Information Resources, a vendor of information products for the consumer packaged goods, healthcare and retail industries, has announced that John Freeland, President-Worldwide Operations for Salesforce.com, will join IRI as President and Chief Executive Officer effective October 1.
He succeeds Scott W. Klein, who has served as President and CEO since January 2004 and is joining Symphony Technology Group as an operating partner while working with Freeland to ensure a seamless transition.
At Salesforce.com, Freeland was responsible for the company's Successforce portfolio of services and business alliances. Salesforce.com also had one of the most successful IPO’s in recent years during Freeland's tenure.
Prior to joining salesforce.com, Mr. Freeland was Accenture’s Global Managing Partner leading and growing its global CRM practice from $ 1.2 billion to $ 3.7 billion during his tenure. He was also responsible for launching Accenture’s Market Sciences unit and served as managing partner responsible for building Accenture’s global insurance practice into an $ 800 million business.
Romesh Wadhwani, IRI’s owner and Chairman of Symphony Technology Group, said IRI has performed well in the last four years since its acquisition by Symphony, and "we now need to supercharge our growth and profitability by driving new revenue… John has made a career out of doing this at Accenture and Salesforce.com and will do it again at IRI… in the end, it is all about delivering breakthrough insights that drive dramatic revenue growth and productivity for our clients."
Sage Software has announced its keynote and featured speakers for Sage Summit, the company’s annual customer conference, taking place November 3-6, in Chicago.
The event is geared towards the small and mid-sized businesses who use Sage Software products and services.
Sage Summit will formally open with a joint keynote on Sunday, November 4th starting at 2:30 p.m. Central Standard Time, featuring Ron Verni, Sage Software CEO, named one of 2007’s “Top 100 Most Influential People” by Accounting Today magazine.
Nina Smith, Sage Software president, Business Management Division and Doug Meyer, Sage Software president, Industry & Specialized Solution Division will speak, as will Christopher Gardner, CEO of Christopher Gardner International Holdings, and the inspiration for the recent movie The Pursuit of Happyness.
Gardner will "articulate his keys to self-empowerment, beating the odds, and breaking the negative cycles that keep people from succeeding," according to Sage officials.
Additional speakers at Sage Summit include Rieva Lesonsky, Editorial Director of Entrepreneur magazine, Bob Scott, Editor-In-Chief of Accounting Technology magazine, Kevin Parker, Editorial Director of Manufacturing Business Technology magazine and Marshall Lager, Senior Editor of CRM magazine.
Lesonsky will host an interactive session in which attendees will discuss a variety of current issues and general business cases identified by the audience. During the session, Lesonsky will offer her suggestions and insights based on years of observing the ins and outs of what makes small businesses successful.
Lager will examine key issues and discuss what’s the best way to go -- hosted or on-premises, and what business owners might see over the next few years and what they need to do to maximize CRM in their own business.
Now here's the kind of news you don't get just anywhere, pilgrim: The Management Board of RAO Unified Energy Systems of Russia has approved the Customer Service Standard for electricity companies. The Standard, the board says, is designed to improve efficiency of services provided to consumers of electricity during the period before RAO UES reorganization and in the post-reform sector.
To implement a customer-centric approach, RAO UES subsidiaries will launch a CRM system and create dedicated CRM divisions. Energy companies will create CRM training and development systems for their employees. There you go, problem solved.
The approved Standard specifies common requirements for the RAO UES subsidiary companies in customer relations, group officials say, including "the rules for providing personal and remote services, including those delivered via the Internet." In particular, energy companies' Web sites will have FAQ sections where users will be able to view the list of and rates charged for the services provided by the company, submit a request for services, ask a question, and submit comments or complaints.
"Such section will also contain information on the benefits and subsidies available to the low income and socially disadvantaged people," officials promise, adding that "the Standard also sets out the peculiarities of energy retailing, network and heating supply operations to households and other retail consumers, as well as information support and other aspects of customer services."
Tech research firm Frost & Sullivan has issued a finding that communication services need to focus on CRM to attract greater consumer spending.
Conceding that "cost reduction" is perhaps the most compelling factor, Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst, Roopashree Honnachari says retailers are "increasingly realizing" that advanced features and functionalities provide "an enhanced communication experience that is becoming essential" in an industry with a highly mobile workforce.
"Apart from the need to provide convenience and flexibility to a mobile workforce, a strong focus on customer relationship management (CRM) and quick transaction processing as well as the move toward a centralized hub-and-spoke model of operations are other factors influencing retailer spending on communications services and products," Honnachari said.
Since delays in transactions could cause customers to shift loyalties to another store and result in lost sales, many retailers are giving top priority to improving customer flow and customers' overall store experience by streamlining payment processing, Frost & Sullivan found. Technologies that help in improving speed and efficiency and allow retailers to address customer demands more effectively are growing in demand in the retail industry.
"With retailers so strongly focused on CRM, there is increasing interest in CRM tools, which are all set to revolutionize the functioning of retail organizations," the research firm said. "CRM tools can be used to capture and analyze customer interactions with the retail outlet, study their buying patterns to help plan inventory management and gain insights into selling patterns of various stock keeping units."
Most importantly, the firm said, these tools help understand customer pain points, allowing retailers to find products that ensures customer loyalty and repeat business.
Indiana Wesleyan University of Marion, Indiana is deploying a CRM product from Talisma -- specifically the Talisma Multi-channel CRM for Higher Education -- which, when coupled with Noel-Levitz' predictive modeling tool ForecastPlus, is expected to help the school "sharpen its enrollment and recruiting efforts," according to industry observer Dave Nagel.
The two technologies "will be deployed in such a way as to help the university focus its efforts on recruiting prospects that are most likely to enroll and that are desirable to the university based on various criteria," Nagel says:
"ForecastPlus will be used to process prospects and feed data about them -- including 125 variables that can predict enrollment behavior -- into the Talisma system directly. The Talisma CRM will then, according to the company, 'segment the identified top prospects and automatically initiate communication plans targeted to prospective students and deliver personalized messages.'"
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