Microsoft has announced that Logos Bible Software, a vendor of Bible software in multiple languages, has selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM to replace its aging customer relationship management system with technology that integrates all customer data.
Logos, a $15 million company based in Bellingham, Washington, offers software used by members of the clergy, seminary students, missionaries and lay leaders in more than 180 countries. Its electronic Bibles, theological works, pastoral resources and other texts are available in numerous languages, including Greek, Hebrew and Latin.
The company chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM to "gain comprehensive new efficiencies not available with its previous CRM system, which required customer service representatives to navigate a number of unconnected databases to retrieve information," according to Microsoft officials:
"With the earlier system, agents had to call customers back because they needed to look for answers to questions in several different places." Microsoft's CRM technology will allow the service staff to collect all its customer information in one system. "This customized system empowers us to take charge of the growth of our business," said Andrew Skipton, chief financial officer at Logos.
Logos anticipates that the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM will offer faster, less-expensive training because it uses a familiar Microsoft interface, so "training can be carried out rapidly in-house with training costs expected to tumble as much as 75 percent," according to Logos officials.
Licenses for the previous system were so expensive, Logos officials said, that "only a limited number of employees had access to the application. For Microsoft Dynamics CRM, licensing costs will be 40 percent less than those of the other system."
123Together.com, a hoster of enterprise-class messaging and collaboration products such as Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Windows SharePoint Services v3.0 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0, has announced that it is participating in Microsoft's Early Adopter Program for the next generation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, version 4.0, code-named "Titan", and selecting customers to receive early access to a hosted Titan product.
123Together.com gears its services to SMBs who want enterprises-class messaging and collaboration products "without the technical personnel needed to maintain the servers in house," company officials say.
As part of the Microsoft Technology Adoption Program for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, 123Together.com has been given early access to Titan, and will be distributing it as a hosted service to a select group of customers tomorrow.
The most significant enhancement which 123Together.com customers will experience with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 as a hosted service, 123Together officials think, is, well, "the ability for them to use the application immediately." Customers were previously required to purchase an additional server solely for the use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 and, as a result, incurred added costs and additional set up time.
With hosted apps customers to pay for only the number of users they have, remove the requirement for dedicated hardware and eliminate the need for any long term contracts. They can also usually get preconfigured customizable templates designed for specific industries, or develop their own workflows within the application. Microsoft, for example, is offering preconfigured templates for the manufacturing industry and the public sector and will make additional templates available over the next few months.
Sears Holdings Corporation has announced that Louis Ramery will join the company as senior vice president, customer relationship marketing for Sears and Kmart. Ramery comes to Sears from Digitas, where he led the firm's global Marketing Capability, its Loyalty and CRM practice and served as a Relationship Leader on accounts.
Ramery will have overall responsibilities for developing and executing the Sears Holdings' relationship marketing strategies and programs, Sears officials say, and will report to Maureen McGuire, Sears Holdings' Chief Marketing Officer.
"Lou will be charged with helping to optimize our customers' experiences by developing and strengthening relationships between our brands and our customers," said McGuire.
Prior to his seven years with Digitas, Ramery served as executive vice president, marketing and planning for Brierley & Partners, a loyalty marketing agency, where he helped launch and was chief marketing officer for the Internet-based customer rewards program e-Rewards.
RightNow Technologies has announced Australian availability of RightNow Higher Education, which combines its CRM product with its experience of "working with more than 100 higher education institutions in Australia and overseas," company officials say.
The new turn-key product is engineered to help institutions "recruit, retain, and engage more effectively with their students," according to RightNow officials.
Based on RightNow 8, the company's product for service, sales and marketing, RightNow Higher Education includes pre-configured guides or templates based on industry best practices. It is available under RightNow's software-as-a-service delivery model.
Higher education institutions consider recruitment of qualified students a top priority, one that is increasingly challenging given budget constraints, competition from other universities and colleges, and Internet-savvy prospective students that expect easy, immediate access to information.
After successfully recruiting students, universities and colleges then focus on retention. The theory behind much of the practice of CRM for higher education -- Campus Relationship Management? -- is that providing immediate, online access to a wide range of information is one way learning institutions can keep students and parents happy and strengthen retention rates.
RightNow Higher Education also includes analytical and reporting tools designed specifically for higher education, which allow organizations to keep track of their progress in achieving recruitment and retention goals.
Britain's QPC has announced that it has completed an agreement with BT to provide workforce management for their enterprise customers. The Metropolitan Police, the UK's largest police service, will be the first customer to see IEX TotalView workforce management provided by QPC through BT to manage 1200 staff across three sites.
"We are delighted with the new partnership agreement," said Ruth Rowan, Head of Marketing & Propositions Global CRM of BT. QPC's range of products and services in respect to workforce management include consulting, engineering, support and professional services.
Initially for the supply of workforce management the partnership will also see BT look to take on further products from QPC including both capability management workforce optimization systems and contact management information systems.
If you ever wanted a gruesome, real-life example of why it's so important to define project goals at the outset of a CRM deployment, look no further than the pitiful spectacle unfolding in London's High Court, where BSkyB is suing EDS for ridiculous sums for a failed CRM implementation -- but legal costs alone will be well over $75 million.
As industry observer Tony Collins relates, in EDS's opening statements, lawyer Mark Barnes said "the main problem with this project was that it was wholly unspecified. Sky knew it wanted a super-dooper CRM system but had little more idea of what it wanted or needed." Read and heed, pilgrim.
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