Keeping Track of Customers

Trio's CRM upgrades aim to give companies better insight into interactions.

Covia Technologies Inc., Closedloop Systems Inc. and UpShot Corp. are making partnerships or software enhancements related to their respective CRM offerings aimed at giving companies a better handle on managing customer interactions.

The goal of these moves is to make it easier for sales representatives and their managers using the customer relationship management software and services to forecast and track corporate sales and customer interactions.

Covias XRM (extended relationship management) software allows companies to view customer activity not only among their distributors but also among the customers of their distributors and suppliers. This month, Covia will announce the iPlanet Portal Server Extended Relationship Pack, which adds a portal interface to this CRM software.

The portal technology is provided through a partnership with iPlanet, a unit of Sun Microsystems Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif. The iPlanet Portal Server will be integrated with XRM and made available this week, according to Covia officials in Mountain View, Calif.

Separately, Closedloop Systems last week signed a partnership deal to sell its Dynamic Financial Control software through the San Francisco-based Inc.-hosted CRM service. Dynamic Financial Control allows managers to see changes in the status of sales in real time and to adjust forecasts to better serve customers, said Closedloop, in Redwood City, Calif.

Finally, hosted sales force automation service provider UpShot, of Mountain View, this week will make available an enhancement to its namesake service that will allow offline sales forecasting. Offline Express, based on Microsofts .Net Web services platform, allows sales executives to update forecasts and information on sales deals while offline. Changes can then be uploaded to the hosted service when the user is back online.

UpShot user Lawrny Steiner hasnt seen the service but is looking forward to using Offline Express.

"All of our people have laptops, so it would be useful for them," said Steiner, managing director for project development at Atkins Benham Systems, in Oklahoma City. "Its available as soon as you reconnect; theres not a cumbersome synchronization process, which plagues all of these [hosted] products."