By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is “Preachin’, Prayin’ and Singin’” by Flatt & Scruggs, from a great bluegrass gospel collection, Best of Bluegrass: Preachin’, Prayin’ And Singin’:
The Utility Company, a single-source provider of technology, communications and business management products for small and medium-sized businesses across North America, has announced the latest enhancements to its Connected Office Technology-as-a-Service Program, including an “integrated, hosted customer relationship management (CRM) and accounting system.”
Connected Office 3.0 is a single-source product addressing technology for SMBs focused on IT (network, desktop, security and storage), business applications, Web/Internet, copier/printer and telecommunications.
Mark Scott, president and founder of The Utility Company, said the he wanted to “bring more technology” to customer, in “a utility service model — hosted, virtual, fixed-fee services.”
Connected Office 3.0 is available for a monthly fixed fee per user through Utility Service Providers across North America and includes 1-866-My-Utility Live Helpdesk, which “proactively support users with secure remote access to network and desktops for on-demand service and training,” company officials say.
There’s also Remote Monitoring and Management with network, desktops/laptops, security, voice-over-IP systems, multi-function printers and data-back-up 24x7, as well as lots of other stuff, such as network/security assessment, emergency support, on-site maintenance and end-user training.
There’s also a nifty business technology assessment — “to quickly determine what you are spending on technology and how you are using your investment,” company officials say.
Italy’s Conad has chosen Nokia Siemens Networks as a partner to provide hosting and charging services for its new mobile operations, according to Conad officials.
The supermarket chain will start as a mobile virtual network operator in 2008. Nokia Siemens Networks will fulfill a contract with Conad of Italy to manage its system and provide hosting services.
The contract will see Nokia Siemens Networks supply Conad with convergent charging products and hosting services from one of its hosting centers, according to the Conadians. Using an intelligent network server, the hope is the product will be capable of communicating flawlessly with the host network of Vodafone Italy.
Conad and Vodafone signed an agreement last August enabling the supermarket chain to enter the MVNO market within the first months of coming year. Conad will have its own brand, be the sole manager of its relationship with customers, have its own prefix number, and manage all commercial offers and customer care activities directly.
Nokia Siemens Networks will create and manage a complete Customer Relationship Management (CRM) service for tariff application and traffic management, and set up the necessary infrastructure to meet Conad’s requirements for innovative voice and data offerings.
Conad has 3,037 sales points in Italy under the Conad, Margherita and Leclerc Conad brands and 12 percent of the market. The chain has attracted around 4 million loyalty card holders, who make a potential target group for Conad’s MVNO services in Italy, where MVNO activity is now picking up.
Mauro Bosio, President of Conad Insim, the company group managing the MVNO activity, said he’s “convinced that our footprint will allow us to create a strong customer base. Our customers will have the possibility to activate and top-up their accounts at our 3,000 sales points all over Italy.”
“The mobile virtual network operator sector is becoming increasingly interesting in Italy. The business is appealing to all involved parties: from network and service providers to MVNOs and host operators to consumers,” said Roberto Loiola, the head of South East Europe subregion at Nokia Siemens Networks.
CRM vendor Maximizer Software has announced that an African luxury safari and ecotourism company, Conservation Corporation Africa, has purchased 263 licenses of the latest version of Maximizer’s customer relationship management product.
Version 10 of Maximizer CRM has just been launched with new and improved functionality for mobile access, platform integration and productivity.
Brian Wewege, Group IT Manager for CC Africa, says the company is in the process of rolling out Maximizer to its 43 lodges in six countries throughout Africa. He says Maximizer was selected because they are positive the product would meet CC Africa’s requirements.
“We felt that Maximizer’s off-the-shelf product would cater for most of our requirements, keeping our development costs down,” he explains. “Our lodges are also situated in remote areas of Africa where connectivity is an issue and we needed a product that would compensate for this.”
Marcus van Niekerk, CRM specialist for Cyber Wiz, is the implementation partner responsible for providing the product to CC Africa.
The new version of Maximizer CRM has been improved in its functionality for the CRM market. “One of these areas is Web access with a direct e-mail window and new remote, Web-based management console,” says Etien van Loggerenberg from Cyber Wiz and project manager for the deployment.
“An improved daily dashboard view has also been implemented for managers, which allows for enhanced business intelligence from the application. Maximizer will greatly enhance customer service for CC Africa, all staff at CC Africa now have a ready view into the quality of service being delivered,” he said.
CRM 10 also features out-of-the-box accounting integration with Microsoft Dynamics GP, overall productivity enhancements for sales territories, time and task management and new Web services architecture for faster integration, based on the .Net 3 framework.
“The South African market represents a significant growth sector for Maximizer as a global company, with over 1 000 established customers in the region,” says Vivek Thomas, Managing Director for Maximizer Software EMEA.
Jenzabar, a vendor of CRM software and services for higher education, has announced that the Boston-area Roxbury Community College has selected Jenzabar’s Internet Campus Solution to “help increase enrollment rates.” The college has also licensed two Jenzabar Constituent Relationship Modules and the Informz Text Messaging product.
By implementing Jenzabar’s Internet Campus Solution, a portal product designed exclusively for higher education, Roxbury Community College officials say they hope to increase enrollment rates by creating a stronger Web presence. JICS is expected to help the college offer online inquiry forms and online applications, which in turn is expected to boost the number of students applying to Roxbury Community College.
JICS will provide Roxbury Community College with a single point of access to a virtually limitless number of communications, Web services, community building, and e-learning applications, the Jenzabarians say.
Roxbury Community College will also implement two Constituent Relationship Modules (Jenzabar CRMs), including CRM Candidate and CRM Student. Jenzabar CRM Candidate is for the admissions process, providing immediate access to a prospects’ admission folder, status, and portlets for updating information. Jenzabar CRM Student enables students to review academic data such as course history, class schedules, GPA and grade reports, unofficial transcripts, and more, allowing students to be self-sufficient and saving time and effort for the administrative staff.