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

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

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.

The integration among the Microsoft products eliminates the need to input customer information more than once, and advisors can also access meeting notes, sales reports, forecasts and other customer data via a single, customized onscreen dashboard. Because hey, even financial brokers like things nice 'n' easy.

Raymond James officials also cited Microsoft's "investment in this area of business software," to the point where company officials were convinced that Microsoft Dynamics CRM "would eventually become the de facto standard in business CRM."

Yes, Raymond James is the name of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' stadium, the one with the cannon that fires after a Buccaneers touchdown. Cannon was pretty quiet last season.

Sophos, a vendor of IT security and control, has announced that CDC Software, a wholly owned subsidiary of CDC Corporation whose product suite includes the Pivotal CRM, c360 CRM add-on products and development tools for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform, has selected Sophos to "protect all tiers of its network against viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, adware, potentially unwanted applications and hackers," according to Sophos company officials.

As CDC Software has numerous locations globally, the decision to consolidate at the endpoint with Sophos Anti-Virus was made partly in an effort to ensure that all worldwide locations receive the same level of protection.

For the next three years, up to 2,000 CDC Software employees will be protected against viruses, spyware, adware and potentially unwanted applications at the endpoint with Sophos Anti-Virus. Additionally, PureMessage will disinfect and/or quarantine viruses, spyware, Trojans and worms in both incoming and outgoing e-mail.

CDC products are used by more than 6,000 customers worldwide within the manufacturing, financial services, health care, home building, real estate, and wholesale and retail distribution industries. CDC Software is the enterprise software unit of China-based CDC Corporation.

Captivate Network, which describes itself as a "digital at-work news and entertainment network," has announced Sheri Taylor Gilchrist as the vice president of Marketing and Programming. She will oversee the marketing, public relations and on-air programming for Captivate Network.

Prior to joining Captivate, Gilchrist worked at Harte-Hanks as senior vice president, CRM Strategy and Business Development. Her responsibilities included providing CRM strategy thought leadership for clients and prospects, as well as managing the growth and cultivation of new business pursuits with long selling cycles.

Happy birthday, Quentin Tarantino. Note to self: Must see Reservoir Dogs some day.

IBM and 3Com Corporation have announced what officials from both firms are calling "the industry's first product to integrate IP telephony with e-mail, messaging and core business process applications on a single, secure platform."

The System i Integrated Collaboration is described by IBM officials as featuring "unified communications capabilities to help customers increase productivity, lower costs and streamline operations." Because it runs on a single System i, IBM officials say, "it is easier and less expensive to manage than competitive Windows-based, multi-server offerings."

The Integrated Collaboration product builds on the System i IP Telephony product IBM and 3Com produced last November. It uses open standards such as Session Initiation Protocol to create a platform for innovation by enabling the 3Com VCX system to be "more easily integrated with collaboration and business applications running on the System I," IBM officials say.

IBM and 3Com officials say they have seen "substantial interest" from the community of System i product-providers and business partners.

IBM and 3Com expect to work with over 100 independent product vendors to integrate their applications with the new product. IBM officials give the example of iMessaging Systems, Inc., an ISV which provides a native System i IP telephony integration product by enabling its iNspire product with SIP. System i customers and ISVs use iNspire to integrate business applications and telephony even more easily to provide intelligent call routing, screen pops and interactive voice response.

CRM application provider Vacava used iMessaging's iNspire product to sell Vacava Customer Care -- a telephony and call center-enabled product requiring minimal effort to implement. Other ISVs planning to bring their application to the System i Integrated Collaboration product include Touchtone Corporation, RJS Software Systems, Inc. and KMR Systems.

Roland Corporation U.S., a manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments, recently selected the System i Integrated Collaboration product to improve its customer service to the music stores and consumers it supports, integrating IP Telephony with Roland's ERP applications.

The System i IP Telephony Contact Center is being marketed to departments that receive high telephone call volumes, such as help desks, with built-in features using business logic to route calls to an appropriately-skilled agent and then provide screen pop" with application data such as previous contact or business history.

Tigerpaw Software, Inc., which sells CRM and professional service automation software, has expanded its Training and Education division and plans to open a new, larger training facility on April 16. Company officials say the facility, designed to accommodate live instruction and hands-on lab training for Tigerpaw CRM+, will expand class capacity by 50 percent and will be incorporate new staff and course offerings.

The facility will be located in a new building addition adjacent to the company's Bellevue, Nebraska headquarters. In addition to live training labs, Tigerpaw offers instructional videos and Webinars, delivered on demand via the Internet.

Tigerpaw Software develops CRM, service automation, and inventory control software, and claims "more than 10,000 users worldwide." Tigerpaw CRM+ is the recipient of the 2005 and 2006 Customer Interaction Solutions Product of the Year Award, the 2006 CRM Excellence Award.

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