By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is... none. Imagine that:
Oracle has announced that it has agreed to acquire Skywire Software's application software business. Skywire sells insurance software and document management business applications.
Skywire's insurance software "assists insurers in managing the life cycle of an insurance policy, including insurance policy creation, rating, insurance agent/broker management and information exchange products," according to company officials.
With Skywire Software and the pending acquisition of AdminServer, Oracle officials say they want to form a software suite for the insurance enterprise to include Oracle's database and middleware for technical infrastructure, Oracle applications to support general business and others for insurance-specific functionality.
Skywire Software employees and management are expected to join the Oracle Insurance Global Business Unit together with the pending acquisition of AdminServer.
"Insurance is a strategic industry for Oracle with growth focused on integrated packaged applications," said Oracle President Charles Phillips.
Centive, a vendor of products for sales compensation and sales performance management, has announced that ZipRealty, a national real estate brokerage operating in 34 major markets in 19 states, has selected Centive Compel to automate sales compensation management.
ZipRealty provides its clients a online product for buying and selling homes, researching local markets and finding local agents.
"We want to be sure our agents are highly motivated to provide the best possible service," said David Rector, chief financial officer, ZipRealty. "A competitive and well-managed sales compensation program provides that motivation."
Centive Compel is an on-demand product that automates the sales compensation process in one system. It provides tools like plan modeling, commission expense forecasting, custom reporting and performance analytics.
The product also supports compliance initiatives such as Sarbanes Oxley by providing automated process controls and an audit trail. Centive officials say it's "the only on-demand sales compensation management vendor to earn a SAS 70 Type II control review certification."
Salesforce.com has "expanded its global strategic alliance with Google," according to Salesforce officials, to "make it easier for developers to harness the power of cloud computing for Web and business application development and deployment."
The new Force.com Toolkit for Google Data APIs provides a set of tools and services to let developers use Google Data APIs, described by Google officials as "a common set of standard APIs for interacting with data in Google services, within their applications and projects on Force.com."
The toolkit will help developers bring together data and content in Google Apps with the database, logic and workflow capabilities in Force.com. The Force.com Platform-as-a-Service and Google's open APIs are used to build business applications delivered completely via the cloud.
As of April 30, 2008, salesforce.com manages customer information for approximately 43,600 customers.
AsiaInfo Holdings, a vendor of telecom software products and IT security products and services in China, has announced that it has signed a contract with China Unicom to upgrade its rechargeable mobile phone card system in China Unicom's headquarters and
subsidiaries in Hunan and Fujian provinces.
The new system will allow China Unicom to "centralize management of its rechargeable card systems in various provinces," officials say.
Steve Zhang, AsiaInfo's president and chief executive officer, noted that "as a long-term strategic partner of China Unicom," AsiaInfo will "continue to develop operational support systems and understanding of China's telecommunications industry to help China Unicom increase its competitiveness after China's telecom industry restructuring."
The upgrade of the rechargeable card system will involve the modification of multiple China Unicom systems, including its existing customer relationship management (CRM) and billing systems. The upgrade will let China Unicom consolidate its independent
rechargeable card systems in each province for centralized management.
SAP AG has announced that South Africa's Office of the Public Protector has selected an SAP product to transform its case management operations, automating its manually driven investigations, reviews, analysis and reporting processes.
The office, an independent and impartial constitutional institution, conducts investigations into alleged improper conduct by state organizations.
With the new SAP Investigative Case Management for Public Sector package, based on the SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) application and the SAP NetWeaver technology platform, SAP officials say, the OPP will automate its core processes in facilitating resolution of disputes, reporting and "recommending remedial action, and enhancing awareness of the office's role and responsibilities."
"The Public Protector has the power to investigate any conduct in state affairs, or in the public administration in any sphere of government that is alleged or suspected to be improper or to result in any impropriety or prejudice," said Charles Motau, head of Information Technology, Office of the Public Protector, clearing that up.
"SAP software will help us to prepare our reports to the National Assembly with more relevant analytical data and in a more timely manner," he added.
The OPP will use the SAP tools to automate case management processes and gain a central repository from which staff can access information related to any case. Due to the sensitive nature of the OPP's work, security and access rights are needed.
The case management software combines CRM functionality with the business process of an open and integrative technology platform. The software is designed to support large-scale, time-consuming investigations, involving both complexity and large numbers of witnesses, documents, exhibits, lines of inquiry and investigative teams.
The implementation of the software package at South Africa's OPP began June 1, 2008, with support from two SAP partners: Nambiti Technology and MIIB Consulting. The go-live is planned for the end of 2008.
Workamajig, formerly Creative Manager Pro, which sells ad agency software and project management groupware for creative and design firms, has announced new drag and drop capabilities in the online timeline and and online Gantt chart, along with updates for Apple's latest Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.3.
The upcoming upgrade, due at the end of the summer, will feature new drag and drop capabilities in the online timeline and online Gantt chart. The new timeline features, integrated into the schedule screen, will allow users to drag and drop the timeline bars to easily reschedule projects.
The May update of the integrated Ad Agency system converted the system from Creative Manager Pro to Workamajig, and included a foundation upgrade to its Ad Agency management software, addressing interface improvements based on months of research, client interviews and user feedback.
While most of the improvements are in Flash, "all of the improvements are a direct result from many man-years of research and direct client feedback from actual users of the Creative Management Software," Workamajig officials say.