CRM from Siebel for KPN, OpSource Buys LeCayla, DynLink and SalesCentric, OpenTravel CRM, Opera Mini, Autobase CRM, Polkomtel and CRM, Redknee

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David Sims
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CRM from Siebel for KPN, OpSource Buys LeCayla, DynLink and SalesCentric, OpenTravel CRM, Opera Mini, Autobase CRM, Polkomtel and CRM, Redknee

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Albert Ammons's Boogie Woogie Stomp album. I always feel I should like boogie woogie more than I actually do. It's fun, fast-paced piano music from the '30s and '40s, similar to earlier ragtime music but without ragtime's melodic complexity. I do like it, this is certainly a great album from the genre, but it all sounds samish after a while. It's like Norah Jones or Jack Johnson -- there's no compelling reason to have more than one album of it:

OpSource has announced that it has acquired LeCayla Technologies, a privately held, Dublin-based provider of billing and customer on-boarding software. The purchase was an all-stock transaction, the valuation of which has not been disclosed.

OpSource officials said the acquisition gives them a "complete, automated SaaS on-boarding and billing product," which it will provide to customers of its Web application delivery platform, OpSource On-Demand.

As part of the acquisition, OpSource will move its EMEA headquarters from London to Dublin and establish a development center there. OpSource will also maintain a sales and operations presence in London, including a new data center.

Treb Ryan, CEO, OpSource, said at last year's SaaS Summit, "we learned that only 17 percent of existing SaaS companies have online billing and automated customer on-boarding capabilities. Most have manual, paper-driven processes."

Conor Halpin, CEO, LeCayla, will become senior vice-president, EMEA at OpSource. He will be responsible for all EMEA sales and operations and report to Ryan. LeCayla COO Gary Ramsay will continue to be responsible for the ongoing development of the on-boarding and billing product and will report to OpSource CTO John Rowell.

First Coffee had wondered why Mike Huckabee is a Republican instead of a Democrat, he certainly sounds more a Democrat. I saw this quote today and now it makes sense: "We believe competition breeds excellence and the lack of it breeds mediocrity."

Okay, he's a Republican.

Oracle has announced that KPN, a vendor of fixed and mobile telephony, broadband and television in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe, will implement Oracle's Siebel CRM and use Oracle to streamline integration between its billing and CRM systems.

The implementation is part of KPN's efforts to simplify and transform its IT systems and improve customer-centricity, KPN officials say, to respond to increased pressure from competitors in Europe's communications industry "where the boundaries between fixed and mobile communication are disappearing."

"Siebel CRM will allow us to have a single, consolidated view of our customers and provide them with a unified experience," said Ernst Lamein, manager IT architecture, KPN. The company is also implementing Oracle Application Integration Architecture for Communications.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Opera provided fresh statistics into their product's growth. In the two years since its worldwide launch, Opera Mini has achieved more than 35 million "cumulative" users -- every day, company officials say,
"more than 100,000 people download Opera Mini."

"Mini is completely free to download and use on almost every phone made today. Simply visit with your phone's current, boring browser," officials say.

"We thank everyone who has helped to make Opera Mini the most popular mobile browser ever made," said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software.

Opera Mini offers desktop-like rendering of pages, using Opera Zoom to dive into the content on the page for reading and access to content. Opera Mini also includes Opera Link, a free service that synchronizes your bookmarks, Speed Dial and personal toolbar between Opera Mini and Opera on your computer.

OpenTravel CRM, a Web-based travel customer relationship management (CRM), marketing and back office product for travel agencies, has reported that its user base has grown to over 2,000 users in a little over four months since its launch.

The product gives travel agencies free use of travel software. Its business model is based on travel supplier advertising and offers which place travel suppliers in front of the agent user audience through the business desktop -- what some call "appvertising."

Joseph Mazzarella, president and CEO of Travel Sciences, said the benefits are "synergistic," because "suppliers have a targeted venue for their messages while also providing a benefit to travel agents that helps them sell and market more effectively."

OpenTravel CRM is not "outdated technology resurrected and repackaged around a pretty Web front end. This is brand new, best of breed, enterprise level software," says Mazzarella. Commercial paid license versions of the software with no advertising are available for larger travel agencies, tour operators and other organizations.

Functions include an RSS reader, instant messaging and online presence monitoring, Skype and interactive mapping, as well as integration of its CRM customer profiles with FaceBook profiles. Travel agents can log onto and enter a user ID and password and their account will be created.

At Microsoft's Government Contractor Summit this past week, DynLink demonstrated their Proposal Automation Software integrated with customer and prospect information stored in Microsoft's Dynamics CRM platform, combined with SalesCentric Relationship Charts for visualization of information.

"DynLink has chosen SalesCentric's Relationship Charts as an integral component in our Dynamics CRM-based product for government contractors and agencies," says Rajev Bricksin, Vice President at DynLink. SalesCentric Relationship Charts is an application for Microsoft Dynamics CRM which lets users "see" customer relationships at a glance.

Eivind Sandstrand, VP of Product Marketing at SalesCentric, called DynLink "a perfect partnership" for SalesCentric and Relationship Charts. SalesCentric, established in 2003, sells add-on software to visually enhance Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Autobase, a CRM vendor for car dealers nationwide and a division of Dominion Enterprises, has announced the integration of R. L. Polk & Co.'s Polk Lead Scoring with the Autobase Internet Lead Management tool.

The agreement lets Autobase give its customers an additional tool "to identify car buyers who are most likely to purchase a new or used vehicle," Autobase officials say. Internet leads are captured from within the Autobase Internet Lead Management tool, which is integrated within its core CRM application. Autobase then uses Polk's automotive intelligence and analytics to help dealerships prioritize Internet sales follow-up activities and determine the likelihood and timeliness of a lead converting to a sale.

"With this integration, Autobase dealers can qualify their Internet customers' interest and readiness to buy a vehicle," said Bryan Anderson, founder of Autobase. Polk Lead Scoring includes proprietary automotive information and demographic and lifestyle information for lead scoring, including the lead source, make and dealer level.

Oracle has announced that Polkomtel, a mobile provider in Poland, has selected Oracle's Siebel CRM and other Oracle products to "maintain its competitive advantage in Eastern Europe's communications industry." The firm will replace its inflexible legacy provisioning systems with an automated mobile provisioning system built on the Oracle Communications Service Fulfillment Suite.

In addition, Polkomtel officials say they will implement Siebel CRM to manage and track all customer interactions. The company "expects to achieve improvements in its day-to-day operations," improving its operational efficiency, as well as increasing average revenue per user."

"We chose Oracle's mobile provisioning product and Siebel CRM due to their ability to help us accelerate service delivery and reduce time to revenue," said Konrad Kobylecki, chief operating officer, Polkomtel, saying the integration with Siebel CRM would also help streamline the order-to-fulfillment and issue resolution processes.

Redknee Solutions, which sells software that monetizes and personalizes services and content for mobile operators, has been selected by Inmarsat, a vendor of mobile satellite communications, to provide a Turnkey Converged Billing product.

In the first phase of the agreement, Redknee provided Inmarsat with a billing functionality, live in November 2007, and is being offered to the subscribers of Inmarsat's Satellite Phone Services. For the second phase, Redknee is working with Inmarsat on a similar product for the company's Broadband Global Area Network service, providing both voice and broadband data simultaneously through a portable device.

Inmarsat officials say they chose the Redknee platform "for its ability to integrate with our existing CRM system and its ability to support planned new services in various configurations without interruption."

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