The Lotus connection

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Your marketing staff uses Siebel customer management software. The rest of the company uses Lotus Notes to schedule appointments. Coordinating data between the programs can be a nightmare.

That’s why Columbus-based Connaissance developed Connector, a server-based program that automatically updates data files from Lotus Notes and Siebel.

“Siebel works with a company’s phone system so that an entire customer history will be available when the customer calls,” says Neil Wheeler, Connaissance’s vice president of product development. “Many companies in financial and insurance industries use it.”

These companies may also be using Lotus Notes as a calendar and a means of keeping and tracking customer appointments, duplicating entry between the systems.

“These two systems don’t talk,” says Wheeler. “So there are potential conflicts, and you may not have information when you need it.”

Connector bridges the gap in a convenient and effective way.

“Connector serves as an interface between the two systems, and everything is updated automatically,” says Wheeler. “It saves a lot of time and prevents a lot of frustration.”

Because Connector is server-based, there are no individual computers to be updated and configured, so users don’t need additional training.

“We were doing a lot of double work with Siebel and Lotus Notes,” says Gunter Michalk, COO and partner of Team4, a German software developer and a beta user of Connector. “Connector is very user-friendly and reduced a lot of routine work.”

Michalk says another big advantage is that its centralized location (the server) allows companies to implement central strategies. However, he says, there are a few areas for improvement.

“It would be nice to have it work with Microsoft Exchange,” he says. “And it would be nice if custom-made Lotus Notes databases could be shared in Siebel.”

Michalk says both of these improvements are being considered by Connaissance.

Connector costs $75,000 for the server component and $150 for every Siebel client. Included is installation assistance, support and training for server administrators. How to reach: Connaissance, (800) 777-8649.