By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Marshall Tucker Band’s eponymous debut album:
Mail2World, a vendor of hosted e-mail and collaboration products, has announced the launch of 28 new contacts management features in the company’s enterprise-class hosting platform.
The updated, on-demand contacts application joins Mail2World’s lineup of hosted products, including e-mail, calendar, file cabinet, notes, tasks, RSS reader, favorites, SMS and more. Company officials say the new feature release “completes Mail2World’s design objectives for contacts and tightens integration of contacts with the company’s e-mail, calendar, notes and tasks applications.”
With integration of new contacts features with other applications within its e-mail service, Mail2World has created a system which, company officials say, lets users organize and access their company and personal contacts online and wirelessly, share them with colleagues or publish them for global sharing -- all from a single place.
To help keep contacts current, users can request contact information updates directly from their contacts via e-mail, and the new information is automatically inserted into the users’ contacts list for future reference.
Mail2World Executive Vice President and COO Youssef Abed said he believes the upgrade is going to be “especially well received by our target market of entrepreneurs, sales people and employees in small businesses who want to enhance their CRM capabilities without the commitment to expensive CRM software.”
Oracle has announced plans to launch the new Oracle 11g database during the September 2007 GITEX information technology trade show in Dubai, according to Middle East news sources.
In addition to the launch of Oracle Database 11g, GITEX visitors will also learn more about the latest trends in customer relationship management (CRM) products as part of Oracle’s acquisition of Siebel, and get a closer look at the Oracle E-Business Suite as well as the most recent enhancements to Oracle’s business intelligence and software development products.
From now until GITEX, a number of businesses across the Middle East will be taking part in the beta testing phase of the Oracle 11g rollout, and from September 8-12, decision-makers from both the government and private sectors will get their first public look at the latest release.
Dana Murugan, senior marketing director for Oracle Middle East and Africa, said the Oracle Database 11g is suited for “changes with the industry’s highest degree of automation and system availability.”
According to Gartner’s latest report, Oracle leads the worldwide relational database management systems software market with 47.1 per cent of the market share.
Oracle offers a wide range of options to extend the power of Oracle Database 11g to meet specific requirements in the areas of performance and availability, security and compliance, data warehousing, manageability and integration of unstructured data. The vendor is a popular CRM, supply chain management, and human capital management applications vendor in the Middle East.
Interested in free CRM? DataForceCRM, an on-demand CRM vendor, has released their newest CRM version, loaded with sales force automation powered by Ajax CRM software technology.
Jim Romano, DataForce CRM CEO, said with CRM Version 2, “our new partnership with Zimbra inside has taken our CRM product to a new level of collaboration and communication.”
DataForce CRM has 2 versions: Silver Electronics Edition for electronics components and semiconductor companies and a Bronze CRM version, described by Romano as “highly functional for all companies from mortgage, insurance, financial and manufacturing.”
Intelliworks, a vendor of customer relationship management (CRM) products for higher education, has announced the appointment of Todd Gibby as its new chief executive officer. Gibby brings more than fifteen years of management experience, including seven years as a senior executive at Blackboard Inc., and active Intelliworks board participation to this role.
Dev Ganesan, the former president and CEO, will assume the role of company chairman.
Gibby takes on the CEO role when the company has launched, Orion, an on-demand CRM product for higher education institutions. During the past two years, Intelliworks doubled the company’s customer base, opened markets in Europe and Asia, and developed the infrastructure to support a multi-tenant SaaS model.
Gibby will work with Ganesan and the management team to scale operations, introduce new products to market, and build meaningful relationships with clients and partners.
A study by PMP Research into customer relationship management systems, commissioned by the U.K.’s Evaluation Centre, shows that many companies are still struggling to extract the full benefits from their investments.
The largest number of companies, 42 percent, have only been “partially successful” with their CRM systems and have achieved “limited benefits for the business.” A further 11 percent have seen “no major benefits” and four percent say their implementations have been “very unsuccessful.”
But on the flip side, 37 percent think the business has seen “some clear benefits” and four percent view their CRM system as being “very successful” and delivering “all the benefits sought.”
The high level of dissatisfaction is exacerbated by the fact that the respondents believe having an effective customer relationship strategy is now more essential than three years ago. It is seen as “much more important” by 44 percent of companies and “slightly more important” by 39 percent. No respondent thought it “less important.”
However, only 30 percent of companies interviewed regularly measure their CRM system against agreed criteria to determine if the expected benefits are being achieved. A further 33 percent say they are planning to measure, 11 percent have only measured once after the initial implementation and 13 percent have never tried to measure the benefits.
This suggests, as the study authors say, that “judgment as to the degree of success of a CRM system is often made on subjective grounds rather than quantitative information.”
For those companies who do regularly measure the effectiveness of their CRM implementation, the major criteria are mainly customer-centric with increased customer satisfaction levels (69 percent) and an increased number of retained customers (69 percent) being the key metrics. Not far behind is the amount of new business generated (63 percent) while cost savings is seen as significant by 50 percent of respondents.
But companies are certainly not giving up on CRM, according to PMP’s findings. Over three-quarters (78 percent) report that they are currently making changes and additions to their implementations in order to realise more of the benefits they originally sought, or say they plan to do so shortly. Just 11 percent have ruled out further improvements completely.