Silicon Space and Google Search, Open Solutions,

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

Silicon Space and Google Search, Open Solutions,

By David Sims

Again, sorry for the late posting today, some Perl issues back at HQ, I've been told, but they've been ironed out:

Silicon Space Inc., a vendor of custom web-based software, has announced that it has joined the Google Enterprise Professional Program and "launched a new business practice" focused on enterprise search using the Google Search Appliance.

As a trained member of the Google Enterprise Professional Program, Silicon Space will create custom Google search products to access information buried within the enterprise.

Which hey, is crucial for CRM, according to Kevin Harris, COO of Silicon Space: "Enterprise search solutions are becoming more critical for large enterprises as the volume of data generated by ERP, SFA, CRM and other systems increases exponentially," explained Harris.

For ten years Silicon Space has sold customized software for large enterprises like Disney, Harcourt, the US Navy and Cohn & Wolfe, an international public relations agency.

Cohn & Wolfe, for example, wanted to increase competitive advantage by making corporate information more accessible to their worldwide network of management and sales professionals. Silicon Space custom-built a corporate intranet, extranet, internet portal and then installed, configured, customized and integrated the Google Search Appliance, according to Silicon Space officials, "to provide access to the organization's information assets located across a variety of disparate applications and data sources."

Sounds like that could be useful for CRM, yes.

In addition to this new Enterprise Search Practice, Silicon Space promises they'll continue to "provide web software and application development services, complete system integration solutions and outsourced product R&D services to its growing list of commercial and federal clients."

So rest easy, campers.

Web host and integrated enabling financial technologies firm Open Solutions Inc., has been selected by Minot, North Dakota-based (and just when's the last time you saw THAT qualifier, huh?) Northern Tier Federal Credit Union, to provide its enterprise-wide data processing platform, The Complete Credit Union Solution.

I like that, "The Complete Credit Union Solution." No pussyfooting around, no hemming or hawing, straight atcha, no wasted words, no pulled punches, it is what it is. Really occupies its space, as a particularly pretentious (but oh so redeeming in other ways) girlfriend taught First Coffee to say in the 1980s in art galleries, pulling me by the ear away from Marc Chagall's White Crucifixion at the Art Institute of Chicago, which still to this day is the only painting I can remember being truly impressed by, and I can swear on a stack of Tom Wolfe's The Painted Words that I never once said -- or thought -- that White Crucifixion "occupied its space" as much as it occupied a few decades of flaccid ol' Impressionism's space as well.

(Please don't bother flaming me with earnest screeds on how "deep," "powerful" or "meaningful" Impressionism is, the whole point of the movement was that the painting is as deep as the canvas. If you don't believe me ask Edouard.)

Located on Minot Air Force base, Northern Tier FCU has $55 million in assets, approximately 11,000 members and four branches. Sounds like Northern Tier FCU really occupies its space in a very real and tangible way.

Darrell Roos, President of Northern Tier FCU said they were looking for a comprehensive technology platform "that would give us both flexibility and control over our business operations. With its scalable, open architecture, we believe that The Complete Credit Union Solution will allow us to customize the system and offer advanced products and services to our members."

Plus I bet he just liked the name, too. Things get… elemental there in North Dakota, there's not much fuss and few frills, a cat -- never named Fluffy if named at all -- is considered a farm tool which pulls its weight with mouse tails draped over the barbed wire at a healthy clip, one does not have time for The Somewhat Together Credit Union Solution, or The Mostly What You Need Credit Union Solution or any software which requires a couple guys named Kenneth and Roger from San Jose to come out and show you how to run and ask if there's any decent soy latte in town.

The Complete Credit Union Solution is built on a powerful Oracle relational database -- bet it is, bet it is, say no more guv'nor -- and is "designed to help credit unions streamline both front and back office applications with a focus on improving member service," according to company officials, since the product's platform is "designed to provide credit unions with a more centralized view of its specific relationships with members, employees and business partners."

Like it says on the door, Charlie: complete. It integrates core data processing with member-centric applications such as Internet banking, business intelligence, financial accounting, credit card processing, imaging and interactive voice response solutions.

''The ability to effectively and quickly train employees to use the system is important. We want to spend more time serving our members and less time training our employees," says Roos, who's sounding more and more like a guy First Coffee could hang with over beers. "We will use this technology as a tool to give our members a more comprehensive blend of products and services and enhance their overall banking experience.'' Damn tootin'.

In addition to The Complete Credit Union Solution, Northern Tier FCU will implement Open Solutions' e-Commerce Banker (Internet banking and cash management), telephony solutions and digital document applications. Hey, you find a company who knows what they're doing you ask to see the rest of the catalogue.

Updata Partners, an information technology-focused venture capital firm, has announced that Amber Gray has joined the firm as an Associate. Gray was first selected for an internship with Updata in 2005 through her participation in The Batten Institute's VC Bootcamp while completing an MBA at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.

Gray, a former Product Marketing Manager at Informatica Corporation, will source new investments and support Updata portfolio companies.

Hailing from the Old Dominion himself, First Coffee isn't shocked that someone named "Amber" went to U.Va. Back when I frequented Richmond's coffee shops the city's smart, preppy and rich high school grads went to U.Va., William & Mary or Washington & Lee. Dumb, preppy and rich you went to the University of Richmond, smart but not rich you went to U.Va. or Tech, afraid of leaving home and your high school job and under the impression that The Fan was as close as you'd probably get to Greenwich Village before you went to work in middle management for some insurance conglomerate and bought a house in Hanover County, VCU.

Ambitious, you got out of Virginia. Nobody went to George Mason, last year's Final Four was the first time anybody in Virginia heard of the place too.

Things might have changed a bit since then.

Before joining Updata Partners, Gray led launch efforts for Informatica's CRM analytics suite of products, including Informatica Web Channel Analytics. In 2004, she championed post-merger integration efforts with UK-based Striva Corporation to launch Informatica PowerExchange, a mainframe connectivity product.

Gray's early professional experience included consulting and marketing roles at startups Clarus Systems, InPart and Packet Engines.

With $250 million under management, the firm also selectively provides recapitalization and management buyout financing.

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