Based on a methodology developed by CRM author and specialist Jay Curry, Customer Focus Suite is claimed to be different from a traditional CRM solution in not just focussing on customer relationships. Pascal Clement is the vice-president of Europe for Showcase: 'We are launching a CRM application, but finally we are interesting CFOs more than sales and marketing people, because they are more interested in the revenues which are being generated. It is not just about increasing customer satisfaction, but is aimed at focussing on the customers who will provide revenue in the short term and identifying customers who maybe shouldn't be at the level they are.
Pascal claimed the new software will generate actions to be taken using existing CRM packages, but could also be used as an aid in new implementations. He also believes it is unique in the CRM world.
'Other vendors say they will give you all the information you need to act, which is fine, but what we are saying is that this is only one side of the problem. You need to know what action you are actually going to take when you have that information. CFS will give you the actions to increase income through parameters which define customers by such things as revenue and value. What CFOs want to know is are they profitable, how do we grow accounts and which customers should we focus our efforts on?
Hummingbird has released e-Gateway 1.1, a Web-to-host product which it claims is low administration and cost-effective. It is aimed at remote or casual workers requiring access to host systems, both mainframe and AS/400, through the web. It supports Windows based servers and what it calls 'rejuvenated legacy applications' residing on Sun Solaris 2.6 and 2.7.
IBM is offering a new initiative to small and medium-size enterprises in Europe including low cost loans and deferred payment options on iSeries technologies. Big Blue customers can take either two years interest free financing, payment deferral until January 2002 followed by a low cost lease option, or an extra low rate of financing over an extended period. The deal is part of IBM's 'I Can Do It' offering which is specifically aimed at SMEs, although it said tailor-made solutions are still available through IBM Global Financing.