By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a CD I burned over the weekend with some White Stripes, Raveonettes, Strokes, Dropkick Murphys and New York Dolls, and with The Godfathers' great "Birth, School, Work, Death" tossed in:
Enforta's a company that's a bit out of First Coffee's usual haunts, but it's doing interesting things with WiMAX in Russia, and it was a great help back when First Coffee was reporting on that shell game of a company, GlobeTel, now delisted.
Enforta has announced that it will extend its wireless broadband network to an additional six cities during the second quarter of 2007. The additional six cities will include: Voronezh, Lipetsk, Penza, Samara, Tula, and Yaroslavl.
The company also plans entry into eight cities during the second half of 2007.
Enforta currently operates WiMAX and pre-WiMAX networks in 18 cities, giving the company what Enforta officials claim is "the largest high-speed wireless broadband footprint in Russia."
To finance the expansion, Enforta concluded an additional round of investment with its current shareholder group plus the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Enforta's network is constructed using modern broadband wireless equipment manufactured by Alvarion and Infinet Wireless.
The company was formed in October, 2003 with the objective "to provide broadband services using WiMAX and other advanced technologies in Russia's regional capitals," according to company officials. Enforta is owned by Sumitomo Corporation, Baring Vostok Capital Partners, EBRD, and its management team.
Officials at collaboration software provider WorkSmart.net have announced the rollout of an updated version of its hosted digital workplace, featuring what they call "enhanced task management capabilities, including to-do lists, trouble ticket management and task-based time tracking."
Worksmart.net is a subscription based service of collaboration software developers Designlinks International. The service is designed, company officials say, to "minimize costs and deployment issues by allowing enterprises to hit the ground running with a fully-functional and ready-to-use project and customer management environment aimed at boosting the effectiveness of distributed teams."
With the stated intention of offering "big company software for a small company price," WorkSmart.net has a diverse client base, officials say, ranging from "one-man new business start-ups to the second largest corporate [sic] in the world."
The developers pride themselves on offering not only off-the shelf functionality common in many competing platforms -- document management , web-folders, on-line calendars, e-mail, forums, task management, contact management, business process and project management tools, et al -- but "a flexible environment which includes the ability to develop customized site templates, custom database templates, as well as to define complex user access permissions."
Company officials say the service is popular with professional services firms who use it for project-based client management in an intranet/extranet configuration, and that this latest release, "inspired by customer requests," enhances the position of the service in the lower volume and higher value CRM arena by "enabling the management of project and customer specific issues and trouble tickets."
A fully functional 21 day free trial of the enhanced service is available at www.worksmart.net.
The Dubai Islamic Bank and @task have announced the successful deployment of @task's project management software at the DIB.
Scott Johnson, CEO, @task, said the bank can use the products to "standardize projects through project templates, automate business processes, and integrate accounting, CRM, and HR."
Prior to the @task implementation, the Dubai Islamic Bank used only Excel spreadsheets for all project management. But "faced with dramatic customer growth in a short period of time, coupled with new branch locations and new employees, as well as multiple complex projects -- we needed a solution that was not complicated yet had robust functionality," said Jawdat Jwaeid, Project Coordinator, DIB, who is responsible for technology upgrades.
Because @task is Web-based, Johnson explained, "the DIB IT team can access their projects from home, office, a remote bank branch or from outside the country while traveling."
Johnson said that the bank also liked the fact that as a Web-based product, @task does not require the installation of complicated software roll-outs or large IT departments to handle upgrades and management.
In a story which sure reads like an unbylined fair use press release, my apologies if it isn't and please let me know, AXA Australia has implemented a CRM application based on IBM software from integrator Coordimax, according to Australian IT journal ITNews.
Coordimax provided AXA Australia's business development managers a centralized repository of customer and sales data so they can provide an improved service to their customers.
The Coordimax CRM offering played a role in the restructuring of AXA Australia's sales force, which AXA officials say has helped boost AXA's sales revenue by 32 percent in the year following the implementation.
AXA Australia needed a customer relationship management application to store and track its network of licensees and financial advisors. Its existing system was deemed slow, underutilized, poorly integrated and could not keep pace with the company's needs.
Barry Wyatt, national manager of sales promotion at AXA Australia, said the company had to keep tabs on their "growing base of clients. Who were they? Who was their relationship manager at AXA? What activity was happening with these particular advisors? With such a large pool of advisors, we needed a robust activity management system."
Wyatt said it took 17 seconds to open a page in the old system and the information on it was sketchy, so the sales people were not using it. As can be well imagined. The new system, he assures us, "significantly outperforms the old one, allowing BDMs to connect to their data much more quickly."
Screens now load in just over a second, said Wyatt: "No-one from the sales force complains about the speed and BDMs are happy to use the system. They are actually entering what happened at their meetings whereas before, because it took them so long, they didn't do it."
Bracketology: First Coffee's team, Virginia, is seeded way too high at #4 in the South. If we get past Tennessee in the second round -- I'm guessing we can handle Albany in the first round -- Ohio State'll us and everyone else until they lose to Carolina in the Final Four. This is UNC's year.
Where the heck's Syracuse? Talk about getting hosed.
This year's George Mason? Could be the West's 11 seed Virginia Commonwealth University, the team that knocked out George Mason in the finals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. They face an eminently beatable Duke in the first round.
If you're looking for the most likely team to become the first #16 seed to win a game in March Madness history, I'd say Florida A&M/Niagara over Kansas.
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