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CRM Briefs

--> Jacada's Integrator is selected by AdminaStar Federal to provide legacy connectivity for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. --> Farmers Insurance implements EasyLink's Production Messaging Service. --> Onyx releases version 4.0 of its CRM suite, which is designed to support the Oracle database.

By Diana Garber

Jacada's (Atlanta) Integrator was selected by AdminaStar Federal, a medical contractor, to provide legacy connectivity for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency that administers the Medicare program from the US Department of Health and Human Services (Washington DC). CMS says that by using Jacada Integrator, it will improve communications among the agency, its 40 million beneficiaries and more than one million healthcare providers. In July, CMS will implement Siebel eHealthcare7, in combination with Jacada Integrator, in more than 70 of its call centers. This will provide representatives with a single application that accesses all of the systems necessary to handle customer service needs instead of the current system, which requires representatives to access multiple servers to answer customer-specific inquiries. Providing one source to multiple information sources, CMS hopes to ensure consistent adherence to policies across all of its managed centers. The new system is expected to handle 40 million calls per year.

Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance Group has implemented EasyLink's (Edison, NJ) Production Messaging Service, which will increase the overall speed and efficiency of Farmers' claims handling process. Farmers' claims operations, the division using the service, serves 10 million households and handles the submission of claims information from various sources. EasyLink Production Messaging Service is a secure transaction delivery solution that manages the electronic delivery of claims-related information. According to Bill Fallon, vice president of marketing, EasyLink, "EasyLink's Transaction Delivery solution enables Farmers Insurance to process time-sensitive claims more quickly because it reduces or eliminates parts of the process that relied on slow and costly phone calls, manual faxing and postal mail."

Companies are now expanding internal access to customer data and focusing it more on revenue history, according to a study from Harte-Hanks Research (La Jolla, CA). The study, which compared data from 2001 and 2002 in order to get its results, shows that many businesses have had an absence of return on investment measures. Surprisingly in 2002, despite all of the focus on ROI, 44 percent reported no measures, up from 32 percent in 2001. Between 37 and 52 percent of respondents indicated the use of at least one customer-based ROI-type metric system in 2002. Metrics include improved customer service ratings, improved client retention rates and improved profitability tracking by customer. The research also indicates that the use of CRM systems also increased the most in marketing departments, while inside sales departments reported the highest amount of usage for the second consecutive year. Harte-Hanks Research examines CRM ROI, data access, customer view and systems development approaches in various types of businesses.

Onyx (Seattle) released version 4.0 of its CRM suite, which is designed to support the Oracle database. Version 4.0 is intended to run using a Web services-enabled platform using standards-based Internet technologies, including XML. New capabilities of the suite include modules for product and service quality management, expanded document tracking, improved opportunity management, usability and navigation enhancements, a streamlined view of key customer information and improved search and query features, according to Onyx.

Nine CRM consulting firms have joined together to create the CRM Guild International. The guild was formed in order to give more comprehensive and effective solutions to CRM customers in the small and medium enterprise (SME) market space and to evaluate CRM solutions as to whether they offer a competitive value for clients. The group's charter members are BrainSell, Compu-Sales Consulting, Kemmerer and Associates, Lexnet Consulting Group, Contactics, Technology Advisors, Market Answers, Client 2 and E1 Business. To learn more about the CRM Guild International, visit

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