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January 2006

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First Coffee for 31 January, 2006

January 31, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Frank Sinatra’s weepy No One Cares. Might have to pick up the pace here soon:

C3i, a CRM vendor, today announced that a specialty pharmaceutical company selected C3i to offer end-to-end Siebel Pharma Services.

C3i will upgrade the life sciences customer’s CRM application to Siebel 7.8 for its 750 U.S.-based sales force. Following the upgrade, C3i officials say, they’ll provide global help desk support, and managed services for Tier II and Tier III technical support.

C3i will also offer workstation engineering, tablet deployment and hardware repair services for new tablet computers. The whole deal includes roll-out training and new hire instruction to ensure end-user adoption of the Siebel Pharma system.

Richard Matlus, research vice president at Gartner said pharmaceutical companies rely on CRM more than some other firms do.

First Coffee for 30 January, 2006

January 30, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bill Evans’s highly underrated piano jazz:

According to a new survey by investment bank

First Coffee for 28 January, 2006

January 28, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Ol’ Blue Eyes’s “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good:”

First CoffeeSM loves pouring gasoline on fires as much as the next excitement-addicted journalist, so would like to report that GlobeTel Communications is officially stating today that in accordance with the obligations placed on all Amex-listed companies under Rule 401(c) of the Rules of the American Stock Exchange yada yada yada, GlobeTel Communications Corp. “would like to state in the strongest terms that the statements and implications made by Mr. Seth Jayson in his Motley Fool article dated January 23rd, 2006, are entirely without substance and are misleading.”

Take that, ye Fool. “The company rejects his attempts at guilt by association regarding persons and actions that predate any GlobeTel involvement with Advantage Telecom,” the statement continues:

“GlobeTel believes his misleading statements result in damaging implications that have the potential to seriously damage both shareholder value and the ability of GTE management to effectively conduct the company’s business.”

Well, what’s this catfight?

Things kicked off when GlobeTel stock shot up 75 percent in a single day in late December after the firm, which describes itself as a “diversified, global telecommunications and financial services company” announced a $600 million “WiMAX wireless network” deal for the “30 largest Russian cities,” Jayson recounts.

GlobeTel CEO Tim Huff predicted at the time that “Russia will, quickly and at a relatively modest cost, have a wireless infrastructure that will rival any in the industrialized world,” according to Red Herring.

Jayson wrote a commentary titled “More Hot Air From GlobeTel” on January 6 at Motley Fool. He started off with “If there’s one thing hotter than solar and/or fuel-cell-powered, blimp-borne Internet communications, it’s gotta be Russian WiMAX. At least that’s what the folks at GlobeTel would like you to believe.”

But, Jayson reminded readers, “last summer, GlobeTel announced a deal to put Internet blimps over Colombia,” as well as announcing “turnkey VoIP products,” deals for wireless networks in China, Japan, and Germany, and “many other projects that so far seem to have produced nothing more than penny-stock froth.”

Jayson’s advice for those thinking of investing in GlobeTel? “Hide that wallet.” It gets 100 percent of its revenue “from the dirty old phone biz,” Jayson says, pointing out that even there, “its margins are zero (when they’re not negative) right after the cost of goods sold.

First Coffee for 27 January, 2006

January 27, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a shuffle of all the songs on iTunes that I’ve played fewer than three times, just to keep things from getting stale. Current song: “The Shadow Of Your Smile,” by Tony Bennett:

Management Technology Consulting LLC, through its MTCCRM.com site, is now offering Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 in what MTC officials say is “a choice of hosted products to fit every customer need and budget size.”

Hosted products allow CRM users to offload all the cost and headache of an enterprise-class business application. It’s proven quite the successful business model for RightNow Technologies, NetSuite and salesforce.com.

MTCCRM.com is MTC’s online resource, e-store, and e-consultant site exclusively about Microsoft Dynamics CRM, devoted to over 1,000 pages of Microsoft CRM resources.

MTC has added two choices for organizations that are considering a hosted option that company officials claim “truly is frictionless in start-up and maintained at a value.” Offering both dedicated servers and virtual servers in an encompassing array of set-up and monthly cost price points, as well as performance, scalability, and the ability to host complementary enterprise applications.

The virtual server technology basically allows inexpensive, low price points for up to 10 users, and even if you have only two or three users it might be affordable to implement CRM and get value out of the deal.

The dedicated server has greater performance, scaling to thousands of users and allowing later line-of-business integration they may need.

MTC’s job is to efficiently manage a frictionless on-line process and provide deep customer service for their server hosting partners.

Datamonitor‘s announcing that Avaya Inc.

First Coffee for 26 December, 2006

January 26, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a Glenn Miller swing set:

Funniest line in a news story so far today: “The claim by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was based on reporting by Hamas activists who observed the counting in the polling stations, the group said…”

A latest global survey reveals that “the theft or loss of personal or financial information is the number one concern among consumers worldwide,” according to a results reported in Comtex Environment.

The Harris Interactive survey was commissioned by Visa International, and found that “theft or loss of personal or financial information” was the number one concern among 64 percent of consumers worldwide, edging out environmental degradation (62 percent) and terrorism (58 percent).

Other major issues for the consumers are job losses, disease or epidemics, and natural disasters, the survey says. The release of Chris Selland’s all-time favorite movie, Miss Congeniality II on video and the possibility that Sandra Bullock might be possessed by Satan to make Miss Congeniality III scored only slightly below Iran’s nuclear arms program and Asian bird flu.

Seventy-seven percent of the Chinese surveyed are “highly concerned” about having personal or financial information lost or stolen, 13 points higher than the worldwide average, the survey shows.

First Coffee for 25 January, 2006

January 25, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Jack Johnson’s lovely Hawaiian-tinged, acoustic guitar-driven In Between Dreams:

Customer Relationship Management vendor Talisma is announcing the immediate availability of Talisma CRM 7.0, what company officials are billing as “the latest version of the industry’s most powerful multi-channel CRM solution.”

The 7.0 release claims more than 100 new and enhanced features and four new add-on modules. The upgrades are aimed at bolstering the product’s sales force automation, customer interaction management and customer service functions.

The new version of CRM suite provides “significant enhancements across all areas of the customer lifecycle,” with company officials highlighting additions such as greater access to disparate data sources, improved user experience and administration capabilities and software diagnostics.

It’s a done deal, folks, but today Siebel Systems, Inc. has announced details for its Special Meeting of Stockholders to be held on January 31, 2006 at 11:00 a.m.

First Coffee for 24 January, 2006

January 24, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the strains of Joni Mitchell’s Court & Spark wafting up from my wife’s CD player downstairs:

Canada appears to have realized that “We hate the United States and everything they do” a) wasn’t much of a national “identity,” and b) was becoming noticed south of the border. Congratulations to Stephen Harper, you’ve got your work cut out for you, mate.

Onyx is eager to put CDC’s failed bid for control behind it, announcing Onyx Employee Portal Wireless for Japan. Described by company officials as “part of an integrated suite of mobile enterprise CRM” products, OEP Wireless for Japan is immediately available for Foma 3G and mova 2G Series iMode devices.

Onyx’s introduction of OEP Wireless for Japan opens the market for 45 million iMode users to access Onyx’s CRM platform. OEP Wireless for Japan is designed to deliver capabilities for managing customer and partner account, sales, service and support activities.

OEP Wireless features a thin client mobile interface using Onyx’s XML-based pure Internet platform.

First Coffee for 23 January, 2006

January 23, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Trane’s Blues, a nice John Coltrane collection:

Just like I said at the beginning of the season: Pittsburgh and Seattle in the Super Bowl. Why’d you ever doubt me?

Now here’s how to double your money: Take Pittsburgh and the 3 ½ Vegas line. The Steelers are going to destroy those people.

Now’s not a great time to be Vodafone. The British mobile colossus is tottering, buffeted by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, their CEO Arun Sarin’s getting henpecked by shareholders and the news won’t be good Tuesday, when they announce their subscriber numbers.

Oh there’ll be plenty new customers – about seven million, give or take. But some heavyweight investors, the ones whose opinions matter, want to see Vodafone “sell its struggling business in Japan and its minority stake in Verizon Wireless of the US,” Britain’s Sunday Telegraph reports.

Some industry observers put the Verizon stake as the biggest problem.

First Coffee for 21 January, 2006

January 21, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the greatest album in rock, The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street. No argument, please.

So why did Hong Kong software maker CDC Corp. drop out of the hunt for a majority stake in CRM software developer Onyx yesterday?

According to InfoWorld Daily that eliminates the possibility of long, drawn-out struggle for the troubled CRM vendor, which is to the good, I guess.

CDC’s proposal was to kick in all the assets of CDC Software, and $50 million in folding green, for a majority of Onyx’s common stock, keeping Onyx a publicly-listed company. Onyx’s management announced two weeks ago they were rejecting the deal.

So taking a page from Qwest’s playbook, CDC then said they wanted to deal directly with Onyx’s major shareholders, see what they thought about CDC’s proposal to merge its software holdings with Onyx’s.

First Coffee for 20 January, 2006

January 20, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Beethoven’s String Quartet in B flat, Op. 130:

Working Solutions, a provider of remote agent call center services to Fortune 1000 companies, has launched three new vertical offerings for the travel, healthcare, and financial services industries.

Called Agents OnDemand, they’re “designed in response to the specific inbound calling and customer requirements of these key industry vertical segments,” and are “the first to extend the proven efficiencies of the supply chain process and use the high quality, industry-specific knowledge of an experienced remote agent to deliver a ‘just in time’ workforce for corporate call centers,” according to Working Solutions CEO Tim Houlne.

Houlne explains that Agents OnDemand are designed to let contact centers respond to fluctuating call volumes by using agents as needed.

It’s an oft-repeated idea today that companies can save money and increase customer satisfaction by outsourcing their call centers to providers who use industry professional agents. McKesson Health Solutions L.L.C. of Broomfield, Colorado, is a Fortune 20 subsidiary that earned a Texas Medicaid contract to perform disease management outreach to 30,000 participants. Rather than use internal registered nurses, they contracted non-clinical calls to Working Solutions, who used remote healthcare agents to handle transactions.

Houlne noted that Business Week and The Wall Street Journal have recently cited forecasts by “industry experts” projecting that the number of remote home agents will increase threefold over the next five years.

Privacy advocates are asking the Homeland Security Department “not to include the use of Radio Frequency Identification contactless chips in its regulations for implementing the Real ID Act for state driver’s licenses,” according to published reports.

In a Jan. 13 letter to Secretary Michael Chertoff, Newsbytes reports, “the groups assert that RFID costs a lot, lacks standardized technology and poses potential dangers to privacy from unauthorized reading of the chips.”

While the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cost of implementing the Real ID Act at $100 million, reports say, Citizens Against Government Waste judged that an RFID chip mandate as part of the act would cost up to $17 billion.

Amdocs is happy these days.

First Coffee for 19 January, 2006

January 19, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Robert Earl Keen, Jr.’s “For Love,” the song of the year for 2005 as far as I’m concerned:

INation’s NationBuilder CRM platform is now partnered with portfolio accounting and performance reporting from Albridge Solutions.

The partnership allows subscribers to iNation’s NationBuilder CRM tool to access Albridge Solutions’ consolidated customer account information via one Web portal.

Gary Bennett, president of iNation says financial advisors can now “segment their book of business by searching and sorting using a number of variables.” For example, an advisor could look at all clients invested in a particular investment, with a certain account size, who live in the same area and have common interests, and then use that data to automatically send e-mail communications or a mail campaign to a targeted group.

INation’s NationBuilder product was launched in 2005, designed specifically for financial advisors and other sales professionals.

Kind of an FYI, “gee-whiz” news piece, but the Japan Economic Newswire is reporting this morning that Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. will withdraw from the camera business at the end of March, selling its digital single-lens reflex camera division to Sony. The company will dump 3,700 employees as well, just over ten percent of the workforce.

I know it’s a business decision and all that, the company says they want to focus – sorry – on such products as copiers and electronic components, but still, for those of us who’ve had Minolta cameras, the news that there won’t be any more of them, it’s kind of, well, maybe my father felt this way when Volkswagen stopped producing the Beetle.

The news reports say that the shift from film cameras to digital cameras knocked Konica Minolta for a loop, being more of a pure optical technology firm they weren’t really in the league anymore.

Oh well, time moves on.

Datamonitor’s done another one of their studies, this time finding that business for third-party logistics providers looks “very promising.”

In their recently published “European Logistics House View,” the tech research firm finds that expenditure on outsourced 3PL provision across the Automotive, Consumer, Hi-Tech, Pharmaceutical, and Retail industries is “set to increase significantly over the coming four years.”

In Europe’s automotive industry for example, what Datamonitor calls “continual pressure on costs” will mean 3PLs “account for 60% of overall expenditure on logistics services by 2010,” Datamonitor thinks.

But they do warn that 3PLs must “understand the factors driving the outsourcing trend in respective industries if they are intent on winning new business,” presumably by purchasing a Datamonitor report.

Overall logistics spend in the European retail market will increase by $12 billion by 2010, the report says: “Although the grocery retail sector is largely nationalistic due to differing domestic tastes within Europe, the largest European markets are reaching saturation point.”

Companies moving eastwards will present opportunities to 3PLs as well, Datamonitor thinks, finding that within the consumer grocery sector “European companies are shifting their gaze eastwards due to competitive pressures caused by an increase in private labeling and a rise in discounters,” says Chris Morgan, Datamonitor logistics analyst and author of the research.

First Coffee for 18 January, 2006

January 18, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is… well, let’s bring up iTunes, click on Library, hit “Shuffle” and see what we get… okay, play… ah, it’s Lou Reed’s “Intro/Sweet Jane” masterpiece from Rock’n’Roll Animal. Nice start to the day:

First CoffeeSM’s unofficial position as chronicler of bad customer relationship experiences with online vendor Caiman.com is becoming known around the blogosphere, as “Mark” writes in to say:

I had a similar experience with this dishonest vendor (caiman.com). I bought a CD from them via Amazon.com and it has been 6 months now and I have still not received it! Worse, they are not responding to emails.

First Coffee for 17 January, 2006

January 17, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Anton Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, the “New World Symphony,” conducted by Leonard Bernstein:

Promo marketing agency Marketsync Inc. is announcing Marketsync for salesforce.com’s AppExchange.

Marketsync bills itself as an on-demand service that lets salesforce.com customers and subscribers “touch contacts and leads with real-world marketing materials and to capture the data needed to track marketing ROI.”

Built on the AppExchange on-demand platform, Marketsync for AppExchange is immediately available for test drive and deployment at www.appexchange.com, in conjunction with the Salesforce Winter ‘06 release.

Adam Gross, director, product marketing, salesforce.com explains that Marketsync for AppExchange lets users “design, execute, and measure their marketing programs right from within their Salesforce deployment.”

Marketsync for AppExchange is one of more than 150 applications created by salesforce.com, its customers and partners that are now available on the salesforce.com AppExchange, what salesforce.com loves calling “the world’s first on-demand application platform.”

ViVOtech, a vendor of contactless payment products, is announcing a demonstration today at the National Retail Federation Show at the Javits Center in New York City.

They’re promising a live demonstration of their end-to-end NFC payment product, designed to enable secure transactions with mobile devices. It will include four NFC-enabled mobile phones pre-loaded with ViVOwallet software, as well as various credit cards making contactless transactions at ViVOpay readers attached to point of sale systems located throughout the booth.

Attendees viewing the phones will be able to see what a “soft card” image looks like in the phone’s display window after being delivered through an over-the-air provisioning infrastructure.

The NFC-enabled phones will regularly download various types of content from “smart posters” with RFID tags embedded into them. Attendees will be able to view this content on the phone display screen.

First Coffee for 16 January 2006

January 16, 2006

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Jack Johnson’s 2005 album In Between Dreams, a nice find I made in New Zealand over Christmas, hearing it in a café on the South Island near Oamaru:

Yes, we’re back from the most beautiful country in the world, New Zealand, visiting my wife’s family for Christmas and traveling around afterwards. As a general rule I don’t like vacations, and I’ve been dreading the first real live car vacation with three kids (remembering how they went when I was on the other side of the driver’s seat), but it went swimmingly – our kids traveled well, even on the 14-hour Dubai-Melbourne flights, we covered quite a bit of territory and saw quite a lot of New Zealand’s cultural history, along with the gorgeous landscapes and coffee shops offering drinks called “long blacks” or “short whites” with fresh-baked everything wonderful.

Favorite coffee shop story: We’re in Queenstown, my wife and I go into a local bakery/coffee shop around seven in the morning – jet lag – and settle on two long blacks and point to New Zealand-style doughnuts, what we’d call cream éclairs.

“Sorry,” the counter girl says somewhat apologetically, “those are old, we’re not selling them, the new ones’ll be out soon.”

Well, day-old doesn’t bother us, so we say don’t worry, we’ll take ‘em. She serves them and doesn’t charge us for them. “We’ll pay, no problem,” we say. She smiles, says “no worries, mate” and waves us off.

Excellent museums, gorgeous scenery, strikingly nice people, good wines, what’s not to like?

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