By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is The Allman Brothers’ — we’re in a bit of an Allmans groove today — classic album Brothers And Sisters. Unsurprisingly, we have Live At The Fillmore East waiting on deck, too:
ShoreTel, a vendor of Pure IP Unified Communications products, has announced that plastics supplier A. Schulman has replaced the phone systems in ten North American facilities with a ShoreTel distributed unified communications product.
The ShoreTel product allows. Schulman to use its wide area network for voice communications, resulting in reduced long distance costs, enhanced communications and, company officials say, “improved employee productivity and collaboration.”
A. Schulman sells plastic compounds, color concentrates, and additives for plastics in a number of specialized applications. The phone system at the company’s headquarters had reached its end of life, company official say, and the systems at nine other North American facilities were also outdated.
In its search for a product, the company wanted call routing, call reporting, a common telephony and voice-mail platform for all facilities, and four-digit dialing. John Broerman, director of information technology at A. Schulman, called the ShoreTel implementation “one of the smoothest I have ever been involved with,” and said they were able to come up with “an easy, cookie-cutter approach for each additional facility.”
Schulman has deployed 600 ShorePhone IP telephones and 24 ShoreGear voice switches at ten sites, eight in the U.S. and two in Canada. At each office, all that was required was to determine the number of phones and switches and then deploy the system.
Broerman also plans to integrate ShoreTel with the company’s CRM application to make customer data available on incoming and outgoing calls.
Enterprise social networking had a break-out year in 2007 with “much faster than expected growth,” according to IDC’s Rachel Happe, research manager, Digital Business Economy.
While the market is still serviced by a wide variety of small players there was significant consolidation through mergers, acquisitions, and new products from existing players, she said.
“Enterprise social networking applications established a strong foothold in 2007, emerging as a more comprehensive product than single utility applications like blogs and Wikis,” said Happe. “A number of important societal, digital marketplace-specific, and enterprise trends are driving aggressive growth in this market. They include social filtering of content, media channel fragmentation, adoption of consumer social networking services, and the perception in mature markets like enterprise software that communities are a way to increase differentiation and retain customers.”
As an emergent market, the growth rate is high and spread unevenly between a variety of small vendors and a few larger vendors who represent a relatively large percentage of the market today, IDC’s research found. While 2007 saw some consolidation, IDC expects that 2008 will see even more.
Social networking market growth will be moderated by cultural and resource limitations, Happe believes. Many companies will deploy social networking applications and see few benefits because of the lack of understanding or comfort with the openness required for social networking to be successful.
The higher than expected market adoption in 2007 has pushed long-term projections higher as well. While this forecast projects both slow and aggressive growth scenarios, the projected size of the market in 2012 is expected to be $1.3 billion.
The study, U.S. Social Networking Application Forecast 2008-2012: Enterprise Social Networking Takes Hold (IDC #211945), presents a market sizing and forecast in terms of total aggregated market revenue.
Team One Solutions has announced a partnership with Applied Voice & Speech Technologies to bring their unified communications platform CallXpress, to their clients in Northern California.
AVST’s call processing, voice messaging, unified messaging, fax, notification, and speech-enabled personal assistant products will now be provided by Team One Solutions. Team One Solutions now provides the call processing and unified communications products from AVST to Bay Area businesses and institutions.
“AVST has a non-interruptive product for migrating these older systems into future proof messaging platforms,” said Paul Svec, Team One Solutions Chief Executive Officer. “The product can be deployed entirely at the pace that best suits each individual client.”
“The ability to integrate the CallXpress platform into our customers’ diverse voice and data networks is an advantage for our organization,” said Jeff Bell, Team One Solutions Vice President of Sales.
Team One Solutions is owned and operated by a veteran group of telecommunication executives.
Pentaho, which bills itself as “the commercial open source alternative for business intelligence,” has announced the availability of Mondrian 3.0, the latest release of the company’s OLAP server, a component of the Pentaho Open BI Suite.
With enhanced analytics and other features, including cell-level security and aggregate role support, Pentaho is positioning itself as an alternative for commercial open source business intelligence.
The analytic functions can be used by organizations in a variety of industries. “The new percentile calculation lets a sales manager looking at high-volume customers immediately see the percentile that the customer falls into based on sales volume,” company officials say, adding that “the same function can be used by financial services firms to better understand branch profitability and by governmental organizations to measure local agency performance or aggregated citizen demographics.”
Another function, the Net Present Value calculation, lets users weigh the long-term cost or value of certain investments based on the investment period and expected return.
“Companies around the world have experienced business benefits from using commercial open source products in other areas, and Ventana’s research shows that organizations have been moving aggressively to obtain similar benefits for business intelligence,” said David Stodder, VP and research director — Information Management and IT Performance Management at Ventana Research.
Stodder said the new release “should increase interest in commercial open source BI over the coming months.”
Epicor Software has announced that specialty retailer Boot Barn has selected the Epicor Retail Software as a Service product to “streamline its retail operations and support its long-term growth plans.”
Boot Barn was one of four Retail SaaS deals Epicor signed during the first quarter of 2008. In business for more than 30 years, Boot Barn is a West Coast specialty western and workwear retailer.
Boot Barn wanted end-to-end retail product to replace existing disparate systems and in doing so, to eliminate the manual processes required to integrate and share data among these systems.
The Epicor Retail SaaS delivery model is a turnkey retail product that provides retailers with access to Epicor’s suite of products for the specialty retail market place while virtually eliminating the need for an on-site retail IT infrastructure.