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After a short delay in transit, I’ve arrived in San Francisco for the Salesforce Dreamforce conference. As I noted last week, I am here to meet potential partners and current customers of CloudContacts. I will also be working on event coverage so stay tuned!
Salesforce says 20,000 people will attend the conference this week and from the look of the crowd inside the Moscone Center – the 20,000 have already arrived!
As I walked from building to building to figure out where to get my pass (everyone sent me in the wrong direction), I noticed a number of Segway vehicles around the Moscone Center. The Segways are all promoting Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The promotion reads, “I didn’t get Forced! I got a cloud-based CRM solution that works the way I do.”
I am not sure if the people on the Segways were just supposed to drive the vehicles or if they are supposed to engage people on the street but I didn’t see any engagement. Some of the people walking down the street (which was very crowded) said that the vehicles were just in the way.
The sides of the moving billboard feature a Microsoft Tag which you can snap with your mobile to get news on Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
As CloudContacts grows, I’ve been spending bits of time researching online helpdesk solutions. I’ve also had several discussions with a friend who is also looking for the same solution for his customer service and support inquiries. One of the first items for discussion is whether we want a locally-installed service or a cloud-based service.
Zoho has announced the release of their cloud-based help desk solution, Zoho Support. I’ve been a fan of Zoho products from the beginning (even if they don’t include CN on their blogroll). Zoho evangelist Raju Vegesna was one of my first interviews after I launched CN in late 2006.
Zoho Support is setup much like other help desk software providers. The system can be used when customers call in via the phone, email or web form. The Zoho Support service offers several feature categories: ticketing, reporting, tasks and an account manager for handling each customer and their SLAs). The reporting element of any help desk software might be the most important – the ability to group, categorize and monitor the types of support tickets is critical for any business. I think of the reporting section as the business improvement section.
Open source customer relationship management software provider SugarCRM has announced the beta release of the 5.5 edition of the application. There’s an online demo version available on the SugarCRM web site.
Some of the new features in the 5.5 release include:
- mobile studio editor
- dynamic teams
- enhanced web services framework
- advanced password management
- themes framework
The ability to create and manage themes seems to be the hot topic on both CRM and CMS offerings. Thanks to a relatively simple structure I was able to convert a theme from Drupal to WordPress very easily.
Matt Heitzenroder has more information on the Sugar Developer Blog. Matt discusses the API updates and the new themes framework.
There are a number of companies at SXSW representing the UK as part of their “Digital Mission”. One of those companies is Tactile CRM. Tactile provides a contact and sales management system for small businesses.
Tactile just partnered with FreshBooks to integrate both systems together. Check out my 3-minute interview with Tactile CRM CEO Jake Stride:
MindTouch has announced the launch of Deki for CRM today at the Web 2.0 Expo in NYC. Deki for CRM combines the MindTouch Deki Enterprise Server and SnapLogic’s open source data integration framework. The concept is relatively simple: CRM systems are limited in collaboration functionality. Deki for CRM hopes to change that by adding a Wiki to nearly everything inside of the CRM system.
When you look at a customer record inside of a CRM, the Deki for CRM option allows you to add an open wiki-style box where you can collaborate with your colleagues about the customer. Deki for CRM also offers pre-made widgets for stock price, Google News searches and Twitter results. The idea with the widgets is to track the customer across the Web.
MindTouch notes that Deki for CRM will work with any CRM platform. They have pre-configured installations for SugarCRM and Salesforce.com. The basic service comes at a cost of $15,000.