First Coffee for 20 May 2006: CRM at SAPPHIRE '06, Lingo's VoIP to Mexico, The Best Coffee Shop In London

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David Sims
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First Coffee for 20 May 2006: CRM at SAPPHIRE '06, Lingo's VoIP to Mexico, The Best Coffee Shop In London

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Kinks’ “Bernadette:”

Let’s see what’s going on at SAPFest ‘06 in Orlando, or SAPPHIRE, as it’s probably more properly known.

In front of 15,000 customers and partners at the combined conferences for SAP customers and the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group, SAP execs described how the company will “transform the business landscape during the next decade,” according to company officials, by “addressing the growing data and information needs of both knowledge and information workers.”

In his speech, SAP CEO Henning Kagermann focused on the new role of IT in supporting growth, a departure from the formerly prevalent view of IT as a driver of cost efficiency. Kagermann characterized IT as an “enabler of accelerated business innovation and operational excellence.”

He said enterprise software must address three key business requirements: the need to automate processes for speed and flexibility; the need to enable collaboration by integrating automated processes beyond the firewall with those of customers, partners and suppliers; and the need to harness and “amplify” the value of the knowledge worker.

Key Kagermann Quote: “In a new era where IT is critical to executing on a growth agenda, companies have to know their IT vendor has a clear road map with specific milestones and deliverables… enterprise software vendors must provide an evolutionary path to new technology adoption, not ‘rip and replace.’”

Executive Board Member Leo Apotheker, president, Customer Products and Operations, used his keynote to explain why companies need to embrace enterprise service-oriented architecture. The “globalization of markets, the consolidation and specialization of companies within and across industries and the rise of business model innovation” are forcing companies to “adapt their business models in a fast and flexible fashion,” he said.

Apotheker said mySAP Business Suite applications such as mySAP ERP bring customers to the era of enterprise SOA, “providing the efficiency of an integrated architecture while at the same time allowing companies to evolve and extend their products flexibly.”

Key Apotheker Quote: “Enterprise SOA is a reality and companies can no longer afford to wait on the sidelines… this is a matter of being a best-run business versus an ‘also-ran’ business.’”

Executive Board Member Shai Agassi, president of the Product and Technology Group touched on a number of topics in his keynote, specifically highlighting the move toward IT being embedded in business today.

In order for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors, Agassi thinks, they need to “harness IT as the ultimate competitive weapon.” In his talk Agassi explained how SAP is delivering simplified business processes and demonstrated on stage a new alternative graphic user interface for SAP software that will “extend core business functionality to an even broader range of end users.”

Agassi said SAP is reducing complexity by facilitating the integration of hundreds of enterprise services, which he described as the building blocks that will make up the foundation of customers’ application landscapes moving forward. Agassi also explained that one of the critical tasks that customers need to address is around assuring business compliance.

Key Agassi Quote: “SAP is dramatically simplifying the ability of customers and partners to develop and deploy a new breed of innovations that will help keep them a step ahead of the competition… SAP gave customers increased flexibility in deployment options around its CRM offering by announcing the company will migrate its entire CRM offering to a hybrid model by 2007.”

KnowTia Corporation has announced that the Oasis CRM product line will now be enhanced with an all new Version 2.0.

New features include integrated Ajax dashboards, blanket order management as well as an overall enhancing of the previous user-friendly interface. These features are coupled with their already existent real-time integration with both BusinessVision 32 and QuickBooks Pro.

KnowTia Corporation began working on the integration of Ajax into aspects of the main Oasis CRM interface for this past year, as they view this as the future of CRM platforms. Ajax lets users of the Oasis CRM system pull data into the interface without the need for web page refreshing.

Ajax also allows for data to be silently pulled from the server without any disruption to the user. The ability to have instantaneous search populations and refreshing dashboard graphs in a web environment is something else KnowTia hopes is a selling point of its CRM product.

Another feature of Oasis CRM is its integration with both QuickBooks & BusinessVision accounting packages. This lets business owners have their employees pull financial information about their client base without sacrificing their company’s financials. This in turn, Oasis officials say, “allows for a constant loop of client data which is consistently flowing throughout Oasis CRM and their accounting system.”

Other features highlighted by company officials include contact based, not account-based CRM, complete order management including fulfillment, easy to use and customizable web-based interface, comprehensive contract and complete inventory management.

The product is being pitched “for corporate clients and those who have outgrown their small business applications” by KnowTia

Lingo, the U.S. Internet phone service provider, is claiming to be “the first VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) provider to offer unlimited phone calling to Mexico.

The new Lingo “Unlimited Mexico” VoIP plan provides customers with the opportunity to use their broadband Internet connections and phones to call family and business associates in Mexico as often as they like, for $29.95 per month.

Like other Lingo VoIP offerings, the plan also includes unlimited phone calls in the U.S. and to Canada.

With the addition of this VoIP calling plan, along with recently introduced “local” phone numbers in top Mexican markets, Lingo claims to offer “more options for calling to and from Mexico than any major broadband Internet phone service available today.”

Subscription to Lingo’s Unlimited Mexico plan is free for the first month, and $29.95 per month thereafter. The plan includes unlimited calls to Mexico (landline), unlimited local and long distance calls in the U.S. and to Canada (including Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands), competitive rates to 200+ other international locations, unlimited calls between Lingo customers and other points.

This Mexican plan is one of the unlimited Lingo VoIP calling plans designed for residential and small/home-based businesses, starting at $7.95 and available free for the first month.

Next time you’re in England you might want to try what’s being called the best coffee shop in London, Flat White in Soho, run by New Zealander Joska Easterbrook. First Coffee hasn’t been there, but if it’s anything like the coffee shops in Aotearoa itself it’s worth the visit.

Strangely enough, Flat White doesn’t serve any flat whites, a great espresso-based coffee drink originating in New Zealand.

David Sims is contributing editor for TMCnet. For more articles please visit David Sims’ columnist page.

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