CRM Failure, Vista Defrag Updates, Fairsail on, 48 Fill's CRM and HRM

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David Sims
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CRM Failure, Vista Defrag Updates, Fairsail on, 48 Fill's CRM and HRM

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is The Clash's Give 'Em Enough Rope:

Microsoft has released a pair of Windows Vista updates, one of which is "specifically a performance booster for the new operating system," according to company officials. This move shows that, as would be expected, performance remains a top concern for computer sites, and especially for CRM, dependent on high-speed database access.

Issues addressed by the "performance booster" update are speed of wake-up from hibernation and quicker time calculation for the movement of large files.

Performance problems generally can have many sources, Microsoft officials say, including insufficient memory, outdated chipsets, and poorly-written applications. A prime source of poor performance, however, is disk file fragmentation. It can cause such performance issues as slow boot-up, sluggish Web browsing, slow application loading and delayed file access.

Server fragmentation issues can, of course, cause further-reaching issues due to the high-volume constant access of server data. "High-speed access to databases and CRM applications is obviously crucial both for company personnel and, today through the Web, directly by the public. CRM applications, once only used for internal employees on the phone, now interface with Web applications so that customers and even employees can interact with the company online," Microsoft officials say.

Databases such as SQL must be instantly responsive, as these interface with the Web as well. But because of exponentially increasing disk capacity, as well as ever-increasing file sizes, fragmentation occurs at higher-than-ever rates. Hence it is not only important to employ a defragmentation product if you're running CRM technology, Microsoft officials say, but "particular attention should be paid to the defragmentation technology as well, especially in regard to site volume and requirements."

Fairsail has announced the availability of a comprehensive application for Human Resource Management, built on's on-demand platform.

First revealed at Dreamforce '07,'s annual user and developer conference, Fairsail will "open up a completely new area of on-demand applications integrated with Salesforce," Fairsail officials say, offering "companies of every size" a set of integrated human resource management tools running natively on the platform.

Fairsail's modules include performance management, talent management, succession planning, competency assessment and 360 feedback, as well as "personal development planning."

Fairsail is built entirely on the platform and is available in two editions. There's AppExchange Edition for existing Salesforce CRM users, and for companies or departments not using Salesforce CRM, Fairsail is available as a stand-alone application run on Platform Edition.

Colin Cooper, founder and CEO of Fairsail, said "I've delivered customized HR web
applications for the past ten years, and previously client/server applications to blue chip companies worldwide. With the AppExchange and the platform, has changed the landscape. We can now concentrate on the application functionality without having to worry about infrastructure and delivery."

Always nice seeing news from the old hometown -- Richmond, Virginia-based 48 Fill has developed new online Contact Resource Management (CRM) and Human Resource Management (HRM) tools for general release. The customizable CRM/HRM is "easy to use and accessible 24/7/365," company officials say, and requires no hardware or software. Browser-based, it uses point-and-click interfaces through your existing browser.

"The 48 Fill CRM/HRM provides instant accessibility to leads and contacts for your sales force and human resource employees, and it offers superior clean leads from lists, Web sites and trade shows," company officials say.  "It helps you track prospective customers and employees by automatically updating a global database, providing real-time updates."

Because it was designed to work in any environment from office and home visits to trade shows and fairs, the 48 Fill program is available in both desktop and mobile (mCRM and mHRM) formats. The mCRM/mHRM allows users of any PDA or cell phone with Internet capabilities to use it.

Recently industry observer Barney Beal reported on a speech given by Scott Nelson, managing vice president with Gartner, who gave a speech at Gartner's CRM Summit, where Nelson pointed out that in the early days of CRM, Gartner research revealed 60 percent of CRM projects were viewed as failures -- "80 percent for sales automation projects," but that such days are over.

But hey, people shouldn't focus on failure rates, Nelson said. "This issue of failure and CRM has become a real problem… So many people were focusing on failure rates that the CRM space wasn't as robust as it had been. That's not the point of talking about failure. CRM doesn't exist in a vacuum."

So what does Gartner do to swing the focus away from failure? Issue another media advisory warning that enterprise IT architecture initiatives risk failure if they are unable to demonstrate value to the business: "Gartner analysts predict that by 2010, 40 per cent of existing enterprise architecture programs will be stopped due to poor execution," company officials say.

Failing to set the right expectations and get commitment from program stakeholders -- including senior executives within the organization, IT managers and the wider architecture community -- are the most common reasons for program termination, Gartner research found.

Richard Buchanan, managing vice president at Gartner, said when companies fail, "it is because they don't have the strong leadership necessary to bring the enterprise architecture program together as an integrated portfolio or the right skills to do the strategic analysis."

"The programs that don't succeed are those inaccurately defined internally as isolated engineering projects," such as integrating an enterprise resource planning product with CRM, he said.

Beal reports more gloom 'n' doom from Nelson's address: "Organizations are going to see a shortage of manpower in coming years," Beal reports Nelson as saying. "Through 2008, 25 percent of CRM projects will be cancelled or postponed because of the skills shortage in consultants and systems integrators. Analytics skills particularly will see a significant skills shortage, and many marketers are unprepared to capitalize on Web 2.0."

Because of the shortage, Beal writes, "CRM buyers should anticipate that CRM consulting fees will rise, Nelson said, and they should adjust their budgets accordingly."

But hey, don't focus on all that failure Gartner keeps detailing and expounding upon. Be happy. Actually, to avoid failure -- without focusing on it, now -- Gartner recommends that enterprise architecture programs include the following three key dimensions:

--Support business change. Successful enterprise architecture supports business change across multiple programs, business units and companies and delivers value explicitly linked to business strategy, Gartner research found.

--Focus on strong leadership and human behavior. The role of the enterprise architect is no longer just about providing, designing and implementing hardware and software systems for a company, but to serve workers in and out of the organization's wider ecosystem.

--Include effective metrics. Gartner advises enterprise architects to use metrics including financial efficiency and business effectiveness to measure the program's impact on the business.

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