By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music this morning is The Zombies’ 1967 psychedelic album Odessey and Oracle, yes that’s how they spell it. How’s that for a blast from the past?
It’s a pretty good album, today’s the first time I’ve heard it — well, the whole thing, I’d heard “Time Of The Season,” of course. I’m doing a novel set in the 1960s, so as part of the research I’m listening to a lot of stuff from that era, 1964-1968 especially, and you know what? Outside of about five songs, Jefferson Airplane really weren’t all that good. But boy, has Creedence Clearwater Revival ever aged well. Why can’t bands be that good today? Why can’t John Fogerty?
Salesboom.com, a vendor of SaaS CRM and ERP products, has announced that it will offer Two-Factor Authentication Security to its customers. “With phishing scams on the rise,” the Salesboomers say, new database security standards “ensure that your CRM database security and integrity will never be breached by phishing scams.”
Pretty strong word there, “never.” Well, if they can back it up, more power to them.
Salesboom.com has always made it a point to needle Salesforce.com whenever possible, and this latest news is no exception. Crowing about what company officials call “their flawless database security track record,” they helpfully remind you that “recently, customer security became an issue with Salesforce.com when a phishing scam successfully retrieved an employee’s password, granting them access to a Salesforce.com contact list.” Salesboom wouldn’t want you to forget that.
This phishing scam and future occurrences “could be avoided with implementation of Two-Factor Authentication Security,” they claim.
Two-Factor Authentication Security uses a USB Token, or key, containing an employee’s encrypted Digital ID which is required for successful database login. The Digital ID is compared to an employee’s entered username and password, if a match is not successful access is not granted. An employee’s USB Token is unique to them and can never be duplicated.
So what’s the prevailing opinion? Is Iowa Bronze Hillary holed below the waterline or ready for the long haul? Time to throw Mark Penn overboard to appease the angry gods? What’ll happen to Huck once Republicans start listening to him beyond the one-liners and realize he’s less conservative than that other guy from Hope, Arkansas? First Coffee’s still betting on Rudy, and dreams of a Rudy ‘n’ Rice ticket.
Atlanta-based Infor has announced that Specsavers has gone live with Infor CRM Epiphany, Infor’s CRM product. Specsavers will use the Sales and Service components of Infor CRM Epiphany in its client retention program, the primary focus of which is to achieve customer service excellence and improve customer loyalty.
The product went live in August 2007 for 40 users.
Infor CRM Epiphany is expected to help streamline Specsavers’ call center program, putting customer info into one central database. Prior to the adoption of Infor CRM Epiphany, Specsavers’ call center used spreadsheets and notepads to process customer data. You know what that means — customer information saved in disparate locations, kaleidoscopic views of customers.
Chris Corbin, IT Manager, Specsavers, said the company will use the product to “respond to customers’ requirements through access to in-depth, real-time customer information” in an effort to boost the company’s customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Through Infor CRM Epiphany, Specsavers hopes to improve its processes and manage customer relationships more effectively by giving call center agents enough “flexibility” to handle customer needs. For example, the Specsaverians say, customers who purchase disposable contact lenses from Specsavers can contact the call center to postpone payments and further orders should they find that they have a surplus of lenses — rather than be bound to their monthly direct debit.
“Infor CRM Epiphany consolidates information from multiple legacy systems into a single access point, without replicating that information on multiple systems,” noted Patric Timmermans, Infor’s director of product marketing for CRM.
While flipping through Yacht Vacations & Charters Magazine here in the mammoth corporate headquarters suite of First Coffee, I noticed that Salesforce.com has announced that Carlson, a travel, cruise, hotel, restaurant, and marketing firm with annual sales of $37 billion (including franchised operations), has adopted Salesforce’s SaaS CRM and Force.com Platform-as-a-Service.
PaaS — it reminds First Coffee of those Easter egg paint kits we used to get.
Evidently, Salesforce.com partner Ben Nevis helped Carlson deploy Salesforce across five of its operating groups, including Carlson Hotels Worldwide, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Carlson Marketing Worldwide, Carlson Leisure Group, and Regent Luxury Group. The company also used the Force.com platform and AppExchange to develop a customized product for Carlson’s Salesforce users.
“We had built a global enterprise, but did not have the tools necessary to use all of our business account information and make it available to staff dispersed across 40 countries,” said Anthony Forbes-Roberts, enterprise CRM manager at Carlson.
Carlson used the Force.com platform to deploy Newmarket Commex, an event and meeting management application from Newmarket International, and CRMSurveyor, a customer survey tool from Vovici Corporation, among others.
“Efficiency” and “security” emerged as top issues on Great Britain’s IT chiefs’ agendas in 2007, based on findings from the latest edition of the Socitm
annual IT Trends survey published in December.
CRM was found to be “established in most organizations, but not yet integrated with back office.” CRM integration with the back office has shown up on more than one list as a top priority for 2008, so let’s get cracking, boys.
It’s refreshing to see a year-end article actually looking back on what happened that year, rather than concerning itself with airy predictions about 2008. The survey report analyzes technology, budgets, manpower, product ratings and market share, together with views and opinions about the future.
The report found that ICT spending would increase by 9 percent to $5.9 billion to finish out 2007/08, and that information security costs have increased dramatically since 2006, but “direct financial losses reported remaining low.”
And probably much to nobody’s shock, staff turnover has increased dramatically and use of consultants continues to rise.
The survey also found, encouragingly, “renewed pressure on public services to achieve efficiencies throughout the organization. Following the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 and the toughest financial settlement in years, this should focus attention on ICT as a means of achieving this goal.”
The study reports that in 2007 ICT functions are, in fact, well set up for this task, with their capacity and capability to deliver improvement increased. Financial resources available to them are forecast to increase by 9 percent as well in 2007 and staff numbers are predicted to rise “modestly.”
In terms of delivering efficiencies, ICT chiefs see business process re-engineering and partnership working as the best strategies, followed by channel switching, with shared services in fourth place.