Customer Connect CRM, Sage and van Toor, CIQ/Voisys and AFS, Selektpoints in Dubai, Astea Results

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David Sims
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Customer Connect CRM, Sage and van Toor, CIQ/Voisys and AFS, Selektpoints in Dubai, Astea Results

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a sturdy classic, the eponymous San Francisco acid rock masterpiece It's A Beautiful Day:

From the CRM cutting-edge hotbed of Cornelius, North Carolina comes the announcement from Customer Connect Associates of their partnership with Profit Technologies for what Customer Connect says is an "improved implementation of their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system."

A longtime user, Profit Technologies has evidently "engaged Customer Connect to help them maximize their value and optimize their CRM processes." Customer Connect will "help them develop a new approach for account and prospect management," says Customer Connect president Geoff Ables.

Founded in 2000, Customer Connect Associates markets their LUCK process for "creating more profitable relationships." Clients include Travelocity, SAS, LandAmerica, AMF and BB&T.

Sage Software, the North American operations of the Sage Group, plc , have announced that David van Toor has been named General Manager for Sage SalesLogix and Sage CRM operations in North America.

In his new role, van Toor will work closely with Joe Bergera, GM of Global CRM, on the company's plans for selling Sage SalesLogix and Sage CRM both as standalone systems and as elements for business systems for the North American market.

"We've been successful building a strong standalone CRM business in North America," said Jim Foster, Sage Executive Vice President of Mid-Market Business Units.

Prior to taking this job van Toor was General Manager for the Sage PFW and Sage BusinessWorks product lines, and was most recently working on the company's cross-product business initiatives focusing on CRM.

And before joining Sage van Toor was Managing Director of an Australian business software company where he was an early promoter of integrated operational and CRM systems.

We're doing well on place names this morning, in addition to Cornelius, North Carolina we have Clearwater, Florida and Carefree, Arizona-based CIQ, Inc. /Voisys and AFS Software announcing their collaboration on a new CRM product "designed around the needs of CIQ Inc/Voisys' dealership client base," according to CIQ/Voisys officials.

The collaboration uses AFS' proprietary CRM processes developed over the last two decades, together with CIQ /Voisys' market presence in over 2,000 dealerships nationwide. The result is "CustomerIQ," a CRM product and service suite which officials of both companies say provides CIQ Inc. /Voisys clients with lead management, showroom control, and BDC capabilities.

CustomerIQ is designed to integrate lead management and CRM for a dealership into a single database. It can import leads from CIQ Inc. /Voisys, as well as from other Internet providers, the dealership DMS (sales and service), call tracking systems, manufacturer leads, and even from other CRM systems.

Most CRM products rely upon daisy-chaining events together, CIQ/Voisys officials say, a setup where "the system users must set and complete each contact in order to set the next one. If at any time the chain is broken, the process fails."

CustomerIQ is oriented towards processes, where a full regimen of contacts, mail and e-mail is scheduled over the next several years, and daisy-chains can be created out of that process at any point. However, in the event that a chain is broken, the balance of the process continues as scheduled, CIQ/Voisys officials explain.

"A good percentage of our clients have no CRM product in place to receive their Internet leads. Couple this with the fact that according to industry statistics, the majority of dealerships feel that their CRM solution is under performing, and it points to a real need for a new product," said Michael Snider, National Sales Manager CIQ Inc. /Voisys.

Byron Short, President of AFS,  said by partnering with CIQ, "we expect to reach more markets, much sooner than we could otherwise."

You know, First Coffee's been watching the Cricket World Cup a lot -- it's not like Fox Sports overseas exactly has broadcast rights to the Final Four -- and it's actually a simple game with complex rules.  It's as simple as baseball, really, but with much deeper strategy. Pitch, bat, catch, run, defend the wicket, anybody can understand what's going on watching a match for half an hour with someone knowledgeable about the sport, yet there are strategic calculations on every pitch.

CRM and other business software vendor Astea International has released its fourth quarter and year-end financial results for fiscal 2006. For the quarter ended December 31, 2006, Astea reported revenues of $5.7 million which was 8 percent greater than revenues of $5.3 million for the same period in 2005.

Net loss for the quarter was $713,000 or ($.20) per share, compared to a net loss of $701,000 or ($.20) per share for the same period in 2005.

For the 2006 fiscal year, the company reported revenues of $20.3 million and a net loss of $5.0 million or $1.40 per share, compared to revenues of $22.2 million and a net income of $1.2 million or $.39 per share for the 2005 fiscal year. License revenues decreased 43 percent from 2005 and service and maintenance revenues increased 12 percent.

The company has concluded that the accounting relating to a 2004 contract with a customer of our United Kingdom subsidiary was incorrect. As such, company officials say, they "will restate its financial statements for 2004, 2005 and the first three quarters of 2006." The company's Form 10-K, which was filed today, reflects the restated results.

National Bank of Dubai has announced a partnership with selektpoints, a vendor of EMV loyalty products, offering a coalition program for consumer, merchants and Landlord Banks. NBD officials say they wish to "reward customers who use their Smart cards at select merchant establishments in the UAE and the region."

Using the latest EMV chip technology, NBD officials claim this is the first such program of its kind in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Selektpoints, launched globally in February 2007 by The International Investor, specializes in providing regional and international banks and retailers with chip-based loyalty programs. As a result of this partnership, NBD will become the exclusive Landlord Bank for selektpoints in the UAE, and will be responsible for inducting other merchant establishments in the UAE into the program.

Selektpoints will use the EMV smart chip embedded in cards to ensure customers are automatically rewarded every time their payment card is used at participating merchant outlets. The accumulated reward points can be redeemed for products and services.

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