Sage PFW ERP 5.6, Pika Appliance for Asterisk, Convenos’ Success with AppExchange

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David Sims
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Sage PFW ERP 5.6, Pika Appliance for Asterisk, Convenos’ Success with AppExchange

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is George Jones's Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes?:

Sage Software has announced the general availability of Sage PFW ERP 5.6, which company officials are describing as "a major new version of this business management system that features key, customer-focused enhancements within its core business management, distribution and manufacturing modules."

Sage PFW 5.6 provides businesses with interface updates, efficiency enhancements, and performance optimizations for "a better, more intuitive user experience," company officials say.

The software is geared towards small and mid-sized companies with up to $150 million in revenue, companies with subsidiaries outside the United States, as well as import/export companies, which can use the product's multi-currency capabilities.

The product features a scalable, three-tier architecture with tight security control, which delivers better productivity for users and improved overall system performance.

Updates include New Vendor Status, Customer Status, Order Hold Features, designed to "help business owners better manage the status of their vendors and customers, and reduce data entry errors. Version 5.6 also provides extensive visibility into customers' credit histories with its new credit tracking fields and calculation capabilities," Sage officials say.

Sage PFW 5.6 will be certified on the new Microsoft operating system, supporting the Vista Business and Ultimate editions.

Market researchers worldwide expect the use of online data providers and online access panels to increase in the next twelve months, according to The Online Research Barometer, a survey conducted by Greenfield Online-Ciao Surveys, a vendor of Internet survey products.

Study results indicate that 82 percent of market researchers surveyed in North America and 87 percent in Europe are predicting their use of online respondent providers will increase in the next twelve months. This compares with 76 percent and 85 percent, respectively, when Greenfield Online-Ciao Surveys completed its last Online Research Barometer in November 2005.

Albert Angrisani, president and CEO of Greenfield, said with B2B research commanding 34 percent and 25 percent of market research efforts in North America and Europe, respectively, "this confirms that our strategy to focus on growing our B2B practice is right on target."

The two most important reasons for conducting market research online remained time, mentioned by 81 percent of North American market researchers and 78 percent of Europeans, and competitive pricing (76 percent and 75 percent, respectively).  North Americans were particularly interested in access to complex target sample groups (62 percent). Europeans are particularly interested in the ability to access respondents internationally (57 percent).

However, across North America and Europe the ability to recruit large sample groups, as well as the ability to use multi-media elements in questionnaires were also cited as important considerations for the use of online research.

This survey was conducted by Greenfield Online-Ciao Surveys among 289 marketer researchers globally during the period July 31-August 24, 2007. The margin of error for a sample this size is approximately +/-5.8 percent.

Pika Technologies, a developer of media-processing hardware and software, has announced the release of its Pika Appliance for Asterisk, which company officials describe as "a smaller-sized and lower-cost alternative to traditional off-the-shelf computers."

The new appliance is purpose built for the Asterisk open-source communications platform.

Pika’s expertise in telephony voice-processing and a selection of its components come together in the Pika Appliance for Asterisk. This unit provides developers with an out-of-the-box embedded computer, Pika officials say, that allows them to deploy Asterisk with traditional and next-generation telephony features optimized for the SMB environment.

Typically, companies that design and manufacture multi-line business telephone systems use specialized, purpose-built hardware called key service units, or KSUs, to run their software, provide power, manage the system and switch calls. These KSUs contain many telephony-based features that are not available in off-the-shelf computers typically used to deploy Asterisk. Many of these KSU features, like power-failure transfer, audio input for music-on-hold and audio output for paging, are standard market requirements.

The Pika Appliance for Asterisk is designed to bring application developers the functionality of a KSU at an attractive cost in a smaller footprint. The Appliance is compatible with VoIP and analog trunks and telephones.

Pika Appliance for Asterisk has up to 100 IP trunk/station ports, one FXS port standard in every unit, up to 8 additional analog FXO/FXS ports and traditional telephony features, among other features.

Experian has released the latest version of Tallyman, its specialist debt management system, to "help its customers tackle the problems caused by growing numbers of consumers encountering financial difficulties as economic conditions become more difficult," company officials say.

Tallyman, part of the suite of products offered by Experian's Decision Analytics business, is used to manage customers who have fallen into arrears with their payments by organizations that grant credit to consumers, including banks, building societies, loan providers, credit card companies and debt collection agencies, as well as organizations that provide consumer credit as part of their business model, such as retailers, utilities and communications companies.

Companies using Tallyman include British Gas, Orange, Vodafone, ABN AMRO, Severn Trent Water, Welsh Water, EDF Energy, Scottish Power and power.

Convenos, a vendor of collaborative Web conferencing products, has announced that since joining the AppExchange, two out of three businesses that found Convenos Meeting Center on AppExchange, purchased its Web conferencing and collaboration tool.

Company officials appear to be pitching the product to small and medium size businesses worldwide, who use it as a product for their Web conferencing and collaboration needs.

"Based on a recent customer relationship survey conducted by, Web conferencing was among the top essential services requested. Convenos' product is highly relevant to our customer base," said George Hu, CMO,

Convenos Meeting Center is used to conduct sales calls, train customers, conduct online seminars, workshops and collaborate in real-time across geographies and time zones -- "for less than the cost of a tank of gas," officials say.

Convenos Meeting Center is integrated with, allowing users to launch and schedule meetings right from the Salesforce application. Convenos Meeting Center customers who use integrated audio options such as Skype and High Speed Conferencing by Vapps can also use free audio against the traditionally high telephony charges associated with other Web conferencing products.

Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day. Celebrate accordingly, mateys. First Coffee's off for some rum. What's that? "Talk," not "Drink?" Avast there, ye scoundrel!

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