First Coffee for September 8, 2005

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

First Coffee for September 8, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is… lemme find a CD here… oh, how about country blues master Rev. Gary Davis, Say No to The Devil:

Thanks to Ali Jani, SVP of product management and founder of iCode for taking the time to answer some of First CoffeeSM’s questions. In a few places answers have been lightly edited for a conversational tone:

You’ve been quite an advocate of India as a resource for American high-tech firms. Could iCode be as successful as it is with an “all-American” operation?

Actually, iCode, Inc. is more successful with a mixture of American and India-based resources due to the quality of the talent pool in both locations, the 24/7 around the clock availability for increased productivity, and cost effectiveness. iCode’s carefully blended mixture of India- and American-based resources has had a positive growth impact on iCode’s total solution offerings to the marketplace. With almost 12 years of experience in the small- and mid-sized business market, iCode has determined which job functions are performed in which location to stay competitive in the market.

How has Everest Advanced 2.1 been received?

Everest Advanced 2.1 has been very well received in the marketplace since it addresses the market’s biggest challenges when it comes to optimizing and managing all business, financial and online operations from a single point. Everest Advanced 2.1 addresses these concerns with several new capabilities.

You guys play in the SMB space. Over the next two to five years, what’s going to be the differentiating factor(s) in business applications that succeed in that space, as opposed to those that don’t find traction?

First productivity, both time to productivity and time required to perform job functions. Then Business Performance Management, such things as Business Intelligence, Analytics, KPIs and Business Activity Monitoring. Also business process automation and efficiency, functions that can be automated not requiring human interaction. Finally there’s the flexibility of the solution in configurability, customization, and integration as well as overall solution scalability.

What’s the biggest mistake companies used to the enterprise market make when trying to make products specifically for the SMB market?

Some companies don’t build the product specifically for the SMB market. Instead, they try to take scale down a product that was originally developed for larger companies vs. addressing the specific needs of SMBs.

Did the flooding in Bombay affect any of your operations?

No, this did not affect iCode’s operations in India at all.

Products like Everest are basically one-point management for lots of business functionalities. As far as most SMBs are concerned, what are the three or four key functions they won’t buy such software without?

Supply chain management, accounting, e-commerce and CRM.

What are the SMB verticals you’re looking to for your most significant business growth over the next three years?

Medical equipment and industrial equipment.

Do you segment the market that way, by verticals?

We segment the market by industry type, such as wholesale/distribution, retail and e-tail.

People are comparing the long-term prospects of both China and India, and more people think India is set for greater success. What’s your view?

I personally agree with this assessment, particularly for hardware manufacturers due to the English-speaking capabilities of the talent pool and the high quality selection of software engineers in India as opposed to China.

So Microsoft’s going to offer hosted CRM sometime next year, and a mid-market server in a couple years. One wonders if it’ll be before or after their long-delayed enterprise CRM release, or where the world will be then. Office pool on a release date, anyone? Closest month and year wins.

First CoffeeSM wonders why they’re doing it. “Uh, to make money.” Right, but what’s the driver here? Listen to Steve Ballmer, as reported by Paula Rooney on CRN:

“We recognize that need to respond to [] and will approach that need and a variety of other managed services for smaller and midmarket sized companies over [the] course of [the] next 12 months,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told about 700 partners, customers and analysts gathered for the summit at company headquarters in Redmond, Wash. “We will give a run for its money.”

Okay, he’s getting the troops fired up – “Let’s go get!” – but First CoffeeSM would prefer to see Microsoft responding to market needs, instead of its own need to body-slam market competitors.

It’s always been Bill Gates’s motivation to crush competition, not to build the best software he can. That works for a while, but what happens when you can’t crush the competition through bundling? You need to connect with the market, understand their needs and be humble enough to build what they want, not what you want them to want. Microsoft’s inability to do this is why, as Rooney notes, their three major market attacks on Intuit have all failed. Build a better mousetrap and you’ll win, but Microsoft, being – allegedly – human, can’t always do that.

We know Microsoft is great at crushing competitors, but in hosted mid-market CRM we’ll see how well they can compete with them.

Wow. What a match at the U.S. Open last night. One for the ages – unbelievable shot making, a young player on the biggest stage of his career against a veteran, five sets of quality tennis, momentum shifting back and forth, strong rallies, stupid mistakes, creative play – oh, and Agassi vs. Blake was good, too.

Agassi won a great quarterfinal against James Blake, who’ll be back in the quarters before long, but folks, watch out for Robby Ginepri. In his quarterfinal match against Argentine nandrolone doper and unsportsmanlike embarrassment to tennis Guillermo Coria you saw game by game, almost point by point in that fifth set, a player reaching within himself for the will to win a tennis match that you – and he – didn’t know if he really had or not until it was either have it or go home.

He has it – now. He didn’t when the match started. Tennis requires the greatest gunslinger instincts of any sport, and with the talent so equal among the top forty or fifty players simple determination, desire and guts play a huge role in who wins and who loses. Occasionally you can see someone develop into a gunslinger before your eyes.

Now that boxing’s just corrupt show business tennis is the most pure mano a mano sport. No teammates to carry you, no artificial time limit, no pads or helmets, no mechanical things to go wrong on cars or bikes, no refs deciding which fouls to call and which to let go – and it goes without saying that pleasant fluff like figure skating, diving and gymnastics, where winners are determined by French and Russian judges instead of objective competition, aren’t real sports at all. Motorized barstool racing or cowchip throwing is more of a sport than that.

In tennis you’re not competing against a time, score, weight, target or course, you’re facing your opponent in perfectly even circumstances and one person simply beats another one. No ties, just win or lose. Life or death. Its roots aren’t in a pastime elevated into a “sport,” like bowling or golf, but in sword dueling.

The Robby Ginepri who walked off the court yesterday is not the same one who walked on the court, or even the same one who blew five match points. He’s a gunslinger now.

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