Amdocs and SmartTrust, Risky Searching, and Perks, RedHorse CRM 2.0, Sonoma and Microsoft

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

Amdocs and SmartTrust, Risky Searching, and Perks, RedHorse CRM 2.0, Sonoma and Microsoft

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Uncle Tupelo's No Depression. One of those albums that kick-started a musical trendette, the so-called "No Depression" school, combining alt-country and rock in some supposedly great new way, as far as I can understand.
It's an OK album if you're into country artists slipping into The Byrds' studio after hours and playing with the instruments - "Lookit me, I'm Gene Clark!" - but hardly the earth-shattering landmark it's sometimes made out to be. Besides, if you want this kind of stuff Buck Owens and Creedence Clearwater Revival both did it better earlier:

Come to a company with a better way to comply with SLAs and you'll find a new customer. Amdocs, a vendor of what they call customer experience systems, has announced that SmartTrust, a Swedish vendor of SIM and device management software for mobile operators, has upgraded its service assurance solution to Amdocs CES - CRM 7.5 software.

Ana Marquez, Technical Support Manager at SmartTrust, said Amdocs "identified how we could enhance the existing system to better support our business needs, such as ensuring cases are managed and resolved in compliance with customer service level agreements, as well as improving agent efficiency by centralizing information management."

The Amdocs service assurance product lets SmartTrust offer support "regardless of the communication channel -- e-mail, phone or Web -- and geographical location," company officials say: "With integrated business processes and improved workflow management, SmartTrust can now respond more efficiently to SLA issues."

Amdocs reported revenue of $3.16 billion in fiscal 2008, and counts over 17,000 employees.

"Some of the riskiest searches on the Internet today are associated either with finding items for free, such as music or screen savers, or looking for work that can be done from home," according to officials of Internet security company McAfee.  

Search categories like these "are used to lure unsuspecting consumers to their Web sites," company officials say, adding that hackers and cybercriminals "are often able to persuade searchers to download files carrying malicious software that can cause consumers to expose their personal and financial data."

McAfee's report, "The Web's Most Dangerous Search Terms," describes how cybercriminals seek the largest pool of possible victims with popular search terms about current events, gadgets and celebrities. During the recession, according to the report, there has been a growing number of malicious search results targeting people who want to save money or "earn extra income working at home."

Calling cybercrooks "smart," Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Product Development & Avert Labs, said hackers create related Web sites "laden with adware and malware whenever a particular topic increases in popularity." One can only guess, of course, at the total tonnage of Barack Obama-themed sites. Unsuspecting consumers "are then tricked into downloading malicious software that leads them to blindly hand over their personal assets to cybercriminals," Green explains.  

McAfee's research found the riskiest set of keyword variations was "screen savers," with a maximum risk of 59.1 percent -- meaning nearly six out of the top 10 search results for "screen savers" contain malware.  

One of the single riskiest search terms in the world is "lyrics," with a maximum risk factor of one in two. Surprisingly, the report found that searches using the word Viagra, a popular keyword that is also common in spam e-mail messages, yielded the fewest risky sites. Searches with the safest risk profile included health-related terms and searches about the current economic crisis.

Oh, and clicking on results that contain the word "free" have a 21.3 percent chance of infection from spyware, spam, phishing, adware, viruses and other malware, while "work from home" searches can be as much as four times riskier than the average risk for all popular terms.

So maybe you don't want to click that "Work from home posting free lyrics screen savers!" link after all
... gift card reseller has announced the introduction of PerksXpress, which company officials describe as "a real-time electronic gift card distribution application," featuring Gift Cards available for customers of's CRM application.

It lets Salesforce CRM users purchase Gift Cards directly from PerksXpress for people on their user group list. "The gift cards are created individually in virtually any denomination and the claim code is instantly issued through branded e-mails with customized messages," Perks officials say, adding that in their opinion, "the service offers a quick and secure way to deliver gift cards to targeted recipients, allowing the recipient to start shopping immediately on"

After accessing the free application users are able to enter a payment method to purchase the gift cards, create a customized e-mail campaign, upload single or multiple e-mail addresses, select the Gift Cards amount and presto! Begin sending Gift Cards in customized branded e-mails. Be sure to include david at firstcoffee dot biz.

"This is great for companies who seek simple, immediate ways to recognize and reward customer loyalty, employee initiative and sales force performance," says Steve Timmerman, vice president of business development with, adding that driving enhanced adoption of Salesforce CRM is one side benefit of this service "as users find new productive ways to use their contact lists."

Marcell King, senior manager of corporate gift cards with ACI Gift Cards, said the company "designed Amazon Gift Codes On Demand specifically with services like PerksXpress in mind."

From their Southern California development offices RedHorse Systems have announced the release of Version 2.0 of their CRM offering.  

"Following the initial release of the product in December 2008," according to founder and Chief Development Officer Connie Koch, the company believes that this is "a critical release," as all of the Standard Business Modules are now integrated in the standard CRM product.

RedHorse officials feel there's genuine opportunity in the SMB CRM space, as "many of the traditional players have abandoned the 5-50 user market." Accordingly, they're marketing a CRM product in the $595 per user category, including "enterprise-class CRM functionality bundled with Business Modules for Quoting, Marketing Campaign Management, Service Ticket Tracking, Billing, Project Management and of course Outlook and QuickBooks Integration."

VP of Sales & Marketing, Chris Staller says that Koch has spent the last 15 years developing software for the CRM market, and it was her objective to provide "a cost-effective, yet complete package that a company could use for all aspects of their business. And with the 2.0 release RedHorse CRM has achieved this goal."  

There's a school of thought cited by RedHorse officials saying that in this economy, small businesses looking to retool and reinvent will come out on top. The company seem to be marketing to this mindset, judging from comments from company officials, and overall this reporter thinks that's a pretty good bet.

Their CRM 2.0 includes such features as the ability to create custom toolbars to provide access to functions inside and out of CRM, quoting and Service Ticket Templates that are user configurable for their business needs, an integrated knowledge base and Outlook and QuickBooks integration.

Sonoma Partners, a vendor of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, has announced a partnership with BigMachines to provide on-demand product configuration and proposal generation for users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

BigMachines offers a platform of Web-based software and services. They see the integration to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, a cross-functional customer relationship management application providing sales, marketing, and customer support modules, as allowing customers to "sell more and sell faster," as if such results would be attractive in this day and age.

"We have worked with to extend functionality of the CRM platform and provide additional value," says Mike Snyder, Founder and Managing Partner of Sonoma Partners, adding that extending the application to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform "creates new growth opportunities for both BigMachines and Sonoma Partners. The BigMachines software integrates with Microsoft Dynamics CRM."

Chicago-based Sonoma Partners sells, customizes and implements Microsoft Dynamics CRM for enterprise and mid-size companies throughout the United States. Founded in 2001, it has worked exclusively with the product since the Beta release of version 1.0. In addition, Sonoma Partners has written multiple books about Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Microsoft Press.

BigMachines sells on-demand sales configuration, quoting and proposal software.

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