SugarCRM 5.0 Beta, SLM Buys VerticalFalls CRM, Creative Manager Pro, Endeavor SmartCatalog, Egyptian CiRM

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SugarCRM 5.0 Beta, SLM Buys VerticalFalls CRM, Creative Manager Pro, Endeavor SmartCatalog, Egyptian CiRM

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Kinks' scorching double live album One For the Road. Anyone who doubted whether The Kinks had the sack of a true rock band, and there are those who, 1964's "You Really Got Me" notwithstanding, have made this charge, alleging that Ray and the lads were a bit, well, twee, need only clamp on the headphones and turn this baby up, especially where they rip "You Really Got Me" back from Van Halen. We're a long, long way from Village Green here, folks:

Deer Park, New York-based SLM Holdings, a Web-based software provider, has announced its acquisition of selected assets of VerticalFalls Software, Inc., a producer and distributor of desktop-based software.

Located in Reston, Virginia, VerticalFalls has developed a Contact Relationship Manager (CRM) product for brokers in the financial services industry. The software is targeted at Registered Representatives and financial organizations that desire to incorporate the niche-specific tools into their business.

Under the agreement, SLM purchased assets of VerticalFalls, including all trademarks, trade names and copyrights to the name VerticalFalls Software. The consideration for such purchase involved both stock in SLM Holdings, Inc. as well as the assumption by SLM of certain debt currently owed VerticalFalls.

Under the terms of the agreement between the parties, VerticalFall's Chief Executive Officer, Jon Finkelstein, has also agreed to serve as SLM's Chief Operating Officer upon the execution of the agreement.

The VerticalFalls product provides the broker with a "comprehensive business management and compliance assurance tool," company officials say. The software company has approximately 15,000 licenses in place with several well-known financial services organizations.

Creative Manager has announced version 8.5 of its flagship product, Creative Manager Pro, to be released in early October.

Creative Manager Pro's complete set of financial reports are being completely rebuilt, company officials promise, saying "many of the new features have been rebuilt in Flash, giving the financial system improvements in speed unattainable otherwise."

Some highlights of the new release include capability to view every report on screen with options to send the report to Excel format or to PDF format. And like its smaller single-user cousins, Creative Manager Pro will enable the user to drill down from every number in the financials to the transaction list below it, with a further drill down to the actual transaction (PO, Vendor invoice, client invoice, whatever) "This is no small feat for enterprise level software," company officials assert.

There's also complete support for multi-company and multi project financial statement formats, and the ability to cut financial reports by company, office, department, AE, project and such will be greatly simplified.

Endeavor Commerce, publishers of SmartCatalog, a guided selling and configuration product for CRM and eCommerce, announced today its SmartCatalog product has been selected by Barry-Wehmiller Companies, Inc.

Barry-Wehmiller is a worldwide manufacturing and a consulting services company focused on four primary business areas: packaging automation equipment, IT & engineering consulting services, corrugating, sheeting and finished equipment and paper converting equipment.

Given their diverse global offering, Barry-Wehmiller sought to centralize the management of business rules governing product and pricing enabling management to rapidly deploy rules adapting to market dynamics and customer needs. Furthermore Barry-Wehmiller sought to deploy these rules via "smart catalogs" directly into their newly implemented CRM environment.

Company officials wanted to place product and pricing expertise, coupled with up-sell and cross-sell recommendations, directly into the hands of sales representatives. SmartCatalog was selected for an enterprise agreement, and currently has been implemented in two of the Barry-Wehmiller global divisions.

SmartCatalog is a sales configuration product that has integrated to multiple market leading CRM systems since 1993 and has an administrative Rule Manager that enables business users to deploy product and pricing rules instantaneously in just four steps.

A new service delivered to Egypt's Ministry of State for Administrative Development by Link Development, the software services subsidiary of LinkdotNet, is making life easier for thousands of Egyptian high school students.

At the end of last year, Link Development completed, in just four months, the implementation of a Microsoft Citizen Relationship Management (CiRM) product for MSAD that involved call center automation and integration with the Egyptian e-government gateway -- Bawaba -- as well as other ministries' portals.

The project improved the service offered to citizens and businesses, among them the university placement programme, Thanwaya Ama Tansik (Tansik). "Prior to the CiRM product, the call center was largely dependent on paperwork. Its automation has enabled it to integrate its processes with the government Bawaba gateway and to become the engine room for Tansik", explains Hanan Abdel Meguid, CEO, Link Development.

Abdel Meguid said automation decreased turnaround time of case handling by up to 30 per cent in general, while "the convenience of the product has led to higher use of the call center by the public, with a doubling of overall call volume."

Tansik was the first real and extreme test for the system involving a high level of activity over a short time period.

"We are delighted with the results," says Abdel Meguid. "It handled 63,000 inquiries during a ten-day period last month. These included enquiries not just from Cairo but from 26 Governates across the country."

Over the past years an ever-increasing number of students in Egypt are requiring information regarding their university applications and placement at the same time, putting mounting pressure on the manual process.

Ahmed Darwish, Minister of State for Administrative Development, said the call center and portal were used to manage and simplify this process, meaning "students no longer had to pay personal, time-consuming visits to Tansik offices. Instead they have been able to check their grades, apply for universities and check on their acceptance on-line with the call center on hand for troubleshooting enquiries."

Okay SugarFans, you can get your hands on SugarCRM's beta of Sugar Community Edition 5.0, available for download and testing by the Sugar community. Sugar Community Edition 5.0 is being released under the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3), a free software license published by the Free Software Foundation.

The Sugar community -- and hey, you know who you are -- is comprised of over 10,000 developers located in five continents who have already contributed more than 400 CRM extensions based on the core Sugar code on

The adoption of GPLv3 has been "welcomed by the Sugar community," SugarCRM officials say, and "will enable faster development cycles, more code contributions and additional beta testing feedback, which ultimately increases the quality of CRM."

"We have worked closely with SugarCRM to ensure that their Sugar Community Edition applies GPLv3 correctly," said Richard M. Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation. "We believe it sets the standard for how enterprise applications can take advantage of the benefits the license provides."

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