Microsoft in Africa with XON, Anite in Scotland, ForRent Videos, Apatar and KID, QuickArrow and RTM, EssentiaESP

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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Microsoft in Africa with XON, Anite in Scotland, ForRent Videos, Apatar and KID, QuickArrow and RTM, EssentiaESP

By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is underrated jazz pianist Bill Evans's "NYC's No Lark:"
XON officials say the firm has become the first user in Africa of Microsoft's new Dynamics AX 2009 business management product and enterprise suite.

Microsoft released the suite, which offers capabilities for multisite organizations to streamline processes, reduce operational costs and other functions, in June.

"We have 40 people across eight companies and three national offices using Microsoft's ERP system," says Bart van Buynder, CFO of the XON Group of companies. "We are using a total of six modules that our business partner, XON, deployed first in a test environment before going live."

XON sells information and communication technology products, and operates networking and security, ERP and CRM business products, infrastructure, maintenance and other services throughout South Africa.

"We have used Microsoft Dynamics AX since version 1.5 was released in 1999," says van Buynder, adding "which is when we became a value-added reseller of the product through what was then Damgaard, which was subsequently acquired by Microsoft."

Jumana Helal, Microsoft Dynamics group lead at Microsoft SA, said employees using traditional ERP systems "have had to wade through inefficient, time-intensive steps -- enter transactional data, run reports, analyse reports -- before they can do their jobs."
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Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council officials say they have chosen Anite to help the Council's Housing Department deliver services to its customers.
The Council is implementing an integrated suite of social housing products from Anite as part of a £250,000 system overhaul scheduled to be complete by December.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown has updated the way it retains information about its 4,200 social housing properties. Traditionally records and information such as stock control, rents, repairs or housing allocations were kept in numerous disparate local databases many unconnected, could not be cross-referenced and were difficult to maintain.

The new system from Anite will capture and store property information in one central place that can be accessed by all housing employees, providing them with a better overview of any individual case.

The Anite system works by storing all information centrally, allowing employees to reconcile and access up to date information about cases, and cross reference information that has an impact on the decision making process. For example, information about maintenance requests can be monitored against rent arrears, or information about anti-social cases against housing allocation lists.

Anite's open Adaptors will allow interoperability with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown's chosen CRM product.
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Okay, just because First Coffee is your friend, I'm telling you to check out, an apartment resource for searching apartments nationwide and division of Dominion Enterprises. Seems they were running an "If Only Your Apartment Furniture Could Talk" video contest.
The winning videos on were selected from more than 50 submissions created by enthusiasts from around the country. Each made a short video creatively telling, through the eyes and voice of their apartment furniture, why they should win $10,000.

The grand prize winner, Brendan Walsh, a 20 year-old student from Steubenville, Ohio, majoring in digital media production at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, contributed the winning video, "Furniture Talk." I know most of this kind of thing is pretty stupid, but you'd be amazed how good some of them are -- First Coffee's favorite is "Sectional Healing," but then again my favorite movies are Airplane! and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. See them at

"Social media is my life," says Walsh. The consumer video contest was intended to "use the power of social media, extend the reach of the brand and to establish a long-term relationship with brand advocates," ForRent officials say.
Social media is leading the shift in the way consumers experience brands. According to a 2008 Nielsen study, 78 percent of consumers trust the opinion of peers over all other information sources and advertising.
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Knowledge Integration Dynamics, a Johannesburg-based company selling business intelligence, data warehousing and products, has concluded a partnership agreement with Apatar to distribute its open source data integration suite in South Africa.
KID will train and offer support services for the Apatar integration package for integration projects across Mac OS, Windows, and Linux.
"South Africa is a developing region, and it is important for us to fill the open source data integration niche," says Sergei Lobanov, Alliance Enabler at Apatar.
Apatar already has in excess of 100 users in South Africa and expects KID to rapidly expand its penetration of the local market. KID is Apatar's first South African partner.
The companies say they'll be targeting small and mid-sized companies in South Africa with a need for a free, easy-to-use extract, transform, and load tool. They'll be pushing Apatar's visual job designer and visual transformation mapper, which are 100 percent Java-based and "obviate the need for coding of any kind," Apatar officials say, reducing the need for technical skills.
Apatar enables connectivity with, SugarCRM, MySQL, Oracle, MS SQL, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, GoldMine and any JDBC data sources, Amazon S3, Flickr, StrikeIron and CDYNE Web services, and more.
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QuickArrow, a vendor of SaaS Services Automation, has announced that they will be partnering with RTM Consulting on a new Webinar designed to provide SMB technology services providers with methods and techniques for competition.
The free, one-hour Webinar will take place on Wednesday, July 30, at 12:00 p.m. CDT.
During the Webinar, Resource Management expert and RTM Consulting President Randy Mysliviec will discuss how the small and medium sized technology consulting and professional services provider can turn perceived competitive weaknesses, relative to much larger companies, into competitive strengths.
"SMBs have considerable competitive advantages due to their speed of execution, specialization of resources, and simplicity of their business models but yet do not always take advantage of these and other significant strengths," said Mysliviec.
This Webinar builds on QuickArrow's continued focus on the growing SMB market segment. In March of this year, QuickArrow launched a new Small Business offering.
"SMB leaders in the Professional Services space face a unique set of challenges in competing with large, multi-national services providers," said QuickArrow COO, Kevin Bury, adding "traditionally, however, this group has received relatively little attention from P.S. thought leaders and strategists."
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Essentia, a developer of software platforms and products for online communities and commerce, has unveiled a new flagship product, EssentiaESP, described by company officials as a community-engagement platform designed for commercial open source.
The product is billed by company officials as unifying "social networking, community management, and commerce with content management, software development and collaboration in a platform that supports multiple CRM integrations with administrator defined code for analytics and tracking."

The company also announced the initial deployment of EssentiaESP for the 85,000-member JasperForge community, the open source development portal for the Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite.
Currently, company officials say, the options that are available for open source communities are to either roll their own custom environments using point tools or rely on collaborative software development environments "that have community and commerce added as an afterthought."
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