The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Texas singer-songwriter Adam Carroll's drolly acerbic music, nicely understated for maximum impact:
Beazer Homes USA, an Atlanta-based national home builder, has adopted Salesforce
CRM to "enhance sales and customer care processes," according to consulting firm Bluewolf.
Stop us if you've heard this one before: Beazer had a cumbersome CRM product with limited capabilities, and as a result - all together now - the sales reps ignored it.
Hit hard by the housing downturn of the past several years, Beazer officials say they see the company "in the midst of a makeover that will enable it to take advantage of the slowly recovering housing market." Part of that makeover, evidently, is looking to strengthen the sales and customer care processes.
"Now we are seeing glimmers of hope that the negative market trends in the housing industry are moderating," said Cindy Tierney, CIO, Beazer Homes.
Beazer Director of Information Technology Joe Harris participated on Bluewolf's panel on "Extreme Makeover: Customer Care Edition" at Dreamforce 2009, Salesforce.com's user and developer conference, "sharing experiences of undergoing an extreme makeover of the home builder's customer care processes and technology," according to Beazer officials.
The builder is looking for improvements throughout the sales organization, including improved customer interaction and agent productivity, an increase in user adoption, improved overall data quality and decreased time required to generate sales reports from days and hours to minutes.
Company officials say with the Salesforce.com technology, they can now "capture and centralize data on potential and existing home buyers, realtors and other partners," and enhance sales performance management through analytics and reporting.
, a Web application security vendor, has announced its SecureAuth product has been tested and certified by Salesforce.com.
Effective immediately, the authentication is available on Salesforce.com's AppExchange marketplace.
SecureAuth is designed, company officials say, to enable "seamless single sign on" while "enforcing 2-factor authentication into internally-hosted applications," as well as SaaS applications like Salesforce CRM and GoogleApps.
"The ability to enforce a bilateral authentication throughout the SSO process across network, cloud, and Web applications is unique in the industry," claims MultiFactor's CTO Garret Grajek.
Many folks who like cloud computing's flexibility and cost savings are leery of the security concerns - especially enterprise IT departments. This product is designed to be a way for cloud vendors to guarantee the "integrity and reliability of their applications and data centers," MultiFactor officials explain, adding that the enterprise customer "must control identities of their users for access to those applications and data."
The SecureAuth product implements a secure authentication to both legacy onsite and cloud-based applications without forcing the enterprise to migrate or synchronize their existing user credential stores, since it directly accesses an existing native directory, including Microsoft's Active Directory.
What this means, according to MultiFactor officials, is that an enterprise can migrate to cloud computing with a single or multiple applications at a time, while using their existing IT infrastructure and "retaining full control of their users' identities.
From Telluride, Colorado comes news from CRM guru and jazz maven Jim Berkowitz, a guy you need to add as a Facebook friend just to get his music suggestions.
Saying that while CRM's a "hot topic" in business today as "both small and mid-sized companies struggle to compete," Berkowitz notes that picking the right CRM technologies for Salesforce automation, customer service, marketing, or social networking, from the literally thousands of technology solutions that are available, "can be a daunting task."
Berkowitz, CRM Technology Coach and Industry Analyst with CRM Mastery
, says that although there are a number CRM directories available on the Web, "they are not organized in a way that's useful to potential technology buyers."
CRM Mastery's Technology Directory, he explains, helps potential CRM buyers by "segregating On Demand from On Premise and Open Source offerings, distinguishing CRM suites from products designed to focus on just one functional area and also by separating sales force automation products that offer sales pipeline tracking from contact management products that don't."
Directory content is maintained directly by Berkowitz himself, between shifts as jazz DJ on KOTO community radio. He describes the directory as "complete, in terms of the available products, and each product offering is properly categorized."
"CRM Mastery is all about being buyer-focused," Berkowitz says. "Ultimately as our directory expands and matures our goal is to have it become the premier source on the Internet for companies that are trying to put together a list of products that they should be considering for use in their organizations."
CRM Mastery, founded in 2004, is described by Berkowitz as "an independent, unbiased firm that specializes in coaching SMBs through a CRM selection and deployment process."
And join Jim in line for Turkey Bingo -- "a true Telluride tradition."
, a Microsoft
Gold Certified Partner and value-added reseller of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, has completed a customized Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation for CapTrust, an investment advisory and retirement plan consulting firm.
CapTrust chose Customer Effective for their Microsoft Dynamics CRM expertise, company officials say, using the product's "technical and development services" to implement CRM using the xRM platform to "build more than 20 business applications on a single platform for CapTrust."
These business applications are intended to give CapTrust more efficient processes, help recruit financial advisors, and provide differentiated services to clients, according to Customer Effective officials, who added that the xRM platform was especially attractive "because of its technical flexibility allowing CapTrust to maintain control over business data."
As part of the project with Customer Effective, CapTrust created an online fiduciary management tool for retirement plan sponsors.