ShortCycles Unveils Sales and Marketing Information Exchange

ShortCycles, a start-up based in San Bruno, Calif., has unveiled the new ShortCycles Sales and Marketing Information Exchange, developed in conjunction with HP over the last four years. The exchange, designed to facilitate the exchange of information between sales and marketing organizations, is based on ShortCycles' Context-Maps technology and is an ASP solution that can be deployed in as little as 30 days.

HP is basing its internal sales communications solution, Electronic Sales Partner (ESP), on the Sales and Marketing Information Exchange and is in the process of deploying the solution for its 5,000-member sales and marketing force and more than 10,000 Channel Partners.

The technology underlying the exchange is ShortCycles Context Maps, a Web-based solution designed to complement existing CRM (customer relationship management) software by providing access to the unstructured data that resides in documents, faxes, e-mails (and attachments) and presentations. This kind of access is essential, according to Ed Mueller, President and CEO of ShortCycles, who cites figures from AMR Research revealing that only 20 percent of the data needed by sales and marketing resides in traditional databases while 80 percent remains in unstructured format.

The ShortCycles Context-Maps technology is based on the way sales and marketing personnel actually ask for content, according to Mueller. Context Maps allows users to categorize and retrieve documents against multiple dimensions, or contexts, including document type, product line and target market. Standard context maps can be extended to accommodate specific user needs. The Context Maps support common Web standards, like XML, ICE (Internet Context Exchange) and RDF.

ShortCycles Sales and Marketing Information Exchange offers, in addition to Context Maps, modules for sales, marketing and VARs. ShortCycles Sales features a wizard that walks sales personnel through procedures that vary according to the prospect's specific characteristics; a Virtual Team component that allows creation of virtual selling teams made up of sales, pre-sales and marketing personnel; MyShortCycles, which provides up-to-date news feeds and market and competitive briefs; and ShortCycles Competitive Briefs, which offers information on selling strategies and special promotions along with the latest information about competitors' products, programs and strategies.

ShortCycles Marketing includes Net-Net, which delivers online messages and information for sales in brief bullet points; Feedback, which establishes a closed-loop feedback system between sales and marketing to give content providers feedback on the usefulness of information; Content Manager, which ensures that content is up-to-date and accurate; and Publisher, which publishes and categorizes information.

ShortCycles Business Partner, designed for the channel, includes Profiler, which profiles Channel Partners and delivers information that matches their specific needs; and Alerts, which notifies users when information changes.

The ShortCyles Sales and Marketing Information Exchange is available now for a one-time setup fee and charges ranging from $69 to $99 per month.