By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the eponymous debut album from Emerson, Lake & Palmer:
The phrase "that's a slam dunk" for business software just took on a deeper meaning. The NBA team Portland Trail Blazers has selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0, sending their Onyx system to the bench.
Seeing as how the Trail Blazers are owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the only real surprise is that they hadn't switched to Microsoft tools before now.
The Portland Trail Blazers' IT team expects the new system to play a critical role as the organization shifts to serving a more demographically diverse range of customers due to the recent repurchasing of the team's home facility, the Portland Rose Garden.
The franchise chose to replace its existing Onyx CRM system with Microsoft's customer relationship management system to help manage and maintain relationships with not only its core of basketball fans, but concertgoers and attendees of many other types of events as well. Integrated with Microsoft Office Outlook — next you'll be telling me they use Microsoft Word too — Microsoft Dynamics CRM has the same look and feel as Outlook, "overcoming user training and acceptance issues right from the start," Trail Blazers officials say.
"In the end it all comes down to how much we know about our customers," said Chris Dill, chief information officer with the Portland Trail Blazers. "And the more we know about our customers, the more we're able to renew current customers or up-sell customers or sub-segment our sales messages to sell based on the customers' preferences."
Intelliworks, Inc., a customer relationship management (CRM) vendor working the higher education market, has announced what company officials are calling its "next generation CRM platform called Orion."
Built from the ground up as a pure Web-based on-demand product, Orion CRM is, Intelliworks officials claim, "the first multi-tenant Software as a Service (SaaS) product designed specifically for higher education."
Company officials say Orion is "a balanced constellation" (get it?) of "a rich user experience, the most user-friendly and elegant user interface in higher education."
There's zero installed software, the product requires nothing to be installed on campus or on any user's computer. It can be implemented in hours as opposed to months and
"Orion answers the cries of higher education institutions for simplification and provides a more fluid way to accomplish marketing and recruiting activities," said Dev Ganesan, President and CEO of Intelliworks.
"It is easy and quick to try; you can load your data and send your campaigns out very quickly. All this can be done at an incredibly low cost, low risk, and frankly, low commitment."
As a vertically-focused Enterprise 2.0 product, Orion "embodies the principles of Salesforce.com and Facebook offerings by incorporating simplicity, collaboration, and a rich user experience into the DNA of its architecture," said Anirban Chakrabarti, Vice President of Product Marketing for Intelliworks.
"SaaS products have gained great exposure within the larger business community over the last year," said Catherine Burdt, senior analyst at Eduventures, Inc. "Higher education institutions of all sizes can also benefit from the low cost of ownership, rich user experience and less system downtime that comes from this software model. As companies target the higher education space, products that are tailored to meet the CRM, marketing and communication needs of this space will thrive."
More details about Orion's features and pricing will be available at launch this summer.
CoreTrac, Inc., provider of ResourceOne, a CRM/Sales Force Automation product architected specifically for community financial institutions, has announced additional financial institutions and one additional data center have selected ResourceOne to manage client relationships.
Those institutions are First Choice Bank of Geneva, Illinois, Vantage Point Bank (in organization) of Ambler, Pennsylvania, Delmarva Data Center of Easton, Maryland, OBA Federal Savings Bank of Germantown, Maryland, Heritage Community Credit Union of Sacramento and Wainwright Bank and Trust Company of Boston.
Alan Buhler, VP Sales & Marketing, CoreTrac, calls the new customers "truly representative of this market, with institutions across the country ranging in asset size from $15 million to over $7 billion in assets."
Gotta love the name Pageflakes. Etelos and Pageflakes have announced an alliance to bring Etelos CRM to Pageflakes' users.
The alliance lets businesses "set up and use a complete business CRM system at no cost," according to officials of both firms. Many businesses already use Pageflakes’ Pagecasting capabilities for business collaboration, and Pageflakes was named a “Cool Vendor in Web 2.0, 2007” by Gartner.
Combined with Etelos’ new CRM Flakes, users can now set up a CRM tool with functionality such as project management, task management and reporting, group e-mail and more.
Pageflakes lets businesses promote their goods or services through public Pagecasts (Web pages) that they can easily configure and publish.
"Partnering with Etelos brings a new dimension of sophisticated CRM functionality to our new and existing Pageflakes business users," Pageflakes co-founder Ole Brandenburg says. "A business can now set up a system to manage contacts, generate reports, track new leads and perform other important management tasks at no cost, in addition to using Pageflakes to track news, projects, internal discussions, and perform other business tasks."
"We are excited about this announcement because it allows us to showcase the flexibility and power of Etelos CRM to Pageflakes business users," Etelos CEO Danny Kolke said, adding that the alliance "largely signifies the end of implementation costs for business software… the end user can now accomplish what once required a senior-level Web developer."
Atlanta-based Client Profiles, a vendor of CRM, case management and financial applications for the legal profession, has announced the acquisition of the CRM Consulting Practice of Lynch Marks. This practice is a consulting and implementation team for law practice CRM systems.
Since 1998, Lynch Marks CRM consultants have specialized in CRM implementation and consulting services, providing CRM technology selection, application development and execution of CRM implementation plans and projects, CRM data cleansing, validation and integration, training, and ongoing best practices support.
The Lynch Marks Consulting Practice claims CRM implementations and consulting projects with over 45 percent of the Am Law 200 law firms.
Following the acquisition of the CRM consulting team by Client Profiles, the Lynch Marks organization will tighten their focus on the Datalyser conversion technologies, as well as, the rapidly growing PS\Ship software group.
The relationship will allow Client Profiles to incorporate the Datalyser products and services as part of the Microsoft CRM4Legal product implementations. CRM4Legal is an Outlook-based client relationship management system for law firms built on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform.