Lou Reed's Live In Italy (1984). I admit, I was skeptical at first that any Lou Reed live album could top Rock 'n' Roll Animal, Reed's classic live album from the Druggy 70s. Live In Italy doesn't have guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter's blazing pyrotechnics, but it does have punk/jazz veteran Robert Quine, probably the most interesting guitarist Reed's worked with. Throw in bassist Fernando Saunders and drummer Fred Maher and it's Reed's best backing band ever. They tear through an eclectic song list -- is that really "Betrayed?" "Kill Your Sons?" -- ending with Reed's definitive "Rock 'n' Roll." Is it better than Animal? Nothing tops Animal's version of "Heroin," but for the rest, well, I think so.
And First Coffee's Fourth Favorite Book Read in 2007 is "12 Byzantine Rulers: The History of the Byzantine Empire" by Lars Brownworth (2007). Which isn't technically a book, it's a series of free iTunes podcasts by a Stony Brook School teacher which was so popular that Brownworth was given a contract to turn the series into a book. Living here in Istanbul you'd think First Coffee would be up on his Byzantine history, but there was so much packed into Brownworth's absorbing presentations that I had to listen to each one two or three times. A nod here to John Julius Norwich's 1998 three-volume history Byzantium, a work as enjoyably readable as Brownworth's lectures are enjoyably listenable, and one to which Brownworth, as any Byzantine buff, is heavily indebted.
German Business Intelligence software company Axle Studio GmbH has entered the North American market with a $1,095 per seat product called Axle Studio 2007 offering what the Axlians call "real-time synchronization across multiple vendors' databases and ERP, CRM and SFA systems."
Axle Studio also configures for end-user reports, dashboards and ad hoc multi-dimensional cube analysis.
"Axle Studio 2007 is a multifunctional BI platform," suitable for end user applications using multiple databases for trending, performance monitoring, and business reporting requirements, according to Bruce Ringrose, President of Axle Studio Canada. "Unlike many BI platforms," he adds, "no server software or dedicated hardware is required, so Axle Studio really opens up BI to a much larger SMB market."
Controller and CMA Stephen Clark of Rochester, New York-based metal components fabricator Firth Rixson said the company's ERP vendor offered proprietary report-writing software, but "it was expensive and very hard to master. I didn't have the time or money to implement something like Cognos or Business Objects," since they "demanded a huge data warehouse project." With Axle, "I spend 10 to 15 percent of my time working with data as opposed to 60 to 70 percent," says Clark.
StayinFront, a CRM vendor, has been rated "Positive" in Gartner's recent report "MarketScope for Sales Force Automation in the Consumer Goods Industry, 2H07."
The criterion for inclusion is at least $5 million in consumer goods sales force automation revenue specific to five key sales processes. The sales processes are category management, customer planning and TPM, volume planning, retail execution and monitoring and settlement.
StayinFront Consumer Goods Version 10 was noted for sales force automation, marketing automation and customer service applications. StayinFront officials say the product can be configured for use with existing business structures.
Thomas R. Buckley, StayinFront's CEO, said the vendor has enjoyed a strong presence in the pharmaceutical industry, but "have strategically intensified our presence in the consumer goods market."
StayinFront CRM can be delivered as a hosted application or installed on a corporate network. It supports a wide variety of mobile devices, such as tablet PCs, laptops and Pocket PCs. Headquartered in Fairfield, New Jersey, StayinFront has offices in Illinois, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Ireland, India, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand.
Shoptech Software has announced the release of Webview 7.1, a product the Shoptechies describe as "a CRM complement to the E2 Shop System." The product lets customers and vendors of E2 users access information via the Internet.
Manufacturing software like E2 is used as an alternative to ERP software. It's sometimes called "shop management software" or "job shop software."
Phil Hutchinson, President and CEO of Shoptech Software, said "we like to think of our software as the most powerful tool in our customer's shop."
"The name Webview is a little bit of a misnomer," added Paul Ventura, Senior VP of Marketing for Shoptech. "Users can actually send information back and forth through the customer and vendor portals, and documents can be attached on both the customer and vendor side. Customers are able to submit RFP's and place orders on-line."
Established in 1984, headquartered in Glastonbury, Connecticut, Shoptech sells ERP business products for small to mid-market custom and make to order manufacturers.
From the industry journal VietNamNet Bridge comes the news that Genting International, an Asian entertainment group, has announced the selection of a local firm as the reseller and licensee of their customer loyalty program WorldCard in Vietnam.
"WorldCard is specialized in the business of operating and managing customer loyalty programs. WorldCard is also engaged in the business activities of providing technical platform and technical resolutions in relation to Customer Relationship Management (CRM)," said Genting International PLC executive manager Justin Tan.
Through its member company Worldcard Overseas Holdings Limited, the contract between Genting and Tai Ngan was signed in Ho Chi Minh City.
According to Genting officials, WOHL introduced the technical product which would be applied for the use of WorldCard services. Tai Ngan kicked off a business partnership with Gloria Jeans and Medicare, adopters of the WorldCard products in Vietnam.
Tan said the customers of the participating merchants who are holders of the Loyalty Cards would be granted rewards in the form of points to be accumulated and kept in the Loyalty Accounts whenever the customers frequent the participating outlets. The points accumulated could be redeemed with goods or services among the participating merchants' outlets at real-time, online and on site.
USOnyx, a Singaporean vendor of Web hosting services, has introduced a new range of Web-based communication products, offered in cooperation with LiveChat Software.
LiveChat Contact Center uses Web technology such as Macromedia Flash to provide a customer contact tool. The Contact Center suite has conferencing capabilities, file sharing, live demonstrations and remote desktop functions, and can spit out reports based on the number of chat sessions, invitations and time spent with each specific operator. Customers can choose to leave operators a message Web forms.
The LiveChat Communicator is billed by the company as offering "a greater level of protection against online threats with its 128 bit SSL protocol. In addition," company officials say, the Communicator suite lets users reach people who use other instant messengers, such as MSN or ICQ, while "its customizable contact list minimizes distractions caused by unnecessary conversations."
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