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. "Recruiters find that ZoomInfo excels at identifying high-performing candidates who aren't actively in the job market," said Chip Terry, VP and GM, Enterprise Solutions.
Jennifer Tortorella, Director of Direct Placement Services Division at FootBridge Co., said systems like PCRecruiter, AIRS and Bullhorn are "as critical to recruiters as Excel is to accountants." Or word processing programs to CRM writers, of course.
ZoomInfo has integrated with Salesforce.com, AIRS and other programs. The company's semantic search engine gathers publicly-available information from the Business Web -- i.e. millions of company Web sites, news feeds and other online sources -- and compiles it into profiles. ZoomInfo claims profiles on more than 45 million people and 5 million companies, and that its search engine adds over 20,000 new profiles monthly.
Neocase Software, a vendor of customer service products for shared service centers and customer support operations, has completed the implementation of its customer service product, Neocase CS, at International Decision Systems to "improve the productivity of its customer service operations as well as increase customer satisfaction and retention."
IDS sells asset finance origination and portfolio management software. Company officials say it had to become more independent of its inflexible legacy system used in their customer support operations department.
Doug Schick, Director of Global Support at IDS, said the Neocase product "enables our support representatives to deliver on issues, and increase our customer retention."
Implemented in a Software-as-a-Service model, Neocase replaced IDS's legacy system and migrated to the new platform. At the same time, they replaced the self-service portal for its customers, and installed a case management system for its customer support team.
Neocase products include Neocase HR for Human Capital Resource Management, Neocase CS for Customer Service, Neocase CRM for Customer Relationship Management and Neocase FR for Financial Resolution. All products can be deployed on-premise or in a SaaS model.
Marty Latz, a negotiator, author, columnist, law professor and trainer, has announced the launch of ExpertNegotiator, which he describes as a software product "to empower front-line negotiation teams with strategies and best practices from negotiators."
The product is billed as an extension in employees' negotiation training and other technology products such as CRM systems "by ensuring the most effective negotiation skills are applied in every deal, every step of the way."
"Effective negotiation has the greatest impact on a company's bottom-line success, yet many still rely on ineffective, off-the-cuff techniques that waste time and money," says Latz, Founder and CEO of ExpertNegotiator.
Saying "companies cannot live by CRM alone," Latz says CRM systems such as Salesforce.com, Oracle (Siebel) and SalesLogix provide prospecting management and reporting systems but "don't include the tools to strategically or effectively manage the crucial negotiation process."
ExpertNegotiator is described by Latz as "picking up where CRM systems drop off users," giving them tools that apply negotiation strategies "in every step of the negotiation process." He claims the product also "provides managers with the ability to assess financial expectations via reporting features and an online window."
The product lets users plan in as little as 10 minutes, using pre-built templates, or create their own customized plans specific to their needs. It has an approach to negotiation which includes gaining information, maximizing use, using fair criteria, choosing the most effective offer or concession, and controlling the agenda.
It lets users capture, organize and store intelligence about their counterparts' reputations, styles and strategies, as well as access professional negotiation guidance and research to avoid common mistakes and build confidence. There's also a Negotiation Best Practices Management System, allowing users to "manage and improve negotiation success rates and benefit from built-in reporting with automatic notification," Latz says.
Model Metrics, a Software-as-a-Service consulting firm and longtime Salesforce.com consulting partner, has achieved authorized training center partner status with salesforce.com and will open five new education and training centers across the Midwest.
Starting October 20, Model Metrics became only the third Salesforce.com partner in North America to be granted ATC partner status. Company officials say the firm will open Salesforce.com training centers in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Minneapolis.
Each center offers a curriculum built and approved by Salesforce.com with courses for administrators and partners. All five centers offer exam preparation courses to earn the Salesforce.com Certified Administrator credential.
Eric Kelleher, vice president, worldwide training & certification, Salesforce.com, said Model Metrics has been a partner of salesforce.com since 2003.
Model Metrics training is led by Shannon Cunningham, who has led more than 100 training programs on the use of Salesforce CRM. To review the calendar of class offerings and register for training at one of the Model Metrics Midwest training centers visit www.sfdctraining.com
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