December 19, 2006
By David Sims
[Yesterday's column could not be posted for technical problems, here we be.]
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Allman Brothers' Eat A Peach:
QuickArrow, Inc., a vendor of Professional Services Automation and associated management products, has announced the availability of its Winter '06 product release.
This latest version of QuickArrow's Software as a Service (SaaS) application adds Subcontractor Invoice Reconciliation capabilities, which are meant to reduce overhead and support Sarbanes-Oxley compliance -- a concern, company officials say, for QuickArrow's clients.
QuickArrow Vice President of Product Strategy, Louise K. Allen, said, "PSA was originally designed to automate the numerous processes inside the Services Organization. Our clients are asking us to help them manage the processes associated with managing their partners, contractors, and offshore resources, who already comprise more than 10 percent of all QuickArrow users."
Specifically, Allen said, "our clients told us that they wanted to reconcile the invoices they receive for their contractors within QuickArrow. This is the next step towards our vision of automating the entire Services Supply Chain."
Stephen Satterwhite, Founder and CEO of Entelligence, said that because subcontractors are "a critical part of our business," the ability to "automate and track our vendor time entry and reconcile it with subcontractor invoices is tremendous."
This release also includes enhancements to their SOA-supported Web Services interface and further use of AJAX technology to enhance the application's usability and performance.
Mobile software developer Syclo has today the latest release of its flagship mobile application development platform, Agentry 4.3. The latest version provides what company officials call "a multitude of new features, including a number of components that enhance the end user experience and make it even easier to develop mobile applications."
Many new field types and controls have been added highlighted by the inclusion of what Syclo calls "clickable image controls." With this functionality, a user can click onto a displayed image and execute different actions, depending on where the image is clicked.
For example, a user can select an image of a utility pole on the handheld device and click on the crossarm, a screen pops up where he can enter damage inspection findings to generate a work request.
In addition to the adaptive communications that were added in Agentry 4.1, which allowed for automatic switching between available networks and the control of the amount of data that is sent over a particular connection, now in Agentry 4.3 a device can send information directly to another device via Blue Tooth, Peer-to-peer wireless or IRDA.
Syclo officials say the device-to-device direct communication will probably be marketed to "crews or teams." And the Agentry Administrative Server Console has been integrated with both the IBM WebSphere Portal and the SAP NetWeaver Portal.
"We are seeing organizations using our Agentry platform to deploy multiple mobile applications," said Richard Padula, Syclo's president and CEO.
Syclo's Agentry is a software platform for designing, deploying and managing the entire lifecycle of mobile projects, and employs a 4GL framework. Agentry is billed as being able to shorten development times, lower application maintenance costs and allow organizations to keep up with mobile standards and technologies.
Agentry features a library of application building blocks, or mobile functions and transactions, which can be imported, configured and deployed. With Agentry, company officials say, "80 percent of the application is already built, allowing the designer to concentrate on the business, while the underlying Agentry components handle the technical details."
Syclo mobile software solutions are deployed at over 600 organizations worldwide across a wide variety of industries. All Syclo products are built on the Agentry platform, and its mobile products are designed to give organizations "the ability to work in and out of wireless coverage, mix and match devices."
CDC Software, a wholly owned subsidiary of CDC Corporation and a provider of CRM and other enterprise software applications, has announced that Isaberg Rapid has "improved operating efficiency and customer service" with the company's IMI Replenishment and Sales Analytics software applications.
Headquartered in Hestra, Sweden, Isaberg Rapid is a supplier of staplers and hand tools, such as tackers, punches and glue guns, for office, home and professional use. Isaberg Rapid has development and production facilities in France, China and Sweden and sales in 140 countries around the globe.
"The IMI applications from CDC Software have helped us harmonize our European operations and played a key role in the structure and growth of our global business. Without IMI, we would not be where we are today," said Peter Wanemark, CFO of Isaberg Rapid.
Due to rapid growth through acquisition, Isaberg Rapid faced the challenge of managing a wide variety of operations in different countries, each with its own systems, currency and accounting rules. Efficient coordination was a constant challenge and calculation of profit was almost impossible, say company officials.
Using the IMI suite of supply chain management applications, Isaberg Rapid has simplified and consolidated its European operations. Today, Isaberg Rapid operates as a single legal entity and offers standardized products and uniform pricing wherever it does business. Bottom line improvements achieved by Isaberg Rapid include:
* Uniform pricing and product identification worldwide
* Reduction of prices by 25 percent over the last 15 years
* Reduction of warehouses from seven to two
* Consolidation of multiple, multi-country operations into a single system
* Fewer personnel hours consumed by labor-intensive analysis
Isaberg Rapid today has only two warehouses in Europe, one in Sweden and one in France. The advantage is a significant reduction in capital investment for the company. The potential risk, however, is a slim margin of error when it comes to customer service.
The company must maintain what its officials call "a delicate balance" between minimal stock in the warehouses and meeting the customers' expectations for order fulfillment. The procedure for stock replenishment is crucial, and Isaberg relies on their IMI Replenishment system to handle it.
Guess it had to happen sooner or later: UPI is reporting that a cafe in Mito, Japan, is serving "Coffee Stout," a coffee-flavored beer, citing the Mainichi Daily News.
The dark beer is made by mixing sweet wort -- a derivative of barley -- with coffee beans, the UPI piece says: "Although it looks like a regular beer, a sip of it reportedly releases the flavor of coffee."
Koji Kawasaki, the cafe owner, told the Daily News he developed the drink because he wanted to "make an alcoholic beverage using coffee beans."
Well, if it's coffee alcohol you're looking for, First Coffee recommends Kahlua, Bailey's or Frangelico, or the surprisingly good Starbucks Coffee Liqueur introduced early last year, a 40-proof drink produced in partnership with Jim Beam, which handles the actual development, manufacture and distribution.
It's not as sticky sweet as the other coffee-mixing liqueurs, it's more on the coffee side of things. Plus it's in a nifty cocktail-shaker style bottle with a shot measure cap.
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