By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first cappuccino this fine day, and the music is veteran Texas country-rock folk singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen’s great ALBUM, What I Really Mean.
Sage CRM Solutions, part of the Sage Group, has announced initial progress of its Sage CRM Solutions 2010 strategy, described by company officials as “a product and technology vision” announced in March.
The strategy, according to the Sagians, guides global development of the Sage CRM Solutions product family comprised of ACT! by Sage, Sage CRM, and Sage SalesLogix. Milestones detailed at the Sage Software Insights North American business partner conference include embedded Sage CRM within the new Sage MAS 90 and 200 Extended Enterprise Suites, Sage SalesLogix Mobile v5.1, and a new partner-hosted ACT! subscription offering.
CRM 2010 “recognizes distinct business needs of various CRM user types and supports them by applying open Web standards to connect front- and back-office processes,” create interoperability with the Sage CRM Solutions family and “incorporate on-demand capabilities and emerging Web 2.0 technologies,” company officials say.
“Initially, our CRM 2010 strategy is focused on simplifying how users access CRM data,” said Joe Bergera, executive vice president and global general manager, Sage CRM Solutions. “The launch of Sage Software Extended Enterprise Suites gives CRM users connected front- and back-office resources,” he said, adding that “the release of Sage SalesLogix Mobile 5.1 pushes CRM data as it is updated to users anywhere they are.”
IEnterprises, vendors of desktop and wireless customer relationship management expertise, have launched Mobile Edge Express for mobile users “looking to extend their IBM Lotus Notes applications, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, NetSuite, and SugarCRM” to their BlackBerry.
Mobile Edge Express is a mobile and turnkey Software-as-a-Service application for small and medium-sized businesses. It lets users try and purchase pre-written mobile application without upfront hardware costs, upgrades or licensing fees.
By downloading Mobile Edge Express, users gain access to their contacts, opportunities and cases and other information when they are away from the office. It’s billed by the iEnterprisians as “friendly to non-techies” and does not require IT support.
Company officials tout the self-service installation and provisioning which “enables the real daily users of the application to solve mobile challenges by clicking, downloading and running Mobile Edge Express from the iEnterprises Web site.”
Sage Software has also announced the launch of Sage MAS 90 and 200 Extended Enterprise Suites, another in the company’s “Extended Enterprise Solutions” for small and medium-sized businesses.
Sage MAS 90 and 200 Extended Enterprise Suites are described by company officials as products which “combine financial, operational, customer relations and business intelligence applications to simplify and integrate business management processes and workflow across an entire company.”
Basically they provide employees with a consistent view of the customer, and have “simple user-based pricing,” a single maintenance program and common support services with one point of contact for all functionality.
“Business owners tell us they want management systems that are easier to use and maintain, and operate as one both inside the walls of their businesses as well as extended to work with external business partners,” said Himanshu Palsule, executive vice president Strategic Business Unit in Sage Software’s Business Management Division.
Sage MAS Extended Enterprise Suites provide users with a view of business operations through embedded front- and back-office functionality. At the heart of the suite is back-office financial and operations functionality. Embedded SageCRM supports front office sales, service and marketing automation, while Business Insights Explorer and the Business Insights Dashboard provide business analysis functions.
As a result, “salespeople using CRM have visibility into inventory levels, credit holds, purchasing cycles and more… when a purchasing agent buys capital equipment, assets input into the system are automatically tracked and depreciation write-offs maximized,” company officials say.
The suites also include personalization features and product integration capabilities -- “the user interface can be modified without source code, so each employee can personalize screens and views,” and “third-party vendors can be added,” useful for supply chain functions.
Oslo, Norway-based Opera Software has announced the availability of Opera Mini 4.1, the newest version of the browser made for mobile phones. “Users can now access Web sites from any location and any device,” goes the company’s pitch, and Opera Mini is freely available from http://www.operamini.com
The new version is “up to 50 percent faster than Opera Mini 4.0,” company officials say, adding that the new Opera Mini “will automatically suggest URL completions,” and that Web pages can be saved for later offline viewing.
The product, for those who want this particular feature, does give you “quick access to the word or phrase you want in Web pages,” company officials promise, adding that “images, ringtones and other content can be downloaded without leaving Opera Mini.”
Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera, emphasizes the community aspect of the product, saying that users of Opera Mini “are also the co-creators… we have talked to our community members in order to build the Web browser for mobile phones.”
First Coffee would print a testimonial given by “Ramunas,” denoted as “a student from Lithuania” and no doubt a fine young man who uses it at school “to find information on Wikipedia,” and whose favorite new feature of Opera Mini 4.1 is the ability to save Web sites for later reading” which “really helps me at school,” but won’t because when he says “I can just save my Wikipedia pages and access them whenever I need to. My history grades improved drastically, thanks to Opera Mini,” First Coffee is afraid that students will think Wikipedia smacks of an academically reliable source.
In 2007 the company’s embedded browser product was in the news, as 59 handsets were announced with Opera Mini pre-installed. “Altogether, more than 800 different phone models are being used by Opera Mini,” company officials say.
And in what we promise is the last Sage news of the day, yeah Sage Insights Conference is happening now in National Harbor, Maryland but enough is enough, Sage has announced what company officials describe as “a new, simplified structure for its Sage Partner Advantage program.”
The new structure will let authorized Sage Software business partners who carry and resell the company’s Business Management Division and Industry and Specialized Solutions Division products and services to “more easily” access program components focused on business growth, hiring and retaining talent, building knowledge and the expertise of staff, and earning rewards from Sage.
The updated program also features the new Sage partner portal, www.SagePartnerPortal.com
, which provides a single access point for all programs and services.
Susan Searle, Sage Software executive vice president for partner programs, noted that the company’s partner satisfaction is “high among those who actively participate, and our research shows that partners who participate perform better than those who don’t.”