User defined alerts breath new life into old push technology; mobile devices unlock messages; executive overkill, says critic
Posted Sep 18, 2002
UpShot, at the DEMOMobile 2002 conference in La Jolla, Calif., announced today an enhancement to its Web-based, sales-focused CRM offering that allows users to receive notices when key information is updated.
"We are proud of our forecasting and real time views, but it was time to address the next thing which is clutter," says UpShot chairman and founder Keith Raffel. "People are missing important information even though they are running around with pagers and email."
In a new twist on the push technology that sprang up in the late 1990's and faded out after, UpShot Alerts lets users set and receive notifications via cell phones, Web-enabled PDAs, email, Blackberry RIM devices and pagers. For example, if a team of people is working to renegotiate a deal, each member can set parameters within the system to alert them to something that is important. The lead sales person might want to be emailed immediately if the customer calls the service department to report a problem with its existing service. Another person working with legal unit on the actual contract might want to be paged if the client's credit rating changes.
Users can also set up alerts to be notified if someone else updates or touches their key accounts. "This is immediate contact. You are not searching for the information or waiting for the weekly report to find out," Raffel says. "Instead you have the information that you care most about delivered to you immediately." UpShot Alerts are available now as part of UpShot XE at no additional cost.
Sheryl Kingstone, an analyst with the Yankee Group's CRM Strategies group, liked the idea of alerts and wondered why it hadn't been done before in CRM systems. "It gets back to the information overload problem," she says. "Some people really need to be alerted if critical information changes, and this helps in that process." Since UpShot Alerts are Web-based, Kingstone says they could be especially useful to busy, traveling sales executives who are not tied to a computer and may need to get notifications of changes via pagers or cell phones.
However, another analyst wondered if some executives might initially overuse the alerts thus rendering them somewhat ineffective. "I can see the value of being alerted, but I think there is a great possibility that sales executives might set this for too many alerts," says Denis Pombriant, vice president and CRM managing director at the Aberdeen Group, a Boston-based market researcher. "They are going to want to know what is going on and getting 10 or 20 per day might defeat the purpose." Kingstone agrees that some may go overboard but that it's a personal issue likely to diminish once users get used to the feature.
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