Qasper, RightNow, ReachForce OnDemand CRM, BridgeBuilder and SAS BI, Dylan's Modern Times,

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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Qasper, RightNow, ReachForce OnDemand CRM, BridgeBuilder and SAS BI, Dylan's Modern Times,

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bob Dylan's new album Modern Times. What's it like? Um, think meatier outtakes from Love and Theft. He keeps the punchy, foot-tapping minstrel sound, but with more depth -- a cello is used well -- and the lyrics are far better. The songs sound better on repeated listenings, always a promising sign.

Let's be fair and not compare this album to the likes of Blood On The Tracks or Blonde On Blonde, or even Infidels and Slow Train Coming, those days are long gone and those masterpieces are done, Dylan will never hit that level of songwriting genius again -- nor will anyone else. These days what we look for is the great song, the finely-turned phrase only he can deliver, kind of like how Andre Agassi's fans don't expect the grand champion to win the U.S. Open this year, but watch for flashes of the one-in-a-million tennis brilliance that once poured out.

Dylan doesn't have great albums left in him anymore, but any song can be great. We got a couple on the mostly overrated Time Out Of Mind, "Not Dark Yet" and "Tryin' To Get To Heaven," and Love and Theft had "High Water (For Charley Patton)." Possible keepers abound here, albeit with some disappointments -- "The Levee's Gonna Break" is a generic lyric and has nothing to do with Hurricane Katrina. The songs are energetic, superior to recent dreary by-the-numbers exercises like Under The Red Sky.

A good rule of thumb with Dylan is that when he uses Christian or Jewish motifs, allusions and characterizations he's got something to say, he rarely uses it gratuitously or lightly. The CD's best song, "Ain't Talkin," a dark yet compelling cousin to 1983's "Blind Willie McTell" and more interesting and complex than anything he's done since, is soaked in such imagery. Lines like "walking with a toothache in my heel" and "excuse me, ma'am, I beg your pardon, there's no one here, the gardener's gone" from the mystic garden demand and reward Biblical literacy, and remind one that we're still dealing with one of the most important songwriters of our age.

Anyway: BridgeBuilder Analytics has announced its participation in the new SAS channel program, launched to "help bring SAS business intelligence software to small-to-medium and mid-market businesses throughout the United States," according to SAS officials.

Using the SAS Enterprise Intelligence Platform, BridgeBuilder Analytics plans to develop and market analytical forecasting products targeting companies in the sports and entertainment industry to help "maximize revenue and attendance at events," according to BridgeBuilder officials.

"As a member of the SAS channel program, we will now be able to help companies in the sports and entertainment industry have access to the products that previously only Fortune 500 companies could afford," said Scott Spanbauer, CEO of BridgeBuilder Analytics.

Spanbauer thinks the business intelligence and forecasting software from SAS will be "a significant advancement in this industry and really provide a new level of analytics to help maximize revenue and attendance at each game for these organizations."

As a SAS reseller, BridgeBuilder Analytics will promote and sell the SAS Enterprise Intelligence Platform, which includes data integration, business intelligence and analytics. SAS will train and certify the sales staff and provide ongoing technical support.

In addition, the two companies will engage in targeted marketing activities to drive "greater awareness of SAS software in BridgeBuilder Analytics' core markets," according to SAS officials: "We look forward to working with BridgeBuilder Analytics to support the growing BI demands of the sports and entertainment industries," said Jack Duncan, SAS Director of Channel Sales.

BridgeBuilder Analytics, a subsidiary of BridgeBuilder, develops and markets analytical products to companies in the sports and entertainment industry. Parent company BridgeBuilder was founded in 1995 with a focus on Business Intelligence and Customer Relationship Management products.

ReachForce, Inc., a vendor of on-demand marketing automation products and services for role-based customer and prospect data, has announced industry veteran Bob Riazzi has joined as Chief Operating Officer.

Most recently Riazzi was the Vice President and General Manager of Worldwide Services for 3Com. As COO, Riazzi will focus on ReachForce's services delivery and customer operations worldwide, according to company officials.

Riazzi said ReachForce has "the right focus, right products and services."

Riazzi brings more than two decades of "experience in building and driving services operations businesses," according to Suaad Sait, CEO of ReachForce.

Prior to joining ReachForce, Riazzi was Vice President and General Manager of Worldwide Services for 3Com in Boston, and in Austin, Texas, at the TippingPoint Division. Riazzi also spent seven years at Dell Inc. as director of Services Product Management, Strategy and Marketing.

While at Dell, Riazzi created and led the full function services marketing and product management unit.

ReachForce, Inc, based in Austin, is a privately held venture backed company selling on-demand marketing automation products and services for role-based customer and prospect data.

Want to hear RightNow Technologies' Analyst Day on September 11?

Go to the Copper Mountain Resort in Copper Mountain, Colorado, from 7:30 a.m. to noon Mountain Daylight Time. The day's agenda will include presentations by RightNow Technologies Founder and CEO Greg Gianforte and CFO Susan Carstensen, along with customers and other senior executives.

Or click on the webcast of the event, available on RightNow's investor relations website at

Dalco Technologies Inc. has announced the Free Personal version of Qasper Business Organizer, described by Dalco officials as "an on-demand business information organizer that goes Beyond CRM™ to deliver coordinated and connected organization to small and medium sized business."

Qasper looks and functions like a desktop application, one which company officials say "overcomes many of the obstacles associated with web-based, on-demand software."

"Personal is a full-featured performer that's an easy choice over traditional, single-user desktop CRMs and similar products," thinks Fred Dalgleish, CEO of Dalco Technologies Inc. The personal version doesn't require an Internet or Network connection to run and has a full upgrade path to the Workgroup Edition.

The Free Personal version of Qasper is ad-supported and has over 20 modules, described as "highly customizable to meet the customer's specific needs." The product's designed to integrate and coordinate business functions and includes contact, connection, opportunity, help desk, document and project management, action and activity tracking, order processing, time charges and e-mail.

Its data visualizer provides several modules with an "intuitive and fun" way to view information. Qasper's Paid Personal version removes the advertising and allows for transparent e-mail, appointment and contact synchronization with Microsoft Outlook.

"There is no other product designed for the small to medium sized business that has Qasper's features," claims Dalgleish, adding that "this is a leading edge product full of new ideas and approaches, implemented in a familiar, easy-to-navigate application that will finally enable small business to compete effectively with the big guys."

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