CRM Software from iEnterprise Integrated With IBM's Lotus
September 17, 2008
IBM and iEnterprises have announced the integration of iEnterprises' customer relationship management (CRM) software, iExtensions CRM, with IBM's social networking platform, Lotus Connections.
The idea behind integrating social networking with CRM is to let businesses build communities and relationships around contacts, and of course help increase sales, improve response rates and even offer better customer service.
"Blending social networking with CRM is an example of Tomorrow at Work, an IBM initiative that examines a changing work world and anticipates trends in technology, business, society and culture," IBM officials say.
The integration uses Web services to bring a new social networking for CRM module to iExtensions CRM and Lotus Connections customers, "allowing both groups to link and synchronize information between the two systems," company officials say.
By doing so, companies hope to use business-grade social networking behind the firewall to improve their customer relationship and sales prospecting activities.
"It's like the virtual coffee machine chat -- where a massive information pool can be readily called upon, but here it's more targeted and therefore more purposeful," said James Mead, Royal Caribbean's Project Manager for International IT, and an iExtensions CRM customer, adding that the integration "could help us tap collective experiences and get answers faster."
The integration between the iExtensions CRM and Lotus Connections is based on a service oriented architecture approach. Using Web services, the data from either system can be reused with other programs across an enterprise. "The flexibility of Web services means that the data can be extended to mobile devices," IBM officials say, "making it possible for businesses to take the combination of social networking and CRM with them on the road."
Sales representatives can log into their iExtensions CRM system and instantly pull and store contact and other information needed for a project from Lotus Connections in one click. If a critical situation arises with a customer, for instance, the sales representative can use Lotus Connections to quickly identify people that can help.
In May, iEnterprises launched Mobile Edge Express for mobile users "looking to extend their IBM Lotus Notes applications, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, NetSuite, and SugarCRM" to their BlackBerry.
Mobile Edge Express is a mobile and turn-key software-as-a-service application for small and medium-sized businesses. It lets users try and purchase pre-written mobile application without upfront hardware costs, upgrades or licensing fees.
By downloading Mobile Edge Express, users gain access to their contacts, opportunities and cases and other information when they are away from the office. It's billed by the iEnterprisians as "friendly to non techies" and does not require IT support.
David Sims is a contributing editor for ContactCenterSolutions. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for ContactCenterSolutions here.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi