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David Sims
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January 2009

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First Trace's Kinnosa, Microsoft CRM and Intermedia, 2009's Online Marketing, Netbook (Dis)satisfaction?

January 21, 2009

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Charlie Parker's eponymous album. Look it up:   Now this is serious: A benchmark analysis of consumer reviews of netbook laptops collected from consumer electronics review Web sites has been released by Biz360, a vendor of market and media intelligence products.   Seeing as how First Coffee swears by his netbook, could I be... wrong?   One of the consumer research study's findings indicates that consumer advocacy for the Netbooks category "lags behind consumer advocacy for all laptops."   Evidently Biz360 analyzed over 20,000 online opinions, culled from review consumer electronics sites such as Amazon, Best Buy, CNET, Newegg, PC World, Circuit City and CompUSA for the period May 15, 2008 through November 15, 2008. The company's Opinion Insights social media measurement product was used to analyze the online comments.   "While performance is the #1 attribute driving laptop advocacy, the performance Net Advocacy for the Netbooks product category is predominantly negative," the study found.

EDL and Citrix, SMB CRM From AIO, Leo and Sage, Rangam and Microsoft, Teleperformance in France

January 20, 2009

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the soundtrack to the movie version of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's Broadway musical Showboat. When the show appeared on stage in 1927 it was the first time white and black performers had appeared together on stage as equals, singing with each other.   It's regarded by many as the most important musical in the history of American theater. For my money it's got the best song in Broadway's repertoire, "Ol' Man River," and I'll take William Warfield's version on this the 1951 soundtrack. Yes Paul Robeson Jr. has the better voice and owns the song; Warfield's is the better arrangement:   EDL Consulting, an integrator working with CRM and other products, has announced the launch of integrated customer care for Citrix Online, a division of Citrix Systems.   Citrix Online now has the ability to consolidate all of their customer interactions within Salesforce.com and manage the activities required to provide a quality customer experience.   The objective of the initiative, company officials say, is to streamline the support process for Citrix Online's eCommerce customers through case management using Salesforce.com's Customer Service app, automated call distribution via Interactive Intelligence, customer satisfaction surveying using Vanguard Vista and enterprise integration using Oracle's Fusion product back to Citrix Online service delivery platforms.
Tim Maskrey, Sr. Manager Service Operations, Citrix Online Division, said the project went to a go live in ten weeks.   The infrastructure put in place allows agents to recognize customers requesting support and is intended to provide visibility into support and operational data agents use on customer issues.

KinetiCast, Lloyd James Group, Infusionsoft Guarantee, OpenAir's PSA, Sage's Business Partner Status

January 19, 2009

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is the debut album from It's A Beautiful Day, a band out of the San Fran psychedelic scene who released one stone-cold classic album, the cleverly-titled debut It's A Beautiful Day in 1969, then self-immolated. Imagine an acid rock band fronted by a former symphony violinist, David LaFlamme, with a strong complementary female vocalist and you have a pretty good idea of the band. They re-emerged, of sorts, with a fine live album, Live In Seattle in 2003, but seem to have sunk back into oblivion, having said their piece on their first album, really:

Coxsackie, New York-based - and how often does one do business with a firm based in Coxsackie, New York? - KinetiCast, which sells SaaS multimedia presentation software for sales and marketing, has announced that Affiniscape Merchant Solutions, a credit card processing company, has chosen KinetiCast's multimedia presentation software to "enhance its marketing efforts to lawyers and law firms around the country," according to the KinetiCastians.

Boomi and Ingres, DynamicExchange Wiki, DataForceCRM Guarantee, Convergys and Vivo, Xactly Results

January 19, 2009

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Dexter Gordon's Dexter Calling, more of his sweet jazz sax sound from the string of great albums he did in the early 1960s: 

FYI: The DynamicsExchange CRM AnswerCenter Wiki is here.

It's described by its developers as "filling a gap in bringing Web 2.0 and Social Web technologies to the time consuming trouble-shooting aspects of implementations and eases the ongoing education of users, and administrators."

Pause for breath.

Like a normal wiki anyone can use or contribute new posts or edit posts. The Wiki has a posting approval process to keep out objectionable unrelated content or inappropriate self-promotion.

Q&A With Joel Bomgar, Bomgar Corp. CEO & Founder

January 19, 2009

DS: When you were an IT rep, you say, you were "amazed" at the time you spent traveling and on the phone. Tell us when you realized there was a better way.

JB: When I looked at the price of GoToAssist and WebEx Support Center and saw that both have high monthly fees. I evaluated their respective features, and it became clear that in order to find the product I wanted to use, I would have to build it.  I also really wanted to own the technology, not rent it, which is what you had to do with all the solutions offered in this space.

Composite Software, Melissa and Clairvoyix, Treehouse's 2008, Bridgeline, TDWI

January 19, 2009

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a fine old Eric Clapton rocker, "Tulsa Time." It's hard for me to call Clapton the greatest rock guitarist ever, as many would like to do. Jeff Beck was more brilliant, Jimmy Page harder, Steve Howe more technically accomplished, Jimi Hendrix more inventive, Eddie Van Halen flashier and the best guitar attack in all rock is the Keith Richards-Ronnie Wood two-headed monster for the Stones. Clapton? Probably the best mix of all the above in one package:

Chordiant and BSkyB, Genesys Survey, CRM for CAM, Lasso for the Waldorf, Dominion's Dealer

January 19, 2009

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Elton John's live album Here and There. Maybe you haven't listened to this album in a while. Maybe you don't own this album. Maybe you've never heard this album.

SageCRM v6.2, Wheaton College and WebGUI, Alterian and Jaguar, Accenture Report

January 15, 2009

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Scottish mopesters Belle & Sebastian's album "Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant," because if there's anything sure to make your own day seem better it's listening to overpaid, over-privileged, underworked people whinge and moan about how dreary, boring and difficult their utterly pointless lives are. Especially when it comes with a snappy pop-rock sound cut in whole cloth from The Kinks' 1967-1969 golden years of Something Else and Village Green Preservation Society:   Sage North America has announced SageCRM v6.2, a CRM system aimed primarily at small and medium-sized businesses. According to the Sagians, version 6.2 includes new pre-configured and customizable screen themes, an editor capable of handling multilingual e-mail campaigns and "an enhanced graphical view."   The product is available today as a standalone CRM system, and as part of the Sage Accpac Extended Enterprise Suite. It will be available in the Sage MAS 90 and 200 Enterprise Suite later this month.   David van Toor, senior vice president and general manager, Sage CRM Solutions North America, said the product lets organizations "outfit their CRM systems and access financial and operations data through ERP integration."   The new version has a branding toolkit to change the look and feel of SageCRM screens using provided themes, or administrators can customize or create whatever themes strike their fancy.

Microsoft CRM and PowerObjects, Merkle and The Limited, Spanair and NeoMedia, Blackbaud, Infinite and Roundstone

January 15, 2009

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the soundtrack for what promises to be a long, hard, slogging blue-collar working day, Creedence Clearwater Revivial's "Cosmo's Factory." CCR picked up their lunch pails and hammers to pound out as honest and hard a working day with their no-frills, stripped-down rock sound as reliably as a steelworker building a bridge, and that's what kind of day it's going to be here at the sprawling campus of First Coffee, so that's the kind of music we need - call it hard hat rock:   Mobile check-in has landed in airports across Spain following the introduction of a paperless ticketing service by Spanish carrier Spanair Airlines. Paper boarding passes, kiss 'em goodbye - company officials say they can be replaced by an electronic 2D barcode received via MMS and stored by the passenger's mobile phone.   The system is enabled by NeoMedia Technologies, which has to date installed its EXIO scanners in eleven Spanish airports. The scanners read the 2D codes on the phones at the airport terminal check-in desks and security points.   Based on returns from the service so far, Spanair thinks that 800,000 2D barcode mobile tickets will be issued in 2009. If so, that would account for ten per cent of its total ticketing transactions.   Spanair is kind of the canary in the coal mine for this sort of thing in Spain.

InQuira and IGT, Bridgeline and the NFL, SugarCRM, Parature and Webs.com, CallFire Survey, the Walkman

January 9, 2009

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, which falls in that category of music that's good for background while at work but isn't elevator music. In fact, if you can cue it up in the office at the right time, you can build your work force's emotional intensity until by the time the seventh movement, Doppio Movimento and its lovely Shaker hymn melody rolls around, they're flying at their peak of productivity: InQuira has announced that International Game Technology, a company selling computerized gaming machines and systems products, has selected InQuira to help improve their customer service. IGT will use InQuira's Knowledge Management software platform and customer service application to try to get "faster, more effective support products" for IGT's Web self-service customers and call center agents, according to IGT officials. InQuira's Knowledge Management platform includes support for support-oriented content through a workflow and publishing cycle, as well as intelligent search technology that "discerns user intents and applies approaches for matching searches to available content," according to the InQuirians, adding that the search module "analyzes all search words for relevance, not just the keywords." The platform is expected by IGT officials to provide a knowledge base for Web self-service and agent-assisted support that lets customers do more in the way of self-serve and have less occasion to call center agents. IGT sells stand-alone and networked gaming systems for casino operators. Their products include its MegaJackpots wide-area networks of games, linking casinos together for larger jackpots, including Megabucks, Wheels of Fortune and other multi-site casino games. ...   CRM vendor Parature says that Webs.com has selected Parature Customer Service software to manage their customer service and support. Webs.com is a social publishing platform that lets users build Web sites for an active community. James Watson, Director of Customer Relations for Webs.com, says they wanted a new customer support system to correct an "inadequate process to provide customer support." As a Web-based company, according to the Paraturians, they wanted customer service software that was also Web-based, as pretty much anybody with an IQ over room temperature these days does. One thing Webs.com wanted was the ability to make service or product announcements, or even answer a commonly asked question without accessing another application or requiring the assistance of another department, on a Web interface that looked like their presence, not a third-party fulfillment vendor. Watson noted that Webs.com grew from fourteen products in 2005 to over fifty in 2008.

NFinanSe's Reloadable Card, Bella's Field Service, New Infusionsoft Line, Arada and Atheros, Convergys

January 9, 2009

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Boomtown Rats' album The Fine Art of Surfacing, an album which really doesn't suck all that much worse than anything else released in 1979, not the finest year in music history, Rust Never Sleeps aside:   Okay, this isn't straight CRM news but it's First Coffee's philosophy, open to verification, that those involved in CRM, the vast majority anyway, are actual human beings who have other components to their lives, such as home, family and forwarding e-mail jokes.   To that end, in First Coffee's never-ending efforts to provide added value, we're reporting on nFinanSe reloadable prepaid debit card. Features include the ability to be immediately used, text messaging notification of transactions and balances and free customer service.   It's billed - get it? - by the nFinanSeians as "a lower cost electronic payment option for the 73 million unbanked and underbanked consumers in the country." In other words, folks who, for whatever reason, find standard credit cards aren't for them.   Now it isn't your maxed-out credit card we're thinking of here, but your teenage daughter's. She lives day-to-day on a cash basis with no banking relationship anyway, maybe she'd be better off with a reloadable card.   "Banks are now slashing the number of new credit cards, reducing credit limits, decreasing services and limiting options," says Jerry R. Welch, Chairman and CEO of nFinanSe, adding that you can find and reload the card in Dollar General locations and Winn-Dixie grocery stores.
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