Microsoft CRM Help, Kallos and K-Serve, QScend's MuniCRM, Sage MAS 90, RightNow

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

Microsoft CRM Help, Kallos and K-Serve, QScend's MuniCRM, Sage MAS 90, RightNow

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is one of those rare all-star tribute albums that actually works, Folkways: A Vision Shared. It's the songs of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly as done by such acolytes as Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, U2, Little Richard, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp and Arlo Guthrie.  It's the best lineup I've ever seen for a tribute album to anyone, and it's a natural fit, as the artists obviously know the music well and respect it, probably because they cut their own musical teeth on it:

From the high tech hub of Lenexa, Kansas comes the news that CRM Innovation has released InLine Help, described as an add-in product for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. Evidently it lets users create a customizable Tool Tip message for CRM users when they're entering information into CRM 4.0 form fields.

When you're filling out CRM forms it lets you create a of custom tooltip message displayed on mouseovers of labels or controls. The tooltip messages are created from within a CRM entity -- Tool Tips -- and are viewable by users who are members of the CRM team associated with a tool tip.

Tool tips can be of a simple text format or be stylized using HTML code applied to the text. Stylized tool tips can even have hyperlinks to external files or sites. But not just anybody gets to do this, oh no. Tool Tip creators are CRM users granted rights to create and save tool tip entity records. And relax, technodolts -- the company promises that "no programming is required to create tool tips. All tool tip management occurs within the CRM interface."

This product can be used by development teams to self-document the customizations they are implementing. It's also useful for initial user training, and can provide remedial assistance and support new users that come on to the system after the initial CRM roll out.

Once a user no longer needs a tool tip they can be removed and won't be visible any longer. It is even possible to have more than one tool tip message per form attribute -- in other words, you can create an instructional message for different groups of people using the form, such as one for sales and the other for marketing.

The product works when online, offline or in IFD mode, and it works with ISV.


Kallos Solutions officials say the company has released the next version of 'K-Serve' Enterprise Software products in the areas of CRM, HR, ERP, Planning and Retail Outlets. All the products are described as "Web ready and available on a hosted or on-premise model."

The primary focus of these products, according to the Kallosians, is towards the "next 10,000" enterprise software buyers in India. What's that? Good question, First Coffee didn't know either. Evidently Next 10,000 Customers in India are typically smaller companies who cannot afford costly products, yet, according to Kallos officials, "do not want to compromise on functionality and also obtain functionality relevant to their industry and business." Sounds reasonable enough.

Kallos believes that there's a silver lining for their business in the current world economic climate, as officials contend that a slowdown is good for K-Serve, since "organizations are able to see the importance of gearing up their internal productivity for the next growth stage," and "customers can buy the products in a modular manner depending on their budgets and priorities." For example, they say, a company can buy a basic HR and payroll product and expand to any of the eight products available in the category of Human Capital Management, as future needs may dictate.

In this particular release, however, company officials say the focus was to render the ERP and HR products more "world class." Combined with the HR and CRM product, K-Serve is being marketed as a platform for service organizations like BPO's, KPO's, telecom, IT services, retail, and professional consulting services. It comes with an extension building kit for adapting the technology to individual situations as well.

Kallos Solutions has been around since 2003. Company officials say its products are used in over sixty "customer locations," including America, Britain, France and Australia as well as India.


QScend Technologies has introduced several new features to its QAlert Municipal CRM software, designed for citizen service request management and 311 call center products.

Web-based QAlert now includes such features as a full-blown knowledge base, customizable reporting and charting, and a citizen self-service center.

QScend President Keith LeBeau said the product can be implemented as a full 311 call center product or "in a decentralized environment, in which several departments may be entering non-emergency citizen issues."

"Governments can choose to use QAlert in its simplest form, grow their citizen service initiative step by step," or launch QAlert with all the bells and whistles ringing and whistling from Day One, added LeBeau.

In this latest release the company's knowledge base lets call center personnel access a variety of articles related to service request types. Responders and decentralized call takers also have this information available. There's also functionality for a citizen self-service center, allowing municipalities to let citizens search through questions and answers and articles before they submit a service request online. Organizations can implement this feature just as an FAQ area as well, and turn on the citizen account feature to allow account holders to review the progress on their existing service requests, as well as provide updates to those issues.

The customizable reporting feature is designed to let department heads, managers, and administrators create whatever type of report or chart they want. Every report can be scheduled for e-mail delivery in a variety of file formats, or e-mailed by users to users and non-users alike. Reports and charts can by created from scratch or by editing the existing system reports.

With QAlert, citizen service requests or complaints are entered by city staff or citizens themselves. Each entry is automatically assigned a ticket number and routed via e-mail to the department responsible for handling the request. Citizens can be notified each time an action is taken, or just when the service request has been addressed and is closed. The QScendians say it can be implemented on any Internet site, "regardless of the content management system of software in use."


Sage North America has announced the general availability of Sage MAS 90 and 200 Extended Enterprise Suite version 1.2, their business management suite designed for SMBs.

This latest release expands the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and fixed asset management capabilities on offer, according to the Sagians.

Company officials say the product has what they describe as "a unique combination of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), CRM, fixed asset management and business intelligence functionality," including the embedded business intelligence applications Business Insights Explorer and Business Insights Dashboard.

The product is pitched as having "a number of CRM enhancements to help sales and marketing efforts," such as letting users create and graphically view multiple sales relationships between primary entities, such as a holding company and its subsidiaries, or "many-to-many" relationships where multiple sales representatives sell into various divisions of the same company: "For marketing, professional mass e-mail campaigns can be enhanced with advanced editing and also benefit from a new, multi-language spell checker."

There's also a branding toolkit included, which lets users modify the look and feel of CRM screens, including adding logos to match a company's corporate identity. It has updates to the latest tax rules, rates and IRS forms so that users can comply with the tax law changes that may impact current or upcoming tax years.

RightNow Technologies has released the latest version of its on demand customer relationship management (CRM) product, RightNow February '09, which includes new product registration capabilities.

It's the RightNowians' belief that since the Internet has created massive changes in the way consumers buy, whether it's an outdoor grill or a digital camera, consumers are now going directly to manufacturers for service and support. "A decade ago," company offcials say, "manufacturers had little interaction with the end consumer, instead relying on experts at a local store who could tell consumers everything they needed to know about any product on the shelf. Now customers have a direct line to the name on the label, and they expect the manufacturer to be ready to provide information whenever they want it."

In the past, "customers would go back to their local camera store to learn how to use their camera," explains David Dentry, general manager of technical support at Nikon. "Now most of the larger retailers don't do that, so consumers come to us directly and we need to be prepared to help them."

This is the dynamic that RightNow seeks to address with beefing up the product registration capabilities in their latest product: Manufacturers, "faced with the new role of providing customer service and support," are looking for ways to understand and engage with their customers.

"Product registration information is the first step in understanding our customers," said Maryellen Abreu, director of iRobot's global technical support, "and knowing our customers, specifically what products they have purchased, is important to customer retention. We can build more robots, but we can't manufacture more customers."

With the product registration capabilities in February '09, companies can gather feedback to fuel future product development as well as proactively communicate relevant sales offers such as warranties, accessories, and upgrade offers based on the products customers currently own.

The idea is to make it easier for customers to find the information they are looking for based on the products they've registered, and create service requests with a single click that will pre-populate the incident with product information as well. The product can also let consumers view a consolidated list of all products registered.

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