By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is The Charlie Parker Gold Collection, a serviceable intro to the man’s music:
Salesforce.com has previewed Salesforce Summer ‘08 at Dreamforce Europe in London.
The vendor’s 26th generation release, Salesforce Summer ‘08 has new features for Salesforce Content and Salesforce Ideas, along with new CRM features in sales, marketing, customer service and partner management.
Company officials say the new generation makes more use of consumer Web technologies such as tagging, subscriptions and recommendations.
For Salesforce Content there’ll be delivery to all 15 languages that Salesforce.com supports. Users will also be able to collaborate in Salesforce Content with their partners and customers in the Salesforce Partner Portal and Salesforce Customer Portal.
A new “Content Analytics” feature offers metrics to “determine the most frequently used content among sales reps, marketers and other users,” company officials say.
What Salesforce officials call “the second pillar in Salesforce.com’s collaboration applications” is Salesforce Ideas, an app letting customer, partner or employee communities post, discuss, and vote on ideas. There will be a feature called “Multiple Communities,” which lets companies create multiple communities “in order to better organize and segment the ideas coming from different groups, and provide participants with a forum to engage with the specific communities that most apply to them.”
“Customizable Ideas” lets users set up validation rules, workflows and Apex triggers off keywords alerting companies to relevant conversations taking place within their communities. “Ideas for Partner Portal” lets companies capture the perspectives of their partner community by including Salesforce Ideas in the Salesforce Partner Portal.
And as far as just CRM goes, well, campers, there are over 50 new features and some improved ones — Salesforce Partners was introduced a couple years ago, and lets companies manage indirect sales channels. Salesforce Summer ‘08 will provide each Salesforce.com customer with two Salesforce to Salesforce connections, at no additional charge.
Salesforce SFA is getting a facelift: Company officials say the Salesforce Summer ‘08 version has a Dashboard E-mail Delivery feature which will automate the process of updating and delivering dashboards.
Salesforce Marketing is offering “better visibility into their leads with the Converted Lead Page feature,” which lets companies “see all the related records into which a lead was converted.”
Salesforce Summer ‘08 is currently scheduled to be available in June of 2008. Salesforce Content is available at $35 per user, per month. Salesforce Ideas is currently available for customer, partner, and employee communities. It is included with all CRM editions for internal use, with the exception of Group Edition, at no additional cost. For additional employees, Ideas Only licenses can be purchased for $5 per user, per month.
For customers and partners accessing Salesforce Ideas through the portal, standard portal pricing applies. Salesforce for Google Apps is available today to all Salesforce.com customers at no additional charge.
Today’s news is datelined “Cleveland and Madrid,” and when’s the last time you saw those two cities mentioned in the same breath?
Cleveland’s Toa Technologies, a Customer Appointment Management vendor, and Ono, a Spanish broadband communications provider, deployed Toa’s SaaS product for managing field operations.
Toa will allow Ono to give both customers and technicians control in managing the in-home appointment, said Manuel Marti, director of customer operations at Ono.
With competition among broadband companies intensifying throughout Europe, service providers are looking for ways to cut costs without damaging customer service. Legacy workforce management tools are generally ill-suited for achieving these goals because they’re designed to support technician work processes rather than customer preferences.
Toa’s Customer Appointment Management product combines mobile workforce management technology, predictive intelligence and interactive customer communications, company officials say. This lets service providers accurately identify the technician’s time of arrival (Toa, get it?) at the customer’s home and narrow the customer’s wait window from the usual 4 to 8 hours down to “60 minutes or less,” Toa officials claim.
Tyler Technologies has announced that it has signed contracts with two Californian municipalities, the City of Orange and the Town of Apple Valley, for Tyler’s Eden financial management product.
Tyler officials say the agreements have a combined total of more than $1.3 million, include software licenses, as well as corresponding professional services, maintenance and support.
Both Orange and Apple Valley purchased a variety of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications from Tyler’s Eden financial and human resource product suites. The local governments want to use the Tyler GASB 34 Report Writer for reporting capabilities, Tyler officials say.
Additionally, Orange has purchased Web extensions for several applications to let citizens and vendors perform business transactions online.
Jeff Green, president of Tyler’s Eden Financial Management Solutions, said Tyler’s Eden system has “a significant user base” in California.
Based in Dallas, Tyler sells information management products and services for local governments. Company officials claim a client base of over 7,000 local government offices throughout all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.
Tyler has been named one of “America’s 200 Best Small Companies” by Forbes Magazine and one of “America’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies” by Audit Integrity, an independent research firm.
The Americas’ SAP Users’ Group, a customer-run community of SAP professionals, has announced the launch of a series of Benchmarking and Best Practices initiatives through its continued collaboration with SAP America.
The announcement comes as part of activities surrounding the 2008 ASUG Annual Conference and the Sapphire 2008 Orlando conference this week.
The ASUG and SAP Benchmarking and Best Practices program was developed in 2005. The program is introducing three new Benchmarking studies: Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Sales Effectiveness; Enterprise Health Check; and Retail Merchandising/Category Management.
One new Best Practices survey, “Running the ERP Marathon,” is being offered in conjunction with Florida State University.
The CRM: Sales Effectiveness Benchmarking study examines the effectiveness of a company’s sales force based on company financials, key performance metrics and sales enabling processes. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about their company’s sales efficiencies, proficiencies and deficiencies, group officials say:
“This will provide insights into Key Performance Indicators with comparisons to both industry and aggregate respondents. The Sales Effectiveness Benchmarking initiative covers over 25 KPIs and over 30 Best Practices.”
In February SAP AG announced the availability of the third enhancement package for its ERP application, cleverly named SAP ERP. Released incrementally and “at no charge to existing customers,” the product lets customers access new software features via a download to switch on as needed, “without touching mission-critical core systems.”
The software vendor also said more than half of the enterprise services bundles created for the third enhancement package were developed “through efforts of the SAP ecosystem of partners and customers.”
SAP officials say the incremental delivery is a value benefit for customers in the latest release of SAP ERP (release 6.0). “Customers can consume innovation at their own option,” company officials say, “switching on the innovation they require at a pace of their choosing and business case.”