CRM Functionality for BizBox, Jenzabar's Good Year, SugarCon 2008, Pika's Asterisk Compatible with Fonality, They Might Be Grating Giants, ForceLogix

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

CRM Functionality for BizBox, Jenzabar's Good Year, SugarCon 2008, Pika's Asterisk Compatible with Fonality, They Might Be Grating Giants, ForceLogix

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is They Might Be Giants' Flood. First Coffee had never heard this college cult band, much to the chagrin of my hipper friends, not even the Istanbul-Constantinople song (which I now realize was what everyone started singing when we told people we were moving here to Istanbul).

"Birdhouse In Your Soul" is clever, but "Dead" is just plain stupid and the rest of it sloshes around somewhere in between those two. Sure it probably would have been fun to sit by these guys in high school study hall, but this sounds like the perfect album for a math/physics major party:

Customer, heal thyself: BT BizBox has launched what company officials call "new CRM functionality" as part of the product.

BT BizBox's new form of customer reporting "helps customers understand their own customers behavior," company officials say, and the document creation tool "allows customers to automatically generate documents, the alerting systems ensures that meetings and deadlines are never missed," and the important information module provides a place for personal information.

The Web 2.0 concept of "collaborative functionality" was invoked as the driving force for streamlining Tierlinear's Web-based BT BizBox. Its CRM product can be accessed online, and the product covers "a wide area of functionality, which means customers only need one CRM product," company officials contend.

"With the need for CRM products increasing in small businesses, the need to make sure they are suitable for them is critical," company officials say. "With the increasing number of competitor offerings in the marketplace, the easiest and quickest way to engage with your customers is via forums and blogs."

Jenzabar, a vendor of CRM-style software and services for higher education, has announced that 2007 was "a successful sales year," with 30 institutions of higher education purchasing new Jenzabar Total Campus Management enterprise-wide products. The vendor said the products are designed to improve enrollment, retention and advancement.

Jenzabar's TCM framework is designed specifically for the higher education market. The institutions selected Jenzabar's flagship enterprise resource planning products, which have a suite of integrated student information and business information management systems.

Jenzabar's ERP products are Jenzabar CX, offered on the UNIX platform with Java-based user interface, and Jenzabar EX, designed for the Microsoft SQL Server platform. Jenzabar sells products for higher education business processes, admissions through advancement, and even alumni tracking.

SugarCRM, a vendor of commercial open source customer relationship management (CRM) software, has announced keynotes and sponsors for SugarCon 2008, its global customer and developer conference, February 6-8, 2008, at the Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose.

Research In Motion, Microsoft, Oracle, Sun, MySQL, Talend and Levementum are among the firms sponsoring the conference, which is designed for users, developers and managers of CRM projects. Space is limited, so please visit for more information and registration.

The kickoff keynote, "The End of the Beginning: Open Source Moves into the Mainstream," by SugarCRM Co-Founder and CEO John Roberts, will look at how open source is transforming the software industry and what it means for the future of CRM.

Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems, will speak about Sun's role as the largest commercial open source contributor and how its recent acquisition of MySQL further positions the company as a platform for the Web economy.

Other keynotes include "The Real Future of Technology" by Forbes Senior Editor Daniel Lyons, a.k.a. "Fake Steve Jobs;" and the effervescently perspicacious Paul Greenberg, author of the best-selling book, "CRM at the Speed of Light: Essential Customer Strategies for the 21st Century," who will look at Web 2.0, and its ability to accelerate collaboration between companies and customers.

And of course it wouldn't be a SugarCon without funky extracurriculars, and this year's offerings include California cuisine, drinks and music at the Testarossa Winery in the Los Gatos hills, a welcome reception and dinner at the Dolce Hayes Mansion and rooftop party on Santana Row in San Jose.

Pika Technologies, which sells media-processing hardware and software, has announced that its Pika for Asterisk family of analog and digital boards is now compatible with Fonality's trixbox CE, an Asterisk-based IP-PBX product.

Terry Atwood, vice president of sales, marketing and customer care at Pika, said compatibility with trixbox CE "opens a wider audience to Pika's media processing software and hardware."

The Pika for Asterisk suite comprises hardware and software designed to support applications built on the open-source Asterisk platform. These building blocks are designed to provide network connectivity to bridge between legacy networks and Asterisk-based IP telephony applications.

With the low-density PCI analog board, the analog FXO (trunk) and the FXS (station) boards from Pika's Daytona product family and the PrimeNet digital T1/E1 boards, the portfolio of Pika for Asterisk boards supports the latest trixbox CE version 2.4, as well as the previous 2.2 version.

The full suite of Asterisk-based products has been developed using Pika's media-processing platform, including hardware (DSP) and software-based echo cancellation.

Trixbox is available in multiple configurations, including the Community Edition, which launched in 2004 as Asterisk@Home, and the newest commercial product, trixbox Pro, a hybrid hosted product.

ForceLogix, which sells Sales Performance Management products, has been selected to join the Microsoft Startup Accelerator Program. Stewarded by the Emerging Business Team at Microsoft, the program is supposed to connect "high-potential startups" committed to the Microsoft platform to a support network with access to Microsoft people and programs.

Patrick Stakenas, President and CEO of ForceLogix, said using the Microsoft technology platform, there isn't "the time, expense and added risks of having to buy hardware, software and implementation services."

Companies are selected to join the Microsoft program based on their "innovation, marketability, growth potential, funding, platform decision and strategic importance to Microsoft," according to Your Friends From Redmond. These companies receive engagement plans designed to support their software development. Interested startups can apply via a profiling process outlined at

Dave Drach, Managing Director, Emerging Business Team at Microsoft, said ForceLogix's Sales Management Process Optimization solution "will be a valuable add-on to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM offering."

Well, it's official: They Might Be Giants are okay to break things up once in a while, and First Coffee can certainly see how they became critical darlings and treasured by the socially inept everywhere, Geeks Made Good, but it just makes me ache for some Stones.

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