News Briefs

Risk management software provider Resolver Inc. and management consulting specialist The Manton Group Inc. announced in April that they have developed a proprietary new method for managing risk when bringing products and services to market. Called RiskFactor, the approach is designed to prioritize initiatives used to market and sell products and allocate resources most profitably. It combines risk management decision-support software with marketing and sales practices. It is said to help organizations identify what information is critical to possess, where there are weaknesses in the customer buy-cycle, whether the most valuable customers are being acquired and retained, and the areas that are most vulnerable in distribution channels. RiskFactor is intended to be used with any number of stakeholders within a company, each of whom is provided with a wireless, hand-held numeric keypad to keep responses candid and voting representative. Responses can also be gathered via the Web. Executive teams are said to easily reach consensus on complex initiatives in a fraction of the normal time.

Oracle’s latest CRM aimed at boosting sales

With promises of applications that drive collaborative selling and increased revenue, Oracle Corp. in May announced its latest version of its CRM sales applications. Called Oracle Sales, it includes a new application – Oracle Proposals. A part of the Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Sales is intended to provide tools that integrate sales with the rest of a company’s business operations, encouraging sales professionals to perform efficient and collaborative selling. “Our research indicates that a high percentage of the sales force automation (SFA) projects that have failed to date were focused solely on providing sales management with visibility into the pipeline,” the Oracle announcement attributes to Sheryl Kingston, program manager for CRM strategy, Yankee Group. “While such visibility is important to any SFA project, the products that will show the most significant ROI in the future are those like Oracle Proposals and Oracle Quoting; products that give sales people the tools they need to be more effective in closing deals and driving revenue.” The latest version of Oracle Sales includes the new Oracle Proposals and helps enhance sales operations productivity by streamlining processes from lead to order such as proposal generation, quote creation and call centre selling, says Oracle.

Microsoft extends its BI platform

At its June Tech*Ed 2003 event, Microsoft Corp. announced it will extend its business intelligence platform by shipping Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services by the end of the year with a public beta version in the fall. An open and extensible reporting platform, Reporting Services provides a tool that can increase business insight by providing the real-time information needed from any data source to any device, giving employees at all levels better access to information, says Microsoft. Reporting Services is said to provide a broad business intelligence platform that can enable developers to easily build custom applications with business intelligence solutions tailored to their specific and strategic IT needs.

Toronto hosts lean conference in October

Billed as North America’s largest lean conference, Measure UP For Success, in conjunction with the 19th annual AME (Association for Manufacturing Excellence) conference, will be held at Toronto’s Sheraton Hotel on October 6 -10, 2003. The “Lean Leadership Conference” organizers promise 40 plant tours, 60 best practices, 30 workshops and seven keynote speakers on leadership, people, innovation, “sustainment,” simplicity, speed, competitiveness and integrity. AME and CME members get reduced registration fees. Details at