CRM Features from Go2Group, SugarCRM and SugarBird, Customer Service at Banks, Xactly CEO Speaks, Kana's New CFO

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David Sims
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CRM Features from Go2Group, SugarCRM and SugarBird, Customer Service at Banks, Xactly CEO Speaks, Kana's New CFO

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Stevie Wonder's Music of My Mind, his answer to Motown finally taking off the leg irons and letting him do what he wanted. Not his best album, but hey, Innervisions and Talking Book were up next:

According to SugarForge contributor Lyle Arnot, SugarBird, the former Asertiva Thunderbird Extension for Sugar, has been released.

"Please check the changelog for fixes and new features information," Arnot says, adding that it's "now with SugarCRM 5 support, and a new soap engine that fixes many connection problems."

From now "we will focus on Lightning (Calendar) Support," Arnot explained. "Features like Send and Archive are now not possible without hacking Thunderbird."

He said Sugar would try to contact Mozilla developers to find a solution.

Figures from the American Bankers' Association show that the banking industry holds in excess of $7.17 trillion in loans, including the billions of dollars in mortgage, credit card, auto loans and commercial loans.

So you'd think that in such a large industry where products and services are being rapidly commoditized and the cost of switching is low, customer service would be a primary competitive differentiator banks have over one another.

Think again. A recent audit commissioned by online customer service vendor Talisma Corporation reveals "significant service failures" by the top 50 banks in North America.

A mystery shopper during November 2007 queried the top banks on how to open an account and what kind of products and services are available for individual customers. The audit revealed that 36 percent of customer e-mails went unanswered by the banks, 96 percent of those audited did not offer live chat as a communication channel and 94 percent of banks did not offer a "true" dynamic, flexible knowledge base -- "the majority of banks offered little more than a list of static FAQs," the report found.

The audit awarded each bank a score out of 100, based on a range of customer service criteria, including speed of response, accuracy, completeness of information provided, and the personalization of interactions.

Talisma will be discussing the results from the audit and providing best practices for contact centers seeking to improve customer service during a webinar presentation on February 28th at 11 a.m. PDT / 2 p.m. EDT titled "Crisis in the Call Center:  An Audit of Customer Service at the Top 50 Retail Banks in North America."

To register for the Webinar, visit The complete audit findings will be available for download at the conclusion of the Webinar on the Talisma Financial Services Web page.

"We hope this report will be a catalyst that sparks an improvement in online banking customer service," said Dan Vetras, President & CEO, Talisma, adding that it is "encouraging" that banks are providing "good customer service" via the phone.

Go2Group, a vendor of Software Production Line Automation, has announced its Go2Group CRM Plugin has received certification from The certification allows Go2Group to integrate the CRM Plugin with all Salesforce versions and Atlassian's JIRA issue tracking system.

"We're certainly excited that the CRM Plugin has been certified to work with all Salesforce versions," said Brett Taylor, Go2Group's CEO. "We've had many customers look to integrate Professional Salesforce with Atlassian JIRA."

Additional updates to the CRM Plugin include public visibility on's AppExchange platform, a new installation wizard, and minor bug fixes and performance enhancements. The updated CRM Plugin version now works on Windows, Mac, and UNIX platforms.

The updated CRM plugin is available for evaluation at

SPLA is constructed from integrated suites of systems such as configuration management, requirements management, build/workflow management, and defect tracking products.

Kana Software, a vendor of multi-channel customer service products, has announced that Chief Financial Officer John Thompson is retiring and will be succeeded by Mike Shannahan, current Kana board member and chairman of Kana's audit committee.

Please note this Mike Shannahan is not, in fact, Mike Shanahan, the head coach of the Denver Broncos who, of course, accepted the CFO position at IBM.

Thompson will begin phasing out after filing the company's annual report on form 10-K with the SEC and will remain with Kana for several months to assist in the transition of his responsibilities to Shannahan.

"John has been an integral part of our turnaround efforts and has done a great job managing the company's financial organization, which led to our return to profitability in the third and fourth quarters," commented Michael Fields, Kana CEO.

First Coffee has conducted an interview with Chris Cabrera, CEO of Xactly, in honor of their third anniversary in March. The firm officially debuted at's Dreamforce 2005 event, where they introduced their on-demand Sales Compensation Management product.

The full interview will be printed in a later edition, some highlights:

"Xactly addresses compensation management in much the same manner that on-demand CRM brought automation, real-time visibility and efficiency to pre-sales processes. Xactly is now pioneering the emergence of a much larger market: on-demand Sales Performance Management. Forecast to reach $13.5 billion by 2010, the SPM market is an exciting opportunity for companies that -- for the first time -- will have a comprehensive suite of integrated, on-demand applications for driving overall sales performance."

"In 2006, Gartner predicted that a sales performance management market will coalesce around best-of-breed vendors largely originating from the sales incentive compensation management market. This is now happening.

"SPM and CRM are complementary. CRM deals with pre-sales data, everything leading up to a sale to make sure that sale happens. SPM manages post-sales data, helping users best leverage this wealth of data to boost future sales and business performance.

"Post-sales data is used to accurately calculate commissions, model plans, optimize pricing and territory coverage, and all the good things we just discussed. But post-sales data can also be married to pre-sales data in a CRM system to drive entirely new kinds of value for CRM users.

"Here's a good example. Many of our customers are using Xactly Incent directly within their CRM applications -- and allowing their reps to run "what if" scenarios by marrying live opportunity data from Salesforce CRM with compensation-plan data from Xactly Incent. Without ever leaving their CRM application, they can now see how much they stand to make on particular deals and how best to structure those deals for maximum commission payout. Under a strategic compensation program, what's best for the rep is what's best for the company. Thus this real-time capability can be instrumental in pointing reps towards the most strategic and profitable sales.

"The whole idea behind SPM is optimizing the effectiveness of sales and driving profits. To this end, SPM does for post-sales processes what CRM does for pre-sales processes -- it automates, provides visibility, and improves process efficiency across the board. Smart companies adopting SPM products see immediate benefits in the alignment between finance and sales teams to achieve corporate goals."

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