CRM On Demand from Pivotal, CRM for Colleges from 422, SAS Buys Teragram, Sage Fixed Asset Update

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CRM On Demand from Pivotal, CRM for Colleges from 422, SAS Buys Teragram, Sage Fixed Asset Update

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Australia's finest, Slim Dusty. As someone once said, "Slim Dusty doesn't sing about Australian culture. Slim Dusty is Australian culture."

SAS, a vendor of business intelligence and analytics products, has announced the acquisition of privately held Teragram, a vendor of natural language processing and advanced linguistic technology.

The SASsers say the acquisition will improve SAS's own text mining and analytical BI offerings, and "extend them to enterprise and mobile search."

"The addition of Teragram's domain expertise and NLP technology will change the landscape of the BI and analytics markets," said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight.

Teragram, a 40-person firm headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will be run as a SAS company. Terms of the acquisition deal were not disclosed. Teragram's NLP customer base includes CNN,, Sony,, Wolters Kluwer, the World Bank and Yahoo!

"As the data explosion continues, companies need an intelligent way to make sense of it all, whether data is in structured databases or in the huge variety of unstructured sources," said Yves Schabes, President of Teragram.

Teragram's natural language processing technologies help turn text -- in many languages and from many sources -- into useable information. SAS officials say it enables "richer data processing at the level of words, linguistic relations and word meanings." Teragram has developed and maintains large annotated dictionaries containing several hundred million words in more than 30 languages.

Business management expert Bill Jensen first decried the downsides of today's information explosion back in 2001, in his book Simplicity. According to his research, echoed by others, the most conservative estimates currently show that business information is doubling every eighteen months. This data flood has only grown more pronounced in recent years, and much of it lies outside traditional structured databases.

According to estimates, unstructured data comprises up to 70 percent of all business data. This unstructured data resides in customer comments and service notes, e-mail and chat threads, documents and surveys, blogs and RSS feeds, warranty claims, resumes, voice-mail and phone logs, among other sources.

Today's announcement came at SAS Global Forum, the largest annual SAS users group conference, attended by more than 3,000 business and IT users of SAS software and products.

Sage Software has announced the general availability of the Sage FAS Fixed Asset Economic Stimulus Service Update 2008.1.1. Described by the Sagians as "a response to the Federal Economic Stimulus Act of 2008," the Service Update gives Sage FAS customers a way to "maximize tax benefits under depreciation provisions expanded by the new law."

The Service Update is available for existing customers to download on the FAS SupportPlus Online Web site at

Several business investment incentives for Sage FAS customers are contained within the new Economic Stimulus law, and are supported by the update. Specifically, it provides customers of FAS Fixed Assets, Sage MAS Fixed Assets and FAS for Peachtree with updated benefits support in two main areas -- IRC Section 179, for qualified assets placed in service in tax years beginning in 2008, and IRC Section 168(k).

422 Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, has rolled out a new version of Continuum 422 CRM, built on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 platform.

Continuum 422 CRM is a constituent relationship management product for colleges which incorporates enrollment management analytics, electronic campaign and event management capabilities, as well as adaptive workflow rules to automate and personalize interaction with constituencies.

Released at the beginning of 2008, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 platform is designed to put capability in the hands of end users and provide tools for handling data from multiple sources.

Doug Wofford, President and CEO of 422 Group, said administrators and staff will be "able to use our higher education tools in a more integrated manner while also accessing Microsoft Dynamics CRM."

The new release of Continuum 422 CRM provides options for modeling enrollment outcomes related to admission and retention. It allows colleges to take action on the models by incorporating results into adaptive communication and workflow rules that allow colleges to tailor interaction with students at a one-to-one level.

Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, called 422 Group "a great example of how the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform can be used… in the field of higher education."

CDC Software, a wholly owned subsidiary of CDC Corporation, has announced general availability of Pivotal CRM On Demand and what company officials characterize as "the first related industry-specific application, Pivotal CRM On Demand for Institutional Asset Management."

Designed with a new Software as a Service architecture, Pivotal CRM On Demand can be hosted by CDC Software and accessed on-demand, via the Web browser by customers. The product can also be deployed on-premise and hosted internally by customers or used in a blended mode.

In addition to the flexibility of deployment options, enterprises also can provide user access to the system via their standard Web browser with a zero footprint client or use CDC Software's Smart Client Framework for a richer interface supporting a range of application extensions.

The Pivotal CRM On Demand platform addresses the customer relationship requirements of Institutional Asset Management firms, the Pivotalians say. The product provides the industry-specific capabilities already in use by customers such as The TCW Group with "the added benefits of increased flexibility and lower cost deployment options," company officials say.

As the needs of asset management firms change, such as is common with acquisitions or divestitures, companies can adjust their deployments of Pivotal CRM from on-premise to on-demand or a mixed blend,  company officials say.

Lance Hoffman, senior vice president of Information Services at TCW, said his company wanted "the low-overhead and low-cost benefits of an SaaS CRM product, while maintaining critical and competitively sensitive information and related functions internally, on-premise."

Pivotal CRM On Demand uses Web 2.0 and AJAX technology, featuring drag and drop mashing, integrated RSS feeds and reporting and screen design capabilities. The product can be accessed via a standard Web browser and also supports smart client technology and PDA-based technologies such as Blackberry and Windows Mobile-based devices.

Smart Clients enables synchronized off-line use of the same applications that are accessed through the browser on line. "Users of Pivotal CRM On Demand have the ability to work anytime, whether wired or wireless," company officials say.

Pivotal CRM On Demand for IAM has 360-degree view of client relationships, relationship/influence tracking, performance and client reporting, workflow management and automation and integration with leading 3rd-party data for consultant, plan sponsor and investment manager information.

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