First Coffee for 17 May 2006: CRM Vendor SAP's IVN Network, RWD's uPerform Released, On-Demand CRM's New AppExchange Offering, The Worst 13-Volume Novel In History

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

First Coffee for 17 May 2006: CRM Vendor SAP's IVN Network, RWD's uPerform Released, On-Demand CRM's New AppExchange Offering, The Worst 13-Volume Novel In History

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Handel’s Water Music:

RWD Technologies, Inc., a vendor of learning and performance products and services, has released RWD uPerform, what company officials describe as “a comprehensive performance support tool for businesses seeking to improve application functionality and return on investment for their enterprise products.”

In the enterprise resource planning (ERP) sector alone, companies will invest upwards of $39 billion per year by 2009, according to the IDC study "Worldwide ERP Applications 2005-2009 Forecast and 2004 Vendor Shares," released last August. Yet despite such massive investments, many organizations are ill equipped to train their employees on – or retain employee insight into how they use – these products.

RWD uPerform is being marketed to this target demographic, as it’s advertised as allowing the user to “create, organize, distribute, access, and maintain application simulations and procedural documentation.”

Additionally, through its collaboration features, central authoring capabilities and scalable architecture, RWD uPerform can help employees “share the knowledge and information [for] the proper usage of enterprise applications.”

RWD uPerform integrates with most all enterprise applications to provide end users with contextual learning materials on demand.

Select key features of RWD uPerform highlighted by company officials include capture fields, buttons, and screens into both procedural documents and interactive simulations in a single recording session, as well as access online context-sensitive help and batch publish documents and simulations in a variety of formats.

It’s also billed as providing scalability to support projects with hundreds or thousands of documents, creating custom templates to enhance the look and feel of documents and simulations and the ability to check in new content for storage, workflow and versioning.

The products lets users collaborate by participating in author-to-author, author-to-reviewer, author-to-end user, and end user-to-end user discussions in user interface and customizable boilerplate text available in 15 languages.

RWD uPerform works with standard enterprise applications and Microsoft Windows web-based applications.

"We know more than 80 percent of work-related learning is learned on the job," said Mike Bray, president of RWD's Enterprise Learning Products group. "We address this by helping companies build communities of practice among employees with similar job roles and responsibilities. When these communities are connected with collaboration tools they can have significant impact on business results and employee productivity and retention."

CRM vendor SAP AG has announced the formation of four new "industry value networks" (IVNs) serving the consumer products, retail and technology industries and the public sector.

The networks are designed to “bring together customers, partners and SAP to co-innovate and quickly develop products to solve industry-specific customer challenges,” according to SAP officials. The products developed through these IVNs will use the SAP NetWeaver platform to create business products.

The end result will help customers “extend and enrich their investments in SAP products,” is the hope expressed by SAP officials at the SAPPHIRE international customer conference currently taking place in Orlando.

For partners, SAP officials say, IVNs represent an opportunity for independent software vendors and system integrators, who have built products that are certified as "Powered by SAP NetWeaver" and “have a strong need to create a vertical focus in their business.”

Customer and partner IVN members may also participate in SAP's newly launched Enterprise Services Community,

Stephen Graham, group vice president, Global Software Business Strategies at IDC has said that well-structured partner networks “can provide vendors with significant benefits over traditional relationship models.”

Currently, SAP has value networks covering six industries, including banking and, most recently, chemicals. SAP plans to expand this initiative to additional industries throughout the year.

In the IVN for consumer products, members can collaborate to deliver products and integration scenarios to address key industry issues, including compliance, food safety, meat tracking, and wine and spirits management.

Food safety is actually a fairly important regulatory compliance topic in the consumer products industry. Due in part to a lack of supply chain visibility at certain points in the harvesting process, a significant percentage of fresh crops often deteriorates after harvest, leading to billions of dollars in annual losses.

SAP officials claim that “losses due to counterfeited food products are rising to upwards of tens of billions dollars each year.” There you go – another entire field of crime First Coffee didn’t know existed, never mind on such a massive scale. How, he wonders, (or more to the point, why) does a criminal counterfeit an apple?

In the IVN for high tech, members collaborate to develop products around manufacturing execution, product compliance, price management and service parts management.

Manufacturing execution, for example, is a business issue for high-tech companies given the level of outsourcing and offshoring of supply chain operations. High-tech manufacturers often lack the capability to sense and respond to changes on the manufacturing floor.

For the IVN for public sector, members will focus on developing products to help governments and public agencies and organizations transform tax and revenue management processes by addressing key pain points such as outdated legacy systems, lack of current tax products being integrated with other systems, and growing demand from citizens for high-performance services.

And in IVN for retail, members can work together to develop products to address industry issues around store and multi-channel management. Specific focus areas include integration with point-of-sale products; connectivity for mobile devices such as handhelds and kiosks; customer loyalty programs; and customer analytics.

"Accurate information is critical to retailers as they address the problems of customer intimacy, satisfaction and convenience," said Gayle Papadopoulos, vice president and general manager, worldwide retail products, HP.

AppExchange picks up another one: Integration Technologies, Inc. and on-demand CRM vendor have announced the availability of the InterWeave Integration Platform for's AppExchange. customers can now access and deploy InterWeave products with their Salesforce implementations to, in the words of InterWeave officials, “create a bi-directional, real-time bridge between their data in Salesforce and their in-house systems.”

The InterWeave Integration Platform for Salesforce is on the AppExchange and is immediately available at

Happy birthday to novelist Dorothy Richardson, born in Abingdon, Berkshire, England in 1873 who wrote the first stream-of-consciousness work in English, a thirteen-volume autobiographical novel Pilgrimage, published in 1938. Thirteen volumes of narration filtered through the mind of her persona, Miriam Henderson, with no narrator to make sense of her thoughts. Thirteen volumes of defiantly unreadable, aggressively solipsistic, turgid sludge anointed one of the great works of 20th century literature, one good reason why First Coffee got out of the academic world fast.

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