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. It's a template-based Web site builder, easy to use and it doesn't require any knowledge of programming or designing. You just pick what you like from the hundreds of available templates, and we will do the rest for you."
The Reason4web also includes a CRM product designed to help a company "to empower, streamline and organize its business. The CRM component offered by Reason4Web enables managing of contacts and accounts with ease; detailed, categorized inventory of all the products and services offered; a chance to have full automation of the sales force and marketing; and much, much more."
Helpstream, described by company officials as a social customer service and relationship management system, has announced the general availability of the Helpstream Fall 2008 release, containing features designed to help companies "stop deflecting and start engaging their customers like never before."
By "further extending the power of Web-based customer service communities," company officials say, and making them "easier to deploy and use," Helpstream is pitching the product as helping companies "deliver intelligent and timely issue resolution."
There's "a growing awareness of the power of turning customers into problem solvers by extending customer service to the Web via integrated communities," says Anthony Nemelka, CEO of Helpstream, adding that this approach is driving "faster and better issue resolution, improved repeat business and lower service costs."
The product intends to help companies improve service effectiveness via "community-based self service, Web-enabled service desk, and collaborative on-line help," officials say: "With Helpstream companies can focus community building efforts on the needs of customers to drive active member participation."
The Fall 2008 release features idea sharing, described by company officials as "a type of crowdsourcing that enables organizations to identify the needs of their customer base." An idea can be "as simple as a one-line suggestion or can contain rich media such as formatted HTML, multi-media attachments and links to Web-based content."
Evidently the idea is that community members can vote on ideas and, based on permissions, can "see how submissions are ranked by the community."
Additional features of the release include content and reputation scoring, where voting is enabled on any product article and contributes to end user collaboration and expertise reputation scores visible to all members of the community.
It also has Salesforce.com and Google Single Sign On, where those users can log into Helpstream with their existing credentials.
The Helpstream Fall 2008 release is immediately available at http://www.helpstream.com. Standard Services are available free, premium features are offered in Professional, Corporate and Enterprise Editions, with the Corporate Edition with five agents starting at around $8,000 a year.
Sage CRM Solutions, part of the Sage Group plc, has announced the new Sage SalesLogix v7.5 CRM suite in South Africa. Johann Engelbrecht, Product Manager, SalesLogix, Softline Enterprise, says that this upgraded version delivers "a comprehensive connected and disconnected Web-user experience, as well as integration with Web 2.0 technologies."
The product uses "modern Internet capabilities to give users the richest and most interactive CRM experience possible from a wide range of client devices," he says, adding that "for example, SalesLogix can mash up contextual information from the Web to provide users with a more complete picture of their customers."
The senior vice-president and general manager of Sage CRM Solutions: North America, David van Toor, cited the "anywhere workforce" commitments of the Sage CRM Solutions 2010 product strategy and vision, first announced in March this year.
"We collected an enormous amount of product feedback this year, and the most important theme which emerged was that users want to be able to work anywhere on a variety of devices," he said, adding that SalesLogix 7.5 is focused on "these advanced Web interface capabilities that we believe users and competing CRM providers alike will find impressive."
The product's features include Web CRM allowing users to access SalesLogix anywhere via a Web browser. The Web client works with an Internet connection or while disconnected. In addition to sales force automation and marketing campaigns, customer support capabilities for assets, contracts, returns, and defects are now available through the Web client.
The Web client allows the creation and viewing of targeted lists. "New group tabs, data filters, and the ability to select multiple records at once simplify data access, sorting and organisation," company officials say.
A Web wizard is included to simplify lead import, allows de-duplication upon import and enable rule-based lead routing: Users can "log interactions and activities with leads before converting them to contacts, and perform actions en masse such as adding notes to groups of contacts," company officials say.
Dell has announced the availability of the Red Hat Application Appliance, described by Dell officials as its "first entry-level open source middleware appliance for enterprises and small to medium-sized businesses in EMEA.
Jointly developed and supported by open source vendor Red Hat, the product uses AMD Opteron architecture. The certified and integrated open-source platform is only available from Dell and is billed as being able to "simplify IT operations for its business customers by reducing the cost, time and complexity of deploying Web and Service-Oriented Architecture applications."
With certification and support provided by Red Hat, Dell officials say, it "removes the need for IT services intervention upon delivery."
According to Dell officials, the Red Hat Application Appliance consists of the AMD-based Dell PowerEdge 2970 server and the Red Hat Application Stack: "Smaller organizations that are starting out with middleware and want to host in-house or commercially developed applications based on Java and Web 2.0, including CRM products, HR applications and intranets, will particularly benefit from the simplified architecture offered by this entry-level product."
Red Hat will provide simple management and updates through its systems management, Red Hat Network, and offer the ability to upgrade to 24x7 mission-critical support.
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