OpenTravel CRM Released, Oracle Siebel CRM Rated, Autonomy CRM Ranked, ReachForce CRM Readied

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David Sims
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OpenTravel CRM Released, Oracle Siebel CRM Rated, Autonomy CRM Ranked, ReachForce CRM Readied

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Led Zeppelin IV, or whatever it's called, Zoso, you know, the 1971 record with "Stairway to Heaven" on it:

In Decision Matrix: Selecting a CRM Vendor (Competitor Focus), research group Datamonitor evaluated offerings from different CRM players and found that Oracle is "a clear market leader with an impressively versatile and highly competitive CRM portfolio."

"Out of the eleven products profiled, Oracle Siebel CRM emerges as the de-facto standard," the research group found. "Oracle Siebel CRM is a constant presence on the Market Leaders graph, and it is not the market leader or co-leader in only 2 out of 12 categories. Oracle Siebel CRM proves capable of building up a significant lead over its rivals, most notably in analytics and product maturity."

The report said Oracle's CRM on-demand also addresses issues higher up the market through tactical ad-hoc installations, or as specific products to particular deployment problems: "This has prompted vendors to offer a portfolio of options ranging from traditional on-site deployments, to hosted products and single- or multi-tenant subscription-based models and the increasingly seamless migration paths between those models."

Even in this field, Datamonitor says, "Oracle holds a decisive lead in the CRM market. The breadth and depth of CRM products under the Oracle brand is staggering, users are very positive regarding the vendor and its standing in the market is matched only by SAP." I'm sure Larry Ellison loves hearing that.

Oracle's CRM product lines, particularly Oracle Siebel CRM, are described as "among the leading products in almost every aspect of CRM technology, comprehensively outpacing all other competitors. The versatility of its portfolio enables Oracle to put forward a strong proposition in a variety of deployment scenarios."

Although the integration of the three well-established product lines is challenging, Datamonitor found, "the sheer volume of up-sell, cross-sell and greenfield prospects will ensure a robust future performance in the medium-term."

Keeping you fully abreast of the analyst reports germane to your chosen lifestyle, we can report that Autonomy Corporation plc, a vendor of CRM and other infrastructure software, has announced that industry analyst group Gartner has positioned Autonomy in the Leaders Quadrant of its 2007 Information Access Technology Magic Quadrant Report.

The analysis is based on Autonomy's "Ability to Execute" and "Completeness of Vision."

The first half of 2007 "has been the most successful in Autonomy's 11-year history," said Mike Lynch, CEO of Autonomy. Lynch said Autonomy supports "the industry's highest investment in R&D, over $70 million annually."

He said he considers that Autonomy's position in the Leaders Quadrant "can be credited to our over 17,000 customers," and by "our dominance in the OEM market through partnerships with independent software vendors."

In the report, Gartner recommends that "Global 2000 enterprises at least select a platform vendor for the majority of future projects. Platform vendors offer modular architectures, wide varieties of relevance modeling, multiple vertical applications and significant customizability."

The firm is also of the opinion that enterprises "must also recognize the need to explore more specialized products for important and specific projects, such as e-discovery, e-commerce search or research science support."

The Magic Quadrant is a graphical representation of a marketplace at and for a specific time period. It depicts Gartner's analysis of how certain vendors measure against criteria for that marketplace, as defined by Gartner.

ReachForce, a vendor of on-demand data products, has announced the general availability of ReachForce Insight, the company's new software-as-a-service (SaaS) product that "analyzes customer win data and sales pipeline flow" to provide what company officials describe as "a marketing-centric view of market segments that are ripe for demand generation campaigns."

Five second jargon break. … three, four, five.

This is a technology platform using "in funnel flow analytics" and "market sector clustering" with proprietary algorithms to predict market hot spots, company officials say, "helping to ensure marketing and sales initiatives are delivered to the right buyers every time."

ReachForce Insight is the company's first SaaS product, officials say, which gives companies a… deep breath… "closed loop product for demand generation by identifying the right target markets, based on CRM data, as well as enabling Marketers to create custom contact databases based on the results."

"While a lot of effort and investment has been made in tracking the sales pipeline process, fewer companies have invested in improving visibility of the sales funnel," said Rebecca Wettemann, Vice President at Nucleus Research.

"Since the acceptance of CRM applications, a gap has existed between sales execution and marketing demand generation, ReachForce Insight is bridging that gap," said Suaad Sait, ReachForce CEO. "Insight accomplishes these goals by turning static CRM data into actionable marketing and sales campaigns based on an organization's current wins and sales pipeline flow enabling companies to drive more revenue faster."

Basically the product performs real-time wins and sales pipeline analysis on CRM data and allows marketers to "visualize and gain insights into what marketing segments have been the most successful and which types of companies have the shortest sales cycles," company officials say.

In honor of the birthday today of one of the greatest Americans ever, H.L. Mencken in Baltimore in 1880, a classic quote from the master: "The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animals. Some of their most esteemed inventions have no other apparent purpose, for example, the dinner party of more than two, the epic poem, and the science of metaphysics."

Billed by company officials as "the first free, all-inclusive software for travel agents," OpenTravel CRM has been introduced in Las Vegas.

The Web-based software handles customer relationship management and bundles that with e-marketing, trip planning, custom itineraries, commission tracking and reporting and accounting-interface functions. It delivers integrated social networking relationship management into a travel agent business application, which "brings customer relationship building to a new level through active online community presence and interaction," company officials say.

According to Joseph Mazzarella, president and CEO of Travel Sciences, which developed Open Travel CRM, "our survey research indicates that less than half of all travel agents have access to any CRM or contact management for their businesses."

Describing it as "a first rate, Web-based application offered for free," Mazzarella said "it is ideal for smaller agencies and home-based agents as well as larger agencies and consortia who either currently have no access to good quality technology or who have expensive, outdated technology they want to upgrade without taking on additional financial risk."

The core functions complemented by advanced Web 2.0 features include an integrated RSS reader, instant messaging and online presence monitoring, Skype and interactive mapping.

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