By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a song I haven't been able to get out of my head for a week or so, the Grateful Dead's "Brown-Eyed Women" from their Europe '72 album:
Advanced Solutions International, a vendor of Web-based software for associations and non-profits, has released a set of best practices for using online tools — particularly peer-to-peer fundraising applications — to "increase donor participation, reach new donors, and reduce campaign launch time overhead," according to company officials.
Peer-to-peer fundraising technology lets an organization create and launch event Web sites for participants to register, donate and build their own networks. Donors can create personalized campaign Web pages in minutes, with no technical skill required, while the overall campaign look and feel is maintained. Integrated e-mail, donation capture, tax receipt generation and real-time leader board technology lets donors communicate to measure their efforts, and expand their own networks in support of a nonprofit's cause.
First among these best practices is to "integrate peer-to-peer fundraising into your current fundraising strategies." Inventory your current communications tactics such as e-mail, physical mailers and Web sites, and examine the messaging. Through peer-to-peer campaigns, you maintain the core messaging but enable your donors to personalize the message for their own networking and recruitment efforts.
Secondly, "introduce online events to the list of ways a donor can help." A-thon-based events can be launched and managed online far quicker, with less overhead cost, than multi-location physical events.
And thirdly, "identify campaign 'champions' and give them the tools to expand the donor network." Take the time to find your top supporters, reach out to them first and show them how to use peer-to-peer tools.
They also recommend that you "create friendly competition and build individual and team incentives into your campaigns." Create accurate, real-time responsive leader boards that allow campaign champions to see how their fundraising efforts stack up against fellow champions.
Customer Effective, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and reseller of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, has announced that Jamestown, which works with closed-end U.S. real estate funds in Germany, has selected the company to provide CRM software implementation and customization services.
Jamestown will use Microsoft Dynamics CRM technology for contact management, but has also configured it as a tool for managing its acquisitions pipeline.
Beginning in 2007, Customer Effective officials say, Jamestown's Atlanta office reassessed its technology infrastructure for contact and document management systems and evaluated a CRM product integrated with Microsoft Outlook and Sharepoint.
"With no effective contact management system and thousands of property-related documents stored in a shared-folder structure, we knew the IT strategy had to stay ahead of the changing business model," said Chuck Niswonger, IT director, Jamestown.
"The acquisitions pipeline report is a tool we use for managing deal flow and interacting with various audiences within our organization," said Clay Adams, Jamestown's Chief Investment Officer.
Matt Bronfman, one of three managing directors (and project sponsor), said Microsoft CRM, integrated with Sharepoint and SQL 2005, will "form the foundation of our business intelligence system."
Advent Software, which sells software and products for the global investment management industry, has announced that Patten and Patten, Inc., an independent investment advisory firm in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has implemented Advent Portfolio Exchange, Advent's portfolio management product.
Patten wanted a product that had customer relationship management capabilities, and decided to integrate all of its portfolio management, accounting and reporting into APX. With APX, the firm's CRM system, portfolio management and reporting functions all operate on the same SQL database platform and share the same data.
Clay Crumbliss, Vice President of Operations and Finance and Chief Compliance Officer, Patten and Patten, said APX is expected to "improve efficiency in virtually every aspect of the investment process — without adding staff."
CRM vendor Maximizer Software has announced the adoption of Maximizer CRM 10. "In its first month of general availability, November 2007," company officials say, "over 690 leading organizations purchased or upgraded a total of over 12,500 seats of Maximizer CRM 10."
Market demand from existing and new customers was largely based on the introduction of enterprise-level features such as mobile CRM access, increased business intelligence, and on-demand sales and professional coaching, the Maximizerians say.
Company officials say they developed Maximizer CRM 10 to "reflect the growing sophistication of SMBs competing globally and with large enterprises." The MaxMobile for BlackBerry offers increased mobility and provides BlackBerry smart phone users access to their information on their handset, through wired or wireless synchronization. When BlackBerry's working, that is.
Maximizer CRM 10 also improved its reporting, including more than 175 out-of-the-box reports, improved dashboards, Vista Gadget desktop dashboards, and a partnership with 90 Degree Software.
Maximizer CRM 10 also includes sales and professional coaching from CanDoGo, allowing users to access advice via the Web on business or professional topics such as sales negotiation, proposals, leadership and motivation.
Officials from both firms say Oracle and Accenture have integrated Oracle Fusion Middleware into Accenture Communications Solutions, a suite of business offerings and assets designed to "mitigate the risk of deploying, and reduce the time to deploy, OSS and BSS software applications."
Oracle Fusion Middleware is a portfolio of software dealing with portals and process managers to application infrastructure and business intelligence. The newly integrated capabilities are intended to let communications service providers launch new services and reduce the inherent risks -- such as exceeding project budget or project time limits — associated with new software implementations.
Accenture has worked with Oracle's suite of software products for the communications industry for sixteen years, including Oracle's Siebel CRM and other offerings.
Industry observer Lilia Guan
has reported that network security vendor WatchGuard has chosen eXeed as its value added distributor in New Zealand. Auckland-headquartered eXeed is an IT distributor focused on the HP brand.
Scott Robertson, regional director A/NZ, WatchGuard, told Guan that eXeed has around 1,000 resellers in its value added distributor network and provides ongoing training, pre-sales tech support, co-marketing and joint sales efforts.
"We see the WatchGuard security products complementing their HP storage, server and blade business allowing their channel partners to deliver more secure products and adding value to their business," he said.
According to Robertson, the vendor has Distribution Central and WhiteGold Solutions as distributors in Australia. In New Zealand, distributors include eXeed and Packet Engines.
Robertson told Guan that in 2008 the vendor introduced an Associate Level to its WSPP program, saying the move would provide easier access for WatchGuard resellers to many of the benefits gained from the program, including access to the Customer Renewal Tool, described as an online CRM for partners to manage customer activations.