The Week in Review

Executive Changes Two CRM vendors announced key personnel changes this week. Oracle Corp. has tapped Robb Eklund, former PeopleSoft Inc. vice president of marketing, as its new vice president of marketing. Eklund will report to Lisa Arthur, vice president of CRM and services marketing. Also, NetLedger Inc. named Tara Ryan as its new vice president of marketing. Ryan previously served as director of worldwide marketing at Deloitte Consulting. The Allant Group Inc., a provider of strategic marketing solutions, has announced the appointment of Michael Reynolds as executive vice president of business development. Reynolds joins Allant after having served as executive vice president and partner at Total eData Corp., a data acquisition firm. M&A News StayinFront Inc. announced it has acquired the CRM division of Berger Software Pty Ltd., an Australian software provider. StayinFront had previously been integrating Berger's CRM solutions into its Visual Elk suite of e-business products. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Convergys Corp., which provides integrated billing, employee care, and customer care services, announced earlier this week that it has acquired Cygent Inc., which markets a Web-based customer, order, and service management platform for the communications industry. The acquisition price was less than $5 million in cash, with 10 percent of that amount placed in escrow. Convergys anticipates that this acquisition will be neutral to its 2003 earnings. In other news... Both Microsoft Corp.'s .NET and CRM product continue to gain the attention of tech firms and CRM vendors alike. Catapult Systems Corp., an Austin, TX--based IT consulting company, announced a new strategic direction and closer allegiance to Microsoft. After 10 years in the custom application development business using tools from a variety of vendors, Catapult has committed all its resources to delivering Microsoft solutions exclusively. In addition, Adia Information Management Corp. this week released ManagePoint, a client service portal specifically designed to integrate with Microsoft CRM. Market Central Inc., formerly Paladyne Corp., provider of outsourced telemarketing and customer support services, as well as CRM solutions, has completed a sale of majority interest in the company to three new stakeholders: William A. Goldstein, Glen H. Hammer, and A. Randall Barkowitz. The company also announced that Hammer will act as chairman of the board for Market Central. A new report, "Operational CRM: Identifying Niche Opportunities in a Maturing Market," published this week by independent market analysts Datamonitor plc., predicts that by the end of 2005 the market will have barely recovered to 2001 levels. Datamonitor expects many vendors will struggle, as the market is too crowded, especially at the high end and in the most developed countries of North America and Western Europe. At the top end of the market, vendors whose solutions extend beyond CRM to incorporate whole business processes, which sometimes involve supply chain or financials functionality, are likely to have the upper hand.
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