CRM Endorsement from O'Connor, TBL and Mission Research, CIBER and APU, Firepond and Kelvin Hughes

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

CRM Endorsement from O'Connor, TBL and Mission Research, CIBER and APU, Firepond and Kelvin Hughes

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Mary Lee's Corvette pulling off a rather audacious stunt: re-recording Bob Dylan's entire Blood On the Tracks album in front of a live audience. "Tangled Up In Blue" is ragged, the rest is okay, and it's interesting to hear these songs sung by a woman:

CRM vendor Dovarri has announced that Microsoft's principal Windows SharePoint Services expert, Errin O'Connor, has endorsed Dovarri's CRM software. O'Connor, Founder and CEO of EPC Group, literally wrote the SharePoint manual for Microsoft (Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Inside Out, Errin O'Connor, Microsoft Press 2008).

O'Connor sells custom products built on SharePoint. He has executed more than 60 deployments, including a number of Fortune 500 companies. His company partners with Dovarri, with O'Connor assisting in the rollout of SharePoint-based Orizon, Dovarri's CRM software.

"SharePoint is the most powerful platform available, and Dovarri is the first company to take full advantage of all of its capabilities," said O'Connor. "We are frequently asked by our clients to recommend a good CRM, and until now, we haven't had an answer. Now we do—it's Dovarri Orizon."

"We chose SharePoint for the same reasons these Fortune 500 companies are choosing it—it delivers flexibility and power," added Geary Broadnax, Dovarri President and CEO.

EPC Group consults with companies for document management and staff collaboration. The firm designs, implements and manages SharePoint products for organizations. EPC Group has implemented some of the world's largest SharePoint deployments. Several long-term clients include Microsoft, Dell, HP, ExxonMobil and Boeing.

Dovarri sells Customer Relations Management and SFA.

But then I thought, why listen to a copy when I can listen to the real thing? We now have Zimmy's version of Blood On the Tracks on and all's well with the world.

TBL Capital has invested $2 million in Mission Research, Inc, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to fund the software company's expansion into the Small Office/Home Office retail software market with SalesWorks, and continue its work in the nonprofit sector with GiftWorks Fundraising Software.

GiftWorks is fundraising software for nonprofits. Vendor officials say it's marketed for its "affordability and unique, elegant user interface, donor segmenting, easy mail merge and inherent social networking capability."

Mission Research officials say they "serve most nonprofits with software for $399, while companies like Blackbaud target large enterprises for an average cost of $40,000."

Charlie Crystle, co-founder & CEO of Mission Research, said TBL "shares our values of social responsibility, and shares our goal of enabling small nonprofits and businesses to do more through software."

SalesWorks Standard 2.0 launches in late April into the online retail channel, and will be priced at $99. The company's Hybrid Web platform ships as part GiftWorks and SalesWorks. "Our built-in social networking in GiftWorks integrates well with the Facebook platform in prototype tests," said Crystle.

TBL (Triple Bottom Line) Capital officials say they invest in socially responsible companies that have social impact as well as profitability. Joe Marshall, Principal at TBL, said Mission's co-founders donated 20 percent of founding stock to a foundation.

"Targeting, attracting, and retaining new customers" will remain a top priority for chief information officers in 2008, according to a worldwide survey of 1,500 CIOs by Gartner Executive Programs.

The research firm also outlines seven types of initiatives that can help organizations "focus on specific efforts that, in aggregate, will boost customer loyalty and satisfaction."

"No one project will, by itself, improve the overall experience, but the combination of these seven types of projects, if implemented well, will contribute to the development and perpetual improvement of the organization's customer experiences," said Ed Thompson, research vice president at Gartner.

Focus your efforts on projects that are doable and critical, Gartner advises, while keeping the broader business objective as a future project. It lists the seven fundamental initiatives for improving customer experience:

1. Act on feedback, deploy changes and communicate actions to employees and customers: "Companies that fail to act on these actions in response to customers' feedback are throwing away the chance to increase the number of satisfied and loyal customers," Gartner officials said.

2. Design processes from the outside in. Most process redesign is done with the objective of improving operational efficiencies rather than to improve the customer experience -- the classic inside-out approach. Rather, identify which processes matter most to customers, then set about identifying what to improve for an outside-in approach.

3. Act as one organization to ensure consistency. The customer may interact with many parties as part of his business with a company. The challenge for the company is to ensure that information gleaned at one interaction is not forgotten in the next channel.

4. Be open. Organizations that want to improve the customer experience often become more open, which may just mean opening up more channels or opening hours, or letting customers support, promote or refer their products through an online community.

5. Personalize products and experiences. Customization creates complexity and costs for the company, so beware of just evaluating the costs of personalization against the sales benefits and factor in the longer-term value of improving the customer experience.

6. Alter attitudes and employee behavior. "Employees' actions are often the most powerful improvements in a customer's experience," study officials say. So either recruit the right types of employees, ensure standards such as policies, procedures and governance structures and create training programs and incentives to modify employee behavior.

7. Design the complete customer experience. In many organizations the customer experience is unplanned and accidental in its execution.

Firepond has announced that Kelvin Hughes, a designer and manufacturer of marine navigation systems, has chosen Firepond CPQ OnDemand for "streamlining its quoting, pricing and proposal approval processes."

Hughes will use Firepond's multi-tenant application with single sign on through's SFA application. Like, Firepond's multi-tenant application offers multiple new releases per year. End-user companies simply log on to access these new enhancements through an Internet browser.

Hughes is based in Essex in the United Kingdom with offices throughout the world. With a range of marine navigation equipment and service offerings, the firm wanted a product that would integrate into and allow access to users around the world.

Firepond CPQ OnDemand allows for product and pricing rules to be centrally administered supports multiple currencies. Using Firepond's Product Data Manager, Kelvin Hughes' business analysts want to be able to make changes to their product and pricing data while "accelerating the distribution to a worldwide sales force.”

CIBER Enterprise Solutions, a division of CIBER, Inc., has won a $3.6 million contract to implement Oracle's PeopleSoft enterprise resource planning information technology system for Azusa Pacific University. The new system replaces the university's existing legacy system, which will no longer be supported by its manufacturer as of 2010.

This two-year project equips APU with an IT system, while offering the university technology that "addresses the growth and the technical demands of its faculty, staff, and students today and in the future," according to CIBER officials.

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