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October 2007

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Holy CRM for Logos, CRM Meltdown in London, 123Together and Titan, Ramery Hired at Sears Holdings, RightNow in Australia, QPC and BT

October 31, 2007

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Grateful Dead's "Skull and Roses" album:

Microsoft has announced that Logos Bible Software, a vendor of Bible software in multiple languages, has selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM to replace its aging customer relationship management system with technology that integrates all customer data.

Logos, a $15 million company based in Bellingham, Washington, offers software used by members of the clergy, seminary students, missionaries and lay leaders in more than 180 countries. Its electronic Bibles, theological works, pastoral resources and other texts are available in numerous languages, including Greek, Hebrew and Latin.

The company chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM to "gain comprehensive new efficiencies not available with its previous CRM system, which required customer service representatives to navigate a number of unconnected databases to retrieve information," according to Microsoft officials:

"With the earlier system, agents had to call customers back because they needed to look for answers to questions in several different places." Microsoft's CRM technology will allow the service staff to collect all its customer information in one system. "This customized system empowers us to take charge of the growth of our business," said Andrew Skipton, chief financial officer at Logos.

Logos anticipates that the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM will offer faster, less-expensive training because it uses a familiar Microsoft interface, so "training can be carried out rapidly in-house with training costs expected to tumble as much as 75 percent," according to Logos officials.

Licenses for the previous system were so expensive, Logos officials said, that "only a limited number of employees had access to the application. For Microsoft Dynamics CRM, licensing costs will be 40 percent less than those of the other system."

123Together.com, a hoster of enterprise-class messaging and collaboration products such as Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Windows SharePoint Services v3.0 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0, has announced that it is participating in Microsoft's Early Adopter Program for the next generation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, version 4.0, code-named "Titan", and selecting customers to receive early access to a hosted Titan product.

RightNow, Demandware Collaborate on CRM Project; CRM Vendor Rescompany to Penetrate China; Hot Banana Now on AppExchange

October 30, 2007

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is an extraordinary song by John McCutcheon, "Christmas In the Trenches," from the album Winter Solstice. It's a song about the bizarre Christmas Truce in 1914 on the Western Front, when German and English soldiers, under a spontaneous, informal truce, emerged from the trenches in No Man's Land, sang Christmas carols together, exchanged gifts, addresses and drinks and played a game of soccer:

RightNow Technologies and Demandware have announced their combined on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) and eCommerce product. The joint product provides multi-channel retailers and consumer brands with "integration between their online and offline businesses, improving customer experiences across channels," RightNow officials say.

"Customers increasingly expect not only a seamless buying experience across channels, but an integrated and unified service experience, whether online, via e-mail, or over the phone," explained Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of Retail Strategies at AMR Research, in a retail note published in October 2007.

The product allows clients "a consistent experience across the complete customer lifecycle, from awareness and acquisition through conversion and support -- regardless of how consumers interact with the company," RightNow officials say.

Jason Mittelstaedt, vice president of marketing at RightNow, said the new product will "give organizations many more ways to engage with consumers, which in turn increases conversion rates and fosters brand loyalty."

The new enterprise mash-up connects RightNow's service, marketing and sales applications with Demandware's Web platform and eCommerce services. RightNow will provide an in/outbound sales and service desktop, multi-channel customer service, marketing communications, and customer feedback capabilities.

Demandware will provide the eCommerce platform, including the online storefront, site search, guided navigation, product catalog and promotions, web development environment, user profiles and online content.

Post Olympics 2008, "a new luxury train operator will begin year round services in China," say officials of Tangula Luxury Trains.

CRM Vet Longoria at CDC, I-Vision and Altitude in Abu Dhabi, Matrix Webinars, Interactive on Software 500, JasperSoft BI Upgrade

October 29, 2007

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is an odd album, Dire Straits' 1980 effort Making Movies. When it hits me right now is that it's one of the best albums I've ever heard. Other days it's average, even tepid, and I can't make it through "Tunnel of Love," which today happens to sound like one of the greatest guitar songs ever recorded:   I-Vision Technology has announced the launch of its Abu Dhabi-based contact center for outsourcing operations. The company considers itself "the first and only provider of inbound and outbound CRM outsourcing services in Abu Dhabi, which is considered to be the richest city in the world."   Established in 2000, IVT provides IT and security products.

Soffront CRM at VoicePlus, LogicBright CRM, EDS and BSkyB, Simpson at Noble, Optimal EXensys in Dubai, Salesforce CRM's Benioff at Nikkei

October 27, 2007

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a Beatles mix:   Soffront Software, Inc., a vendor of mid-market CRM software, announced that VoicePlus has adopted Soffront CRM to "track service tickets more effectively and invoice with greater accuracy and detail," Soffront officials say.   VoicePlus sells call processing systems and custom applications to various types and sizes of business.

VoicePlus selected on-demand Soffront CRM because "it offered a robust, Web-based product at an attractive price," according to Brad Eickman, VP of Operations, VoicePlus. "We wanted a product that allowed us to access and view our ticketing software from anywhere," he explained. "We also needed a system that could be easily customized to meet all of our needs, now and in the future."   Through the use of Soffront's Customer Portal, VoicePlus customers can access the Soffront application directly from the Web site. "Our customers can open tickets via the Web, in addition to the normal technical assistance call," said Eickman.

CRM for the Dallas Cowboys, CDC's New Products, Graham Ciboodle, Opera Link, Intelliworks' Orion, PacificNet Refiles 2004, 2005 Statements

October 26, 2007

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Ben Harper and The Blind Boys of Alabama's There Will Be A Light:

CDC Software, a subsidiary of CDC Corporation and a provider of industry-specific enterprise software applications and business services, has announced recently that it has added four new products and "enhanced most of the existing products in the Core Productivity Pack of c360," a suite of industry products and development tools for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform.

CDC Software will be demonstrating their new products, at the Microsoft EMEA Convergence Conference October 23 - 25, 2007 in Copenhagen. C360's Core Productivity Pack is being released in conjunction with Microsoft CRM version 4.0. The new products were designed "using customer and partner feedback," CDC officials say, "with a focus on increasing CRM usability."

The pack for CRM 4.0 now includes four new products -- the c360 Explorer CRM Search Engine which "indexes and organizes all Microsoft CRM records and attachments," and uses Microsoft Office SharePoint search to provide keyword search across CRM and SharePoint, and c360 SharePoint/Microsoft CRM integration which "bridges the gap between Microsoft CRM and SharePoint by enabling automatic creation of a SharePoint site for every required CRM entity," company officials say. Basically it allows CRM and non-CRM users to share the same documents.

There's also c360 Relationship Exploration and Charting, providing an automatic, relationship tree display of all relationships for every CRM record, and the c360 Record Editor, which can edit individual records in any CRM view without opening the individual records using a Microsoft Excel-like editing of CRM records.

There are also upgrades to existing products within the c360 Core Productivity Pack for Microsoft CRM 4.0, including the c360 Console, which allows Microsoft CRM users to design their CRM workspace in virtually any way they like.

Intelliworks officials say that nine higher education programs have chosen to use Orion from Intelliworks since the product's launch in late July, "resulting in 100 new users in the product's first 100 days."

New customers include The University of Pennsylvania, California State University-Sacramento, Northeastern University and Northwestern University, among others.

"With its fast deployment, ease of use, and affordable pricing structure, Orion provides compelling value to any individual and team to take control of their CRM needs," said Diane Raymond, director of admission for Intelliworks client New England College.

The Orion product is used to manage recruiting, outreach, and communication activities without an up-front IT investment, a long implementation cycle, or extensive training.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Plug-In from Mondo, Scribe Adapter, EnterpriseWizard 2.0, Pika's Appliance for Linux, Oncontact and Sales Progress

October 25, 2007

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first cup of coffee this morning, and the music is an iTunes mix of one of the greatest and most fun country singers ever, Australia's Slim Dusty:   Mondo A/S, a Denmark-based provider of Microsoft-based products and services, announced an agreement with Sales Performance International, a sales performance improvement firm, to deliver SPI's Solution Selling Methodology as an integrated plug-in for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.   The new plug-in will "enable any organization using Microsoft CRM to implement SPI's methodology for boosting sales effectiveness," Mondo officials said. The product will be available in the fourth quarter 2007 for any organization using Microsoft CRM either on-premises or via Mondo's hosted Microsoft CRM offering.   The Solution Selling Suite of methodologies is an end-to-end sales training and professional development program for sales professionals, managers, and marketers. The suite is used for management, planning, sales execution, and sales tool tasks.

Microsoft CRM for Cedilla, Sage’s Accpac 5.4, Jenzabar’s New Direction, Opera Widgets, InQuira and Serena, Dynamics CRM Drops Price

October 24, 2007

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Tom Waits’ Alice:   Çedilla Systems, a British vendor of Microsoft Dynamics-based software and part of Qurius NV, has announced it has supplied and installed a Microsoft Dynamics CRM based system for Genesis Communications, formerly part of the Dixons Stores Group.

Genesis is an independent business mobile and data service provider claiming over 28,000 business accounts and 125,000 handset subscribers, and a business dating back more than 10 years. It has partnerships with manufacturers and network providers.

Genesis will use the Dynamics CRM product to “consolidate all of its new business and sales information,” company officials say, adding that “this information was previously scattered across Genesis’s multiple UK sales territories and regional sales consultants.”   Genesis also has rather ambitious growth plans concerning acquisition of new customers and the provision of a growing portfolio of services — “the new CRM will be a key factor in achieving these goals,” Genesis officials say.

Adam Spurr, Sales & Marketing Director at Genesis Communications, said his company chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM from Çedilla partly because “we needed that system to be easy to work with — a familiar environment, which made Microsoft Dynamics CRM a clear choice thanks to the way it integrates with other Microsoft applications, particularly Outlook.” …   Sage Software has announced the availability of Sage Accpac Insight 5.4, a new version of its analysis and business intelligence tool for small and mid-sized businesses.   Designed for use and integrated with Sage Accpac ERP1 (enterprise resource planning), Accpac Insight uses key business data contained within Sage Accpac ERP.  

CRM Donations from Salesforce.com, Opera in Silicon Valley, Autobytel Exec on Board, FTS in Cameroon, BroadSoft VoIP and CRM

October 23, 2007

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a Weird Al iPod mix:   Salesforce.com Foundation, the philanthropy outreach of Salesforce.com, announced the successes that educational institutions have achieved using donated licenses of Salesforce.com's on-demand CRM technology through the One Percent Product Donation Program.   Bronx Lab School, the Knowledge Is Power Program, Resources for Indispensable Schools and Educators, San Jose Education Foundation and USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences are among the more than 2,500 nonprofits and educational institutions around the world using Salesforce.com technology as a result of the program.   "The same on-demand CRM technology used by the private sector can have a profound effect at educational institutions by giving teachers and administrators next generation tools to track student performance," said Suzanne DiBianca, executive director of the Salesforce.com Foundation. "The mission of educational institutions to reinvent their learning institutions using the latest Internet technology goes hand in hand with the Salesforce.com Foundation's mission to redefine corporate philanthropy."   DiBianca cited the example of 30 new small schools within the New York City Department of Education who have built a data portal using donated Salesforce.com licenses in order to access accurate and real-time student information.

CRM, ERP Job Demand Steady, Dealer Specialties and Best Bid, NSB Ranks First in POS Software, LivePerson's Timpani Adoption, Oracle CRM for Dubai's Jafza

October 22, 2007

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Miles Davis' Kind of Blue:

Dealer Specialties, a division of Dominion Enterprises and vendor of data and photo collection, inventory management and data distribution services, has announced it has teamed with Best Bid Motors, a start-up automotive auction site, to offer dealers what it calls "low-cost alternative for auctioning their inventory."

As part of the exclusive agreement, Dealer Specialties' dealers will automatically get free listings on the auction site, and will have the opportunity to manage and sell inventory, as well as create an online customized auction store.

Brian Page, General Manager of Dealer Data Services at Dealer Specialties, says the partnership "provides our dealers with the value of having yet another channel for free distribution of their inventory."

Launched in the fall of 2007, Best Bid Motors provides a portal for dealers to actively participate in an auction site under one of their subscription plans. An aggressive Internet marketing campaign promises to raise consumer awareness of the site as well as dealer participation.

Once dealers are registered with the site, Best Bid Motors can upload and manage auction inventory including detailed specifications, photos and Vehicle Videos. Best Bid Motors also offers dealers a customized, virtual storefront option featuring their brand information, logos and more.

Dealer Specialties will begin feeding dealer listings and inventory information to the Best Bid Motors web site beginning in November.

For the second consecutive time, CRM vendor NSB Group has been ranked as the number one supplier of POS software to the top specialty softgoods retailers, according to the IHL Consulting Group in their recent report, "A Retailer's Guide: POS Software for Softgoods Retailers."

The research report evaluated vendors of POS software installed among the top 250 North American retailers in the specialty softgoods space, and ranked the top 5 according to such criteria as "total number of vendor accounts among the leading 250 softgoods retailers" and "estimated number of POS systems running the vendor's software based on store count and lanes per store data."

Greg Buzek, President of IHL, noted NSB's "customer base, years of retail experience, multiple implementation models, and close Microsoft partnership."

David Henning, CEO for the NSB Group, said his company has been working with retailers in this space for 35 years.

The Connected Retailer Store Solution is a store automation system with multichannel retailing capabilities, touting "improved employee productivity, and increased levels of customer service." The product is billed as a tool to help retailer "respond rapidly to changing business needs without jeopardizing the upgrade path to future releases, ensuring a long-term favorable cost of ownership."

LivePerson, a vendor of online engagement products that facilitate real-time assistance and advice, has announced the adoption of its Timpani Voice product by "several customers," including Bell, Canada's largest voice, data and wireless communications company, Qwest and others.

Described as "an enterprise click-to-call product that proactively introduces the voice channel to targeted visitor segments based on behavioral events," Timpani has a proactive chat platform which includes enterprise-level voice capabilities.

Using Leveraging LivePerson's business rules engine fits with ActiveAnalytics' data mining technology, which analyzes online visitor behavior and predicts which visitors are most likely to convert if engaged by an agent.

Bell has deployed Timpani Voice across multiple lines of business, including wireline, Internet, digital voice, and long distance; customers who visit the Bell Web site to cancel or move their service to a new location receive invitations to speak with a Bell representative.

"Timpani Voice has saved us close to 70 percent of customers who had expressed a desire to cancel service," said Parth Shukla, Director of Interactive and Multi-Channel Marketing for Bell. "Enabling consumers to remain online and do business with us in their channel of choice reinforces Bell's multi-channel service options and increases customer satisfaction."

After effectively using LivePerson's click-to-call technology to retain customers, Bell has since deployed the product in areas where the company experiences a high level of complexity and fall-out for online fulfillment, including move center and multi-product bundles.

Offering invite-to-talk and click-to-talk applications, Timpani Voice features computer telephony integration options and is compatible with both conventional telephone service and talk by PC for site visitors.

Online recruitment company The IT Job Board has announced the results of its latest Skills in Demand report, finding that ERP/CRM skill demand have stayed the same year on year with over 7,000 positions currently being advertised.

Demand in help desk positions has increased by 45 percent compared to the same period last year, and demand for IT project managers has risen by 35 percent compared to the same period last year.

The survey found that developers positions have increased "only slightly" at 10 percent compared to the same period last year.

Adam Stokes, Operations Manager at www.theitjobboard.com, called the demand in help desk roles "great news for graduates and junior candidates, as these types of roles provide a launch platform for their IT careers."

Stokes said how "interesting it is how strong the ERP/CRM market still is -- there still seems to be a high demand for these applications, and the combination of continued demand plus the lengthy  implementation schedules mean there's a real shortage of candidates with these skills in the market."

A growth in the demand for Project Managers is usually an indication that there is a growth in new projects being scheduled that need recruiting for, Stokes explained, but added "the relative inactivity in the Developer market might suggest that the apparent increase in IT projects may not be something to get too excited about.  There is a cyclical element to project management recruitment, as IT systems naturally age and need replacing."

Oracle has announced that the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) has gone live on the Oracle E-Business Suite "in order to enhance customer experience and improve operational efficiency," Oracle officials say.

Centerbase CRM 2007 Released, Eastern European ICT Growing, Avidian Moves to Redmond, Cognizant Buys MarketRX, HR Tech and Microsoft CRM

October 20, 2007

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the cool "Preview All" feature on Amazon.com for Radiohead's OK Computer… okay, listened to samples of all songs, nah, too self-consciously weepy. We'll have David Bowie's Aladdin Sane, then, Godfrey, nice and loud:

Centerbase 2007, the latest version of the Centerbase CRM software system, from Dallas-based Centerbase is now available. Company officials say it's been upgraded with improved form designer function and flexible customization.

Centerbase was specifically created to provide small and medium-sized businesses the "functionality and competitive edge of full-featured enterprise-capable CRM systems," according to company officials.

But the key word for this release is "flexibility," as company officials say the 2007 edition "responds directly to the customers' expressed need for flexibility." Centerbase Founder and CEO John Forbes underlined this with his comment that with Centerbase 2007, "we have created an affordable, flexible product that can meet not only the known CRM needs of today but the unforeseen CRM needs of tomorrow."

The product is available via a newly upgraded 30-day free trial format, available at www.centerbase.com. The trial provides a fully-functioning hosted personalized database system, preset to accommodate 10 users, which businesses can download.

CRM and SPM From Callidus, Salesforce.com Wins Awards, Students as Customers, for EMT Retain, Intelliworks and InsideTrack, TouchStar

October 19, 2007

  By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys' “The Ballad of Charles Whitman.” Everybody sing along — “There was a rumor, about a tumor…”   Callidus Software, a vendor of Sales Performance Management products, has announced its commitment to developing several native, Web 2.0 Software-as-a-Service applications on salesforce.com's Force.com platform.   These applications will “extend the reach of the Callidus sales performance offerings to all salesforce.com customers with particular emphasis on small and medium enterprises,” the company's traditional market, according to Callidus officials.   The new on-demand platform, which was announced in September during salesforce.com's Dreamforce 2007 conference, will let Callidus customers deploy an array of sales performance management products at a lower cost. Callidus will unveil more details about its Force.com initiative in November.   Clarence So, senior vice president of marketing at salesforce.com, promised that Callidus' native SPM offerings “will be tightly integrated with our CRM products and will provide salesforce.com customers with a compelling offering.”   Earlier this year Callidus announced the availability of its TrueComp Suite on salesforce.com's AppExchange.

CRM's EDS Sued for $1.5 Billion, Infusion Secures Funding, Etelos and BluCapp, Q4 Sales' CRT for CRM, Wrapped Apps on AppEx

October 18, 2007

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Charles Mingus's Mingus Ah Um, an album that sounds a little bit better each time it's played:

Infusion Software, vendor of customer relationship management (CRM) software for small businesses, has announced it has secured funding of $9 million from MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. It's Infusion's first round of venture financing.

Company officials say they'll use the financing to "accelerate customer acquisition via increased sales and marketing efforts" and "enhance its CRM software built specifically for true small businesses," which Infusion defines as "owner-run organizations with 2-50 employees that have grown organically."

The salient difference between TSBs and other small businesses, Infusion officials think, is that "these businesses do not have layers like larger organizations, and thus automation of business processes via easy-to-use technology is highly desired."

"Infusion's approach to CRM technology, strong customer traction among small businesses, and management team have enabled the company to capture a notable share of what we believe to be a very significant market opportunity," said Nancy Schoendorf , MDV general partner and an Infusion Software board member.

Infusion Software's product, Infusion CRM, is Software-as-a-Service which centralizes, organizes and automates lead generation, lead conversion and client fulfillment. Infusion CRM was developed to provide a centralized customer management system with modules including e-commerce, lead capture, e-mail marketing, click tracking, billing and collections and other functions of sales, marketing and customer service.

Clate Mask, President and CEO of Infusion Software, said the investment "allows us to accelerate our plan to revolutionize the way small businesses drive and manage their growth."

Q4 Sales has introduced a new CRM service called Customer Revenue Transitions that looks at how a company's best customers move -- and spend -- over time and what it means to the bottom line.

"We have licensed a successful software tool that quantifies market opportunity and identifies key segments by value," said TJ McCue, president of Q4 Sales.

Many companies talk about the Pareto Principle -- the famous 80/20 rule, McCue says, "but few really know which customers spend the most and how that changes over time. The changes may signal a need to change marketing spending accordingly."

McCue said his company is "also finding interest by our clients in 'Benchmarking Clubs' where we have companies in the same industry, but noncompetitive geographic markets, who want to aggregate customer profiles and find that 'best customer.' Customer Revenue Transitions does that.

CRM Hosting from Phase 2, SatuitCRM Training for Trainers, Microsoft's Comm Package, Canadians and E-mail, Telrex Supports Microsoft

October 17, 2007

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Traffic's Welcome to the Canteen live album, one of the best workplace albums First Coffee's heard:

Satuit Technologies has launched a new training program designed to expand SatuitCRM end-user expertise and product adoption. Company officials describe the company's new "Train the Trainer" program as focusing on "investment management CRM best practices" training.

Its purpose is to create in-house SatuitCRM experts among customers who train their internal users. The two-day course was offered in September, with plans to repeat the training each quarter.

SatuitCRM is pitched to the professional investment market. The "Train the Trainer" program gives power users an opportunity to "discuss software usage issues unique to their industry, such as how to track client requirements for account reporting, how to manage compliance issue,; how to manage the sales pipeline or how to run a marketing campaign," company officials say.

Attendees have described the course as user-oriented, and say course content supplemented information presented in Satuit's System Administrator course, which provides system administrators with advanced training on SatuitCRM's database architecture, configuration tools, security functions, integration with Web services and data import wizards.

Phase 2 International, a vendor of hosted applications, has announced the launch of its first series of customized and integrated hosted business applications.

Microsoft CRM and Astea, Customers Happier at VW, Switchvox Adds CRM, AgencyPro 'Beyond CRM,' Fujitsu in India

October 16, 2007

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a blistering "Sweet Home Chicago" by Barry Goldberg, Harvey Mandel and Dylan's legendary guitarist Mike Bloomfield. Jewish blues rock!

VoiceObjects, a vendor of adaptive self-service phone portals, has announced that Volkswagen Financial Services AG has deployed a new, personalized self-service voice portal from VoiceObjects which has increased customer satisfaction.

The VoiceObjects phone application server software suite lets VWFS manage increasing call volumes -- "within weeks after deploying the new voice portal," VWFS officials say, "VWFS customers benefited from unprecedented levels of personalized self-service, and more than 90 percent of them report being very satisfied with the new system."

VWFS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG. The subsidiary was founded to address the growing breadth, depth, and internationalization of Volkswagen's financial services operations and coordinates the worldwide financial services activities of the Volkswagen Group and its subsidiaries.

Previously, all VWFS customers desiring over-the-phone service were directed to a single contact number served by call center agents. Lack of segmentation led to long hold times for even the simplest inquiries.

CRM Deal from Loyalty Lab, Cipher Dynamics, Magic at Penn State, CorraTech for Open Source CRM, Zantaz Version 6

October 15, 2007

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is INXS's The Swing:

Cipher Dynamics IT Services and OutsourceWorld, a conference company, have announced a partnership designed to "strengthen Cipher's commitment to worldwide business procurement, procedure and practice," company officials say.

The pairing will come together at the end of October. Cipher, headquartered in New Delhi, India, with offices in the United States, sells Microsoft Dynamics CRM-based products as well as other products and services, including Microsoft's AX, Dynamics GP and Business Intelligence products.

"Cipher offers a unique onsite offshore delivery model with a local presence," said Rinku Wadhwani, COO, Cipher, including what he called lower development costs, "without sacrificing quality by providing a blend of local and offshore resources optimized for the client's specific needs, reducing the effective cost of the product without sacrificing quality or local relationships."

Cipher focuses on the mid market, a segment of the market that has traditionally not received attention from global outsourcing players. Cipher and its sister company, Media Aspects, offers a consolidated business product for media companies, named DynamicsADvantage, to "allow them to consolidate disparate systems, leverage Microsoft technology, and make integration and reporting easy," company officials say.

Magic Software Enterprises, a vendor of enterprise application products, has announced a grant of its iBOLT and eDeveloper software to Penn State University, to be used on more than 120 servers for courses beginning with the fall semester 2007.

Penn State students will have access to the Magic iBOLT business integration product in courses "designed to show how disparate computer software can work together, integrating business processes," according to Magic officials.

IBOLT is intended to help Penn State University students learn to solve common business systems problems, such as duplicate data entry, lack of information, and cumbersome interfaces, school officials say. The iBOLT suite from Magic falls into a category of software known as business process management and is commonly used for enterprise application integration.

Dr. Alan Peslak, a computer scientist at Penn State who has conducted research into the economic and societal impact of information technology, says the software from Magic Software will be used as an integration platform: "Students will develop and deploy business process integration products using the iBOLT Business Integration Suite.

Tribute to RightNow’s ‘Lone Wolf,’ Advent Gets 145th Contract, Kintera Announces Kintera Connect, CRM OnTarget Launches Affiliate Program

October 14, 2007

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a Jimmy Buffet iPod mix:

First Coffee would like to join RightNow Technologies in congratulating its CEO, Greg Gianforte, on the occasion of his induction into the CRM Hall of Fame.

Named "The Lone Wolf," the tribute noted that Gianforte has spent the last decade "in Bozeman, Montana, far from the glare of Silicon Valley and the rest of the CRM cohort." CRM magazine has written that Gianforte "always recognized that the people matter at least as much as processes."

This is true from First Coffee's experience -- when I visited RightNow a few years ago I was invited to stay at Gianforte's home and had the pleasure of attending church with the family, and found him and his family to be gracious, pleasant company.

Gianforte founded RightNow in 1997 in Bozeman with a goal of creating a world-class enterprise software company in Montana, and within three years Gianforte had 500 customers, 100 employees and an on demand product that could "dramatically improve the quality and effectiveness of client's online customer service operations," according to the Hall of Fame citation.

In 2004 Gianforte took the company public with one of the most successful initial public offerings that year; RightNow stock rose 130 percent in 2004. By 2006 Gianforte had hired more than 500 employees and RightNow had facilitated more than one billion customer interactions.

Most recently, Gianforte oversaw the company's biggest product release ever with the introduction of RightNow 8. The product is designed to help companies and public institutions deliver customer service in person, over the phone, on the Web or via e-mail.

In 2007 RightNow introduced five industry-specific on demand CRM packages including Higher Education, Federal Government, Retail, Telecommunications and Consumer Electronics/High Tech Appliance Manufacturing.

As noted in Gianforte's induction into the Hall of Fame, RightNow is a "rare firm that tells its customers what to expect. That very directly reflects the customer-centric focus that is the promise of CRM.

CRM Study from Salesboom, Mind CTI Gets Omni, ERP and CRM in El Salvador, Amdocs and Alcatel in Belarus, The Nobel America-Bashing Prize

October 12, 2007

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the East Village Opera Company’s eponymous début album:

Kicking things off in a jovial mood -- it's Eid al Fitr here in Istanbul, some end of Ramadan holiday, I'm not sure exactly what that means except for having to gnaw two-day old pide because all the bakeries are closed. Tomorrow's Sheker Bayram, "Sugar Holiday," when kids come to your door for candy but don't dress up. Evidently kids on the street can hit you up for candy or coins as well.

So we'll open things on a light note, and give Fortune columnist Anne Fisher's findings of the ten dumbest things she's heard of job hunters saying in an interview.

The job seeker "told me to hire him because he was allergic to unemployment," "said that we should hire him because he would make a great addition to our softball team" and "said he should get the job because he had already applied three times and he felt that it was now his turn to be hired."

One "said we had nice benefits, which was good because he was going to have to take a lot of leave in the coming year." Another "drafted a press release announcing that we had hired him," and one intrepid soul "explained that he had no relevant experience for the job he was interviewing for, but his friend did."

There's the guy who "delivered his entire cover letter in the form of a rap song," the woman who "told me she wanted the position because she wanted to get away from working with people," and one who "brought his mother to the interview and let her do all the talking."

And nobody forgot the job-seeker who "gave us his resume in a ten-gallon hat when our company moved to Texas."

Salesboom.com, a vendor of software-as-a-service CRM and back office products, has released its first CRM User Behavior Study, based upon "researching Salesboom.com platform users," according to company officials.

Beginning in April 2006, Salesboom.com platform users served as the basis of this study. Product engineers at Salesboom.com have used the findings to "improve user experience with different tools and technologies such as Ajax, streamlining CRM processes," company officials say.

According to the study, 67 percent of users "continuously seek shortcuts to complete a task," as opposed to First Coffee's informal finding that 99 percent of the general population employs the practice.

Frequent CRM logins directly correlate to improved task times, the study found, and that Ajax-notes facilitated 61 percent more data entry compared with regular post-style notes.

Talisma CRM 7.2, Voila Hotel CRM, Salesforce and United Capital, Omnicom’s MangoMobile and Nissan, Saama and Boisvert

October 11, 2007

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz To Come:   Voila Hotel Rewards, a global, point-based frequent guest program intended for CRM at independent hotel companies, has welcomed Diagonal Hotels as its newest partner.   The brings together a worldwide network of four- and five-star hotels of independent groups under a single umbrella for a guest loyalty program. In addition to earning points for eligible spend and redeeming for complimentary night stays and room upgrades at participating hotels, Voila officials say “members will also enjoy special perks, such as member-only room rates, special welcome amenities, instant recognition, and multi-network airline mile exchange opportunities.”

For participating hotels, Voila offers CRM technology available at no cost. Through a Web-based portal, hotels can manage e-mail and direct mail marketing campaigns, access program performance reports, enroll members, and verify booked reservations linked to each member’s tier, details, and preferences.   Diagonal Hotels has two properties: In Barcelona, Hotel Alexandra, and in Granollers, Hotel Augusta, and an associated hotel in Sitges, Hotel Calipolis. It’s a member of Great Hotels Organization and a launch partner of Voila Hotel Rewards with its private-label program, Great Hotels Rewards.

Josep Antoni Martinez, Director of Sales of Diagonal Hotels, said for small independent hotel groups, “reaching out to the global market is a formidable task, given the limits of our resources.”

“Diagonal Hotels represents exactly the type of hotel company that Voila Hotel Rewards was created for,” said Marwan Ramadan, President EMEA for Voila Hotel Rewards.

CRM's iEnterprises Upgrades Lotus, December 12: $755 Million Day, Teradata's Version 6, Vital Insight CEM, Inside View CMO Schulman

October 10, 2007

The news as of the first cup of coffee this morning, and the music is Tom Waits' Mule Variations:

Teradata, a vendor of data warehousing products, has announced the availability of its software for marketing automation, Teradata Relationship Manager Version 6. The new portfolio "injects enterprise intelligence into multiple-step customer conversations across multiple sales and service channels," company officials say, such as "the Web, store, ATM and call center."

With new architecture and capabilities, it helps marketers plan, coordinate and evaluate threads of customer dialog -- many driven by the customers themselves.

The new software adds flexibility and simplicity for users while integrating analytical and operational customer management, using active enterprise intelligence from the Teradata Warehouse with the latest Java-based software. "In marketing practice," Teradata officials say, "multi-step customer dialogs have been found to achieve much higher response rates and more profitable returns" than conventional marketing approaches.

"This is what the future of business-to-consumer marketing looks like," said Lisa Loftis, a consultant for Intelligent Solutions, which bills itself as "a professional services firm which assesses and guides business intelligence and customer analytics initiatives.” The ability to "coordinate a consistent thread of multi-step conversations with customers across multiple touch points is the holy grail of marketing," she noted.

"As a user of Teradata CRM, we are excited by RMV6," said Craig Gard, manager of applications and development for Meredith Corp., a media and marketing company.

IEnterprises, a vendor of desktop and wireless customer relationship management (CRM), has announced what company officials are calling "a major automation upgrade to its iExtensions CRM Domino/Lotus Notes software," pitched at "enabling small and medium sized businesses."

With its automated functionality, "given the automation runs through the entire CRM product," company officials say, "users can pre-populate, trigger, or issue notifications by allowing macros to run when opening, editing or saving any data" in the product.

These macros give CRM automation ease of use and flexibility, company officials say: "When a user adds a new lead, for example, iExtensions CRM's automation can assign the lead to an internal sales representative or partner. The representative can then directly contact the lead by clicking on the URL."

The automation is being marketed as making scheduling and following up on sales procedures and performance easier, as tasks -- "no matter how simple, multi-step or complex" -- can be triggered either one or multiple times daily.

CRM Veteran at Fulcrum, WorkWise's ERP, FTS's Leap, AmeriCommerce Adds CRM, EGain Learns New Languages

October 9, 2007

The news as of the first cup of coffee this morning, and the music is Coleman Hawkins' great jazz compendium Body & Soul:

WorkWise, a vendor of enterprise-wide products that enable manufacturers to maximize profits through improved use of their information assets, announced the availability of Atlas, which company officials describe as "an affordable complete ERP offering centered around the Time Critical Manufacturing suite of applications."

The suite has Business Intelligence, CRM and other tools.

WorkWise has been selling ERP products and implementations for nearly 30 years. The Atlas program is an ERP offering that provides businesses with products for information management and decision making, "all for a fraction of the cost of competitive products -- and for one low price paid over a three year period with zero percent financing," company officials say.

Harry Mosesian, Director of Sales and Business Development, WorkWise, said the product is pitched at "manufacturers who need to invest in their plant, equipment, marketing and people to grow their business… these companies have neither the time nor the additional capital to expend on long, complicated and expensive ERP implementations that don't provide a return on investment."

Atlas is available in either a 30 or 60 user package. The Atlas/30 - 30 User Complete ERP System, including support and implementation, runs $4,995 per month for 36 months at zero percent interest. WorkWise will be debuting Atlas at the 2007 APICS Conference and Expo in Denver on October 21.

AmeriCommerce has introduced version 4.3 of their online shopping cart, which company officials say introduces CRM functionality, as well as Web design management, automatic drop shipping notifications to suppliers and performance enhancements.

There are "many new features" to their shopping cart software, company officials say, giving online storefront owners "more control over content, design, search engine optimization, product catalog management and order fulfillment."

The new version adds to AmeriCommerce's Multiple Storefronts offering, which allows online store owners the ability to manage several unique online storefronts from one Web-based administration console.

MagSuite's CRM and ERP, Crosby on TMOne Board, Ramco and Adani, Plexus and Software Idol, Maxymiser on Salesforce.com AppEx, Way Open for Springboks

October 8, 2007

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the bell tolling for New Zealand's All Blacks and Australia’s Wallabies, two heavy favorites ushered out of the Rugby World Cup by France and England this weekend (if the French had played defense in 1940 the way they played it Saturday the Germans never would have gotten within 100 miles of Paris). It tolls for thee, Southern Hemisphere rugby dominance.   Maybe the pool round matches were such cakewalks for pre-tournament favorite New Zealand—Scotland fielded their reserves against the All Blacks in the pool match—they weren't ready for a tough match under pressure. First Coffee watched all four matches, a tough England exposed an overrated Australia fifteen and First Coffee is cheering for England, a most unfancied side when the tournament began, to confound everyone and beat South Africa in the final to win it for the second time in a row.   Realistically, though, the title's been gift-wrapped for the Springboks. They'll have to play better against Argentina than they did against Fiji, who scored two tries with a man in the sin bin.

Datacap’s Cycle Faster Program, Teradata Adds MRM Capabilities, Customer Management Application Spending Forecast to Grow

October 5, 2007

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Frank Sinatra's 1957 album Come Fly With Me, his most fun, breezy album:

Okay, kicking off with today's public service announcement: Datacap, a vendor of flexible capture and forms processing software, has announced that its third annual Cycle Faster program to raise funds and awareness for the Lance Armstrong Foundation will make its debut at the American Records Management Association International Conference and Expo in Baltimore, October 7-10.

Since its inception in 2005, Cycle Faster has brought together scanning, capture and ECM (enterprise content management organizations) to contribute more than $40,000 to such worthy causes as the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Tyler Hamilton Foundation. At the AIIM Conference earlier this year, Cycle Faster also raised $5,000 for Boston's Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

In other words, it's a good cause, and First Coffee's pleased to promote it.

At ARMA, Cycle Faster sponsors include Fujitsu, EMC/Captiva, Böwe Bell & Howell, Kofax, DocuWare, Kodak, Parascript, Filebound and Canon, whose contributions and efforts are essential to the success of fund raising efforts.

Playing off the business-to-business (B2B) focus of the ECM industry, Cycle Faster B2B 2007 began in Boston in April and will wrap up the cycling season at Datacap's booth #721 at the ARMA Conference. Sponsors and individual donors will compete on a virtual trainer on the Expo floor and race against each other to post the best time on a one-mile ride. Donations to the Lance Armstrong Foundation will be made on behalf of the winning organizations.

"We started Cycle Faster in 2005, and the program quickly took on a life of its own as our partners and friends got involved," said Scott Blau, Datacap CEO and an avid cyclist.

CRM for Pharma, Perlego and Implement, QuickArrow and OSI, OpenAjax for CRM Mashups, Astadia's Six Tools on Salesforce.com's AppEx

October 4, 2007

The news as of the first cup of coffee this morning, and the music is The North Mississippi All-Stars' Electric Blue Watermelon:

Perlego Systems, a vendor of "hosted mobile device lifecycle management," has announced a partnership with Implement.com Corporation, which hosts Microsoft Exchange deployments. Perlego Horizons will be used by Implement.com to provide enterprise mobile IT management products.

Steve Schwartz, President of Implement.com, said Perlego gives his customers the ability to "quickly, easily and cost-effectively deploy strong mobile device management capabilities. We believe this new partnership gives us the competitive advantage we need."

Administered over the air, Horizons provides tools for comprehensive smart device configuration capabilities, including remote management, data wipe, content delivery and device backup. Perlego's hosted Web console provides distributors, carriers, VARs and enterprise IT managers with a system for end-to-end device management needs, including deploying applications and issuing patches.

"In the hosted services space, multi-tenancy is a must for companies looking to efficiently address the broadest possible market," said Frank Costa, CEO of Perlego.

QuickArrow, a vendor of SaaS services automation solutions, announced that OSI Consulting has selected its product to further automate and track services operations.

CRM From iMagicLab, AMC Integrates Oracle and Siebel, Salesforce's Force.com, Opera Mobile Released, Volusion Offers CRM Tools, American Rugby

October 2, 2007

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is… well, I’d really rather not say, I… (“Come on, it’s okay, you’re among friends.”) Yeah, but some things are embarrassing to share publicly, you know? I mean it was high school and all, and, you know… (“Dave, you need to be honest here, we all have musical taste we’re not that proud of, go ahead and share, you’ll feel better.”) Well, okay, the music is Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell. (“Meatloaf? Bat Out of Hell?
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