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

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

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. This is a company practicing what it preaches ... it reflects Greg's 'I'm going to be straight with you' personality."

Advent Software, a vendor of software and services to the investment management industry, has announced the 145th client contract for its Portfolio Exchange product, launched in late 2005.

APX is Advent's portfolio management product, offering a platform that brings together portfolio and client data for improved portfolio management, performance reporting, and client relationship management, according to company officials.

The 145 APX clients are comprised of a wide range of investment management firms, including asset managers, family offices, trusts, broker dealers and hedge funds in the U.S. and EMEA region.

"APX has changed the way that we do business; with APX we now have a single platform that integrates all phases of the investment management process from marketing and portfolio management to client service and reporting," said Lori Hoch, Chief Operating Officer, for Cortina Asset Management.

The product is designed to integrate the front office functions of client relationship management (CRM) and performance analysis with the back office operations of portfolio accounting and reporting, using a single SQL database to deliver client information via a browser-based user interface.

Kintera has announced that Kintera Connect, the company's open application integration platform, is available for clients and partners to integrate directly with Kintera technology.

Kintera has partnered with nearly 30 industry firms in both the enterprise and nonprofit technology sectors to develop new products to the challenges organizations face. As an example, FreeCause provides customizable browser toolbars to help nonprofits stay at the forefront of supporters' minds.

Integrating with Kintera CRM, Kintera clients using the FreeCause toolbar can use the segmentation data housed in Kintera's platform to segment their audience and provide tailored information and messages to constituents via the FreeCause toolbar. For example, geographic information such as where supporters live would enable an organization to send broadcast information about specific regional events only to the relevant audience using the nonprofit-branded toolbar.

Unlike client/server or hosted ASP environments, Kintera's multi-tenancy "enables all clients and applications to share one centrally maintained common infrastructure and code base," company officials say, adding that Kintera's multi-tenancy "also provides consistent APIs, which means that Kintera partners can develop an application integrated with Kintera technology once and offer it repeatedly to other clients."

CRM OnTarget, a provider of hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM, has launched a new affiliate program called the "Power to Compete." The program is designed to help the Microsoft Partner Community "enter the Software as a Service (SaaS) business model without the startup and ongoing expense of building their own data centers," company officials say.

Affiliates will be listed on the CRM OnTarget website this summer and global marketing will begin in September with support from Microsoft. In this arrangement, CRM OnTarget affiliates own the customer relationship and provide services while CRM OnTarget provides the infrastructure necessary to offer Dynamics CRM, Exchange, and SharePoint in an SaaS environment.

CRM OnTarget manager Mike Berger said the program is designed to enable Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partners to "remain competitive in CRM opportunities when prospects start talking about hosting as a serious option."

"This is a fundamental shift in our business strategy. For three years we have invested in infrastructure, data centers, processes, and the ability to scale. Today with the launch of the affiliate program, our success is seeded in the partner community as we take the first step back from the customer facing role," said CRM OnTarget official Randal Southam.

Southam drew an analogy to the financial services markets as a model for how the affiliate program was designed. "If you look at national brands in the brokerage market you will see companies that market well for lead generation, build brand, and offer tools that set local offices apart from the pack. But the fact remains that the vast majority of these offices are independent brokers who are simply benefiting from the lead generation, brand, references, and methodology."

Alauras Software, a vendor of media software, has announced a distribution agreement for its YP CRM and YP Ad Management systems with Yellow Magic Incorporated, a vendor of end-to-end yellow page publishing systems.

Ron Mintle, President and founder of Yellow Magic, said "we feel that the addition of the Alauras YP products add important components to the total publishing systems products we offer."

Richard Sloop, President of Alauras Software, called the addition of Yellow Magic as a point of distribution a "critical success for our company and a validation of our product development efforts to date."

The Alauras Software YP CRM product is industry specific to yellow page publishing, bringing "cost effectiveness and efficiency not previously available to small and medium size publishers," according to company officials. The system is designed to bring together many disparate pieces of YP information to create a true picture of customers, at one access point.

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