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October 2008

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Wipro BPO and AmBev, ComScore Mobile Survey, Sales Simplicity, Avaya and BMW

October 31, 2008

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Jimmy Buffett's last pre-megafame album, Living and Dying in ¾ Time, recorded before he locked himself into the beaches-boats-bars pattern all subsequent albums followed:

Saturday here in northern New Zealand, Jimmy Buffett playing in the background, a nice warm sunny day, played tennis in the morning, my wife and oldest son off to check out a new beach, Steinlagers in the fridge for the barbecue later on tonight, why don't we look at a few news items that don't fit the normal weekaday CRM-focused coverage of First Coffee:  
This one's of interest because it involves beer: Wipro Technologies, the global IT services business of Wipro Limited, has announced that its Business Process Outsourcing division, Wipro BPO, is setting up a Shared Services center for AmBev, the largest brewery company in Latin America with such brands as Brahma, Becks, Stella and Antarctica.  
The Shared Services Center is slated to provide services to AmBev across Latin America in the areas of finance and accounting, order management, customer services and HR Services. The partnership is expected to provide financial benefits across AmBev operations in the region, with services provided from Wipro's facility at Curitiba in Brazil.  
Renato Nahas Batista, Zonal Vice President at AmBev, said the partnership with Wipro will focus on transforming the existing Shared Service Center and provide services across Latin America for AmBev.

"Wipro's capability to transform processes, implement SAP and provide service delivery is a strength," says Ashutosh Vaidya, Head, Wipro BPO.

Wipro's Consumer Products Industry practice has a team for Food & Beverage industry, focusing on helping food and beverage companies re-engineer the way they meet end consumer's needs through Information Technology products. ...

We like this one because we always like seeing mobile advertising lose the shotgun approach: ComScore, which "measures" the digital world, reports that fewer European consumers say they are receiving advertisements for mobile products and services, while more receive adverts for consumer goods such as food, fashion, restaurants, travel and financial services.
Over the past year, the number of people receiving SMS adverts for mobile products and services fell nine percent in Europe, while the number receiving offers for non-mobile consumer goods and services climbed 15 percent.
Overall, ComScore's research shows, slightly fewer Europeans report receiving an SMS ad, with a decline from 112 million in August 2007 to 110 million in August 2008.  
The fastest-growing category of SMS advertising since August 2007 is food, the company found at a rate of 53 percent, followed by clothing/fashion at 38 percent and restaurants at 37 percent.

Aspect Opens in China, Open Solutions in Mexico, Mobile Worker Security, Bw.Connect for Salesforce, AMI Looks at Vendors

October 31, 2008

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is Frank Sinatra's great Nice 'N' Easy album. As my son just said, "It's a Frankie Friday:"

Aspect, a vendor of communications and contact center software and services provider, has announced the opening of its new technical support center in Dalian, China. The 4,055 square foot contact center will provide support services to customers and partners across the Asia Pacific region.

"It is critical that organizations are able to manage their customer inquiries with no downtime, so this new center in Dalian is designed to ensure that calls are handled by knowledgeable Aspect experts," said Lui Simhua, senior vice president, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, Aspect.  
The new contact center reflects what Aspect officials characterize as "the company's growth in the Asia Pacific region" and allows Aspect to provide service to its customer base by offering extended global technical support on a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week basis.
The technical support engineers at the Aspect Dalian contact center "have received extensive training," company officials say, and are "well-equipped to respond to customer inquiries."
The Dalian contact center is designed to provide issue resolution through remote support abilities and distributed field services personnel, support for system performance with ongoing application updates that refine system capabilities and the ability for Aspect users to ensure "Aspect products are always up and available to service customers." ...
Mexican-based El Banco Deuno officials say they have implemented Open Solutions's enterprise-wide database core banking product, The Complete Banking Solution: DNA.

AP Election Results, Ovum Expands, Free AT&T Wi-Fi, Cable Modem Usage Outstripping DSL

October 31, 2008

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is... you'll be surprised... Wings Over America. Yes, my favorite high school album, I downloaded it from iTunes to see how it holds up.

CRM Part of MTS-Vodafone Deal, Atos and LCL, Magic's iBolt, Transzap and Oracle, Telefonica and IBM, Avaya and Merrill, Transzap

October 30, 2008

The news as of that all-important third cup of coffee, and the music is a posthumous release by the most self-effacing genius in jazz history, pianist Bill Evans, You Must Believe in Spring. If you're into understated, highly accomplished jazz playing, "restrained brilliance," as one reviewer put it, get the Bill Evans Trio's 1961 Village Vanguard sessions recorded live at club shows. For such a talented player the guy was so unassuming he actually had them include the club noise -- glasses tinkling, laughter -- on the records:

Atos Worldline, an Atos Origin Company, has been selected by French bank LCL to develop, build, run and host a secure banking Web 2.0 messaging service dedicated to client-advisor interaction.

Through the development of this channel, LCL officials say they hope to strengthen and widen the bank's existing client communication channels.

Oracle-Haley Deal, Epicor Results, Kana Results, Credit Unions go Open

October 30, 2008

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is the sound I can hear all the way from Philadelphia to here in northern New Zealand... sounds like... 28 years' worth of pent-up cheering...

Oracle has announced an agreement to acquire RuleBurst Holdings, the parent company of Haley Limited, a vendor of policy modeling and automation software, to create an end-to-end product for social services agencies.

CRM from Oasis, AccuWeather on BlackBerry, Kana and Barclays, TimeDriver and Salesforce.com, Jitterbit and Infowelders

October 29, 2008

The news as of the first cup of coffee this morning, and the music is one of Van Morrison's unjustly overlooked albums, Veedon Fleece -- in all frankness Van's done albums justly overlooked, but this isn't one of them. It might be a stretch to say this 1974 album of introspection after an emotional loss inspired Bob Dylan's masterpiece album on the same theme, Blood On the Tracks in 1975, but assuming Bob heard the record it's plausible to conjecture that it sparked something:

AccuWeather.com has announced the launch of a service that will make deeper AccuWeather.com information more easily accessible on BlackBerry smart phones from Research In Motion.

Users can subscribe to this new free service directly from their BlackBerry smart phone and an icon will appear on their home screen that displays high-level weather conditions based on weather data regularly "pushed" to the smart phone; users can also click on the weather icon to instantly access the most updated and more detailed weather information including hourly forecasts, 10-day forecasts, severe weather alerts, and radar images.

Honestly, is it just me, or is there a rash of "deeper" BlackBerry news here recently? Just earlier today I wrote up a piece on Rave Wireless also announcing "deeper product integration" between Rave's safety applications and the BlackBerry.

MrTed's SmartRecruiters, Yakabox Version 3, Rave Wireless and BlackBerry, Datacap, ItracMedia

October 29, 2008

The news as of the all-important third cup of coffee, and the music is The Marshall Tucker Band's 1974 jam session Where We All Belong. Call 'em Allman Brothers clone wannabes if you must, but that's both an unfair and a too curt dismissal of a fine '70s southern rock jam band:

MrTed, a vendor of talent acquisition products, has announced the beta availability of SmartRecruiters, described by company officials as "a 100 percent free applicant tracking system" for corporate recruiters and hiring managers.

Designed for businesses with as many as 2,500 employees, company officials say the product is "easy to use, works in two minutes, and runs every facet of a recruiter's business."

Unlike their predecessors, MrTed officials say, SMB recruiters in 2008 "are comfortable using online tools to find and recruit employee talent." SmartRecruiters, they says, "fits this mold -- and breaks the mold of conventional ATS products -- by combining powerful functionality" with ease-of-use.

"In providing a free product for the masses, we are doing something that has never been done before," said Jerome Ternynck, CEO, MrTed. "There are six million small businesses in the US with as many as 2,500 employees. We are telling small businesses, 'Throw away your old ATS, you don't need it anymore.'"

CRM's Lasso and Equine, Truphone Anywhere, SAS and HF Holidays, Web Center in Oulu, Symphony's Price Manager

October 28, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is one of the greatest albums recorded in the second half of the 20th century -- Frank Sinatra's A Swingin' Affair:   Global mobile network operator Truphone has launched a beta of its mobile internet telephony service, Truphone Anywhere, for BlackBerry smart phones. The service is described by company officials as a way to get cheap international calling to BlackBerry users.   Truphone Anywhere works in 33 countries worldwide, and company officials claim it "saves BlackBerry users from those countries money on the international calls they make from their home country. The service works alongside domestic service providers, but reduces international call costs to as little as six cents per minute."   Instead of requiring the user to remember what to do, Truphone Anywhere simply asks whether he wants to make a Truphone call whenever an international number is dialed.   "There's no GSM business tariff that gets close to the prices we can offer BlackBerry users with Truphone for international calling," says Geraldine Wilson, new CEO of Truphone. "And in these days of financial belt-tightening, businesses are looking at every means of cutting costs, which is an opportunity for us."   In technical terms, company officials explain, Truphone Anywhere works by connecting to a local Truphone server, which then connects the long-distance part of the call over the Internet.

NII and BlackBerry Curve, Nutricia and Ciboodle, Telrex's CallRex, Boomi Grows, Interactive Intelligence Results

October 28, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is one of the most overexposed yet underrated acts in rock history, The Supremes. More American #1 singles in the '60s than anyone -- more than The Beatles -- their music has serious legs, their melodies are as sturdy as oak and they sound as wonderful today as they did forty years ago:   NII Holdings and Research In Motion have announced that Nextel Argentina, Nextel Brazil, Nextel Mexico and Nextel Peru will launch the BlackBerry Curve 8350i smartphone during the first quarter of 2009.   The BlackBerry Curve 8350i is described by NII officials as "the first smartphone in Latin America to offer the Push-to-Talk service, International Direct Connect and WiFi capability."   The BlackBerry Curve 8350i smartphone and Push-to-Talk service "will provide one-touch, instant communication between NII subscribers in their home markets and with over 10 million iDEN subscribers in North and South America," NII officials say, adding that the BlackBerry 8350i will also come with built-in Wi-Fi, a 2-megapixel camera, an internal antenna and "a host of other features."   Greg Santoro, chief marketing and strategy officer, NII Holdings, said the smartphone "combines the power of Push-To-Talk with the BlackBerry platform's features."   The BlackBerry Curve 8350i smartphone is designed to combine BlackBerry data services such as e-mail, messaging, organizer and Internet access with the connectivity of Push-to-Talk. The BlackBerry Curve 8350i smartphone is designed to integrate into the IT networks of organizations that use the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution.   It has 128-MB of onboard memory, and the smartphone will accept microSD/SDHC cards for up to 16 GB of storage. Users will be able to store spreadsheets, images or pictures, and with the DataViz Documents to Go software users will be able to edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents directly on the smartphone. Plus it's got GPS). ...   Sword ciboodle, which sells business software and services, has announced that it is working with UK baby food giant Nutricia to help the company "enhance its customer service capabilities."   By deploying Sword ciboodle's CRM platform, Sword officials say, Nutricia aims to boost its contact center's performance.

Epicor and Microsoft, Go Daddy's Upgrades, Persistent and Rackspace, eGlue and Nationwide

October 28, 2008

By David Sims

David at firstcoffee d*t biz


The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is John Mellencamp's Dance Naked, generally regarded as one of his lesser efforts in that it lacks the high points of albums such as uh-huh or The Lonesome Jubilee, and okay it's not exactly Exile On Main Street, but it also lacks any songs you have to skip which litter the rest of Mellencamp's albums, and around First Coffee we appreciate solid, workmanlike consistency:


Epicor has announced at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2008 its support of Microsoft's cloud computing initiative Azure Services Platform.

Epicor and Microsoft "share a complementary vision for cloud computing and building applications that bridge the gaps between PC, Web and phone," the Epicorians say, noting that Epicor recently announced its next-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) product Epicor 9 -- expected to be generally available before the end of the year -- which will virtually put "ERP everywhere."


Robert Wahbe, Corporate Vice President, Connected Systems Division at Microsoft, called taking advantage of cloud computing "the next logical step in the evolution of Epicor's service-oriented business applications."


Epicor 9, the company's enterprise business software product designed for companies in domestic and global markets, is built on a second-generation service-oriented architecture, Epicor Internet Component Environment 2.0. It's engineered to combine Web 2.0 concepts, such as Enterprise Search, presence and real-time communication with business acumen, officials say.


Erik Johnson, senior director of development at Epicor, said in his opinion, "Azure Services Platform will be a game changer for cloud platforms -- it incorporates Microsoft's .NET Framework which means Epicor can use our existing skills and code libraries.

Apprivo's New Products, Orga Systems, Spam Trends, SalesLogix Down Under, SAP Results

October 27, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Alice Cooper's Killer, reputedly named as the favorite album of the Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten:   Apprivo, which sells value-added products and services for Salesforce Partner Networks, has announced three new Software-as-a-Service offerings designed to "simplify how Named Accounts, Partner Scorecards and Special Pricing are managed in the channel," according to company officials.   "Companies have unique processes based on the complexity of their channel," says Elay Cohen, vice president of products at Salesforce.com.   Apprivo founder and CEO, Andrew O'Driscoll, says the flexibility of the Force.com Platform-as-a-Service "allows us to develop the on-demand products our customers need for their channel."   Apprivo on-demand products for Salesforce Partner Networks include products to streamline lead routing "so customers can minimize channel conflict and align selling efforts within accounts," as well as functionality designed to consolidate and calculate channel performance metrics, company officials say.   There's also a product called "Apprivo Special Pricing," which analyzes the impact of non-standard pricing across the value chain, "so customers can determine whether competitive business is worth winning."   Apprivo products are fully native to Salesforce and run entirely within the Salesforce cloud, company officials say, adding that since Apprivo products are native, "features use familiar Salesforce concepts." ...   Orga Systems has recently launched the latest release of its top-up product Virtual Voucher.   It's designed to let mobile network operators sell prepaid airtime and communication services in real time. With the new product release, company officials say, operators have "various means to manage a fine-grained structure of a hierarchical distribution network."   Virtual Voucher can manage national as well as international affiliates for operators worldwide, company officials claim, adding that to the different levels of users, it offers dedicated reports as well as summary reports, which can be filtered in various ways.   The product's sales and distribution system is designed to support a hierarchical network of distributors and retailers, according to company officials, giving them functionality for sales and channel management in real time.    The Virtual Voucher uses standard GSM mobile handsets as vending devices and provides the sales person with a means for direct recharge of a subscribers' account. It supports sales and distribution channels in retail and high-street shop environments as well as in so-called street seller scenarios.   Company officials say the product is "suited to target new and existing customer segments -- also in areas facing logistical challenges as well as in highly populated metropolitan areas."
...   IT security and control firm Sophos has released the results of its research into the latest spam trends, showing what they say are the top twelve spam-relaying countries for the third quarter of 2008.   The figures show what the firm characterizes as "an alarming rise in the proportion of spam e-mails sent with malicious attachments between July - September 2008," as well as an increase in spam attacks "using social engineering techniques to snare unsuspecting computer users."   Sophos's research finds that "one in every 416 e-mail messages between July and September contained a dangerous attachment, designed to infect the recipient's computer." Company officials call this "a staggering eight-fold rise compared to the previous quarter where the figure stood at only one in every 3,333 e-mails."   Much of this increase, Sophos says, can be attributed to several large-scale malware attacks made by spammers during the period. "The worst single attack was the Agent-HNY Trojan horse, which was spammed out disguised as the Penguin Panic arcade game for Apple iPhones.

TechExcel, Forrester on eGain, Oracle in India

October 26, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is, as much as I'm ashamed to admit it, The Eagles. Hey it's just a few of their less boring songs on the iPod shuffle -- "Already Gone," "Peaceful Easy Feeling," "The Greeks Don't Want No Freaks;" songs with a pulse which weren't written by AOR computer programs.   Even a blind hog gets a few acorns, even The Eagles wrote a few good songs, although in the main First Coffee must agree with Tom Waits, whose song "Ol' 55" was covered by The Eagles, that "the best thing about an Eagles record is it keeps the dust off your turntable:"   TechExcel , a vendor of IT Service Management and customer support software, announced the release of ServiceWise 8.0 and CustomerWise 8.0.    It's touted as having "new features" and enhancements to automate repetitive processes and improve communication and collaboration between support teams and their customers. "Additionally," company officials say, "an improved self-service portal includes automatic active directory password reset that enables support managers to show precise figures on support time saved and improved ROI."   Tieren Zhou, Ph.D., CEO and Chief Software Architect at TechExcel, said the vendor has "added a lot of automation that improves usability and service level features that help teams be more responsive to customer requests and also keeps the customer informed."   By providing integrated CRM, help desk, defect tracking and test management applications, TechExcel officials say, the product "integrates Web, wireless, and client/server technologies."   Typically, company officials say, the ServiceWise product is used to manage internal help desk and IT management processes, while CustomerWise is used to manage external customer support, sales, and marketing processes. Version 8.0 introduces such features as Smart Screens, Microsoft Outlook integration, service level agreements, drill-down reporting and other.   The addition of Smart Screen in version 8.0 is billed by the company as improving the product's configurability and user interface customization, since it lets users manage the requests for a support team or IT team, including incident requests, change requests and non-technical requests and work orders "from within a single application." ...   EGain Communications, a vendor of customer service and knowledge management products, has announced that the company was named a leader in interaction-centric customer service software products in the October 2008 report "The Forrester Wave: Customer Service Software Solutions, Q4 2008."   The company received the highest score in the category of "current offering," as well as in the sub-categories of "customer service," "architecture and platform," "cost," "product strategy" and "employees" in interaction-centric customer service management software.   The vendor was among the companies Forrester invited to participate in this report evaluating customer service management vendors across approximately 180 criteria.   On a scale of 0-5, in the interaction-centric products evaluation, eGain score d 4.65 in "current offering." EGain also received a "customer service" product capability score of 4.70, architecture and platform mark of 4.74, product strategy score of 5.00, cost score of 4.66, and employees rating of 4.00.   In addition, the company received a score of 4.60 in the "strategy" category.   In addition, eGain received the top score in several key sub-categories in "current offering," such as knowledgebase (5.0), business process and workflow tools (4.4), Web 2.0 tools and applications (5.0), and deployment options (5.0).   "EGain is an application best suited for large multichannel contact centers that require a scalable product and complete suite of customer service and contact center software that sits on top of a common architecture and infrastructure," wrote Natalie Petouhoff, Ph. D., Senior Analyst at Forrester. ...   Oracle officials say recent growth in India and Southeast Asia and Australasia has gained the vendor "a wide following" for its social CRM product, CRM On Demand, across a range of industries including automotive, communications, financial services and non-profit.   The vendor points to contracts in the last 15 months with companies that chose Oracle CRM On Demand included EBZ Online and Fine Organics Industries in India, Alphawest Services, BP Australia and The Business Store New Zealand in Australasia and 3M Taiwan, Sinova Management Consultancy and Miramar Hotel & Investment in China, as well as Korea's Sejong Telecom and Indochina Capital in Vietnam.   David Mitchell, Senior Vice President, IT Research for Ovum, has recently authored a report cited by Oracle officials, noting that most CRM systems support "limited amounts" of collaboration and "do not adequately provision for more variable, less structured collaboration in the real world."   While bringing some team collaborative tools into the process "can help to carry out less formally structured processes," Mitchell said, "there is still a need for an integrated set of collaboration with the right mix of capabilities for sales, marketing and services, and with the right integrations into the underlying CRM systems."   Built on Siebel's CRM application, Oracle CRM On Demand is engineered to help companies use data and information about customer relationships contained in blogs, social networks, online communities, shared bookmarks and mashups.

  Simon Banks, General Manager, CRM On Demand, Oracle Asia Pacific, called the Oracle Sales Prospector included in the latest edition "the first of a new class of Oracle Social CRM Applications that use collective intelligence and analytics help sales professionals qualify leads faster based on buying patterns." ...   Parature has been named a Fall 2008 Recognized Innovator by the Association for Services Management International and the Service & Support Professionals Association.   Winners and finalists were selected by a panel of judges, including industry experts, AFSMI and SSPA members, and Vice President of Technology Research John Ragsdale.   "SSPA and AFSMI Research focused on a topic becoming a common boardroom conversation today: how companies can shrink their corporate carbon footprint through green initiatives," Ragsdale said.

CRM and ExpertNegotiator, Happy Birthday iPod, Forrester on Sword Ciboodle, ZoomInfo and Main Sequence, Neocase and IDS, Model Metrics and Salesforce.com

October 23, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning and the music revisits ah those pleasant college days with The Violent Femmes. Such talented guys, you almost expected them to veer off into the dead ends of weirdness their career consisted of, lurching wildly from ditch to interesting ditch:   First off, happy birthday to one of the most genuinely useful items invented in First Coffee's lifetime, the iPod, seven years old on October 23rd. The first one had a hard drive of five gigabytes, The Writer's Almanac recounts, "and when it was released, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that it could put '1,000 songs in your pocket.'" ...   Glasgow-based Sword ciboodle, a vendor of business software and services, has been named as the sole leader in process-centric customer service software by independent analyst firm Forrester Research.   Sword ciboodle was among the companies invited by Forrester Research to participate in its October 21 report, "The Forrester Wave: Process-Centric Customer Service Software Solutions, Q4 2008."   "As organizations are realizing the importance of truly integrating end-to-end customer-facing processes from front office to back office, they are turning to products with native BPM capabilities," the report's authors say.   The report found that Sword ciboodle, depicted as "a relatively new player in the United States," has "advanced workflow capabilities coupled with deep professional services expertise in utilities and finance."   Ciboodle received the highest score in the report for time-to-value.   Sword ciboodle is described by company officials as "business-process-driven CRM software for multi-channel contact centers," targeted primarily to large companies in sectors such as banking, insurance, utilities, telecommunications and retail. It is engineered to enable all service channels natively from a single platform. ...   ZoomInfo has announced a new alliance with Main Sequence Technologies, which sells the PCRecruiter applicant tracking system. The system is used by franchisees and affiliates of the MRI Network recruitment organization.   ZoomInfor officials say the partnership will extend ZoomInfo's "capabilities for recruiters to find, qualify and hire passive candidates."   ZoomInfo claims 3,000 clients, company officials say, including 19 of the top 20 search firms.

Aussie BFSI Report, OnePin's CallerXchange, Opera 9.5 Adds Widgets, Word from Ovum, Intelliworks' Program Management

October 21, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Velvet Underground's legendary 1969 live album. This band is either, as the inimitable Cap'n Marvel suggests, the most overrated underrated band ever, or the most underrated overrated band ever, First Coffee isn't sure which, what's difficult is to wade through the welter of wordage critics have hyperventilated out over the years and simply get back to enjoying the actual music:   Convergys, a vendor of relationship management products, has released findings from a recent study it commissioned by Frost & Sullivan on the Australian banking, financial services and insurance sector, looking at challenges facing Asia Pacific organizations to meet rising customer expectations, and how to address them with best practices in global sourcing strategies.   The analysis confirms that customer service "remains a critical focus of the Australian BFSI and telecommunications sectors," the study's authors find, adding that with the Internet, SMS, mobile broadband and social networking, customers have various channels with which to interact or voice their concerns.   "As a result customer expectations are increasing," the study finds: "Businesses are driven to meet these demands while managing costs."   One answer to the problem of achieving more with less suggested by the study is -- brace yourself, now -- to "outsource the contact center function to an offshore location." Out of 25 respondents from the BFSI sector surveyed for the study, 64 percent cited "cost savings" and 40 percent cited "access to skills" as reasons for outsourcing.   The demands of more sophisticated customers and a competitive market are pushing more organizations to "rethink their customer engagement strategies," says Max Tennant, Senior Account Executive at Convergys. "Global sourcing may offer the solution to these and other issues."   Convergys officials tout global sourcing as a way to meet "the contradictory demands of today's business conditions -- rising customer expectations and the need to maintain high customer satisfaction while managing costs. ...   Boston-based OnePIN, which sells social address book products for mobile operators, has announced the opening of offices in Brazil, France and Turkey to service its CallerXchange person-to-person contact exchange service.   CallerXchange is a product used to build social networks on mobile phones. Subscribers can exchange contact information with one click, "simplifying a tedious process," company officials say in one of the truest statements First Coffee's read from a company official in many a moon, giving phonebooks a fighting chance to stay more or less updated.   The new offices in Sao Paulo, Paris and Istanbul will help OnePIN market to mobile network operators adopting CallerXchange in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Middle East and Northern Africa and Latin America.   Rather makes First Coffee a wee touch homesick for Istanbul, as we moved from there to here in New Zealand's Northland last month.

CRM's Epicor 9 Takes Flight, Etrigue 3.0 Available, First Coffee Responds to Reader Suggestions

October 20, 2008

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 Glenn Miller Orchestra, currently "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree." A Certain Someone just said "Why do you listen to such old music?"   My friend and valued lifetime companion in a very deep, meaningful and legally-binding sense, there is no such thing as "old" or "new," or "trendy" or "hot" or "uncool" music, there are only two kinds: "Good" and "Bad." Centuries-old Gregorian chants are "good" music. The twaddle on the lips and iPods of 12-year old today is "bad" music. A song released yesterday can be "good" music. Ninety-eight percent of the music from centuries ago perished because it was "bad" music.   Delving through the sacks of e-mail accumulating here at the sprawling campus of First Coffee, some themes emerge:   "Why don't you do more Fleetwood Mac reviews?" "What's a really, really strong coffee? It's Finals Week here." "Why don't you do more Top Ten lists of products so I know what to buy for my CRM project here at my company?" "We are a leading vendor, and we have just released the CRM silver bullet product everybody has been waiting for." "Your First Guaranty National Security account has been suspended." "Huh?

SugarCRM and Apatar, Transera and Office Depot, Sage Awards

October 19, 2008

    By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Rod Stewart's debut solo album, An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down, released in America as The Rod Stewart Album. A fine debut, it presaged what Rod would do better than anyone else in the 1970s: Blend folk, blues, country and straight ahead rock'n'roll with a sly wink and heartfelt singing:   Transera Communications has announced that Office Depot has adopted its cornerstone product, Seratel, as its contact center platform. By using an on-demand virtual contact center product, Office Depot officials say, they're able to reduce hold times, automate routine requests, and give customer service agents a 360-degree view of callers, providing "a more personalized customer experience."   By using Transera's software-as-a-service approach, Office Depot officials say they've minimized infrastructure expenses while benefiting from improved customer service levels.   "With Transera's Seratel product, we have improved the interaction experience of our customers while increasing operational efficiencies and internal productivity at the same time," said Kevin Buckley, Director of Operations for Office Depot's North American Business Solutions Division.             Office Depot officials say they're looking to use the Seratel product to diversify and grow their contact center operations with minimal technology investment, software installation or ongoing maintenance costs. Seratel officials say their product creates a virtual contact center capable of the necessary contact center functions, including call routing, centralized reporting, recording, monitoring, queuing and interactive voice response.    Seratel officials say agents need only an Internet connection and a phone to respond to customer calls. Supervisors manage and monitor operations in real-time from any Web browser.   "Transera's software-as-a-service model has increased Office Depot's business agility, minimized technology investments and improved their visibility and control over distributed contact center operations," said Prem Uppaluru, co-founder and CEO, Transera. ...   Sage Software has announced its President's Circle and Chairman's Club for 2008, two annual programs honoring what Sage officials say are the company's top-producing business partners.   "The results these business partners have achieved are impressive," said Nina Smith, Sage Software president, Business Management Division.

Babylon's Reason4Web, Helpstream Fall 2008, Sage SalesLogix 7.5 in SA, Dell and Red Hat's Middleware in EMEA

October 16, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of that crucial third cup of coffee this morning -- no cheating and switching to decaf, now -- and the music is none, because First Coffee was dumb enough to buy computer speakers requiring battery-operated bass boost. What a useless product -- First Coffee had never seen computer speakers that required batteries, didn't even know to check to see if they did. Naturally after two weeks' use they start hissing and scratching -- "time to replace the three AA batteries." No, time to replace aforesaid speakers:   Babylon Software Solution has announced the launch of Reason4Web, described by company officials as "a platform that integrates several software products for e-business such as Web site builder, Get Traffic solution, CRM and E-Commerce," designed to help SMBs on the Internet, according to the Babylonians.   Babylon Software, from Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, describes Reason4Web as "a complete software product for a small business to go online. It is designed to be easy, fast, fully professional, very affordable and easily accessible through www.reason4web.com."

According to Robert Netkovski, the founder and the Managing director of BSS, the platform "enables a possibility" for one to "get his business online quickly and easily with a professional Web site" and at a very low cost.
"Once you have created your site, Reason4Web will assist you to increase your online traffic, to sell your products online and to manage all of your contacts and accounts with ease," Netkovsky says.

Dejan Mitov, the general manager of BSS, explains that they integrated a "truly adventurous, interactive, fast and incredibly efficient way to get a Web site" when creating the product: "WebStudio is a user-friendly tool that will visually guide you trough the process of editing your own site.

BRIC Mobile Report, EnterpriseWizard and Entellium, 'ProSultative' Selling, QAD and Digirad, WebQA and InTouch

October 16, 2008

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 wonderful pre-rock boogie-swing '40s music of Louis Jordan, of Five Guys Named Moe fame. It's entirely appropriate that The Clash covered his "Junco Partner" on their Sandinista! album:   Increasing adoption of messaging and content services, aided by increased availability of 2G and 3G-based mobile networks, is "expected to push operator-billed data revenues in the mobile markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China" from $26.2 billion in 2008 to more than $48.3 billion by 2013, according to a new report from Juniper Research.   The research looks at broader expectations that these four markets will be among the six largest economies in the world by 2050, by which time "their mutual interdependence and trading abilities will have shielded them from weakening economic conditions elsewhere in the world," Juniper officials say, adding they will be matched in size only by "the United States and by Mexico."   According to report author Andrew Kitson, as fixed-line telephony and broadband availability via traditional forms of access remains low in comparison with other important economies, "these countries are expected to turn to the mobile phone for much of their future communications, banking, entertainment, commerce and lifestyle needs."   Indeed, Kitson says, in countries such as India, "low-cost multi-functional mobile handsets will become an essential part of everyday life for millions of people otherwise beyond the geographic and economic reach of basic fixed-line infrastructure. This, in turn, will help continue to drive economic growth."   For operators, the key change Juniper sees in the next five years will be the launch of commercial 3G services -- currently available only on a regional basis in Russia and Brazil -- as well as migrating low-cost prepaid users to higher-value postpaid offerings wherever they can.   "With billions of dollars set to be spent on establishing these next-generation networks, the fundamental question facing players will be whether they can turn a profit from markets that will still have very low GDP per capita levels by 2050," the report's authors say.   Other findings include that the BRIC mobile user base is expected to rise from 1.209 billion in 2008 to 1.644 billion in 2013, total operator-billed voice revenues for the region are expected to peak in 2010 at $117.1 billion and will decline thereafter, and that China will record the highest operator billed data revenues of all four markets throughout the forecast period.   Whitepapers and further details of the study, "BRIC Mobile Opportunities: Markets & Forecasts 2008-2013," can be freely downloaded from http://www.juniperresearch.com. ...   The scavengers are circling the Entellium carcass: EnterpriseWizard, a vendor of CRM products for B2B organizations, has announced that it's offering Entellium customers a free upgrade to EnterpriseWizard CRM and transfer of their data.

EnterpriseWizard offers "a fully configurable data model" for Entellium users, according to Colin Earl, CEO of EnterpriseWizard. And just to drive the knife in a bit further and twist it a bit harder, he adds "we are profitable, with no debt or outside investors, and the company has been in business for over 15 years." Hey, nobody ever said this business suffered from a surfeit of consideration and compassion.   Should a customer ever want to take the system in-house, they can transfer their entire EnterpriseWizard system from our SaaS server to an in-house server "in just 6 mouse clicks," Earl says.

Customers have switched to EnterpriseWizard from "a host of other systems" and with "full support for LDAP and Web services," Earl says, adding that the autumn release of the product can be deployed as a hosted SaaS application or an in-house server.

Complete product information, as well as demos and free CRM and Customer Support software trial downloads, are available at http://www.enterprisewizard.com. ...   US medical imaging products manufacturer Digirad has gone live with QAD customer relationship management (CRM) alongside its existing QAD Enterprise Applications, according to Digirad officials.

LucidEra's Fall '08 Upgrade, Cbeyond and Count5, SAS and Oxford, Infor ERP's SyteLine, IFS and Lockheed

October 16, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first cup of coffee this morning, and the music is the one essential Robert Earl Keen album, Live At The Ryman. Just take the version of "The Road Goes On Forever" from Live Diner No. 2 instead of the one here, and you have the ideal R.E. Keen CD, even the loopy "Farm Fresh Onions" workout at the end is kind of interesting.   Why Keen hasn't made it big, when others from the Lone Star State with less talent and fire -- hello Nancy Griffith -- have, is still a mystery to First Coffee:   LucidEra, a business intelligence-as-a-service company, has announced LucidEra Fall '08, an upgrade to its on-demand analytics platform and applications for sales.   The company has also announced a new Pipeline Healthcheck service for Salesforce.com customers "guaranteed to identify sales pipeline risks and opportunities," according to the Lucidians.   According to company officials, LucidEra Pipeline Insight Fall '08 introduces the ability to create custom calculated metrics on the fly, to "gain deeper insight into how to hit your company's number."   Building on a suite of built-in metrics such as win rates, average sales cycle lengths, and percentages of new business versus repeat business, the calculated metrics are designed to give customers "flexibility to identify trends that weren't visible" before, company officials say.   "LucidEra is providing sales management at TriNet with an understanding of the metrics that drive revenue growth," said Mike Triantos, VP of Sales at TriNet, a provider of human resources services for more than 2,000 small and medium-sized businesses located throughout the United States and Canada.   LucidEra has also announced a new 48 Hour Pipeline Healthcheck service for Salesforce.com customers to "identify potential risks and opportunities in a company's sales forecast," company officials say. Using the built-in best practices of LucidEra Pipeline Insight, Pipeline Healthcheck "analyzes the health of a company's sales pipeline, sales people, and overall sales process and identifies ways to help increase revenues, decrease pipeline risk, and get more predictable sales results."   "Your pipeline is the lifeblood of your company," said Barry Trailer, Managing Partner of CSO Insights.

Hypatia's Analytics Report, SMS for Voter Registration, Webcom and Tripwire, Vitrium's Documentrics Challenge

October 14, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Tom Waits' magnificent floor sweepings, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards. He's a very different talent to Bob Dylan, yes, but one thing that's impressed me about Waits and Dylan is they're two old veterans who can release outtake collections, afterthoughts and overlooked songs, that still sound better than what most anybody else does when they're concentrating:   Hypatia Research, LLC has released a report titled "Decision Science and Customer Analytics: Competitive Advantage or Necessary to Compete" which outlines "strategies, techniques, vendor products and services" used by companies, according to Hypatia officials.   Wal-Mart, American Express, Cocoa-Cola, Staples, Best Buy, Harrah's Entertainment, Proctor & Gamble, Toyota, Hilton International. AOL, IBM, and Oracle are among numerous blue-chip companies using business and consumer data today, report officials say. In fact it'd be hard to find a significantly successful company who doesn't use analytics, First Coffee thinks.   The report finds that information is "a currency used for competitive advantage since the earliest beginnings of barter negotiations and commercial commerce." In today's global economy, knowledge of consumer and business behavior, lifestyle and demographic information can be transformed through information analysis, the report finds, in a form known as "Decision Science, Marketing Science or Customer Analytics."   It is this insight that is used in decision-making to help companies that seek to enhance profitability or gain a competitive business advantage.   "In order to create an effective decision analytics eco-system, companies need to establish an operational foundation for customer data analysis and decision-support," says Leslie Ament, Managing Partner at Hypatia.    Ament said their research shows that organizations most often take one of these three approaches in capturing, analyzing and using customer information derived from multiple data sources -- to create an internal center of excellence, partner with providers of information services for flexible, on-demand expertise or a hybrid approach, using in-house expertise combined with outsourced information services.   Use of what she calls "decision science" will move from being a competitive advantage to a simple necessity in the next decade, Ament says: "We also expect product and service providers to partner in delivering greater capabilities and higher levels of customization to clients." ...   First Coffee's been living in New Zealand for two weeks now, north of Auckland a couple hours in Mangawhai, on the East coast, and man, the easiest job in New Zealand has to be weatherman.

CRM Survey from Knoa, Ovum's Telecom Scenarios, PlasMedia Mobile, CloudAPPy

October 13, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Belle & Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister. For Scottish mope music it's okay, and this'll probably date me faster than my birth certificate, but honestly now, what do they do that original Scottish mopester Donovan, not to mention The Kinks, hasn't already done better?   PlasMedia Mobile, a vendor of interactive mobile technology, has launched "Coupon Envy," which company officials say is a Web interface allowing businesses to create and manage mobile marketing campaigns.   The PlasMedians say that "After reading the August 2006 International Herald-Tribune report where it clearly stated that although 74 percent of Americans still use paper coupons, around 99 percent of the 200 billion coupons distributed annually in the US end up in the trash," Dean Tally CEO of PlasMedia Productions, the parent company of PlasMedia Mobile at the time, "embarked on a journey that would make paper coupons a thing of the past."   CouponEnvy allows businesses to send messages out to their whole customer base "in one shot," company officials say, "alerting interested patrons of upcoming special, VIP events or additional discounts." Since the message is received on a personal cell phone, businesses can offer "immediacy and relevancy to their customers."   "Mobile marketing is not just for the big guys anymore. Mobile couponing is a way for small and midsize business owners to reward their best customers. They can provide special offers, discounts, event invites, news, or anything else their customers might find valuable," says Talley.

Workscape 6.6, TargetX's SRM, Teleperformance and First Call, CompleteXRM and FranklinCovey, Splendid CRM

October 9, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Van Morrison's enduring masterwork, St. Dominic's Preview. You can have your Astral Weeks, Moondance and latter-day bursts of glory, your Wavelength or Hymns To the Silence or whatever: track for track and note for note this is his best work:   Workscape Inc., a vendor of SaaS-based outsourced benefits and talent management products, has unveiled the latest version of its Talent Management Suite. According to company officials Version 6.6 of the Workscape TMS has "tools and integrated talent data" for performance management, compensation, and succession planning.   The latest version of the Workscape Talent Management Suite includes an upgraded version of Workscape Performance Manager, company officials say, adding that the integrated capabilities of Workscape TMS 6.6 "enable companies to identify top performers and qualified successors and maintain business continuity in the competitive war for talent."   By sharing data -- such as employee flight risk and corresponding loss impact -- across Workscape's performance and compensation applications, Workscape's newest version helps organizations proactively prepare for -- and prevent -- talent gaps.   Tim Clifford, Workscape's CEO, said that with average tenure becoming shorter in most industries, "retaining and maximizing the value of the people you have now is becoming more and more important." The company's latest product suite, he added, includes "support for year-round performance-driven compensation and begins to extend succession planning beyond the C-suite."   With Workscape Performance Manager, goal setting, sharing and performance evaluations are automated and streamlined, according to the Workscapers, "driving goal alignment and enabling management to identify top performers and target high potential employees."   On a single integrated platform, TMS 6.6 brings together data and activities that have historically been separate in other products, company officials say, enabling access to information across business processes -- performance planning and evaluations, compensation planning, and succession planning. Users can reference data from one set of processes while performing activities for another -- "for example, referencing performance evaluation information while executing succession planning activities," company officials say. ...   As colleges feel increasing pressure to build relationships with prospective students, TargetX officials say, the company, a vendor of recruitment technology, has created a customer relationship management system providing "a one-stop online tool for managing the entire recruitment process."   TargetX officials say they have created a CRM for colleges that provides an expandable and reportable suite of recruitment management tools, called Student Recruitment Manager (SRM).   "We've combined a way to manage student information, a consumer-friendly student portal for applying online and scheduling campus visits, and the electronic communication tools for which we're known," said CEO Brian Wm. Niles.   The new system lets admissions offices manage and automate the recruitment process, from the first point of contact with a student to the point of enrollment.

CRM Survey from RightNow, Satuit CRM, Open Solutions Sales, Autologica's Best Practice Site, Vendini and the IPhone, CDC's Guidance

October 7, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first cup of coffee this morning, and the music is the underrated big band sounds of Jimmie Lunceford:   According to a new study from RightNow Technologies and Harris Interactive, the 2008 "Customer Experience Impact Report,"  customer service matters more than ever.   "A few years ago customers wanted good service, today they demand it," the study's authors say. "They are telling others about bad experiences more each year, and despite the economy, good service still tops product quality and low prices."      Among the study's findings are that 87 percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a company due to poor service -- up from 68 percent in 2006, and half of all customers will "always" or "often" pay more for a better customer experience, even in a down economy.   When recommending a company, the study found, customer service is more important (58 percent) than low prices (44 percent) and top quality products/services (43 percent).   And people are hearing about bad customer service: "Blogging about a negative customer experience is on the rise: 22 percent of consumers have posted negative feedback about a company, up from 13 percent last year."   This the third annual survey looked at "how more than 2,000 U.S. adults engage with companies, both online and via phone, what they find frustrating and how that affects them, and also what they would change about current customer service practices, including free-text responses," study officials said. ...   Fort Washington Investment Advisors, a money management and investment company, has adopted a hosted CRM product by Satuit Technologies designed specifically for investment advisors.   Prior to SatuitCRM, Fort Washington was using a CRM product that was designed for the manufacturing industry which required "significant customizations." Because it was difficult to use, firm officials say, they got "low adoption rates" and "incomplete customer information and data stored in disparate and disjointed repositories."   The firm wanted a CRM product that could provide enhanced reporting capabilities and synch with portfolio accounting and performance systems.   Firm officials say SatuitCRM will be used as the central repository for client reporting requirements and distribution lists, as well as the main source for institutional client billing information.   "Satuit is viewed as a mission critical system at Fort Washington," says Margaret C. Bell, managing director of business development for Fort Washington. "Being able to manage and access all of our data in an organized manner provides us with better decision-making tools, which allows us to be better marketers."   Bell said some of the systems they evaluated were "a blank canvas requiring extensive development, while others were designed generically for financial institutions, but would have required significant customization."   Fort Washington officials say they have been able to reduce client-centric mass mailings from two days to a couple of hours, replace numerous Excel spreadsheets stored throughout various departments, and eliminate manual reporting processes. ...   Open Solutions, a vendor of technologies for financial service providers, has announced that sales of the latest version of its relational core processing product, The Complete Banking Solution: DNA and The Complete Credit Union Solution: DNA, have increased 46 percent year-over-year (2007 to 2008) through the first two quarters of this year.   A total of 66 financial institutions are running the latest version of Open Solutions' popular core platform, company officials say, adding that 47 of which are "clients that have upgraded and 19 of which are new to the company's client roster... in addition, there are dozens of institutions that have selected TCBS: DNA/TCCUS: DNA and are preparing for implementation."   The growth is "a clear indication that the financial services industry was not only in need of this relational technology, but has also fully embraced it," said Louis Hernandez, Jr., chairman and CEO of Open Solutions.   The platform is a result of the collaborative approach used by Open Solutions during the product's design, company officials say, noting that in forums "both formal and informal," clients and non-clients provided "insight about their previous experiences with core products as well as input about the features they hoped to see in a new platform, and then they participated in usability tests to confirm that the final product met their needs."   "Customers have had a positive reaction to the new system," said Greg Spampinato, chief information officer for The Bank of Greene County (10 branches, $377-plus million in assets) headquartered in Catskill, N.Y.

CRM for IDOX, Neolane's Marketing Automation, SugarCRM Webcast, Agresso and Sabre, Webalo

October 6, 2008

By David Sims David at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Smiths' Louder Than Bombs:   Enterprise marketing software vendor Neolane has launched a marketing automation product described by company officials as "designed for cross-channel, not just multi-channel, marketing."   Called Cross-Channel Marketing Optimization, it gives marketers "the ability to create, manage and execute campaigns across both traditional and emerging channels such as mobile from one platform," company officials say.   The product "is built on the new Neolane v5 platform -- a single, Web-services based platform that centrally manages direct marketing campaigns, leads, resources, customer data and analytics," company officials say, the idea being to have campaigns "coordinated and consistent across channels, rather than just executed in silos."   Neolane also offers the option of adding Marketing Resource Management capabilities, providing one interface for marketers to handle planning, budgeting, physical and digital asset management, process automation and program measurement, in addition to cross-channel campaign management.   "Marketers are under increased pressure to be more accountable when it comes to defending, measuring and protecting marketing spend," says Stephan Dietrich, president, Neolane.    Traditionally, the Neolanians say, legacy marketing software "has not supported all marketing channels, or been able to provide one single, one code-based interface for campaign management, analytics and MRM. Therefore, over time, many marketing organizations have created a patchwork of technology -- a Frankenstein monster.  The Frankenstein lurches along clumsily until it becomes overwhelmed and collapses."   The Neolane v5 platform, however, was "created from the ground up" to allow companies to "design and orchestrate targeted, relevant, personalized and event-triggered campaigns." ...   Sabre Travel Network, a Sabre Holdings company, has announced the sixth anniversary of its relationship with Agresso, a vendor of e-business products. Together the firms developed Sabre Central Command, an integrated end-to-end business information system to help travel agencies, including consolidators, general agents and corporate travel agencies, "reconcile travel financial information, reduce cost per transaction and improve business performance."   Sabre Central Command provides financial applications that give travel management companies the ability to measure, understand, monitor and manage business. Available on-site or as an application service provider product, Sabre Central Command is adaptable to a variety of applications, from small to large implementations.   Chris Kroeger, senior vice president, Sabre Travel Network, North America, said his organization is "finding over and over again that agencies appreciate a back-office product that helps their businesses run smoothly while they attend to the needs of their customers."   Agresso sells business information and management systems for finance, project accounting, purchasing, human resources and payroll, plus Web, e-commerce and mobile capabilities. ...   On Wednesday, October 22, SugarCRM, a vendor of commercial open source customer relationship management software, will host an interactive Webinar panel discussion titled "From Pipeline Management to Total Customer Management," featuring SugarCRM customers Bright House Networks and Levementum, a professional services firm.   Attendees will hear about drivers for CRM evaluation and selection, how to adapt CRM to enhance existing business processes, how to use commercial open source SugarCRM as a platform, how to create a Total Customer Management product, why tracking customer data alone does not drive customer satisfaction and how to lower the cost of ownership, SugarCRM officials say.   It starts at 10:00 a.m. PDT, 1:00 p.m.

CRM Training for Infusionsoft, OneSource in Europe, StrongMail and Marketo, Griffin and ReachForce, Kintera Support, NetSuite

October 5, 2008

By David Sims david at firstcoffee d*t biz   The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Frank Sinatra's Songs For Swingin' Lovers album:   OneSource Business Information Services, in the business of aggregating and organizing content from world-class suppliers, has expanded its European coverage through relationships with Dun & Bradstreet, ICC Information, and Kompass.   These vendors will "add to the company profile, financial, and executive information already provided by OneSource," company officials say.   OneSource customers will get "over a 150 percent increase in European company coverage," the OneSourcerians say, adding that the new relationships "predominantly extend coverage" in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden.   "We are pleased to offer expanded European coverage through these new relationships," says Phil Garlick, President, OneSource, explaining that the new content will be incorporated into the OneSource flagship Global Business Browser offering as well as its other business information service subscriptions.   OneSource, an infoGROUP company, combines content from suppliers to sell business intelligence on millions of companies worldwide, delivered through the Web, CRM integrations, and information portals. ...   StrongMail Systems, a vendor of on-premise products for marketing and transactional e-mail, has been selected for e-mail delivery for Marketo, a B2B marketing firm, as the e-mail delivery platform for its marketing automation system, Marketo Lead Management.   Marketo's marketing automation software features e-mail marketing, lead nurturing, lead scoring, and closed-loop reporting capabilities. It's designed to "help marketing and sales teams work together to generate and qualify sales leads, shorten sales cycles and demonstrate marketing accountability," company officials say.   Prior to the launch of Marketo Lead Management in March 2008, the company wanted an e-mail delivery platform that would integrate with its marketing automation system and provide e-mail deliverability, management and reporting to its clients.   The Marketians decided that OEM-ing StrongMail's e-mail delivery technology would give it full ownership of this mission-critical component of its system, company officials say. Phil Fernandez, president and CEO of Marketo, said having StrongMail as part of their infrastructure "gives us ultimate control over e-mail delivery at a fixed cost that is much cheaper than outsourcing to an ESP."   Marketo integrated StrongMail with the Marketo Lead Management product to use StrongMail's "marketing and transactional e-mail features, including smart bounce processing, real-time reporting and e-mail deliverability services," Marketo officials say. ...   George Slater, a CRM and Internet marketer who offers CRM and Internet training, has set up an online training resource for Infusionsoft users.   For the majority of Infusionsoft users "good implementation and training is very often the difference between those users being considered hugely successful and many others where implementations just languish, never really show good return on investment and never realize their full potential," Slater says.

In an online interview recently he explained that to set up an initial CRM flow "you just have to do three things; attract highly targeted prospects who sign up, contact these prospects with targeted offers and have an online system to convert the orders."   That "sounds really simple," he concedes, adding "it isn't. You need to have an exact receipt to follow, otherwise you'll be floundering about for months.

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