By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Zero Playlist. You ever do this? Realize that even though you hit "Shuffle Songs" on the iPod there are some songs you keep hearing over and over and others you never hear? So you make The Zero Playlist -- songs you haven't heard on the iPod, and play that? Current song: The Glenn Miller Orchestra's "April In Paris:"
SugarCRM, a provider of commercial open source customer relationship management (CRM) software, has announced the general availability of Sugar 5.1, which includes new reporting and wireless capabilities for SugarCRM.
The new reporting and analytics engine provides SugarCRM users with "improved insight into sales effectiveness and customer behavior," company officials say, adding that the "revamped wireless capabilities" allow SugarCRM to be used on mobile phones, including support for the BlackBerry and iPhone smartphones.
SugarCRM's commercial open source model invites the download and inspection of source code by users, developers, customers and partners, on the theory that this produces a higher quality product than possible in proprietary development models. During the beta process, Sugar 5.1 was installed over 10,000 times and tested by over 25,000 users.
Since its founding four years ago, Sugar Community Edition and its related components have been downloaded over 5 million times. SugarCRM's user base consists of over 400,000 users on 50,000 installations in 195 countries.
"Software is transitioning from lock-in based proprietary systems to an open, standards-based world," thinks John Roberts, CEO of SugarCRM.
Sugar 5.1, company officials say, offers such features and improvements across end-user and administrative functions as advanced reporting and analytics to "provide support for complex reporting sets, matrix reports, run-time filters and integration with Excel."
There's also a new wireless HTML client and improved user interface, and tracker reports to "provide a snapshot into system usage in order to increase user adoption and visibility into CRM use."
Oracle has announced the new Oracle CRM On Demand Integration to Siebel CRM, described by company officials as "a comprehensive, prebuilt integration that creates a single customer view across on-demand and on-premise CRM deployments."
The product is intended to provide a "holistic" view of the sales pipeline for sales and executive managers, as well as "the ability to perform analytics against it by synchronizing customer data from Oracle CRM On Demand and Oracle's Siebel CRM."
The idea, Oracle officials say, is that the integration helps companies with on-premise functionality for industry and process-centric CRM, as well as on-demand CRM for remote offices and mobile sales and other users.
The product is based on Oracle's standards-based Oracle Application Integration architecture and Oracle Fusion Middleware. It's billed as reducing the integration risk and solving "the data silo problem through integration between on-premise and on-demand CRM."
Salt Lake City-based CapitalRock has announced that it has completed the integration of its RightBridge Sales Tool into Salesforce.com's Wealth Management Edition, to "identify real-time sales and services opportunities for financial advisors using the CRM data within Salesforce.com."
The RightBridge product uses a rules engine to analyze clients' positions, balances, holdings, transaction history and demographic information to pick sales opportunities for advisors to discuss with their clients. "RightBridge also provides the reasons why each opportunity is relevant," company officials say.
John Hyde, CEO of CapitalRock, said with the integration of RightBridge into Salesforce.com, "when an advisor accesses a client within Salesforce.com, they can view the sales opportunities identified by RightBridge and access them directly from the client information tab."
Autobytel, a vendor of automotive CRM and other Internet marketing services, has announced the appointment of automotive Internet veteran Lenny McGinley as vice president of dealer sales.
McGinley has played a role "in advancing Autobytel's dealers relations over the years," company officials say, "most recently serving as director of sales for the western region. In this position, McGinley worked side-by-side with dealers, coaching and training them on process implementation, CRM tutoring, and building customer relationships."
"With a shaky economy and lagging auto sales, Lenny's experience assisting dealers in improving their processes and increasing lead conversion is an asset to Autobytel," said Mark Garms, Autobytel's senior vice president dealer operations and strategy.
Autobytel's customer referrals and lead notification programs will be a particular focus for McGinley's team. Recent studies show that dealers are increasingly embracing lead notification programs -- Autobytel's is called Rapid Response, and it puts dealers on the phone with customers immediately following a purchase request submission,
McGinley joined AutoWeb.com (acquired by Autobytel Inc. in 2001) in 1998. As national dealer trainer for AutoWeb, McGinley ran Internet best practices seminars across the country just as consumer adoption of the automotive Internet was ramping up.
In 2003, he became Sales Director at Autobytel, among other tasks working with CRM tutoring.
Mobile data products provider Genesis Communications has launched Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 4.0 as a hosted service available on mobile devices.
Users of the service will be able to sign up to a monthly contract and access their CRM portal from PCs, laptops and handheld devices, to access customer information at any location.
Genesis product marketing director Mark Seemann called CRM 4.0 "a fantastic tool," since "for smaller companies, purchasing CRM outright is too large an investment."
Signing up to a hosted product is "the perfect way to implement CRM for the first time," Seemann said, adding that businesses can "deliver targeted communications and distinguish between high and low value customers, but without a costly initial investment or the requirement for a large server -- ideal for sales people on the road."
Eloqua, a vendor of demand generation products for business-to-business (B2B) marketers, has announced the Eloqua Web Services Application Programming Interface, a Web Services API for marketing automation.
This release extends the reach of Eloqua's demand generation applications, company officials believe, since by using the product "organizations can integrate any application, service or non-standard Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system with their Eloqua product."
This functionality goes with Eloqua's integration with such CRM systems as Salesforce.com, Siebel On-Demand and Microsoft CRM.
Eloqua's Web Services API is for marketing automation developed with a pure simple object access protocol API, letting Eloqua's customers and partners "integrate the Eloqua Conversion Suite into any business application or service," company officials say.
Web services provide benefits for businesses that need the ability to extract and use vast amounts of data from disparate enterprise applications, scattered data sources and incompatible computing platforms.
Eloqua Conversion Suite is available in Enterprise, Team and Express editions for businesses from small companies to global enterprises.