By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Duke Ellington's criminally overlooked Blues In Orbit:
It's Saturday, so we'll talk about stuff like this: CRM and e-commerce provider Solid Cactus has announced its second "Boot Camp," but this year there's a twist -- it'll happen at sea, July 1st to the 5th, touring the Bahamas aboard Disney Wonder from the Disney Cruise Line.
The cruise will sail from Port Canaveral, Florida. And don’t bother sending First Coffee an invite, not like I was going to be checking my mailbox daily for one anyway. I won't attend anything on a boat. Floating prisons, that's all they are. No way to get off if you want to leave early. You're trapped until your sentence is up.
Here in Istanbul it's popular for wedding receptions to be held on chartered boats on the Bosphorus. It sounds great -- sip champagne and nibble fresh hors d'oeuvres while gliding past Topkapi Palace, the Greek Castle, the church of St. Sophia, Galata Tower and out to Sariyer, but in point of fact you're in a gilded cage. If the boat leaves Eminonu at two and is due back at five, there's no paying your respects and cutting out at three-thirty or four. You're there until whenever the boat decides to dock -- five if you're lucky.
It's not that First Coffee is opposed to boats in general, I ride several ferries every week to get across the Bosphorus. If I'm using one as actual transportation, fine -- in New Zealand last year I quite enjoyed the three to four-hour Inter-Island Ferry between the North and South Islands. But receptions and other events, sorry. I'll send a present.
"Our Boot Camps are a fantastic way to get e-commerce store owners together," said Solid Cactus co-founder Scott Sanfilippo. "We network and pick each other's brains for useful information that can help their businesses back home. This event is no different. The Solid Cactus team will be on hand not only during the seminars, but during all four days so you can schedule one-on-ones with our experts. Okay, this event is a little different. We'll be at sea!"
"We'll be holding 'Sea-minars' all day on July 4th," said Sanfilippo, who believes in working on national holidays. "From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. we'll have sessions running in three conference rooms on topics such as search engine marketing and how to incorporate rich media into your website."
Solid Cactus sells programs for e-commerce operators like Cactus Complete Commerce, a back-end CRM, inventory and order management system. In all, there will be 18 different "sea-minars."
"We think this is the perfect working vacation," joked Sanfilippo. "For the adults there's entertainment day and night including Broadway-style shows, dancing, night clubs and babysitting. Yes, babysitting! After all, kids are not only welcome, there's plenty for them to do. At Solid Cactus we believe all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. There is nothing dull about a Solid Cactus Boot Camp!"
This attitude helped Wilkes-Barre based Solid Cactus earn the designation of 21st "Best Place to Work in Pennsylvania" out of 221,000 companies in the state.
The top 20 probably don't offer cruises.
Sage Software, the North American operations of the Sage Group, plc, has announced that Joe Bergera has been named senior vice president and general manager of the Sage Global CRM organization, comprising worldwide product development and marketing for the ACT! by Sage, SageCRM/SageCRM.com and Sage SalesLogix product lines.
Most recently, Bergera has managed ACT! and Sage SalesLogix global product delivery teams, as well as ACT! North American commercial activities for Sage Group. He will continue these roles in addition to the newly appointed Global CRM leadership duties, operating from the company's Scottsdale, Arizona research and development center.
Prior to Sage, Bergera held executive management roles with several multinational technology firms where he was responsible for CRM and customer analytics, among other products.
Property Jigsaw Limited, headquartered in Warrington U.K. has entered into an agreement with The Loyalty Concept, LLC to use the Phoenix Technology Inc. and Smart Chip Technologies infrastructure and end-to-end loyalty products, in order to deploy Property Jigsaw Loyalty Programs throughout the United Kingdom.
The agreement will allow PJL loyalty members to use their existing credit and debit cards, cell phones, or gift cards to track, earn and redeem rewards throughout its network of Property Industry suppliers.
Property Jigsaw will build an accountability and reward network and community of service providers, where customers will be able to select providers, rate the service for the benefit of fellow members, and earn rewards for their business.
TLC and SCTN have created a turn-key loyalty platform which, according to Scott Peters, CEO of TLC, "drives so many traditional costs out of these programs, and allows us to create such unique ROI models for our stakeholders, that it has opened up many new opportunities for us and our clients."
It doesn't have quite the panache of Oracle acquiring Hyperion, but European CRM vendor Cegedim S.A. and Dendrite International, Inc. have announced a definitive merger agreement under which Cegedim will acquire Dendrite for $16.00 per outstanding share in cash.
Per the terms of the agreement, Dendrite is valued on a fully diluted equity basis at approximately $751 million, which represents a premium of approximately 40 percent over the average closing share price for Dendrite common stock over the twenty day trading period from February 1, 2007 to March 1, 2007, the last trading day prior to the announcement of the transaction.
The combination will create a major player in diversified sales, marketing, clinical and compliance products to the global life sciences and pharmaceutical industry. In particular, by combining Cegedim’s European strength with Dendrite’s US and Asia Pacific position, the combined group will be able to address the global needs of its customers and provide a unique suite of integrated, value-added products.
Dendrite’s Board of Directors has unanimously approved the acquisition and recommends that Dendrite’s shareholders vote in favor of the transaction. The merger is contingent upon the approval of Dendrite shareholders, receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close within the next few months.
CallMiner, a vendor of speech analytics products, has announced the opening of their first international base of operations in Slough, Berkshire. The location will focus primarily on both growing and satisfying the demand from clients in the United Kingdom and the Northern-Western European region. The UK office will enable the company to serve existing clients and introduce new clients.
The new office will be managed by Andy Robertson, who has a more than 15-year track record of CRM sales, business development and management, including experience with IBM, BDC and SSA Global in the United Kingdom.
CallMiner’s speech analytics software enables enterprise customers to uncover actionable customer intelligence in call-center recordings, "taking into account the entire conversation," company officials say.
CallMiner lets firms analyze the content of recorded calls "without the need for dedicated computing power, a complex IT infrastructure, or a development team," company officials say.
It's worth noting that to the end of his life Alexander Graham Bell refused to have a telephone in his study, or in his Florida winter house, as he hated the interruptions.
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