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For the rest of the January 2006 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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  • Forrester's Top ERP Vendors. Forrester Research has released its latest evaluation of the top ERP vendors, examining how they address customers' desires for them to provide licenses that incorporate more flexibility and better software life cycle support. "The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Applications Software Licensing, Q4 2005" shows Oracle leads the pack in accommodating business complexity, while SAP takes the top spot when it comes to delivering simplified license metrics and flexible licensing policies.
  • Salesforce.com Steps Up Service. Salesforce.com announced several new partnerships and programs at its industry luncheon and customer event in New York, all tied to the expanding field of on-demand service and support. Chief among the partnerships and programs are Salesforce Service and Support 2.0, AppExchange Service, Support 1.0 (a hosting service for Salesforce customers to provide a Web self-service portal to end users), and partnerships with outsourcing companies Stream and Sitel. Together, the announcements signal the on-demand leader's intention to make a name in customer service.
  • NASD Is Probing Merrill Lynch Call Centers. The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) revealed it had launched an investigation into Merrill Lynch's customer call centers to examine if Merrill had intentionally given bad investment advice to some of its clientele. The investigation, under way for more than a year, has focused on how investors were advised in 2000 and 2001 at Merrill's financial advisory centers' customer service centers, located in Florida and New Jersey. The service centers were set up in the late 1990s to handle the bulk of Merrill's main street clients--those with portfolios of less than $100,000, according to the company. In a complaint filed by the NASD last November, regulators accused a Merrill broker at the company's Hopewell, NJ, call center of persuading investors to switch their investments from one mutual fund to another to boost the broker's compensation.
  • Office Depot Sues Staples Over Google Ads. Office Depot filed suit against rival office supply giant Staples for improperly purchasing online search engine ads that redirected potential customers to the Staples Web site. Office Depot is charging Staples with trademark infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, and deceptive trade practices. The company is asking for an injunction against Staples, along with unspecified damages. The complaint alleges that Staples and its subsidiary, Quill, tried to lure away customers of Viking Office Products, a 45-year-old catalog company and Office Depot subsidiary, by purchasing keyword ads from Google.
  • Siebel Reveals Its Next-Gen Approach. Siebel Systems kicked off its first user conference since Oracle announced its plans to acquire the once-800-pound CRM gorilla with a cluster of announcements. They include CEO George Shaheen's introduction of what he described as a new generation of CRM solutions. According to the company, Siebel Customer Adaptive Solutions are software and services offerings based on SOA platforms that address process and knowledge work requirements. The strategy and architecture will allow organizations to better understand and adapt to customer needs in response to quickly changing business requirements.
  • On-Demand Marketing: The Way to Go for SMBs? More than 65 percent of companies will host at least one component of their marketing resource management (MRM) solution through 2008, due to benefits the on-demand delivery model holds for marketing beyond its general CRM utility, according to research firm Gartner. "Eight Reasons to Consider Hosted or On-Demand MRM Applications" indicates that hosted MRM provides low cost of entry, which is a key factor in getting executive buy-in for any MRM project. (For the full stories and more news, visit destinationCRM.com)
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