Intelledgement, L.L.C.

Intelligent knowledge management

Building the Knowledgebase: Level 8 Systems

“The most important thing was to get a production SFA tool as soon as possible. Intelledgement delivered!”

— Tom Trodgen, VP Sales, Level 8

Who is the customer?

Level 8 is a US-based high tech solutions provider in the applications integration market space. Their business is helping organizations to improve customer service by bridging the gaps between incompatible systems and contact channels. Their Cicero product automates the manual stopgap processes that customer service agents develop to integrate disparate applications, thus making the agents’ lives easier, improving the efficiency of service to customers, and cutting costs.

What needed to be done?

Level 8 had recently acquired several new product lines including two middleware solutions and an application development toolset. They had four sets of customers to service and prospects to sell to, and they had three different sales processes to integrate. They had sales offices on four continents and even among each existing sales force, there was no standard process for sales reporting. As a public company, Level 8 was under the gun to accurately forecast revenues. Additionally, with the most complex and expensive product, there was a long sales cycle and the sales management team needed to stay on top of the tactical requirements of the sales personnel in the field to keep each of those prospective deals on track. Plus their consulting and training services were concomitant to some of these products, and significant contractual issues (e.g., the structure of software maintenance agreements could vary widely) that complicated the sales process as under certain circumstances, review/approval of out-of-the-ordinary contract provisions was needed other departments besides sales and upper management. To address these needs, Level 8 decided to implement a sales force automation (“SFA”) solution.

Why choose Intelledgement?

“Intelledgement offers a good combination of sales force support experience, an appreciation of the technical and cultural issues facing a multinational organization, and an understanding of the strategic information requirements for upper management in a public company,” stated Richard W. Phelps, Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing. “And it’s a plus that they have no relationship with any sales force automation tool company, because we needed an objective evaluation of several alternatives.”

What was Intelledgement’s solution?

In preliminary discussions between Intelledgement and Level 8 management, it became clear that while the company was seeking a world-wide sales force automation solution, the initial project was being funded by the Americas business unit, and thus would be limited to bringing all the North and South American sales personnel online. It also became clear that there were a couple of candidate technologies already in place. Thus Intelledgement planned a three-stage process for the SFA project:

How did the solution work?

The first task was to gather requirements to understand Level 8’s needs. The funds for the SFA project were coming from the Americas sales business unit, and their main focus was to get their sales force online so they could track and manage their opportunities, and report pipeline data to upper management. For their part, upper management had a keen interest in the sales projections and were in favor of any technology that would improve their accuracy, and they were also interested in improving the prioritization of sales requirements, so that it would be easier to understand the impact on revenue of acceding to (or eschewing) particular demands by prospects and existing customers who might place followon orders.

However, upper management also wanted any SFA solution to be consistent with long term company requirements. Most immediately these included adding the EMEA and Asia Pacific sales force to the system, but also important were extensions to enable product configurators/pricers to help with complex deals, a link to the legal department and their set of standard contracts and schedules, and a link to the customer service department and their technology (especially critical for follow-on deals with existing customers which often had dependencies on specific enhancement requests or bugs).

Intelledgement’s needs analysis work uncovered the existence of two potential solutions that the company already had some level of commitment to. A subset of US sales personnel were using an IBM product called Field Sales. While the current version had some limitations, a forthcoming release was said adequately address the management and reporting requirements and also fix a but that prevented untethered portable PCs from reliably synching with the central database remotely (it only worked reliably if the sales person was on a LAN at a sales office). Level 8 had already invested $50,000 in this solution (but that decision had not been taken by the current Americas Sales management). The second solution was called SalesFirst, and it was a companion system to a CRM solution called CustomerFirst which Level 8 had just purchased. The current version was tethered only which was a non-starter but the next version was to be untethered (so that sales personnel could work to update their data without being connected to the central database). The cardinal advantage with SalesFirst was that it provided out-of-the-box connectivity to the CustomerFirst CRM database.

Intelledgement managed a series of presentations by vendors and internal discussions and analyses of the SFA technologies. Both the incumbant products were notably immature. There were only 100 Field Sales customers and just 20 SalesFirst customers; all were in the USA. Neither existing product met the minimum requirements and the forthcoming versions were not available for review. A consensus developed that a more mature product was needed to ensure that all existing requirements could be met, and so we widened our evaluation to include several additional products. Within nine weeks of the start of the project, Level 8 agreed to conduct a pilot with the Americas’ sales force plus a couple of users in EMEA/Asia Pacific utilizing SalesLogix’s SFA technology.

The implementation project was managed by SalesLogix and went smoothly (once it started a couple of months later following resolution of some contractual issues).

Bottom line: is the customer satisfied?

“The most important thing was to get a production SFA tool as soon as possible,” stated Tom Trogden, VP Sales-Americas. “Intelledgement delivered!”

“Intelledgement did an excellent job helping Level 8 select and contract for a new sales force automation package (Saleslogix) and support services,” commented Richard W. Phelps, Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing.

“The quality of the intelligence we get from the SalesLogix pipeline reports is great…we don’t always like what we see, but we sure like seeing it,” said Steven Dmiszewicki, Level 8 President. “And I appreciate the way Intelledgement resolved issues that cut across department lines in a way that ensured everyone’s concerns were considered as we came rapidly to the consensus decision that got us here.”


Level 8 Systems are a leading supplier of application integration products and services. Their Cicero™ product enables call center organizations to cut costs, improve efficiency, and make their employees’ jobs easier and more rewarding. Founded in 1988, Level 8—who have since changed their company name to “Cicero”—are based in Cary, North Carolina. For more information, please visit

Founded in 1999, Intelledgement, LLC is a knowledge management consulting business with extensive experience in the design and development of information collation, organization, and distribution solutions. Intelledgement has helped organizations select and implement marketing information systems, sales tracking systems, pricing configurators, employee intranets, customer extranets and much more. For more information, please visit