First Coffee for 3 April 2006

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for 3 April 2006

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Blue Note’s Bill Evans collection:

This August will be First Coffee’s tenth anniversary with his Beautiful & Talented Wife, so we decided hey, here in Istanbul we live a two-hour plane ride away from Asia, Africa and Europe, let’s take advantage of that and go somewhere neither of us have been. I’ve done most of my traveling in Western and Central Europe, while she’s been to places like Australia, India, Egypt and Israel.

So we started with a list of cities we’d like to see at some point before we die, go to heaven and are hacked off that we never got to see, Geneva, say.

Geneva was on the list, as were Budapest, Lyon, Prague, Ljubljana, Barcelona, Paris (we’ve both been there, but it has to be on a tenth anniversary list), Venice, places like that – Copenhagen, Lisbon.

Checking airfares and hotel costs – and weather, First Coffee is not a hot-weather guy – we eliminated a few and were left with out Four Coolest, Most Interesting And Affordable Places – alphabetically Barcelona, Budapest, Ljubljana and Prague, which fit the criteria of being affordable for a week’s stay, have interesting architecture and lots of historical interest, coffee shops and restaurants with dishes we don’t get here, and basically be a good place to simply walk and get lost in.

After reading about the places online, getting opinions from friends who’ve been there and going by gut instinct, we settled on Ljubljana. If anyone’s been there we’d love any advice for a late August trip.

Two companies are working together to deploy wireless broadband services based on WiMAX technology.

Intel Capital, Intel’s venture capital investment organization, and Pipex Communications PLC, a United Kingdom-based telecommunications provider, have announced that they have jointly formed Pipex Wireless, a wireless operator which will provide broadband services in major metropolitan areas.

These services are designed to meet the needs of consumers, enterprises and governments for wireless broadband, including citywide “hotspot” wireless access.

Intel Capital is investing $25 million in the new company. Pipex has transferred its entire 3.6GHz UK spectrum license to P Wireless to deploy services based on WiMAX (Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access), a broadband wireless technology designed to provide Internet access over long distances. Intel and Pipex are the company’s only shareholders.

“WiMAX technology improves the economics of broadband access by lowering costs and providing exciting new service models for customers,” said Arvind Sodhani, Intel Capital president. “This investment is part of Intel Capital’s continued effort to deploy broadband access globally using competitive WiMAX-based technology products.”

William Kilmer, managing director of Intel Capital Europe and not the former Redskins quarterback, added that Pipex Wireless will compete in this new market by targeting customers who need more than just fixed broadband to the home or office, especially those who want a bundle of different access methods and value-added services.

Intel Capital, through its relationship with Intel, plans to work closely with Pipex Wireless, advising them on trial deployments, partner introductions, and go-to-market activities.

Peter Dubens, Pipex executive chairman, said that with a wireless service, Pipex Wireless will offer broadband access and services “complementary to Pipex’s existing business of DSL access, hosting and network access.”

Dubens will serve as chairman of the board of Pipex Wireless, and the company has hired key personnel for the rollout of wireless services. The Pipex Wireless board and Intel Capital are evaluating qualified candidates for the position of company CEO.

Pipex Wireless anticipates the roll-out of its network to begin in London and Manchester in 2007, and target the top eight population centers by 2008.

Business Objects, a vendor of business intelligence products, has announced that it has closed the acquisition of privately-held Firstlogic, Inc., a global provider of enterprise data quality software and services.

The acquisition provides Business Objects customers with what BO officials say are best-of-breed data quality products, and is part of what company officials describe as a long-term strategy to offer customers “a trusted data foundation for enterprise information management.”

By adding data quality to its EIM portfolio, Business Objects is providing customers with the tools to generate information that can form the basis for enterprise BI and performance management deployments.

John Schwarz, CEO of Business Objects says that now more than ever, “organizations are placing a premium on the value of accurate, complete, and timely information.”

The acquisition is an all-cash transaction of approximately $69 million. The transaction will be accounted for under the purchase method of accounting. Business Objects will provide more information on the financial impact of the acquisition when it releases Q1 2006 earnings on April 26, 2006.

Business Objects plans to unveil its EIM strategy in a global launch event broadcast from the Business Objects Insight Europe customer conference in Cannes, France on May 3, 2006.

First Coffee shares Chris Kenton‘s dismay over a new report, sponsored by Netline Corp., of 558 senior marketing executives and managers drawn from many industries and covering what Kenton describes as “the entire Customer Relationship Lifecycle, including acquisition and retention programs, and the data systems used to manage and measure them.”

Kenton, senior VP of the CMO Council, said the survey is an attempt to “explore some of the attitudes, trends and day-to-day realities that are shaping customer-centric marketing operations.” The study, “Select and Connect: Strategies for Targeted Acquisition and Retention” will be released soon, but as Kenton says, the results are not heartening:

“The most troubling finding from our study is that marketers appear surprisingly detached from their customers. Marketers report an overwhelming reliance on their CRM systems as a primary source of customer data, with very little insight gained through customer service, distribution channels, customer organizations or communities, or even online customer networks.”

Why so little insight? Probably because the survey found that 40 percent of all respondents rated their customer data systems as “weak” or “very weak” in critical areas. That is not a system one will trust, and marketers can be forgiven for not relying on it.

“Perhaps a little more emphasis should be put on human contact rather than systems integration,” Kenton says: “Nearly 75 percent of marketers in our survey said they have no customer advisory group of any kind, whether a formal advisory board or even an informal Web community of users or buyers.”

“While building a marketing organization that serves, measures and responds to customers is important, it is not sufficient. Marketers can’t afford to get lost in the weeds on tactical development while losing their connection with customers,” Kenton concludes.


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