and reports.

This is the latest product from Tableau Software designed to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and be installed in minutes. It has a drag and drop interface, letting users create ad hoc pipeline analyses, sales trends, won/loss reports and others, as well as standard business performance summaries and dashboards.

There are no canned templates or charting wizards in the product.

CRM for German Travel from Worldspan, Astea and Microsoft, HotBanana Version 5.5

March 9, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Charlie Rich's sublime masterpiece, Pictures and Paintings:

Global travel technology vendor Worldspan has introduced a suite of office products for German travel agencies seeking integration of mid-office functions -- specifically combined billing administration and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Two new products, Worldspan OfficeSelect and Worldspan DataSource, both built by Bosys, offer capabilities and functionality designed to "reduce administration costs, expand agency services and increase sales," according to company officials.

Product capabilities include electronic import and processing of vital booking data.

Bosys Software GmbH is a software company specializing in the travel industry, which creates software for use by its own customers and on behalf of third parties.

Through these products, Worldspan is trying to sell agencies tools to simplify and streamline the flow of business, "from their front line agents, all the way to their back-office accounting systems," according to Hans-Gunter Korts, Worldspan regional manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Worldspan OfficeSelect is a standalone product offering advanced mid- office functionality and benefits that support agency billing, customer data management and agency marketing.

South African Mobile CRM with Kagiso, Plexus Online, Epicor and John Heathcoat, Scott at Entellium, Kintera's New CEO

March 8, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a scorching hot rendition of The Kinks' greatest song, "20th Century Man," from their double-live One For The Road album:

Epicor Software Corporation, which sells enterprise business software for the midmarket and divisions of larger companies, has announced John Heathcoat and Co. Ltd., a British precision fabric engineer, has selected the Epicor Vantage enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite.

Epicor's manufacturing product has seen double-digit growth in UK sales over the past year, according to company officials.

John Heathcoat and Co. wanted visibility of the manufacturing process across the organization, which they "were not achieving with their previous enterprise applications," Epicor officials said, adding that the company began the search for an ERP product that would have "clearer production line visibility, better stock control and more accurate delivery date quotations that would also be able to develop with them into the company's future."

"John Heathcoat and Co. found that all areas of their business were covered" by Epicor's product, said Anthony von Bergen, Regional Director of Epicor in the UK.

John Heathcoat & Company Ltd. supplies a range of apparel and high technology technical textiles to diverse markets around the world, including automotive, aviation, marine, food, medical, military, filtration, geo-textiles and protective apparel.

Didn't know there was automotive apparel, did you?

Gartner's SaaS Assessment, IBM and Genesys, ARX and Top Image, ILOG and SFR

March 7, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Willie Nelson's gospel album, The Troublemaker:

The worldwide SaaS market reached $6.3 billion in 2006 and is forecast to grow to $19.3 billion by year-end 2011, according to Gartner, Inc.

SaaS is hosted software based on a single set of common code and data definitions that are consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers, at any time, on a pay-for-use basis, or as a subscription based on usage metrics. The SaaS model is popular for CRM, among other technologies, such as human resources.

Why such success? "The dysfunction of the client/server era is driving alternative approaches to IT development, delivery and management, which SaaS is the most apparent version of," said Ben Pring, research vice president for Gartner.

SaaS adoption is broadening out from CRM and HR into new areas such as procurement and compliance management, Gartner has found.

CRM's Focus Softnet Growth, Graham Technology, Nucleus Reports on Satuit, Omikron's Patent, Genpact Buys ICE,

March 6, 2007

By David Sims

David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bob Dylan's great "Worried Blues," from The Bootleg Series, Vol. I - III:

Genpact, a vendor of business and technology services, has announced the acquisition of ICE Enterprise Solutions, a European SAP service provider established in 1996. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ICE is an SAP Services Partner, Utilities Partner, and BW/SEM Partner in the Netherlands and an SAP Partner and StreamServe Partner in Spain. The firm specializes in serving large European multinationals in the manufacturing, utilities, oil & gas, insurance, and financial services industries.

Genpact counts GE, Nissan, Wachovia, Kimberly-Clark, Genworth, Air Canada, Penske, Linde Group among its clients in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

CRM for GM from VinSolutions, BPT CRM Cert Seminars, 5square Auto CRM, VendorGuru Call Center Paper

March 5, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Beach Boys:

5square.com, which sells Sales Process Automation software to automotive dealerships, has released an automated follow-up tool, built right into the overall 5square.com Web-based system.

Company officials say the follow-up tool "greatly expands upon the previous follow-up functionality," and includes features "specifically requested by dealers to help improve prospect follow-up that to date have not been available in sales process software." 

The new tool links each lead to an automated follow-up schedule, allowing dealerships to "tailor follow-up by lead source and the reason the customer left," company officials explain. They contend such a method "ties directly into how the dealership is spending to get prospects into the store and then targets why they leave to get them back into the store."

Basically the tool is designed to force more discipline inside the store, as management can set a specific follow-up schedule which automatically enforces follow-up.

According to Manny Sousa, Director of Internet Sales at Anderson Honda in Palo Alto, CA; the #1 Honda e-dealer in the country, his dealership has increased its sales by 5-10 percent from automated follow-up alone, because, according to Sousa, it allows the sales people to concentrate on prospects that are in the market right now without abandoning prospects who may not be so high on the sales chain.

"Lots of dealers have a process in place but no guarantee a sales person will follow-up," Sousa said, adding that automatic follow-up is "like having robot sales people working for us."

When a customer leaves without making a purchase, the reason they have left is logged into the computer; conducting more research, credit challenged, bringing back spouse, etc., and a pull down menu directly links to a follow-up schedule. For instance, the credit challenged individual can be offered credit counseling services. 

The follow-up schedule is also linked to the source the lead originally came from; a newspaper ad, AAA, OEM, Web site, etc., and a schedule of follow-up events is tied to how that specific buyer behaves with a schedule of calls, tailored e-mails and letters. E-mails and letters are sent automatically with no sales person intervention.

Solid Cactus CRM Cruise, Bergera at Sage, Loyalty Concept LLC, CallMiner, Dendrite and Cegedim

March 3, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Duke Ellington's criminally overlooked Blues In Orbit:

It's Saturday, so we'll talk about stuff like this: CRM and e-commerce provider Solid Cactus has announced its second "Boot Camp," but this year there's a twist -- it'll happen at sea, July 1st to the 5th, touring the Bahamas aboard Disney Wonder from the Disney Cruise Line.

The cruise will sail from Port Canaveral, Florida. And don’t bother sending First Coffee an invite, not like I was going to be checking my mailbox daily for one anyway. I won't attend anything on a boat. Floating prisons, that's all they are.

Oracle and Hyperion Enemies - Er, Competitors' Reax, Skytide a CRM WhizKid

March 2, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Warren Zevon's great song "Accidentally Like A Martyr:"

Boy, publish a news piece about Oracle buying someone in the business intelligence industry and you almost don't have to work the next morning, people are more than happy to pitch their two cents in your cup.

I did contact a good friend at SAS to find out what they, as certainly one of the largest privately-held business intelligence (what we old-timers used to call "analytic CRM") vendor on the planet with almost $2 billion in revenue, thought.

She said the purchase certainly "raises many questions. Has consolidation in the market for business intelligence begun? Is Oracle's announcement of its planned Hyperion acquisition a BI play?

CRM Alliance Between TEC and BPT, Vertical Alliance and Kroenke, Seagull Lets CFO Go, Talisma's CIM Forum, Four Poets Day

March 1, 2007

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee dot biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is iTunes set to shuffle – current song "Butch and Butch" from Oliver Nelson's The Blues and The Abstract Truth:

If you're a devotee of contemporary poetry go ahead and bake a cake, as Robert Lowell, Howard Nemerov, Robert Hass and Richard Wilbur (as well as Ralph Ellison) were all born today -- the same day the Salem Witch Trials began in 1692.

FYI: Talisma Corporation, a vendor of what it calls Customer Interaction Management products, has announced that the CIM Forum, a non-profit business and technology consortium focused on improving online customer interactions which it sponsors along with IBM, has grown its member base to over 250 different organizations. 

Additionally, the CIM Forum is releasing the "Best Practices in E-mail Management" report, the organization's second published report since its launch last July.

The CIM Forum was formed with founding members including Epson, IBM, Microsoft, Outsell, Pitney Bowes, and Sprint.  Among the new members are organizations such as Boeing Employees Credit Union, Mazda, Salesforce.com, and The University of Notre Dame.

"The CIM Forum offers a unique opportunity to engage in a dialogue among peers and experts regarding the importance of online customer service best practices," said Allen Bonde, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Marketing of eVergance, which helps to co-manage the Forum and its research.

The "Best Practices in E-mail Management" report addresses four major areas it sees as "crucial to providing an exceptional customer experience," to wit using Web forms and links, creating specialized teams, using prepared/auto responses and managing response times.

According to recent research cited by Talisma officials, of the 93 percent of sites offering e-mail as a customer support option, only 39 percent acknowledged the receipt of customers' messages with an automated e-mail response.

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