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  • Salesforce.com's On-Demand Dream Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff welcomed partners and customers to Dreamforce 05 in San Francisco in September with a series of announcements, the scope of which expands the capabilities of the company's CRM on-demand product. Benioff also illuminated the possibilities of a new development and distribution model, and introduced enhanced marketing, service, and support modules. In Winter '06 expect a new UI and branding, expanded mobile support, territory management, a marketing campaign builder and segmentation wizard, and the Successforce module for Web services. But the key of this keynote was the debut of AppExchange, described by Benioff as "the Ebay of enterprise applications."
  • Online Retail Sales Won't Stop Growing Online retail sales will grow from $172 billion in 2005 to $329 billion in 2010, according to a Forrester Research report, "US e-Commerce: 2005 to 2010: A Five-Year Forecast and Analysis of U.S. Online Retail Sales." Online sales will maintain a 14 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years, the report states. This forecasted growth is preceded by a milestone for the online retail industry: 2005 marks the first year in its 10-year history that sales will top the $100 billion mark. Certain verticals can expect to see higher percentages: 14 percent of jewelry category sales and 29 percent of small appliance sales will take place online by 2010.
  • CRM New License Revenue Grows Again After suffering a series of fiscal missteps the CRM software license market has gotten its act together, at least enough to experience some growth. Gartner's "Market Share: CRM Software, Worldwide, 2002-2004, Preliminary" report contends that initial CRM software new license revenue amounted to $3.46 billion in 2004, a 2 percent increase from 2003's $3.39 billion. That growth comes after 2003's worldwide CRM new license revenue fell 4.4 percent from 2002's total of $3.54 billion. According to Sharon Mertz, research director at Gartner, part of the upsurge can be attributed to a departure from a cost-cutting mind set and a move to an emphasis on increasing revenue.
  • Cognos 8 Highlights Simplicity Cognos in September launched Cognos 8 Business Intelligence. The latest version is a Web services--based service-oriented architecture introduced with Cognos ReportNet in 2003. The focus for the announcement was simplicity, and capturing a common view of all data to disperse throughout the company. Cognos 8 provides customers with a single, trusted place for all relevant data and a complete, consistent view of any business issue or driver. Employees can build reports within Excel, but when they are sent to other people there is only one version distributed, even across the global enterprise where language and currencies are automatically altered.
  • Losing the Offshoring War American contact centers are losing ground to their global counterparts, with total global offshore spending on IT services expected to reach $50 billion by 2007, according to a Gartner report, "Outsourcing Worldwide Cluster Research." Tight U.S. profit margins and the continued rise of new offshore markets are driving outsourcers to move offshore. A Datamonitor report, "Contact Center Outsourcing in the United States," shows Canada, India, and the Philippines are expected to benefit from this trend. In addition, outsourcers are being forced to reinvent themselves by merging, partnering, or competing with other types of outsourcing companies.
  • Attrition and Training A shortage of skilled labor could threaten cost, quality, and security issues, and could slow the offshoring of business processes to India, according to a Gartner study. The Indian government estimates that the need for trained, qualified employees in call centers will reach one million by 2009, with an expected shortfall of more than 260,000 workers. (For the full stories and more news, visit destinationCRM.com)
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