By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers’ Moanin’:
It looks like Microsoft is finally serious about offering its CRM as a hosted product, as they’ve announced the launch is set for later this quarter — for North America at least. The rest of the world can wait.
It’ll be called Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM, and the professional version is slated to start at $44 per user per month, and close to $60 for the enterprise version, available next April.
Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, said the Professional Edition, which will basically be the Titan software, is free through the end of this year; it will cost $39 per user per month during 2008 and settle in at $44, with an early access release shipping by October.
At the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2007 in Denver, however, company officials threw Europe a sop, saying its ERP software aimed at smaller businesses, Dynamics Entrepreneur Solution, will be rolled out in Europe first before its global availability, according to industry observer China Martens
“The software will provide smaller organizations with finance, purchasing and sales and marketing software. It’s aimed at companies employing up to 49 staff and tops out at five concurrent users,” Barb Edson, director, Microsoft Dynamics said, in Martens’ words.
The CRM product, coming from Microsoft’s Business Solutions unit, is actually based on the next version of its packaged CRM application, code-named Titan, which is due to ship in the fourth quarter, according to industry observer Marc Songini
Songini cited Michael Maoz, an analyst at Gartner, who opined that Microsoft’s late entry into the hosted CRM business and “lack of add-on products from third-party vendors” could “prove fatal to its effort to enter the market,” in Songini’s words.
Maoz is quoted as saying the service “has only a slight chance of succeeding,” with Songini noting that Microsoft will initially be fully dependent on its partners to sell the service, while direct rival and field leader Salesforce.com has strong direct sales.
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Salentica Systems, a vendor of Client Management products based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0, has announced the launch of a hosted version of its suite of CRM products for financial services, Salentica FASTRAK.
The new offering is aimed at the market for client management for wealth management firms, financial product wholesalers, insurance and institutional brokers. Such firms can access the capabilities of the on-premise product on an expedited and hosted basis. This on-demand service has been designed to meet the needs of the many small and medium-sized financial services firms who don’t want the expense of managing their own systems internally.
Built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salentica’s hosted products are meant to reduce configuration and customization, resulting in faster start-up. Salentica FASTRAK offers several options, ranging from an out-of-the-box, single application to fully configurable single or multi tenant scalable modules.
Bill Rourke, President of Salentica, said with continued merger activity and the need for global flexibility, “financial services firms are seeking on-demand products with custom delivery to end users.” As demand increases, Rourke promised “our entire suite of products will be available on a Salentica FASTRAK basis.”
Salentica FASTRAK is run from a Tier 1, SAS 70 Certified data center, with fully redundant power and network capabilities.
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Northern Schools Federal Credit Union has selected Open Solutions Inc.’s relational core data processing platform, The Complete Credit Union Solution, as well as the vendor’s cView CRM/business intelligence product, voice response, Consumer Loan Origination and Online ATM/Debit Cards.
Based in Fairbanks, Alaska, Northern Schools FCU has approximately $85 million in assets, four branches and 12,377 members. Mike Lombardino, CEO of Northern Schools FCU, said the Open Solutions products are expected to help the institution “further break into the commercial market.”
Northern Schools FCU cited the comprehensiveness and breadth of Open Solution’ platform as key factors in the credit union’s decision, with officials saying it would “help our credit union automate many of our manual processes and decrease our time to market with new products and services.”
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At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, vendor ExactTarget has announced partnerships with 20 of the largest worldwide Microsoft Value Added Resellers. ExactTarget, a vendor of on-demand email software for permission-based e-mail marketing launched its integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM in March.
The integration was designed to enable marketers to create, deliver and track e-mail marketing campaigns based on customer data. The VAR partnerships announced let ExactTarget expand its customer base by offering mutual referral agreements, as well as co-marketing and sales support.
Peter McCormick, co-founder and Vice President of Partnerships at ExactTarget, said the integration of ExactTarget and Microsoft Dynamics CRM is intended to create a database of customer information that organizations can use for e-mail marketing.
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Strategy Companion Corporation, a vendor of Analyzer CRM and other business intelligence software for the SQL Server platform, has released Analyzer 2007.
Analyzer 2007 is designed to let stakeholders have the right information at the right time by letting them build analytical reports with interactive charts, pivot tables and other components using an intuitive interface. Within a single browser instance, users can work on reports, scorecards and dashboards using simple drag-and-drop.
The new product provides on-line analytical processing, key performance indicator management, Dynamic Reporting and Ad-hoc Query tools, while incorporating advanced analytics and visualization capabilities. These include heat maps and funnel, radar, box plot and histogram charts, multiple reports with multiple sheets, advanced filtering, faster performance and a new look and design.
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Salesforce.com has announced that Standard Life Bank has standardized on Salesforce for Financial Services. The retail bank is using the multi-tenant Salesforce product to create a single profile of UK financial intermediaries within its retail banking business.
As a result, the company is increasing intermediary visibility, sales productivity and effectiveness, and delivering a more consistent and rewarding service experience, while simultaneously sharing information across the greater Standard Life Group business units.
“We concluded from our extensive feasibility studies that the Salesforce system was easiest to adopt and offered the greatest degree of flexibility and customization capabilities,” said Jackie Moran, head of sales, Standard Life Bank.
The Salesforce system’s design is “similar to that of consumer Web sites, such as amazon.com, which makes the navigation and layout instantly recognizable, and as a result, has helped to expedite user adoption,” Moran said.