By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Mahalia Jackson’s Take My Hand, Precious Lord:
Niche CRM vendor Chicago Business Intelligence Group has announced that it is teaming up with Transforming Solutions, Inc., to launch a partnership to go after the higher education market.
The partnership will initially focus on assisting higher education institutions with “solving the challenges in the critical advancement and development functions,” CBIG officials say.
Both firms have experience in working within higher education and the Fortune 1000 in defining, building and implementing best practice business process and technology products. The partnership of CBIG and TSI provides a full range of services to the higher education market, including strategic planning, business and technology assessment, business analysis, requirements definition, process re-engineering, technology selection, project management, design, build and implementation.
Citing the “current state of declining higher education funding,” Dan Feely, President of TSI, said “changes in the multi-dimensional interactions between institutions and their constituents are having a significant impact on the people, process and technology needs of advancement and development programs.”
With TSI’s focus on the business strategy, organizational definition and process improvement and CBIG’s expertise in the technology architectures, data integration and delivery, the partnership is designed to sell an “independent and experienced team of senior level consultants who know the culture and needs of higher education,” according to CBIG officials, while “complementing this with equal experience within the for-profit sector at such corporations as Merrill Lynch, Dell, Motorola, Abbott Labs, Toyota Motors, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Kraft and P&G.”
During the partnership’s recent engagement with a Big 10 University, CBIG and TSI partnered to assess and define an advancement and development business and technology product set. The project addressed all campuses, colleges and units of the university.
CBIG specializes in “the full continuum of services related to the planning through implementation of CRM, data warehouse and business intelligence applications,” company officials say.
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This is a bit out of First Coffee’s usual bailiwick but a) it’s pretty cool, and b) nobody else called it, so… Extricom, a designer and manufacturer of Wireless LAN (WLAN) infrastructure products, has announced the formation of the Uni-Fi Alliance, a program that furthers the collaboration of the WiFi ecosystem and maximizes business value through validated product combinations.
Together with Extricom, the members of the Uni-Fi Alliance are AeroScout, AirTight Networks, Ascom, and Kineto Wireless.
“The multi-application era in WLAN is no longer a promise but a reality,” stated David Confalonieri, vice president of marketing at Extricom. “A smart WLAN infrastructure investment can power many uses — voice, data, video, locationing, and much more.” He added that the Uni-Fi Alliance is designed so “enterprises and providers will benefit from validated product combinations that streamline deployment and lower project risks.”
Uni-Fi Alliance members span a wide range of devices, PBXs, location services, security appliances, and mobile-to-mobile convergence products. The alliance “enables leading technology innovators to verify interoperability between products that contribute to a converged, multi-application WLAN,” alliance officials said.
“Convergence of services and devices over WLAN offers significant operational and economic opportunity for businesses of all kinds,” commented Gabi Daniely, vice-president of marketing and product strategy at AeroScout. “Location-based services and other added-value applications are contributing to the rapid growth of Wi-Fi deployments, so interoperability across a broad range of applications is critical for the emerging generation of Wi-Fi networks.”
“While there are established certifications for verifying basic 802.11 component interoperability, there are few industry-standard APIs for linking wireless LANs to upstream applications,” observed Joanie Wexler, an independent analyst and editor at Joanie M. Wexler & Associates.
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CDC Corporation has announced that it plans to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission a registration statement for an initial public offering of up to $225 million aggregate principal amount of Class A Common Shares of CDC Software, its business unit that develops enterprise software.
The purpose of the offering, company officials say, is to “allow CDC Software to more clearly differentiate its line of business from CDC Corporation and provide a more targeted investment vehicle for investors seeking to invest only in enterprise software portion of CDC Corporation’s diverse businesses.”
The offering is currently expected to commence during the fourth quarter of 2007, subject to the Securities and Exchange Commission declaring the registration statement effective.
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The Mole Clinic, the British skin cancer screening center, has begun expanding its reach nationwide by rolling out a network of clinics across the UK in partnership with Superdrug. To capture patient records and share skin images with trained experts in different locations, The Mole Clinic has implemented a hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM system developed by Increase, to provide access to patient records regardless of location.
The service, which has been operating from a single central London location for four years, was becoming vastly overstretched and had a waiting list of over four weeks. To meet the growing demand because of heightened awareness over skin cancer, The MOLE Clinic has begun placing trained skin cancer screening nurses in Superdrug stores with dermatologists able to assess digital images of suspect moles from remote locations.
Iain Mack, CEO at The Mole Clinic, said the Microsoft CRM offering was “everything we needed — robust, highly customizable and with an easy to use and the familiar interface of Microsoft Office. However, what was imperative was to be able to access the system via the Web and this is where the hosted approach really paid dividends.”
Using this system, the company’s nurses perform an initial patient assessment, take a series of detailed electronic images of a suspect mole and can quickly provide an accurate diagnosis from an expert dermatologist, often within an hour.
“Quite simply we wouldn’t have been able to offer our service nationwide in the way we wanted without using this system,” Mack said. “Skin cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK and we have a higher death rate than Australia.”
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Forrester Research has published a best practices framework for CRM, available immediately, and written by respected CRM analyst William Band.
“By 2010,” the executive summary reads, “organizations around the world will spend $11 billion annually on customer relationship management (CRM)… Forrester developed a framework that includes 150 best practice CRM capabilities, organized into four categories: strategy, process, technology, and people.”
The framework is based on interviews with more than 100 user companies, analysis of 33 vendor products, and discussions with 29 CRM professional services providers.
And “to help understand how your organization stacks up against these best practices and to identify where you can best achieve quick wins, we created the Forrester FastForward self-assessment for CRM,” the summary notes: “Use the framework and self-assessment to improve your current CRM initiative or to jump-start new projects.”