First Coffee for 19 January, 2006

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

First Coffee for 19 January, 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.”

ompanies 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. “However, as with the retail sector, success in Eastern Europe will largely depend on the available logistics network, which is where 3PLs with the necessary infrastructure could play a significant role.”

And the research suggests to Datamonitor that in high-tech, outsourced logistics will account for “two-thirds of overall logistics spend in 2010.”

The supply chain in the hi-tech sector has come under pressure due to the success of the “just-in-time” business model, and the continuing globalization of both the production and consumer bases. As a result, Datamonitor thinks, “logistics spend in this sector to increase by $724 million through to 2010, two-thirds of which will be given to 3PLs.”

“The driver for all industries looking to outsource the movement of their goods is the need to reduce costs in order to increase profitability,” the report concludes. “3PLs will have to understand and anticipate the specific factors driving their targeted industry if they are to satisfy current customers, capture new ones and make the most of this boom time.”

Marc Benioff’s back in fine fettle, issuing communiqués on’s recent Winter release of his AppExchange baby – the “most exciting and important product I have ever worked on.”

Saying AppExchange “embodies the power of social production (made popular through open source, blogs, Wiki, and other Internet systems) in attacking the traditional monolithic enterprise software applications dominated today by vendors with 1990 architectures,” the Sultan of the Soundbite says “dependency on those cumbersome and inefficient behemoths can be lethal to productivity and innovation,” claiming “there is always a better answer out there in the global community, and only the most open and democratic systems will enable the discovery and distribution of that better answer.”

As Utopias do, however, the brave new softwareless world needs “a secure, reliable, scalable platform” to provide today’s businesses with “the stability they need,” Benioff says. Why, that’s AppExchange, ready with “the tools, databases, and directories for generating secure, scalable, and reliable applications.”

The result? What Benioff’s calling “The Business Web.” He cites Google, Adobe, Skype, Esker “and hundreds of others” as applications “not born in conference rooms, emerging after years of negotiation and planning,” living, breathing examples of “the creativity of social production in action, and a most compelling example of The End of Software.”

I like Marc Benioff. I really do. It’s hard not to like Marc, and this world in general and tech in particular would be better off with more idiosyncratic visionaries who have as much on the ball as Marc does. But I’ll be a lot more ready to hear about The End Of Software once stops using it themselves.

Gotuit Media Corp., a provider of personalized video products, has announced it has expanded the collection of concerts and live performance footage available on its Gotuit Music On Demand service.

The concert videos and live performances being added to Gotuit Music On Demand include the likes of Tupac Shakur, Ice T, Macy Gray, James Brown, Ziggy Marley, Public Enemy, The Ramones, Brian Setzer, ELO, and The Moody Blues.

And that’s why they made the cut here on First CoffeeSM – anybody who can work both James Brown, the most ripped-off artist in pop music history, and The Ramones in the same press release will get ink.

Private Business, Inc., a provider of technology for financial institutions, has announced it has acquired the assets of P.T.C. Banking Systems, Inc. PTC is a developer of teller automation products, servicing approximately 80 financial institutions throughout the United States from its headquarters in Bradenton, Florida.

PTC’s flagship product, WinTELLER, is a teller automation system designed to help bank branches better manage customer account transactions and improve teller efficiency. This acquisition is intended to complement the financial technology products and services of PBIZ. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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