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

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

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. IBOLT is planned to enhance our IST Integration and Application Option."

The major types of business applications to be studied include Enterprise Resource Planning, Customer Relationship Management, and Supply Chain Management software.

CorraTech, an open source software vendor, has announced the launch of a new open source project, OpenSuite, designed "to overcome open source application integration challenges" for CRM and other applications, company officials say.

The product allows business process and data integration across open source applications and proprietary IT systems by providing a virtual suite of open source software.

The adoption and use of open source software by enterprises is widespread and continues to increase. For most organizations, integrating multiple open source applications with each other and within existing proprietary IT environments is a challenge. Although independent software vendors and community projects support integration and interoperability efforts with open source applications, most focus on providing the hooks for other applications to connect.

OpenSuite bills itself as "the glue required to make independently developed open source applications act as though they were designed to operate as an integrated suite." Ron Bongo, CEO of CorraTech, said "it has become apparent to us that in order for open source applications to deliver enterprise value, they need to operate more like a suite and more freely share business processes across the IT environment."

In addition to CRM, OpenSuite provides packaged integration across such open source applications as enterprise resource planning, content/document management, messaging and project management.

The OpenSuite platform takes a service-oriented approach and supplies server-to-server middleware layer functionality. The platform is distributed with a number of packaged business processes called Business Process Packs, which represent logical flows of user actions. These packs consist of reusable functions combined to create cross-application workflows that allow users to navigate between applications, as well as add new functions and productivity improvements to applications.

Autonomy Corporation has announced that version 6 of both its Enterprise Archive Product and Introspect software are now powered by IDOL. Autonomy Zantaz sells the Proactive Information Risk Management products.

Information Risk Management is "the act of mitigating the risks endemic to the everyday production of excess amounts of data through intelligent archiving, automated policy management and advanced eDiscovery," according to Autonomy officials.

The offerings include media restoration, consolidated archiving, advanced electronic data discovery, review, production, real-time policy management and analytics.

It's all based on one common platform -- Autonomy's Intelligent Data Operating Layer. IDOL automates the understanding and processing of all sources of operational information including e-mail, instant messages, files, applications, voice and video.

The explosion of unstructured information such as e-mails, documents, instant messaging, audio, video, blogs and Web pages, Autonomy officials believe, "has introduced new challenges and potential threats to organizations regarding business operations, regulations and litigation preparedness. Regulatory changes mandate that all electronic information is discoverable and therefore organizations are now required to apply retention policies to far more than just e-mail."

In the report "Abysmal: The State of Retention Management" (Forrester Research, Inc., July 2007), Barry Murphy writes that the gap between where organizations are today and where they should be is "enormous. As a result, eDiscovery costs are high and repetitive. But the days of stakeholders looking the other way as legal teams spend millions of dollars per month on eDiscovery are over."

Organizations are beginning due diligence on ways to more effectively conduct eDiscovery, and to better achieve overall information management, Murphy says: "In some cases these initiatives are led by IT, in other situations they are led by legal, and once in a while, they're led by the business. In reality, it must be a combined effort."

Loyalty Lab, a vendor of on-demand CRM for consumer brands, and Harte-Hanks, a direct and targeted marketing company, have announced a relationship designed to "expand the range of loyalty and relationship marketing capabilities available to marketers, particularly in retail markets," according to Loyalty officials.

"By aligning with Loyalty Lab, we will be able to anchor our extensive portfolio of loyalty program services using Loyalty Lab's Customer Relationship Manager software," said Frank Harvey, corporate officer and vice president, Harte-Hanks.

In time, Harte-Hanks also may choose to integrate its Postfuture e-mail, data management and Allink suite of database marketing products with Loyalty Lab to provide a platform for marketers to "identify best customers, communicate with them using integrated, multichannel messaging, and manage loyalty campaign activity," Loyalty officials say.

"Harte-Hanks is a recognized leader in loyalty marketing and CRM, with long-standing relationships with many on the nation's top retailers," said Mark H. Goldstein, CEO of Loyalty Lab.

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