CRM Excellence Award, Opera and Helio, CRM Accelerators and Biz IT Pro, Infusion CRM Contest, Dovarri in Europe, Convio, Mr. Rogers, SmartFocus CRM

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CRM Excellence Award, Opera and Helio, CRM Accelerators and Biz IT Pro, Infusion CRM Contest, Dovarri in Europe, Convio, Mr. Rogers, SmartFocus CRM

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the hardest swing album Ol' Blue Eyes did, Sinatra's Swingin' Session!!!:

Standard Bank of South Africa has been voted as the overall winner at the CRM Excellence Awards at Gartner's CRM Summit in London.

The Gartner CRM Excellence Awards are "designed to highlight world-class CRM initiatives," according to officials at Graham Technology, the bank's technology vendor.

The Standard Bank Group is the largest South African banking group ranked by assets and earnings. Graham Technology's customer interaction platform, ciboodle, is the technology behind the bank's customer experience initiative.

Rolf EichWeber, director, customer experience at Standard Bank, said the deployment of ciboodle has brought "significant improvements" in such areas as "customer experience, business efficiency, technology optimization and flexibility."

"It's always a rewarding experience when one of our customers is recognized for their achievements in CRM, especially at a major event like the Gartner CRM Summit," said Mike Hughes, Managing Director, Graham Technology. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, Graham Technology has customers in twelve countries.

Opera, together with Helio, has announced the first deployment of Opera Mini on a mobile service provider in the United States. As of today, Helio members can surf the Web with Opera Mini on their Ocean device with a specially-tailored version of the browser designed specifically for the handset.

Available as a downloadable application from Helio's Web portal, Opera Mini provides what the Operians describe as a "desktop-like experience that lets the user dive into the page to access the content they want."

"We're excited to be the first service provider in the U.S. to make Opera Mini an on-deck option," said Doug Britt, Vice President of Service Management at Helio, calling the fact that Opera Mini is optimized for Ocean and running on a nationwide 3G network "a combination that's tough to match."

Opera officials claim more than 39 million "cumulative users." Opera Software is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, with offices around the world. The company is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol OPERA. Helio is a joint venture between SK Telecom and EarthLink.

The president of Business IT Professionals, Steve Noe, has announced that the company has partnered with CRM Accelerators to provide what he describes as "end-to-end CRM products on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform for their clients."

CRM Accelerators, a Microsoft Certified Partner, will handle infrastructure requirements, customization, deployment strategies, maintenance, and custom development to design their client's CRM product. Once the product is deployed, a consultant from North Carolina-based Biz IT Pro will provide either training for the client or courses from Microsoft's official curriculum.

"With this partnership, we are able to provide the best product to our clients from start to finish," stated Noe.

CRM Accelerators works on implementations of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and with Microsoft Partners who are implementing CRM for themselves or for their customers. They provide Microsoft Dynamics CRM installation, deployment, and custom development services to small to mid-size businesses throughout the US.

Happy birthday to Fred Rogers, host of “Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood,” which ran on U.S. television for 32 years. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Rogers wrote more than 200 songs for the show.

To mark the introduction of its first eBook, Infusion Software, which sells CRM software for small businesses, has announced the launch of a contest to find "the most inspired small business."

The contest is based on the eBook authored by Infusion Software's CEO, Clate Mask, The Edge of Success: 9 Building Blocks to Double Your Sales.

To enter the contest, entrants must submit either a 60-second video or a blog post reacting to the book. The winner will receive Infusion CRM, Web-based automated marketing and customer relationship management designed for entrepreneurs, free for a year with what Infusion officials say is "a built-in guarantee that within three months Infusion Software will help the winner double their sales."

The eBook is available as a download at "We're so confident in our software that we're going to prove that it can double a small business' sales in three months, guaranteed," said Dave Lee, Vice President of Marketing for Infusion Software.

CRM and Sales Force Automation vendor Dovarri has announced what the Dovarrians are calling "a major expansion" into the European market via a signed agreement to resell its Customer Relations Management (CRM) software through London-based sales training and support provider Winning By Design.

Dovarri focuses on the small and medium-sized business sectors. It differentiates between CRM and SFA by saying "CRM software develops stronger customer relationships by identifying and managing customers' needs, SFA regulates the sales cycle by automating sales tasks, managing customer interactions, and analyzing sales forecasts and performance."

Winning By Design works with intact sales operations to improve sales skills and effectiveness, "using real data about prospects and customers," company officials say. Their programs range from specific skills development to executive management.

"This agreement gives Dovarri a major foothold in the European market," Dovarri President and CEO Geary Broadnax said. "It's gratifying that one of our own clients perceives that the European market is ready for us, and recognizes a tremendous money-making opportunity for us all."

Dovarri 7.0 Orizon is Web-based CRM and SFA software, and according to company officials, "80 percent of the program can be learned within an hour.

Convio has announced the availability of the Convio Database Connector on's AppExchange. The Convionis are calling it "the first development in a relationship between Convio and the Foundation… to meet the needs of the nonprofit market."

The Convio Database Connector for integrates with Convio's on-demand constituent relationship management suite, "enabling the synchronization of constituent, donation, and campaign data between Convio and"

"The Software-as-a-Service model is improving the way nonprofits operate, not only in their ability to connect with constituents but by improving their efficiency and effectiveness in accessing and sharing constituent data," said Gene Austin, CEO, Convio.

Clarence So, Chief Marketing Officer,, said the company counts more than 3,000 nonprofit customers.

Mobile Loaves and Fishes, an Austin, Texas-based ministry to the homeless and indigent working poor, has implemented the Convio and product as their primary data management system.

Chelsea Football Club reported ready to appoint SmartFocus to "build a detailed picture of its fan base, spearheading its strategy to turn the club into a major global brand," according to British trade journal Precision Marketing.

"It is believed the company -- which was recently appointed to handle Manchester United's CRM strategy -- will manage Chelsea's pool of databases," PM says, noting that the appointment follows the recent departure of Chelsea's customer management chief, Lucinda Brock.

The role of CMC included responsibility for developing, maintaining and implementing Chelsea FC's group customer relationship management strategy, and providing the strategic and tactical focal point for planning and execution.

Appointed as head of marketing at Chelsea in 2005, Brock replaced Bernadette Fitzsimons in June 2007 after she left.

"Chelsea has also used Unica and EuroDirect," PM notes, adding that "it is unclear how these relationships will be affected. EuroDirect maintains it is still working for the club."

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