Verizon Wireless, NetSuite, BlackBerry Support, Customer Connect and Microsoft, Clarizen

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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Verizon Wireless, NetSuite, BlackBerry Support, Customer Connect and Microsoft, Clarizen

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is one of the best non-jazz, non-muzak albums for a creative work environment - Traffic's live album "Welcome To The Canteen":

According to ex-TMCer Al Bredenberg's fine, interesting blog Quriosity, the Times-Reporter of New Philadelphia, Ohio has reported that "police searching for a potential suicide victim were thwarted by a Verizon Wireless operator who refused to turn on the customer's cell phone so the police could use a nearby cell tower to locate the victim."

The man was behind on his bill, Bredenberg explains, and the rep informed police that they would have to make a payment on the bill or the signal would not be connected.

"This kind of intransigence makes me think that Verizon Wireless has been unsuccessful at implementing a key practice in good customer relations: Empower your people to do the right thing for the customer," Bredenberg says. He's right, of course. Assuming the facts as reported in the article are correct, there's probably another good word for Verizon here, but as this is a family publication First Coffee can't use it.

According to the Times-Reporter article as Bredenberg recounts it, "Sheriff Dale Williams attempted to use the man's cell phone signal to locate him, but the man was behind on his phone bill and the Verizon operator refused to connect the signal unless the sheriff's department agreed to pay the overdue bill. After some disagreement, Williams agreed to pay $20 on the phone bill in order to find the man. Deputies discovered the man just as Williams was preparing to make arrangements for the payment."

"I was more concerned for the person's life," Williams told the newspaper. "It would have been nice if Verizon would have turned on his phone for five or 10 minutes, just long enough to try and find the guy. But they would only turn it on if we agreed to pay $20 of the unpaid bill. Ridiculous."

NetSuite has announced NetSuite Financials, a new edition of its on-demand accounting and enterprise resource planning software. Evidently it gives businesses access to NetSuite's financial and accounting functionality in a modularized format to save money.  
Here's a way to save even more cash: For a limited time, NetSuite Financials is available at a 30 percent discount from the list price for any company switching to NetSuite from Microsoft Great Plains or any Sage ERP product.

NetSuite officials say Financials is designed for companies looking to dump legacy, on-premise accounting systems and dip a toe in cloud computing. The product lets companies migrate financial and ERP processes right off the bat, allowing them to add customer relationship management (CRM), Ecommerce or deeper ERP functionality later, company officials say, as easily as "flipping a switch." They say.

Mini Peiris, Vice President of Product Marketing at NetSuite, said the suite approach they favor "eliminates the high costs and complexity associated with integrating applications from multiple vendors. Even in the cloud, integration complexity is an issue that customers will have to address if their core applications were not initially designed to work together."

The suite offers tools that allow a business to control all its financial data and processes, including: general ledger / accounts receivable / accounts payable, budget management and financial reporting. There's also an order management functionality, as well as a set of inventory management, manufacturing and procure-to-pay process management features. It also has SuiteAnalytics for business intelligence -- "no data warehouse or data analysts are needed, thanks to embedded role-based dashboards with pre-built key performance indicators, trend graphs, scorecards, graphical report snapshots and more."

Research In Motion has announced an enhanced BlackBerry Technical Support Services offering with new levels of support and support service options for small to medium sized businesses and large enterprise customers.

"We have developed a more comprehensive, flexible, scalable BlackBerry Technical Support Services program that can help small-to-mid-sized businesses and large enterprises keep pace with their evolving mobility needs," says Alan Panezic, vice president, platform product management at RIM, saying the new program includes "new levels of support" and a range of add-on services.
The product has three support levels, including Basic, Enhanced and Advantage Support for small-medium businesses; and Standard, Premium and Elite Support for enterprise customers. Programs are offered with access to support professionals for planning, management and preventative maintenance, as well as Web-based training, instructor-led Webinars, certification, online newsletter, and access to the BlackBerry Expert Support Center for informational resources, self-service tools, and account monitoring and management.

There's also direct access to advanced support with select service levels or purchased as add-on services, and preventative maintenance services including Health Check Services and Change Management Planning Services, as well as optional Performance and Load Testing Tools.

Customer Connect Associates has announced that its next "Success Accelerators" Webinar will show students how to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 and Microsoft SharePoint.  
Titled "Better Together: Microsoft CRM and SharePoint," the Webinar will be held June 18 at 10:15 a.m.

"We're going to show people how CRM and SharePoint deliver a flexible platform that can be used to significantly reduce costs involved in developing and maintaining custom applications," explains Customer Connect CEO Geoff Ables. "In addition, they will learn how SharePoint can combine with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to enhance employee, vendor, distributor, partner and supplier relationships."

Attendants must have Windows 2000 or later, or - for Mac users - Mac OS  X 10.4 (Tiger) or later to be compatible with the presentation.

Founded in 2000, Customer Connect Associates counts Travelocity, SAS, LandAmerica, Cardinal Health and Realty One among its clients.
Clarizen, a vendor of on-demand, online project management software, has announced Clarizen 3.0, its Software-as-a-Service collaboration and project execution offering.  
Company officials say Clarizen 3.0 is designed to help teams manage project details, "regardless of where each team member is located."  It has issue and expense management, and improved budget management and Gantt chart features.  
With data showing that SaaS usage doubled in 2008 and is rapidly becoming a mainstream business model in 2009, Clarizen officials say, they feel that this release's enhancements "continue to position it as a comprehensive collaboration tool."
The product's features include separate capacity for customers to manage business issues with clients, partners and employees by using technical support to automate the lifecycle of a clearly defined issue, and expense reports through time tracking, letting users view hours and associated costs to improve the process of economically reallocating resources, costs and time.

Pricing begins at $29.95 a month.

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