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

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

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. The firm will offer passengers "exclusive rail journeys to remote regions of China with three trains carrying 96 guests each."

"How nice, Cof. And we care because…" CRM vendor Rescompany sees it as the perfect opportunity to "set foot into the Chinese market, as the reservation center will be established in Beijing," Rescompany officials say.

Being able to run the reservation process for such a unique train operation with requirements for packages, as well as handling overlapping inventory, proves the flexibility of the Resco's reservation software, company officials maintain: "In addition, the multi-language capabilities of Resco, including Chinese, will help to meet local documentation requirements for the authorities."

Rescompany Systems provides reservation and CRM software products to the travel and leisure industry. The software suite is built to support cruises, day cruises, wholesalers, tour operators, charters, individual excursions, holiday villages and package groups. Resco's Reservations and CRM are offered as one complete product or as separate packages. For the stand-alone CRM package interfaces are provided to existing systems to allow use of the available data.

And if you're interested: The northern route traverses the Tibetan plateau from Beijing to Lhasa (5 days/4 nights). The southern route travels from Beijing to Lijiang (5 days/4 nights) exploring the scenery of Guangxi and Yunnan provinces. (Four day/3 night journeys are available in the reverse direction on both routes).

Hot Banana, the Web Content Management product from J.L. Halsey, has announced that it is now available on salesforce.com’s AppExchange marketplace.

The two-way integration between Hot Banana’s Web content management product and Salesforce means that "both sales and marketing get what they need in the format they want," company officials say: "Marketing maintains full control over Web forms and landing pages, while sales teams obtain lead generation data quickly and in their preferred format."

Users can build multi-level Web forms with CAPTCHA validation on basic Web pages or on advanced landing pages, set up Web analytics, lead source and conversion tracking and transfer the captured lead-generation data from the Web form to Salesforce.

This lead generation and data transfer capability is available out of the box and requires no additional programming or customization.

QuickArrow, a vendor of SaaS Services Automation, has announced that Endeca has become their tenth client to complete integration certification on QuickConnect, the SaaS company's Web Services API. The process is designed to let users integrate QuickArrow with their organizations' existing front and back-office business applications.

Jeanne Urich, Principal with Adexta Consulting, said it is "imperative" that SaaS vendors "provide an industry standard Web Services infrastructure to allow their clients to build on-demand integrations with any existing on-premise applications. With this capability, SaaS companies can plug directly into a client's business process system."

QuickArrow provided Endeca with documentation, consulting, and a sandbox environment throughout the certification process, allowing them to design, build and test their integration. During the certification, QuickArrow also provided guidance on best practices and capacity analysis. Typically, clients can complete the certification process in six to eight weeks, QuickArrow officials say.

Louise K. Allen, QuickArrow's VP of Product Strategy, said QuickConnect is a standardized Web Services API which enables users to integrate QuickArrow with financial, CRM, expense, data warehouse, and other ERP applications.

QuickArrow currently has certified integrations to SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Concur, and Salesforce.com, and also has six additional clients in the certification process, with integrations including Great Plains, Softrax, Intaact and Microsoft CRM.

Webcom, a vendor of quote-to-order enablement for the selling of complex products and services, has announced that Survalent Technology is deploying WebSource CPQ to "help automate, simplify, and accelerate its quote-to-order process," Webcom officials say. Survalent will use Webcom's SaaS (Software-as-a-Solution) delivery model to generate quotes, manage complex product configurations, and generate proposals.

Bill Rambo, vice president of marketing at Survalent, said WebSource CPQ is the perfect on-demand product for our business model, with features and functionality that set it apart from the competition, including robust integration to our CRM system from Salesforce.com."

Interactive Intelligence, a vendor of business communications products, reported "record results" for the quarter and nine-month period ended Sept. 30, 2007.

For the third quarter, revenues in 2007 were a record $28.7 million, up 29 percent over revenues of $22.2 million in 2006. Operating income for the third quarter increased 23 percent to $2.1 million in 2007 from $1.7 million in 2006, which included stock-based compensation expense of $812,000 in 2007 and $451,000 in 2006.

Diluted earnings per share for the third quarter were $0.13 in 2007. EPS in the same quarter last year were $0.36, including a non-cash income tax benefit of $5.0 million, or $0.26 per share, recorded to reduce the valuation allowance for deferred tax assets.

For the third quarter, non-GAAP net income was $3.3 million in 2007, or EPS of $0.17, compared to non-GAAP net income of $2.2 million in 2006, or EPS of $0.12. Cash and short-term investments as of Sept. 30, 2007 totaled $34.4 million.

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