The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the underrated sax player Hank Mobley’s solid jazz album, Soul Station. Nothing flashy or fancy, but thoroughly enjoyable, inventive jazz with Art Blakey, Wynton Kelly and Paul Chambers:
Waiting for your Christmas bonus? We here in the ranks of the self-employed don’t have to worry about such things. But incentive compensation and commission expert Leslie Stretch of Callidus Software, is here to offer his insight on bonuses this Christmas season.
The man’s expertise: Over 1.8 million salespeople, brokers, and channel representatives have their sales performance managed by Callidus Software’s products, including those of such organizations as 7-Eleven, AIG and Wachovia.
The good news, as Stretch sees it, is that bonuses are increasingly becoming performance-related, as companies index them closer to company performance to motivate workers. According to Watson Wyatt Worldwide’s “2007/2008 Global Strategic Rewards Report,” Stretch says, employees who “far exceeded expectations” will get an average merit increase of 5.6 percent this year, while employees who did not meet expectations will get a raise of just 0.4.
That’s the good news. Many companies have changed their fiscal year so it no longer coincides with the calendar year and Christmas season, thereby shrinking bonuses, and most employers who have, Scrooge-like, cancelled bonuses, did so in the past six years.
Conversely, Stretch finds, The New York State Comptroller’s Office projects bonuses on Wall Street will shrink 10 percent from the record levels reached a year ago, when they hit $23.9 billion, or more than $136,000 per employee.
I know, First Coffee finds it hard to pity such developments as well.
Stretch says Merrill Lynch’s new CEO John Thain has said those employees involved in the subprime market collapse that led to the firm’s $8.4 billion third-quarter write down will be penalized. Taking away the Christmas bonus is a good way to do that.
I mean, they might have to downgrade from a new Mercedes to a new Audi this year.
Lexnet Consulting Group has announced the release of ManuLogic, a product the Lexnetians call “a vertical customer support and CRM application for serialized equipment manufacturers.”
ManuLogic was built using technology from SaaSWizard of Redwood City, California. SaaSWizard is a scalable, J2EE-based development platform that allows OEMs and VARs to create both enterprise-class Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and internally hosted applications without programming.
“The CRM application that we developed with SaaSWizard serves customer support requirements and other CRM needs of serialized equipment manufacturers,” said Steve Chipman, president of Lexnet and a SaaSWizard VAR, “whether a company manufactures testing equipment, network appliances, telecom gear, kiosks, or any other type of higher end technology equipment.”
Colin Earl, CEO of SaaSWizard, said the SaaSWizardians provide “the software infrastructure,” and “together we deliver a precisely targeted product for their market. ManuLogic can be run in a hosted, multi-tenant or dedicated server environment and customers can even move it to an in-house server running their choice of Linux or Windows operating systems.”
“No two companies, even close competitors, have the exact same CRM requirements,” Chipman correctly noted. Lexnet Consulting Group is a provider of CRM business products headquartered in San Francisco, with additional offices in Southern California and Atlanta.
Cornerstone Solutions has announced that they have chosen ExactTarget as their partner for e-mail marketing and communications integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Cornerstone sells consulting, integration and implementation services for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. When using a CRM product there is a need to access your target market with e-mail and report on the effectiveness of those e-mails, the Cornerstoners point out, saying the company “needed to find a third party that could provide these features.”
ExactTarget’s application works with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to enhance its e-mail marketing capabilities. The application allows the marketing staff to send e-mails using CRM and track responses and click-throughs.
“I have only heard great things from current customers of ExactTarget,” said Jim Bertler, Founder and Principal of Cornerstone Solutions. “It just made sense for Cornerstone to partner with one of the industry leaders in e-mail marketing.”
ExactTarget sells on-demand software that powers permission-based e-mail marketing, mobile messaging, and one-to-one communications. Cornerstone Solutions is a Microsoft Certified Business Solutions partner working with Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SharePoint.
QuickArrow, a vendor of SaaS Services Automation products, has announced the availability of its Winter ‘07 product release. This latest version of QuickArrow “strengthens the relationship between resource and project management to simplify the scheduling of resources and enable increased collaboration,” according to the QuickArrovians.
Randy Mysliviec, President of RTM Consulting, said during the past decade, the growth of services as part of the revenue and profit mix of technology companies “has changed how these companies must think about managing human capital. Getting the right person in the right place at the right time, effectively and efficiently, has become mission critical.”
The new release includes several upgrades to QuickArrow’s SaaS product, company officials say, “all designed to improve use and forecasting capabilities for organizations of any size.” One of the new features is a wizard that enables resource modeling and the ability to schedule multiple resources simultaneously.
The Web-based product will support additional advanced capabilities such as automatic synchronization of resource schedules and project dates, and scheduling options that include fixed-percent allocation or leveled hourly distribution over time on projects.
Louise K. Allen, QuickArrow Vice President of Product Strategy, said “Having a single point of data entry around resource scheduling should make life easier for all of our clients, regardless of their size.”
Earlier this year, the company incorporated Earned Value Management metrics to provide greater visibility into project health from a cost management perspective. It has also recently issued its 10th QuickConnect Web Services Certification to Endeca.
Auto/Mate Dealership Systems, described by the Auto/Matians as “software designed by car people for car people,” has announced today the release of its new F&I system. The new module is offered as part of Auto/Mate’s Automated Management Productivity Suite dealership management software.
The F&I system integrates the details of sales and F&I deals with accounting, billed as “saving time and money by eliminating the need for manual follow up in the accounting department, and improving reporting capabilities.”
All the rebates, incentives, fees, service contracts, warranties and accessories attached to a single deal have “created a challenge for many dealers,” said Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate.
“Most F&I systems do not have the capacity to track the details of multiple items associated with a single sale, so they are typically combined into a lump sum in a single line with inconsistent entry details,” he said.