SugarCRM and Agilent, Epicor and LightBlocks, TreeHouse, Affinity and Siebel CRM

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David Sims
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SugarCRM and Agilent, Epicor and LightBlocks, TreeHouse, Affinity and Siebel CRM

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Robert Earl Keen's Live from Austin, Texas:
Epicor Software, which sells business software products for the midmarket, has announced that LightBlocks has selected Epicor Manufacturing software to "support the company's continued growth and increase efficiency across its manufacturing process."
In addition to core functionality, LightBlocks plans to take advantage of Epicor's customer relationship management (CRM) module. "CRM is a large focus here," explained Michael Samborn, vice president of sales with LightBlocks.
LightBlocks's implementation of Epicor, the Epicorians say, marks "the first enterprise resource planning product used to create the company's distinct, light transmitting acrylic for architectural design finishes."
Created in 1999 by "public artist" and design studio owner Mary Boone Wellington, LightBlocks are patented, durable and adaptable light transmitting panels. "From partitions to ceilings, furniture, doors, lighting fixtures, flooring, sculpture and public art, LightBlocks support many architectural uses," Epicor officials say.
Today, LightBlocks designs, manufactures and distributes their custom product to clients spanning all types of industry including Bank of America, Saks Fifth Avenue, Random House, NASDAQ, NBA, IBM and Warner Brothers Studio.
"Our company roots are in public art -- we create a different, custom product nearly every time," said Ken Bush, chief financial officer at LightBlocks. "It was important that we find an ERP system that allows us to break out of the mold of widgets and standard, repeat processes."
Rod Winger, senior director of product marketing for Epicor's manufacturing and supply chain management products, said Epicor Manufacturing will let LightBlocks "drive lean business practices in their continued transcendence of art and architecture."
Salt Lake City-based TreeHouse Interactive, which sells on-demand partner relationship management, channel sales force automation and marketing automation products, has announced what company officials say are "significant advances" in its product suite which includes TreeHouse ResellerView, Sales View and MarketingView.
As a result, according to the TreeHousers, organizations "are able to improve efficiencies and process integration between partners and manufacturers and benefit from the combination of sales force automation with channel management."

The channel is described by company officials as "one of the core components for driving revenue and achieving greater market penetration in less time." While partners have become key to scaling sales operations, management of the channel has historically suffered from inefficiencies, they believe.
"Information systems have been focused on discrete aspects, not the entire process of tracking customers, conducting effective marketing and lead generation campaigns and competing for customers and efficiently managing the channel sales lifecycle," company officials charge, adding that in order to optimize channel sales management, "organizations need to improve visibility and process integration."

To compete in today's marketplace, "brand owners and their partners must have tools and processes that assist in driving revenues efficiently as well as facilitate coordination and communication," according to Pete Marston, research analyst, customer relationship management, Forrester Research.

TreeHouse Interactive sells an enterprise-class suite of software-as-a-service (SaaS) CRM products that include partner relationship management, channel sales force automation, and multi-channel marketing automation. New features in Reseller View PRM include full international character support, a new lead distribution model, a special pricing approval module, paperless and Automated MDF/Coop management and a training and certification module.
Agilent Partners, which describes itself as "online marketing automation and lead generation specialists for small and midsized businesses," has announced the completion of a semi-custom product for one of its clients, Acclaro, forming "a system for managing online and offline marketing campaigns, all within SugarCRM."
Michael Kriz, president of Acclaro, a language translation and localization firm recently recognized on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, said he was looking for a product that allowed his company to manage all of their marketing activities through a single system and dashboard.
"SugarCRM was chosen as the CRM product that best met their needs," Agilent officials said, adding that Agilent "helped further tailor it to support Acclaro's online marketing efforts."
Although Agilent has built marketing automation products as far back as eight years ago, most SMBs and even larger companies are just getting on board now with what automated nurture marketing can do for them, company officials believe.
The product is driven by a lead capture system, created by Agilent and integrated into Acclaro's Web site, that uses Web services to communicate with the their on-demand SugarCRM system hosted at Sugar. The product contains visitor and lead tracking, "no lead duplication," a marketing ROI dashboard and ROI reporting with online lead generation and offline sales.
Milwaukee-based Affinity has announced the successful deployment of what company officials are calling "a new advanced technology product for a global enterprise client" designed to let executives of the unnamed client "improve the effectiveness of their more than 5,000-member global sales and service organization."
The new system combines technologies including Siebel 8 CRM from Oracle, Service Oriented Architecture and product data management.
Due to "the global nature and sophistication of the client," Affinity officials say, the systems provide support for 30 languages, 40 currencies, and include information for the client's portfolio of more than 500 products.
Further, the new system is integrated with more than ten other systems, and is expected to deliver such benefits to the client as higher revenues from improved sales team synchronization, cross selling and management of large, complex, multi-location accounts.
The client had previously attempted to provide this functionality for their company, but the results did not meet company targets, Affinity officials say.
VinSolutions, a leading provider of Web-based automotive software, announced today it has completed an integration with Kelley Blue Book's InfoDriver. As a result, VinSolutions' clientele now have point-and-click access to data supplied by KBB's expanded and redesigned data syndication product. Subscribing dealers can access the data from VinSolutions' MotoSnap CRM or from their inventory management module.
"The newest iteration of Kelley Blue Book's data syndication products makes acquiring Kelley Blue Book vehicle information easier than ever before," said Brad Prickett, Kelley Blue Book's Director of Syndication Product Management. "The real power of this product is the combination of rich content in a flexible format. By incorporating Kelley Blue Book values in VinSolutions products, their customers now have quick access to accurate and timely vehicle values that are widely recognized by car shoppers."
Incorporating 82 years' worth of trusted KBB data into their software application, VinSolutions confidently supplies their clients with reliable used car data; vehicle trade-in, private party, wholesale, and suggested retail values. Whether subscribing users click on the Blue Book Valuation box from their MotoSnap CRM, or on the KBB Lookup box in their inventory management system, accurate vehicle valuation information is ready for immediate use.

"The direct link to reliable data that KBB's InfoDriver provides saves our clients time, and we believe the quick access to trade-in values and suggested retail pricing for customer trade-ins gives our subscribing dealers an added advantage," said Doug Kinney, VinSolutions' CEO. "We're pleased we are able to incorporate this powerful tool into our product lineup." Dealers who choose to add this service to their existing CRM or inventory management product will be able to print KBB suggested retail pricing on their used vehicle window stickers, and display comparisons between KBB and dealer-assigned prices on their VinSolutions Inventory Gallery or in their vehicle comment sections. For more information visit

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