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

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

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. The initial selection of commonly-used software is "geared in price and functionality towards the needs of small-to medium-sized businesses (SMB)," company officials say.

The new offerings, whether stand-alone or integrated, include Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Project, and Microsoft Live Communicator. The company also hosts ShareCAD for AutoCAD, a sharing network for AutoCAD documents.

Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, offers subscription-based access to applications. Accordingly, Phase 2 clients do not require upfront software license and hardware installation costs, nor IT staff to implement and maintain network systems. With SaaS, monthly subscription fees fit easily into even a small business budget.

Hosted business applications can be accessed from anywhere with a Web browser; without the need for downloads or special tools. They're popular with distributed teams needing to access centralized information for sales, products, services, accounting and other information that drives business.

Honolulu-based Phase 2 officials say their hosted applications can be accessed within hours of purchase for basic applications, and a few days for customized applications.

Phase 2 is currently offering six hosted products for businesses that can be integrated and bundled according to customers' needs. Phase 2 is planning to expand its portfolio of applications in the near future.

Now that Microsoft has announced the worldwide availability of its unified communications software, analysts say it will help streamline workplace communications and could reduce the cost of the average corporate voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) system by half.

What else can you expect? According to the ARC Advisory Group, the release includes the following:

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. Software that delivers VoIP, video, instant messaging, conferencing and presence within the applications you probably already know and use, such as Microsoft Office system applications and upcoming versions of Microsoft Dynamics ERP and the Microsoft CRM release due later this year.

Microsoft Office Communicator 2007: Client software for phone, instant messaging and video communications that works across the PC, mobile phone and Web browser.

Microsoft Office Live Meeting: The next version of Microsoft’s advanced conferencing service that enables workers to conduct meetings, share documents, use video and record discussions from virtually any computer.

Microsoft RoundTable: A conferencing phone with a 360-degree camera that captures a panoramic view of meeting participants, tracks the speaker and can record meetings. No more falling unobtrusively asleep on conference calls.

Service pack update of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. The e-mail, voice mail, calendaring and unified messaging platform

Microsoft also unveiled Unified Communications Open Interoperability, a telephony system qualification program, to "give customers the assurance that Microsoft unified communications software works with their telephony systems," ARC officials say.

Bob Mick, ARC Advisory Group, said "from a group and team perspective, Microsoft is in a prime position to have a high impact, because of the popularity of their Office products."

Telrex, vendor of the CallRex suite of IP call recording and contact center products, has announced support for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communicator 2007. The support means customers can record phone calls for regulatory compliance, dispute resolution, training and security.

"The ability to record and monitor calls has become a standard business practice for most every business today," said Bob Cordes, VP Product Management at Telrex. He said that via his company's "strategic relationship" with Microsoft, "more business customers will be able to deploy Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007 because they will be able to record and monitor calls using CallRex software."

CallRex is all software and runs on standard Windows-based servers. It enables call recording, triggered call recording, on-demand call recording and live monitoring from anywhere on the network. It lets recorded calls be linked with business applications such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM to create a comprehensive history of interactions.

According to a recent study conducted by Microsoft Canada, Canadians say the lack of emotion in e-mails frequently causes conversations to be misinterpreted.

While more than one-quarter of Canadians say they use e-mail to conduct business, 32 per cent say they have had an e-mail misinterpreted, and 66 per cent say they need to spend time explaining the context or tone of a message to a colleague after sending.

Canadians spend at least 30 minutes a day re-reading messages to ensure tone and context are accurately communicated, the study found: "As well, 67 percent of respondents admitted that they follow-up on important e-mail messages with a phone call."

Warren Shiau, Lead Analyst, IT Research, Strategic Counsel, said the majority of respondents "indicate they feel a need to use expressive tools like emoticons and Caps Lock in business e-mails to make sure the right message gets across."

Reflecting a national characteristic Canadians are concerned how their e-mails are perceived by others, with 83 percent rereading their notes before sending. 89 percent say the phone and face-to-face are more effective ways of communicating important issues.

72 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they would be more likely to call the person if they could determine whether they were available to take the call.

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