The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and there comes a time in most men's lives when the realize "Hey... I need some more Skynyrd on the iPod." That time has come for First Coffee, so the music today is Lynyrd Skynyrd's Second Helping:
CRM vendor Epicor has announced Canadian swimwear retailer Groupe Bikini Village has selected the Epicor Retail Software as a Service (SaaS) product.
Bikini Village sells swimwear across Eastern Canada. Headquartered in Boucherville, Québec, the company operates 60 stores under the Bikini Village banner in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Bikini Village has overhauled and refreshed many of its stores, company officials say, "part of an ambitious renovation and expansion strategy now beginning to yield results." The company recently posted a 25 percent increase in Q1-2008 year-over-year revenues.
Bikini Village wanted an end-to-end "retail product that would give the company greater inventory visibility, improve operational efficiencies and streamline business processes," company officials said.
The Epicor Retail SaaS delivery model is a turnkey retail product billed as "virtually eliminating the need for an on-site retail IT infrastructure." It has associated implementation and integration services, support and maintenance as well as ongoing updates and upgrades.
For a fixed fee plus a one-time start-up charge, the SaaS offering delivers Epicor's Store, Merchandising, Planning, Audit & Operations Management, CRM and Business Intelligence to store locations and the head office.
Blackbaud has unveiled a new release of Blackbaud NetCommunity, saying it includes "major enhancements in both function and features."
Company officials cite "improved site design features to enhanced Web accessibility and a native social networking feature called 'Wave,'" all designed to provide nonprofits with ways to engage constituents online.
The vendor has also unveiled a new set of NetCommunity Open Platform APIs for creating custom parts, integrated Web services, and custom transactions.
"With Wave, Blackbaud has introduced a new way to use social networking -- both within the application and by integrating to social network services like Facebook -- which will add to the viral nature of our work," said Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Director of Information Technology Michael Sola.
Marc Chardon, Blackbaud's chief executive officer, said since it was introduced in 2004, more than 600 nonprofits have selected NetCommunity. "Integration with The Raiser's Edge lets nonprofits customize Web visitors' online experience while capturing key information in their CRM systems," he noted.
Wave, Blackbaud NetCommunity's new social networking feature, helps nonprofits create mission-specific online communities that also integrate with popular social networking sites like Facebook.
Additional enhancements include content approval -- "allowing workflow approval processes for content publishing and versioning," company officials say, as well as eCards allowing Web site visitors to send electronic cards for free or for a donation.
Dealerskins, a division of Dominion Enterprises and vendor of automotive dealer Web products, has partnered with Mazda North American Operations to create Web sites for Mazda dealerships.
As "the preferred provider of Web products for Mazda dealers," Dealerskins officials say, they will create "custom, expertly designed Web sites for each dealer, and will provide training and support." As part of the deal Mazda dealers will receive Dealerskins' proprietary sales tools including its Ups! search engine optimization and keyword report, Redline Configurator, Autobahn Inventory, and CarFax vehicle history check.
Rudolph V. Privitelli, group manager, Relationship Marketing of Mazda North American Operations, noted that in many cases, "a consumer decision on whether they visit a dealership is made from their experience online."
Dealerskins, a division of Dominion Enterprises, sells automotive dealers Web products.
Wipro Technologies, the IT services business of Wipro Limited, and Microsoft have announced the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX at the Microsoft Business Solutions division.
This project involved a global implementation serving 242 countries through five locations across the world, Wipro officials say, "leading to standardization and harmonization of business processes across the organization."
The Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP sells Financial Management, Supply Chain Management and CRM products.
The implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX is intended to simplify and standardize the processes of managing revenue deferrals, royalty payouts, and credit & collections.
Klaus Holse Andersen, CVP MBS Sales and Operations, Microsoft, said they are seeing "productivity increases in managing revenue deferrals, royalty payouts and credit & collection processes."
The implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX allows users access to finance and credit & collections data in real-time and in a single source, Wipro officials say.
Broadridge Financial Solutions, a vendor of technology-based outsourcing to the financial services industry, has completed the acquisition of Investigo Corporation.
The acquisition "increases Broadridge's commitment to enterprise data management and compliance," Broadridge officials say, noting that it "complements a number of Broadridge initiatives targeted to support the wealth management strategies of its customers."
Technology spending for wealth management is one of the fastest growing expenses in the securities industry, according to Broadridge officials, who add that "both Investigo's products and technologies can be used to add value" to the wealth management products Broadridge sells.
"Investigo's product has proven to be readily scalable and is already making a difference for a number of large financial services firms," said Richard J. Daly, Chief Executive Officer, Broadridge Financial Solutions.
The Investigo product gives users financial services enterprise data consolidation from multiple sources, including clearing houses, custodians and back office systems, into a central repository.
Investigo is "a great fit in our Securities Processing Solutions business," Charlie Marchesani, President of Broadridge Securities Processing Solutions says, adding that their technology and "understanding of its applications will enable us to tailor better and deeper products."
Scott Fergusson, Co-Founder of Investigo, will become Vice President of Product Management and Development.
The Customer Relationship Management Association of Atlanta (CRMA) will host the Return2Customer Conference in Atlanta on August 26-27, at Villa Christina in Perimeter Summit. For details hit http://www.return2customer.com/
This year's conference features over two dozen sessions, event organizers say, including "a wide range of expert speakers, led by Martha Rogers, author and thought leader in customer-focused business strategy."
Featured speakers include Paul Greenberg, author of CRM at the Speed of Light, Carol Kruse, VP of Global Interactive Marketing, Coca-Cola and Angie Moore, Managing Director of CRM, American Cancer Society.
There's also Bill Price, author of The Best Service is No Service, Pete Winemiller, Vice President of Guest Relations for the NBA Seattle Supersonics/WNBA Seattle Storm and Lincoln Barrett, VP, CRM & Multi-Brand Marketing, InterContinental Hotels Group.
One wonders if Pete's moving to Oklahoma City too.
"Sponsor response has been so strong this year," conference organizers say, that the full two-day conference costs $112.50 and a single day for $75 until August 15.