By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a Rolling Stones iTunes shuffle:
Independent market analyst Datamonitor has released a report titled Decision Matrix: Selecting a CRM Vendor, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of leading CRM vendors. The report, estimating that global enterprise spend on CRM application licenses will hit $6.6 billion by 2013, finds that Oracle and SAP will continue to rule the roost… and that of the two, Oracle is the market leader.
“Although the CRM applications market is very competitive and there are plenty of players who can challenge the current leaders in specific circumstances, only two vendors, Oracle and SAP, can be considered as market leaders,” says Vuk Trifkovi, technology analyst at Datamonitor and author of the report.
Datamonitor has developed a methodology they call “Decision Matrix,” billed as “helping businesses select vendors based on their technology strength, reputation among customers, and impact in the market,” according to company officials. Conclusions are “based on a quantitative assessment of end user sentiment, the capabilities of the business intelligence products on offer and technology features.”
According to Datamonitor, both Oracle and SAP provide complete products replete with functionality, integrate CRM with new communication technologies and offer full flexibility of deployment options, from conventional on-premise, through to variations of hosted and on-demand products.
Having augmented its CRM product line through the acquisition of Siebel and PeopleSoft, Datamonitor notes, Oracle now commands an “incredible” portfolio of CRM products. The report finds that, “if executed well, Oracle’s ambitious maintenance and development roadmap should ensure a market leadership position.”
Oracle’s CRM offering will be “improved both through incremental best-of-breed feature cross-fertilization and its ambitious project of re-engineering completely new product based on its Fusion platform,” says Trifkovi.
The report finds that Chordiant, Infor, and Salesforce.com all offer good products, but lack certain elements to compete consistently with the leading duo. It says this group of the market will become more competitive if Microsoft’s forthcoming Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 release is a success, or if vendors such as RightNow Technologies and Consona improve their standing.
“CRM vendors whose products can support a long-term strategic approach to customer relationship strategies based on nurturing relationships with the customer instead on focusing on the transaction itself, will be in a strong position” concludes Trifkovi.
Promero has announced successful completion of beta testing and the production enhancement of ProStar CRM’s power dialer feature.
ProStar CRM users will have the ability to load prospect lists or create prospect lists based on filters within the CRM. Once the Call Project is created, CRM users use the power dialer’s Click-To-Talk feature to process calls more rapidly. Sales agents that call B2B prospects can make more calls in less time, company officials say.
Different than a Predictive Dialer, traditionally used for B2C (Business to Consumer) applications where the dialer is making hundreds of calls searching for a live person, power dialing is used to contact businesses that have high contact rates.
Promero’s introductory rate for the hosted system is $29 per user per month plus long distance.
Here’s a story that obviously needs more personal research, so we’ll petition the First Coffee travel department for the necessary vouchers: EWinery Solutions, a vendor of direct-to-consumer products for the wine industry, has reached an agreement with Australia-based interactive marketing agency Joss Media where Joss will be the Australia and New Zealand licensing agent for eWinery’s Content Management System (CMS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), eCommerce, and Wine Club Management tools.
EWinery’s clientele includes a diverse selection of wineries, from small boutique brands to some of the largest wine companies in the world. The company also provides commercial services to a number of third-party wine retailers, including publications, gourmet retailers and non-profits.
Richard Kline, President and CEO of eWinery, said the appointment of Joss Media is a step towards “building our brand presence throughout Australia and New Zealand. The economics of the direct-to-consumer model are extremely compelling.”
Kline expects the Internet to play “a strategic role” in the growth of the Australian wine industry through 2025, citing information from the Winemakers Federation of Australia and the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation.
Jason Neave, a partner at Joss, said before they licensed the platform, they had planned for their developers to build a product from scratch, but “eWinery offers five times the functionality at a fifth of the cost of that development. It’s an old cliché, but we just decided there was no point in trying to reinvent the wheel.”
Joss is already working with a number of Australian wineries. According to Sam Jeffries, a partner at Joss, the technology itself is “only part of the equation. It’s about helping wineries use the Web as a cost-effective medium that gets back to marketing basics.”
Josephine Rozman, CEO of Blue Pyrenees Estate and a Joss Media client, explains the CRM benefits of the eWinery product by saying “the benefit goes far beyond being able to sell our wine online. Customers usually want to hear from us — our e-mails remind them of a nice experience, and the online cellar door gives them the chance to replenish their stocks on impulse. Wine tourism is a big growth area and I think direct sales will follow — we expect our new site to play a large part in capitalizing on that growth.”
EWinery Solutions V3.0 offers a direct-to-consumer product for the wine industry. The company’s SaaS platform features a Content Management System, e-mail communication and tracking tools, wine club management, and an e-commerce platform designed to help wineries sell more wine online. Promotional tools and a CRM package are included.
SpeechCycle, a vendor of on-demand, voice self-service products, has announced LevelOne Foundation for automating customer care calls. Company officials call it “an extension of SpeechCycle’s LevelOne on-demand product suite of natural language-based speech recognition products for Internet, video and digital phone subscribers.”
LevelOne Foundation extends SpeechCycle’s dialog experience to wireless and satellite companies, vendors of Internet-enabled consumer electronics and gaming devices, as well as hardware and software manufacturers that provide phone-based technical support.
The product can be used for troubleshooting complex issues. Call paths are similar to call center agent diagnostics once a symptom is recognized. Callers proceed at their own paces, with an ability to reach a call center agent at any time. LevelOne products typically consider the full scope of the caller’s environment, troubleshooting a specific device or service as well as related equipment or issues that may be at the root cause of the problem.
LevelOne Foundation is built on SpeechCycle’s Speech 3.0 technology and is deployed as an on-demand service.
Epicor Software has announced enhanced bi-directional integration with the newest release of the Microsoft Office Enterprise Project Management Solution, an end-to-end collaborative project and portfolio management environment.
The integration lets Epicor customers use the extended project and portfolio capabilities of the Office EPM family of products. This includes Project Portfolio Management through Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server 2007.
Both the Epicor and Microsoft products are built on the Microsoft .NET platform and make use of Microsoft SharePoint technologies