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SugarCRM and Twitter

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is... total iTunes shuffle... hit play, no idea what the first song's going to be, you'll know it as soon as I do... it is... Van Morrison's "Gloria," from his live "It's Too Late To Stop Now" album:

"For all of its promise, the cloud computing movement is in danger of becoming yet another mousetrap to lock-in customers to proprietary vendors," charges John Roberts, CEO of SugarCRM. If he has anything to do about it that won't happen, and Sugar's recent partnership with Smart Selling seems to be a step in that direction.

SugarCRM, having just introduced Sugar Express with Smart Selling, has now released Australian market pricing for the new product. Smart Selling CEO Mark Parker characterized the offering as "full featured, open source CRM for under $10 per month." This announcement coincides with updated and simplified packaging of both Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise.

Sugar Express is engineered to provide sales, marketing and support features, and has Sugar Plug-Ins for Microsoft Office as well as access to SugarCRM Customer Support. Platform functionality includes Module Builder to create custom modules and Cloud Connectors to integrate third-party data services from companies such as Hoover's and Jigsaw, company officials say.

Sugar Express is "a direct result of feedback from the commercial market place," says Parker, adding that in his estimation a "large part of the market was asking for an entry-level, on-demand product that is not about vendor lock-in and offers deep features and support."

Supported by Smart Selling and SugarCRM, Sugar Express includes the features of Sugar Community Edition plus access to Sugar Plug-Ins for Microsoft Office along with three customer support cases. Australian pricing is $690 (excluding GST) for one to five users per year, and $995 (also excluding GST) for up to 10 users.

Founded as an open source project in 2004, SugarCRM applications have been downloaded over five million times, according to company officials.

Kalido officials have announced that the latest release of the Kalido Information Engine with better data matching capabilities to support governance programs, as well as functionality for best practices for the design, development and deployment of the Kalido Information Engine.

This release also gives users better native data governance capabilities than their last release, along with automated data matching capabilities designed to "help ease a manual and administrative burden for data stewards," according to company officials.

It's no secret that organizations are having to spend much more time and resources on keeping up with all the regulatory compliance requirements, and many have identified bad data as a significant barrier to their efforts. In response, company officials say, some have been deploying formal processes in the form of data governance programs to "ensure a business acceptable level of information quality."

Included in the new functionality is matching intelligence to improve rules management, candidate management, confidence calculation, process matching and survivorship management within Kalido, company officials say: "Specifically, Kalido's new integrated matching technology will let customers de-dupe and match records from different sources to help build gold-copy master data, as well as create and maintain those mapping relationships between source and gold-copy master data."
The product also lets companies use hierarchy relationships as part of a match and support complex match definitions across fields, and to use any master data element or nickname as a thesaurus and use those elements as part of a matching criterion. This release of the Kalido Information Engine is certified to run on Netezza appliances.

Infor has announced an enhanced version of their Infor ERP SyteLine product, an enterprise resource planning tool for discrete manufacturers. New features in this the 8.01 release include support for Infor MyDay, a Web 2.0 user interface for Infor applications that provides central access to information, enhanced customer relationship management functionality and improved event management.

Infor MyDay takes the business data captured and stored by ERP SyteLine, as well as other business applications, and presents it in a single view to employees based on their roles within the organization. Company officials say it "sets relevant data free," and will be provided at no additional charge to companies running ERP SyteLine 8.01 and higher with active maintenance plans.

New to ERP SyteLine's core functionality is additional CRM capability to help manufacturers with marketing, sales and service. This functionality, built directly into the product, lets companies update information stored in the system to manage prospects and sales contacts. The idea behind this, of course, according to Infor officials, is that with greater visibility and access to customer information, users of ERP SyteLine are able to expand their marketing and lead generation opportunities and create new revenue for the company.

ERP SyteLine 8.01 has also improved the product's event management for manufacturers, letting them respond to events as they occur -- "or fail to occur," as company officials put it presciently -- so that action can be taken. For example, an alert could notify an inventory manager when inventory of a particular item falls below a predetermined quantity. Event management in ERP SyteLine can also give users alerts as steps are completed in various processes, letting multiple departments work together without missing cues or stepping on each others' toes.

ERP SyteLine is anchored on Infor Open SOA, an event-driven service-oriented architecture using an industry standard business language to distribute data between Infor and other systems.

NGenera Corporation, vendors of Collaborative Enterprise Management products, have announced $10 million in a new Series C financing round. Participants in the initial close of the round include Foundation Capital and Oak Investment Partners.
Company officials say the funding will be used to help the company increase its product development and expand sales.

According to Forrester Research's Collaboration and Web 2.0 Technology Adoption, Q4 2008, more than 60 percent of firms surveyed are implementing or upgrading existing implementations of collaboration software in next 12 months, so nGenera sees this as a rich vein to tap. NGenera officials also point to research finding that "seven of every ten firms surveyed are planning to invest in enterprise collaboration in 2009."

"The additional funds will enable nGenera to accelerate the development our Collaborative Enterprise Management, as well as to strengthen and expand our sales infrastructure," says Steve Papermaster, Chairman and CEO of nGenera.

NGenera officials are trying to hype Collaborative Enterprise Management as "the next big leap in management process," saying the last leap was Enterprise Resource Planning, with the adoption of ERP processes and technologies "triggering a major wave of business innovation, productivity, and growth, by improving the repetitive, accounting and transactional information flow in organizations and their supply chains." According to this line of thinking, with the "leap to CEM," management decisions must allow for non-repetitive processes that require the collective experience from a group of people, drawing from the data that exists inside and outside of the company's ERP and other transactional systems.

Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics and Grown Up Digital, says what nGenera has done is "combine the collaboration platform and applications with expertise and education."

SugarCRM has also announced the GetSocial Twitter Module has been named the "Project-of-the-Month" for
The module lets companies integrate social marketing to Twitter from within SugarCRM, giving users tools to improve customer service, expand marketing programs, maintain management oversight and try to decipher more or less random assemblages of letters and punctuation marks.

Each month, SugarCRM highlights a Project-of-the-Month winner on, the company's community website. Projects-of-the-Month are selected on the quality of a project's code, its overall activity and its general usefulness as an extension to SugarCRM, company officials say.

The GetSocial Twitter module is intended to help companies using the SugarCRM customer relationship platform by providing Twitter features for every department. Internal employees can now use Twitter through an authorized channel and client that provides an audit trail and reporting for managers.

This reporter is aware that he is, of course, a Luddite, but he simply doesn't get Twitter. There must be a reason why 60 percent of all Twitter users drop out after the first month, this reporter sure did. Maybe it's because this tends to be the day-in, day-out reality of Twitter?

"The explosion of Twitter has left many companies searching for answers on how to adapt to the new service in order to provide better customer support, enhanced marketing efforts and maintain management oversight," says Josh Sweeney, managing partner of ALT-Invest. "In building GetSocial Twitter, we are providing an open source enhancement for marketing and sales teams."

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