By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is a Steve Earle mix:
Omnistar Etools has joined HostSearch.com’s Value Added Service, it was announced today. The company offers a range of PHP software products that include an e-mail-marketing product and helpdesk CRM software.
Each of their products are Web-based, and do not require any additional software to be installed. The company is offering HostSearch Support Members who sign up for their products the special offer of a 10 percent discount on its full suite of products.
Established in 1997, HostSearch.com provides information about Web hosting providers and the Web hosting industry. It’s basically a source of searchable information related to Web hosts and their products and services. The site’s members — known as Support Members — are all Web hosting providers.
“Omnistar Etools has a number of Web-based software products that will benefit our Support Members,” said John Hughes, HostSearch.com’s Web Editor, to explain the move. “They offer Web-based e-mail software for managing e-mail list campaigns, help desk software, a Web file manager that allows you to setup a secure file storage system, job recruiter software, Web-based shopping cart software, and I believe it’s a pretty useful suite of products as far as Web hosts are concerned.”
PacificNet, which sells gambling technology and Customer Relationship Management and e-commerce products in China, has announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100 percent ownership of Octavian International, a supplier of gambling technology.
The transaction is subject to various conditions, including the completion of due diligence, which has already commenced. PacificNet will issue restricted shares of PACT representing approximately 19.5 percent of PacificNet’s outstanding shares.
There is also an additional cash performance bonus. According to Octavian’s financial reports as audited by Grant Thornton UK LLP under UK GAAP, Octavian had a revenue of approx $64.6 million, gross profit of approx $18.4 million, EBITDA of approx $6.2 million, and pre-tax profit of $5.5 million, for fiscal year ending Dec 31, 2006.
This acquisition is expected to increase PacificNet’s overall gambling revenues and profits and is expected to be accretive to PacificNet’s consolidated Earnings Per Share (EPS) in 2008. Upon completion, Octavian would continue operating under its current name as a wholly-owned subsidiary of PacificNet and would continue to pursue its global growth strategy as a leading provider of gaming technology.
Harmen Brenninkmeijer would become an executive director of PacificNet and a member of the board of directors, and continue to server as CEO of the Octavian subsidiary within PacificNet’s gaming division.
Furthermore, upon completion of the earn-out provisions and profit targets as defined in the acquisition agreement, Harmen Brenninkmeijer would become President of PacificNet’s Global Gaming Division.
The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008. Sterne Agee has been appointed as the financial advisor for Octavian for this transaction.
Tony Tong, CEO of PacificNet, said his company is “excited at the prospect of adding Octavian’s global gaming brand name and distribution channels to PacificNet’s gaming strategy. The acquisition fits well within our key focus of garnering long-term, high-margin, recurring revenue contracts in emerging gaming markets worldwide.”
Zoho, an online office productivity software company, has recently extended its flagship AJAX based RIA product Zoho Writer with offline capabilities. According to industry journal InfoQ.com, Raju Vegesna of Zoho said the reason for going offline is very simple:
“We believe that ten percent of online users would like to continue their works when they are offline. We’d like to support those ten percent of Web users. After we decided to move Zoho Writer offline, we took a good look at all the available technical options and platforms, including Adobe AIR, Microsoft Silverlight, even the upcoming Firefox 3, which should come with offline capability.”
Zoho is “committed on using Google Gears,” he told InfoQ: “We have two major categories of products, one is file centric apps and another is database centric apps. Zoho Writer is file centric based, and once we’ve done Zoho Writer, the next thing will be extending other tools in the category to offline. We will go through the same approach on database centric tools such as the CRM product.”
CargoWise edi, a vendor of integrated international supply chain logistics management systems, suggests how IT enhancements can not only improve operational efficiencies for freight forwarders, but also improve and streamline the sales process for a more successful outcome.
“Successful sales outcomes are often determined by the degree of integration within a company’s CRM program,” says Gene Gander, VP Sales — USA of CargoWise edi. “In today’s global marketplace, integrated IT-based solutions can play a significant role in driving increased sales for freight forwarders if sales and marketing functionality is integrated within the overall freight management and supply chain system.”
The company has identified key drivers for an effectively integrated IT-enhanced CRM sales and marketing process as ones that provide improved communications for more timely customer service, supply chain visibility for sales personnel to better document shipment activity and better management of time-sensitive product distribution.
The vendor also highlighted the importance of call notes that schedule the next call and upload it to specified Outlook calendars, opportunity management that provides sales forecasting and funnels relevant information to the sales and marketing department and the ability to deliver marketing campaigns using filtered database lists.
A cold call register for generating leads before they’re prospects or customers is important as well, as are sales activity reports and measurement metrics, optimization of the entire supply chain process and cost savings over using multiple systems.
Gander says that IT enhancements can provide “critical access to sales department personnel by enabling them to view, measure and manage accounts from a sales account standpoint instead of restricting sales access due to existing security parameters.”
Providing the sales department with the appropriate access to account information via an integrated software platform can enable the sales team to better focus on core elements of the entire sales process rather than spending time tracking, scheduling and managing existing accounts in a separate system.
“Many companies in our industry have tried to patch together a CRM system with operations software without much success. There are good software solutions in the market if sales are operating in a vacuum, but none can match the integration of a system such as ediEnterprise within a single platform… and at less cost than using multiple systems.”
While these provide efficiencies and improved communication between the sales person and potential customers, Gander said, “they can also be compared to other CRM systems, such as Salesforce.com, Goldmine or others that serve all industries.”