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

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

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. Siebel Pharma, a module within Siebel Life Sciences, has account contact targeting capabilities that allow users to treat the association between an account and a contact as a single entity.  Enhancements also allow users to create departments within a hospital and affiliate physicians to them.

And of course there's also Larry Ellison's fascination with things Japanese, as his house attests.

Enhancements to Siebel Life Science's Territory Management module enable broader and more sophisticated territory definitions, company officials say, which they claim will "drive improved sales force productivity." The module also includes a feature that incorporates sales representatives' local knowledge into the territory alignment process prior to activation, minimizing rework and reducing the number of alignments executed for a sales force. 

Territory Management also includes new functionality aimed at simplifying administrative tasks and reducing the amount of data entry required from territory administrators, allowing management to focus on organizational priorities.

Siebel CRM 8 provides a configurable platform to manage, design and monitor complex clinical trials, and has additional task and rules-based capabilities and account origination.  With the product users can track all forms of communication exchanged within a site or across clinical research organizations, central laboratories and other business partners. 

Enhancements to case report tracking capabilities of Siebel Clinical, a component of Siebel Life Sciences, enable users to manage case report forms from a single site.  Another new feature within Siebel Life Sciences tracks the assignment of researchers and other personnel by date to a clinical trial and grants proper rights based on these effective dates.

During the course of a physician call, a sales representative may have a product discussion with one physician, but leave samples with and capture signatures from a different one. A new feature in Siebel Life Sciences allows representatives to quickly select a different physician and either create a new sample drop or modify the original call before it is completed.

Centric CRM, developer of Open Source Customer Relationship Management (CRM), has announced the release of Centric CRM 4.1, featuring what company officials describe as "a number of improvements that add both power and productivity to enterprise CRM."

Centric CRM 4.1 introduces Action Plans, a new tool that allows a company to establish workflow best practices, as well as expanded support for a total of eleven database systems.

Other new features and upgrades in Centric CRM 4.1 include support for both Geronimo and IBM Websphere Application Server-Community Edition J2EE application servers, a new Web Content Management System (beta) that users can use to build and manage a fully functional external Web site integrated into their CRM system.

There's also Web 2.0 collaborative capabilities, such as discussion forums and project management, and Asterisk for VoIP voice capability, which lets customer contact personnel to be notified by screen alert whenever an account calls in as well as outbound calling to account contacts at the click of an icon.

The product features portal access to account information for external customers, allowing them to access their account details, trouble tickets and project plans via the Web. And it includes certification on the entire line of IBM hardware and processors up to and including mainframes.

The Centric Public License, a "one version, one license" model, lets users freely download the entire system and use it forever, as long as the source code is not redistributed. Developers own any improvements they make. The company sells an annual maintenance contract to customers wishing professional service and support for Centric CRM.

Centric CRM in version 4.1 has Action Plans tools, which let users build, deploy and enforce best practices for specific CRM tasks such as lead management or trouble ticket resolution.

Consona Corporation, formerly known as M2M Holdings, Inc., has announced it has closed on its acquisition of Knova Software, Inc., a vendor of knowledge management and service resolution management. The all-cash transaction announced in December 2006 was valued at $5.00 per share, or approximately $47 million.

Knova is Consona’s sixth acquisition in the last eighteen months. Past acquisitions include Cimnet Systems, Inc., AXIS Computer Systems, Inc., Encompix, Inc., Intuitive Manufacturing Systems, Inc., and Onyx Software Corporation.

The acquisition effectively launches Consona CRM, the new name for the CRM-focused operating division of Consona Corporation, which now houses sister product lines Knova and Onyx CRM. Pete Strom, general manager of Consona CRM, will oversee Knova going forward. The complementary Knova and Onyx products will retain their brand identity and be sold both separately and together to new customers via a shared sales force, Consona officials say.

In his keynote address at Convergence 2007 in San Diego, Microsoft Corp.’s biannual event for Microsoft Dynamics customers, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave customers their first look at Microsoft's customer relationship management (CRM) product with a live demo of the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM service.

The Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM service is powered by the upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, code-named Titan, which uses the same multitenant code base to deliver both on-premise and Software as a Service deployments, and allows customers to choose from different deployment models.

Microsoft hopes the Titan release will be seen positively by Microsoft’s global value-added resellers, independent vendors, hosting providers and system integrators. Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, claimed that Titan will let Microsoft's partners deliver product across "on-premise, Live CRM and partner-hosted environments."

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