First Coffee for September 7, 2005

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

First Coffee for September 7, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is an old favorite, Al Stewart’s Modern Times:

Got an e-mail yesterday from Jeffrey Billado:

I am a PBX salesman and I came across a bid request for a hotel property that requires speech activated valet services. Essentially what they desire is the ability for a guest to press one button from their room phone, hit an IVR, request their car, set the time for pickup and then go down to the valet area at that time. This needs to be all speech activated - they only want to press the initial button from the room phone.

Are you aware of any pre-packaged solutions that can do this?

Anybody know of something e-mail Jeff at

Microsoft adopts the on-demand hosted software delivery model… well, kinda.

Australian-based AIE Technologies is announcing the launch of www.Software4Rent.Biz, what they describe as “a fully automated, web-based service where users can rent popular Microsoft programs such as PowerPoint, Excel, Project, etc., on an ad-hoc basis such as by the hour, day, week, etc.”

Leave it to the Aussies. Most underrated country in the world. The website allows users to use a credit card to rent software for as little as $2 a day and can be accessed at

Garry Ohlson, AIE’s CEO told Byron Connolly in August that the service “had taken three years to develop as a response to Microsoft’s Service Provider Licensing Agreements of 2002,” in Connolly’s words.

As a result, AIE can offer Software4Rent, what they’re billing as “a world first – an online, internet accessed system to rent various Microsoft products and soon other software such as accounting, security, design, CRM etc., on an as-needed basis, on demand, online and always available.”

This sounds like a trial balloon to First CoffeeSM,   the good folks back in Redmond’ll be watching to see how this flies. Microsoft Australia licensing product manager Thomas Kablau told ComputerWorld a couple weeks ago that Microsoft has around 62 direct SPLA partners in Australia that offer Microsoft products on a rental basis.

Based on AIE’s CALPIM software asset management engine, Software4Rent allows SME, SoHo and private users to be one-hundred proof license compliant with their software at hosted prices.

Many people cannot justify what they perceive as a high license cost for their perceived low or private usage,” Ohlson said, “so rather than buy it, many individuals borrow or download a copy illegally. Now we can give them the option of renting it online very easily and cheaply, (making software) a utility like electricity, water or gas. You should only have to pay for software when you use it.”

Why can’t Americans speak this plainly?

Jeremy Horton, AIE’s Chief Architect said Microsoft is offering “more and more of its products in this manner, as well as the other major software vendors such as SAP, Oracle and” AIE itself is considering hosting Adobe products as well.

Ohlson added that this model “has been shown to have little impact on license purchases…  A license purchase is not cost justifiable for infrequent users, hence the world’s high level of software piracy in the public sector. In fact it is now quicker, simpler and easier to rent the latest and current versions of software legally on demand than go to the trouble of locating software that can be copied.”

He credited the adoption of broadband worldwide and specifically in Australia recently for being “the big driver behind this change in consumer patterns.”

The system is built on version two of Microsoft’s .Net platform, Ohlson told Connolly. “It works similar to the way that Citrix works, like a thin-client. Everything runs on a host machine.” It’s so cheap to run, Ohlson says, his company only needs 20 customers to cover their expenses.

In the past couple days First CoffeeSM has received more sad tales of woe from those who’ve ordered CDs or DVDs from, which has been used here on First CoffeeSM as a textbook example of how not to treat customers.

Here’s the CRM lesson for today: Read these e-mails (toned down for family viewing) and decide what your company can do to avoid receiving them and losing customers such as Joel and Steve:

From Joel:

Another nightmare story to add to the list. I ordered a DVD from Caiman got a DVD fairly quickly from them. Problem is, it was the WRONG DVD!! I went to their site and printed out their return label and sent it back. After numerous e-mails to them, I’m yet to either receive the DVD I ordered or a refund.

And from Steve:

As with the person who’s e-mail you quoted on April 29th, 2005, chalk up another Caiman victim. As with the previous person, I wish I had stumbled upon the scores of burned customer stories before dealing with (them).

My story is basically the same as the others, bought a fairly rare item on, was charged for it, said it shipped, a month later still nothing. Attempts at contacting Caiman have been...less than productive, and I’m yet to get an answer. Today I left negative feedback and started the dispute/claim on with them.

It’s not that First CoffeeSM has anything personal against Well, nothing more than he’d have against any business which ignores a promised ship-by date and, when contacted, let him know quite clearly that missed ship-by dates are the customer’s fault, and that themselves couldn’t possibly give a damn. It’s that businesses such as Caiman, operating on, among other sites, are the ones who tarnish the image of online business and scare consumers off other, reputable online retailers.

Such terrible customer service as offers is a professional offense to this professional Customer Relationship Management writer, but it’s also turning people off to online commerce at all, which means it’s something we should all be concerned about.

Here’s a novel approach to policing online activity: TechWeb is reporting on a new Trojan that monitors access to porn sites, hectoring the surfer by showing a passage from the Koran on the screen:

Yusufali.a – a.k.a. called “Cager.a” – watches which sites Windows users visit by examining the browser’s title bar. If the Trojan sees a word in its list, such as “xx,” “penis” or “sex” it minimizes the window and shows the Koranic quotation “Yusufali: Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for they fault, and for the men and women who believe: for Allah knows how ye move about and how ye dwell in your homes.” Consequences for second offenders weren’t disclosed.

Chris Regan and Bryan Preston show that New Orleans city officials’ plan for evacuation in the case of a tur’ble storm was, instead of using all those hundreds of city-owned buses to get poor and sick people to safety, to ask churches to organize car pools. City and state hurricane “response plans” were so inept and unrealistic the American Red Cross refused to staff New Orleans hurricane shelters out of fear for the safety of Red Cross workers.

Read Louisiana and New Orleans’ official disaster plans here and here, compare the needless misery and suffering in New Orleans with Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, where Gov. Haley Barbour did an absolutely outstanding job of organizing local first response, and you’ll see why New Orleans and Louisiana officials deserve about 95 percent of any blame being dished out.

Blaming President Bush for anything to do with Katrina is like blaming the surgeon who can’t save the life of a sleazy criminal shot in the head while trying to mug an old lady.

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