CRM-Enabling at MarketNet, Tectura and SalesCentric, Experlogix and Microsoft CRM, Soffront CRM, Agresso's ERP Survey, Joe Namath in the Hall of Fame?

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

CRM-Enabling at MarketNet, Tectura and SalesCentric, Experlogix and Microsoft CRM, Soffront CRM, Agresso's ERP Survey, Joe Namath in the Hall of Fame?

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bob Dylan's Live 1966, or what we old-line Dylanophiles (incorrectly) call The Royal Albert Hall concert:

Tectura Corporation, a vendor of Microsoft Dynamics products, has chosen to partner with SalesCentric in offering Relationship Charts to their mid-market companies and large enterprise division CRM customers.

Relationship Charts is an add-on to Microsoft Dynamics CRM allowing account managers to view the relationships within a prospect's organization, including vendors and suppliers, before the deal has passed. It integrates with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, meaning users already familiar with the CRM package will require minimal training.

John McKeague, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Practice Lead at Tectura, said relationships are supported by the charts, allowing salespeople to "store information on their contacts and accounts such as their personalities and personal relationships."

MarketNet Services, a vendor of lead management products and services, has expanded the capabilities of its lead management system to integrate with customer relationship management platforms Siebel CRM On Demand and MarketNet clients now can use the CRM platform to view qualified leads, current prospects and accounts.

Regardless of which contact management product a company uses, company officials say, MarketNet's incommand lead system delivers qualified leads into a company's current sales process "in the way that best fits the company's business model," via RSS feed to a computer, cell phone, smart phone or other mobile device.

"However you want your lead, we'll get it to you," said J.T. McDonald, president of MarketNet. "We deliver cleansed, qualified leads directly into the CRM system."

McDonald said an enhanced incommand Marketing System "increases the sales force's accountability. Every lead and follow-up activity is now recorded in either the CRM application or incommand, so no leads are lost or overlooked."

The incommand Marketing System is modular and customizable. It distributes sales leads based on a flexible, customizable rules-based engine and responds to inquiries with personalized electronic and print collateral through an integrated fulfillment operation. The product also determines how much revenue can be tied to specific marketing and sales campaigns.

Santa Barbara-based Experlogix, which sells Web-based sales and manufacturing configurator products, has announced its integrated product configurator for Microsoft Dynamics GP will be on display to Microsoft customers and partners at Microsoft Convergence in Orlando this week.

Experlogix lets Microsoft Dynamics GP users customize complex products based on multiple options and item-specific business rules. The products combine to form a powerful engineering and product management system, automating bill-of-materials, costing and routing information.

Jeff Holway, Experlogix director of sales and marketing, said the company had received requests from Dynamics GP partners and customers for a configurator to "assist with discrete manufacturing order automation."

Experlogix Configurator launches directly from Dynamics GP and handles manufacturing order requirements, including component compatibility rules and mathematical formulas as well as pricing and discounting scenarios.

For customers of Dynamics CRM and Dynamics GP, Experlogix offers its configurator to serve the needs of front and back office users. Sales orders and BOMs configured by Experlogix within Dynamics CRM can be passed to Dynamics GP for invoicing and shop floor production.

First Coffee had an interesting discussion… well, okay, argument, with a friend over whether or not Joe Namath belongs in the NFL Hall of Fame. The friend said Namath's not in the top ten lifetime rankings in any meaningful quarterback stat, he has a lot more interceptions than touchdowns and other than one Super Bowl, what'd he win?

First Coffee countered that Namath was one of the most feared quarterbacks in the game for the last two minutes, and that he was the first rock 'n' roll quarterback, the first American sports star as Hollywood-style megacelebrity, the first genuine pro football superstar, and from the day he signed his contract to the John Elway-Joe Montana era when you said "quarterback" to someone the first person in their mind was Joe Namath.

Because it's the Hall of "Fame," and Joe Namath is the most famous quarterback ever.

Mid-market CRM vendor Soffront Software has announced that recruitment organization PrincetonOne has adopted Soffront CRM to enhance marketing efforts. "We were looking for a marketing automation product that would help us keep track of our customer's buying habits and increase our communication with customers," explained Megan Graham, director of marketing.

According to Graham, PrincetonOne is using Soffront to "create a marketing database that tracks all customer communication and marketing efforts. We have imported all of our client information into Soffront, and are creating customized surveys." She said the CRM tool's query manager lets the firm "narrow down specific individuals for targeted marketing messages."

The survey module lets PrincetonOne "send out regular surveys to customers, clients, and candidates. Soffront provides us with a customized survey template that is branded appropriately and contains links to our Web site.

ERP vendor Agresso has released survey results showing what it says is "a clear trend by business software buyers to favor and re-select their current ERP vendors, despite facing substantially higher than expected costs after implementing those vendors."

The survey sponsored by Agresso and conducted by IDC as part of its quarterly AppStats Survey includes more than 250 companies in the U.S. and U.K. An overview of the survey results, titled "Mid-Market Service Companies' Enterprise Investment Strategies and Adoption Trends,"1 is available at

Forty-seven percent of the respondents said their financial applications costs exceeded their planned budgets as much as 100 percent. According to IDC, this buyer complacency to continue down the same path with the same vendors may be costing public and private sector businesses millions of dollars annually.

Eighty-three percent of ERP customers say they will still buy from the same vendor despite cost over-runs and change issues.

"Companies need to acknowledge the hidden costs of their ERP systems following initial implementations," said Albert Pang, director of enterprise applications research, IDC. "Many users need to ask whether they should continue to stick to their current ERP system providers. If they don't, it seems to suggest that they are not willing to consider the options of using new, perhaps lesser known vendors."

Pang said that business leaders need to analyze and perhaps adjust their buying behavior to review a wider array of alternatives before deciding on replacement products.

In related news, the City of Ventura in California has selected Agresso over a product from its current vendor for its ERP needs. "Making a strategic choice, versus an automatic replacement choice is a little more work but can save a lot of dollars down the road," said John Emerson, Senior IT Executive, City of Ventura.

Emerson said the City completed a formal Request for Proposal process that was responded to by a number of vendors. The City of Ventura signed a $1.3 million deal with Agresso this past December, and according to Emerson, Agresso can now be selected by government entities throughout the State of California.

"I recently saw data showing that government employees spend 29 percent of their time waiting for needed information," Emerson said. "This drives up administrative costs, which can run about 30 percent in government agencies."

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