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. Company officials describe it as “ideal for employees in remote offices and disparate departments,” as it lets users “capture and integrate information into reports and distribute them across a company on demand.”
Version 5.4 has more sample reports to choose from, more ERP data to access, and more queries for analysis, Sage officials say, adding that it is “easier to use and navigate than previous versions, with an improved wizard-driven report design, and simplified processing of sales data with many functions now incorporated into fewer modules.”
Company officials highlighted the new report design wizard, with custom criteria filters offering “greater flexibility and control to extract the specific types of data users want to generate various reports for.” Cross-module drill-down is also now available, along with customizable screens, custom ribbons for Microsoft Excel 2007, and the ability to type in whatever values are desired, instead of having to pick from a pre-populated list.
Sage Accpac Insight 5.4 starts at an SRP of $1,000, and is now available from authorized Sage Accpac business partners across North America.
Jenzabar, a vendor of software for higher education, has announced a new corporate direction aimed at “strengthening the customer business processes that are critical to their institutional success,” according to company officials.
The corporate strategy concentrates on developing the financial backbone of Institutions of Higher Education by increasing the rate of enrollment, retention, and advancement through consultative services that support Jenzabar technology products.
Based on Jenzabar’s experience in higher education, company officials say, the company is “focusing on generating revenue and improving operational performance for customers.” To do so they concentrated on three key areas they see driving “significant results for colleges and universities: enrollment, retention, and advancement (ERA).”
Because the ERA success affects financial and operational achievement as well, Jenzabar officials say they will offer “more than technology products, but also a consultative approach to utilizing technology products to improve campus business processes.”
Opera Software and KDDI, a Japanese 3G operator, have announced that Opera Widgets will be shipped on Toshiba W56T, Sony Ericsson W54S, and Sanyo W54SA handsets from KDDI.
Branded as “au one Gadget” by KDDI, Opera’s Widget technology lets users “improve and personalize their browsing experience,” company officials say. This is the first time Opera Widgets have shipped on mobile phones.
Opera Widgets are small and often simple-purpose applications built using open Web technologies. Users can select their favorite widget, and install it on devices that support Widgets. Opera Widgets provide instant access to services such as RSS feeds, game results, weather, traffic information, stocks, news, SNS, and more.
The au one Gadget is a Web application made with open standards. Users can download their favorite Gadget to their handsets to run on the device’s idle screen. Handsets with au one Gadget functionality will be released in December.
At Microsoft’s Convergence 2007 Copenhagen customer event, Microsoft officials say hosting firms from around the world “committed to delivering on-demand customer relationship management (CRM)” products based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, formerly code-named “Titan,” due out later this year.
These new partners join what Microsoft officials call “an extensive range of existing partners around the world that deliver on-demand products for Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) products.”
Microsoft has also announced that it plans to lower the subscription licensing fees paid by its global hosting partners for Microsoft Dynamics CRM by approximately 40 percent. Microsofties say the price reduction is “consistent with Microsoft’s long-standing strategy to deliver more affordable CRM technology through on-premises and partner-hosted deployments as well as the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live service.”
Dynamics CRM 4.0 offers a platform that is multi-tenant and scalable, and supports multiple languages and currencies. By using a single code base for on-premises and on-demand deployments, customers are able to choose whichever model suits their business and IT needs, and to change their option over time if their needs or preferences change.
The software giant has a ticklish problem to deal with — it wants to develop its hosted applications, but needs to keep its huge partner community happy. Companies are generally resistant to using third-party hosted CRM, and many analysts see the significant price cut as a way of luring such reluctant customers to Microsoft’s on-demand CRM.
InQuira, a vendor of software for search, knowledge management and analytics, has announced that Serena Software will be implementing the InQuira Customer Experience Platform to “power its search and knowledge management initiatives.”
More than 15,000 organizations use Serena’s products, company officials say, adding that “the recent launch of Serena Mashup Composer puts an entirely different demand on customer service.” Targeting individual users looking to create business mashups, Serena officials anticipate “both exponential growth and an increasing reliance on online support within its customer base.”
“We need to provide our customers with the type of online customer service they are accustomed to getting from industry leading consumer companies,” said Peter Sianchuk, vice president of worldwide support, Serena Software.
InQuira Information Manager provides a content authoring, editing, review and publishing environment for the information management lifecycle, so Serena can manage and maintain its knowledge base.
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.