SugarCRM's New Portal, Talisma's CIM 8.0, Kapow and Siebel CRM, Vazzana at Xterprise, RetiCorp, CDC and Vectra

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SugarCRM's New Portal, Talisma's CIM 8.0, Kapow and Siebel CRM, Vazzana at Xterprise, RetiCorp, CDC and Vectra

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Surfaris' immortal "Wipe Out:"

This week, at its first-ever Global Developer Conference, SugarCRM Inc., a provider of commercial open source customer relationship management (CRM) software, will announce the availability of Customer Self-Service Portal and Knowledgebase for Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise customers. 

"CRM is moving beyond the four walls of the enterprise," said John Roberts, CEO of SugarCRM, adding that a Customer Self-Service Portal and Knowledgebase "give companies the ability to expose key elements of their CRM to customers to serve them more effectively and at a lower cost." 

The portal is being pitched as providing self-service capabilities to customers and prospects for key marketing, sales and support activities. The new functionality includes case self-service, where customers can log cases, upload relevant information, and track cases to resolution without ever having to pick up a phone, as well as account updates, which allows customers to update account, contact, billing and shipping address information in one single location.

There's also a knowledge search for customers to search for resolutions, with access to FAQs written and managed within SugarCRM, and "Sugar Studio Integration," where customizations are managed within Sugar Studio for easy layout changes, custom fields, history and revision tracking.

SugarCRM officials say there is also a Wikified user interface for managing non-technical content, including posting, linking, editing and deleting content, supplemented with workflow approvals so the content staging process includes managerial review for posting of new content; includes audit tracking for revision.

The new portal will be available in mid May. SugarCRM will post pricing details later this week.

Talisma Corporation, a vendor of Customer Interaction Management (CIM) products, has announced the release of Talisma CIM 8.0, the latest version of their customer service, sales, and support suite. 

Talisma CIM 8.0 includes "many updates," company officials promise, with the most significant, in the company's opinion, being the addition of "proactive capabilities in the two new CIM products Talisma Campaign and Talisma VoIP, and the existing Talisma Chat."

Talisma Campaign, a multi-channel management and tracking application, lets businesses provide a more personalized customer experience -- the product's Real-Time Offer Engine sends customers tailored offers, either directly online or via a customer service agent, that reflect their profile, historical data, and current activity on a Web site. 

Businesses using Talisma Campaign should be able to cut down a bit on inbound e-mails and telephone calls by alerting customers of product updates, billing notifications, and profile updates. 

With the addition of Talisma VoIP companies now have the ability to offer Web site visitors instant access to a live agent through Voice over Internet Protocol technology. By using voice communication, company officials maintain, businesses will be able to "expand their global reach, and customers will only have to click a button on the site to establish a voice connection with an agent directly through their computer."

Additionally, when using Talisma VoIP combined with other CIM channels such as chat or Web collaboration in more complex service engagements, the customer experience is further elevated. 

John Ragsdale, Vice President of Research for the SSPA, in a comment sure to warm the cockles of Talisma's heart, said "I would go so far as to say that Talisma's product is elegant."

Kapow Technologies has announced that Switzerland-based Sita, a vendor of IT and communications products and services to the air transport industry, has deployed the Kapow Mashup Server to integrate various applications, including Siebel CRM, into a single portal.

By using Kapow Technologies' Visual Scripting approach, the company was able to build enterprise mashups a lower time and cost than using traditional integration methods, Kapow officials say.

The portal integration project arose when Sita decided to merge its IT and communications divisions out of a need to centralize access and communication points for Sita's customers. So two existing Siebel CRM applications were combined, in addition to integrating data from other enterprise applications.

The Kapow Mashup Server is a Java-based product that supports all leading operating systems, databases, and key Internet and Web 2.0 protocols.

Xterprise Incorporated, a vendor of High-Definition Supply Chain products, has named CRM veteran Richard Vazzana, current vice president of Global Teleweb at Novell and former vice president of global customer relationship management for IBM's Business Transformational Outsourcing Practice, to its Board of Directors.

Vazzana has thirty years' technology industry experience with IBM in various executive sales positions. His focus has been in customer relationship management (CRM), business transformation outsourcing, and order-to-fulfillment technology products and development.

Taiwan-based RetiCorp, vendor of a Unified Threat Management product, has teamed up with TheGreenBow Security Software to offer enterprise customers a VPN product offering remote CRM access.

TheGreenBow, an editor of desktop and laptop enterprise security software headquartered in France, has provided its OEM VPN technology for RetiCorp new IPSec VPN Client to be deployed with RetiCorp RetiEdge E-Series, a gateway appliance that integrates IPS, Anti-Virus, VPN, and Firewall mechanisms to protect the network against external attacks.

TheGreenBow IPSec VPN Client and RetiEdge E-Series allow remote workers to access corporate network, corporate emails, CRM applications on the road or from home.

It also provides full IPSec and IKE support, network authentication, network encryption through DES, 3DES, AES and RSA, support for multiple connection types like dial-up, DSL, Cable, GSM/GPRS and Wi-Fi and multiple connection modes.

CDC Software, a wholly owned subsidiary of CDC Corporation and a provider of CRM and other business apps, has announced the acquisition of a majority interest in Vectra Corporation, a vendor of information security consulting services, managed services and enterprise security.

The acquisition is described by CDC officials as "a strategic fit into Praxa Australia, CDC Software's consulting services company in Australia, because as they see it, the move "significantly strengthens CDC Software's position in the IT Security and Services market in the region."

With operations headquartered in Adelaide and offices in Sydney and Singapore, Vectra sells information security services, managed services, outsourcing services and enterprise products to customers in Banking, Financial Services, Automotive and State and Federal Government Departments.

John Clough, chairman of Praxa, said the acquisition of Vectra "enables us to broaden our offerings with complementary services and products."

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