Week in Review: 4/11

In the news... Gartner has reviewed the top mid-size CRM vendors in its latest Magic Quadrant study. Onyx, Pivotal, and SalesLogix landed in the leader quadrant, while Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM, and OnContact were all named visionaries in the space. Challengers in the space were Siebel Systems and PeopleSoft. Gartner also identifited a number of key niche players, including Epicor, FrontRange, and NetLedger. According to the report, to be included in the ranking, the suites must have support for sales, customer service, and marketing automation. The City of New York has implemented Siebel Systems' eGovernment suite to create a new service for its citizens called the 311 Citizen Service Management System. By calling 311, New Yorkers can get the right contact at more than 50 city agencies, giving citizens the ability to access a range of services and information about topics like health and public safety, parking, and taxes. The total integration of call centers and Web contact points will take three years, Siebel says, with the first phase being the consolidation of 12 contact centers. "Our 311 system enables us to manage interactions with the public through multiple communications channels, leading to increased constituent satisfaction and government accountability," Gino Menchini, New York City CIO, said in a statement. CRM provider Market Central announced this week that it has acquired U.S. Convergion, an approved provider of CRM Solutions from Microsoft's Great Plains division, in a transfer of stock valued at $17 million. The acquisition will be instantly accretive to earnings, and will expand on Market Central's CRM offerings, especially considering the Microsoft connection, Terrence Leifheit, CEO and president of Market Central, said in a statement. IDC's latest survey of North American businesses in 18 vertical industries indicates that, although the short-term economic outlook is improving, businesses are going forward with restrained optimism. The good news is that this year CRM solution vendors are poised to see the biggest gains. However, many companies have already made significant technology purchases over the past two to three years (e.g., the focus in 2002 was on IT spending was on systems infrastructure and security solutions), and are now trying to put it all to work and provide a return on investment, IDC says. Executive Changes ePartners, a business solutions provider and IT consultant for mid-market companies, has named Dan Duffy president. Duffy will retain his position as chief operating officer, the company said. Speech recognition software provider Nuance has tapped Charles Berger as its new president and CEO, succeeding Ronald Croen, who will remain chairman of the board at Nuance. CRM software provider KANA today announced that CEO Chuck Bay has been appointed chairman of the board of directors. KANA also announced the appointment of Mark Bertelsen, senior partner of the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati to its board. eAssist Global Solutions, a provider of customer service and support software and services, this week announced the appointment of Brad Birnbaum to vice president, product strategy. Help Desk Institute (HDI) announced the appointment of Phil Verghis to the position of chairperson of the HDI Strategic Advisory Board for a one-year term. Ulysses Learning officials appointed Debbie Miller -- an accomplished client relationship manager with special expertise in learning and contact centers -- to the position of vice president, client results.
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