By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bix Beiderbecke's "Ostrich Walk:"
Intridea has announced that VisualCV has integrated Intridea's MediaPlug media appliance server with its software for building, sharing and managing Internet resumes.
As a result, company officials say, VisualCV customers can create "media-rich resumes," called "VisualCVs," that include photos, audio, video and more. Because MediaPlug uses cloud computing via Amazon Web Services, VisualCV doesn't have hardware requirements to manage and store data-intensive media files.
"VisualCV is committed to changing the way recruiting and career management are conducted online, and Intridea is a strategic partner in that effort," said Scott Herman, vice president of product development at VisualCV. You can view an example of a visual CV, Herman's own, at www.VisualCV.com/scottherman.
Web services using Ruby on Rails has allowed integration between VisualCV's resume application and Intridea MediaPlug. When members want to upload multimedia files, MediaPlug takes the files from the VisualCV application, transcodes them, re-sizes them as needed, checks for viruses and then store them on the Amazon Simple Storage System.
"Though handled by different servers," company officials say, "the media files and resumes appear to members as a single online document."
Herman said his company "went from engaging Intridea in October 2007, to delivering alpha code in December, and then launching our public beta in February 2008."
RightNow Technologies has introduced August '08, the latest version of the company's on demand, customer relationship management (CRM) product.
Company officials say the product is for organization to "transform their static Web site support environments into branded, highly interactive online service experiences for customers."
With the RightNow customer portal, organizations can "brand and personalize the Web site service experience," using "interactive Web 2.0 information resources," company officials say.
The customer portal is part of RightNow Service and includes best practices for online customer self-service, and is designed to support consumers' "increased reliance on digital mediums to make informed buying decisions, with the ability to incorporate Web 2.0 technologies in the form of widgets, video, forums, and blogs."
The product also includes a studio development environment to create and manage the online service experience, including integration with Adobe Dreamweaver.
There's also something company officials are calling "The Collaboration Key: Co-Browse and Proactive Chat," offering "live, interactive assistance exactly when online consumers need it."
Evidently the products' co-browse feature lets consumers securely invite an agent, either on the phone or during an online chat session, to share their desktop and navigate or browse together, whether for resolving a problem, filling out a form, or guiding them through an online purchase.
Proactive chat is described by RightNow officials as "a new feature of RightNow chat that presents a chat invitation to a consumer based on specific, definable circumstances, such as being a premier or gold customer or spending a certain amount of time on a site."
"With more access to information, more sensitivity to price, and less sensitivity to advertising, customers are getting harder to win and keep. Organizations try to woo these empowered consumers with mediocre experiences - but it won't work. Firms need to dramatically raise the bar on the customer experience they provide," wrote Bruce D. Temkin of Forrester Research in the January 2007 report "Experience-Based Differentiation."
Demandbase has announced Demandbase Central, a technology platform that "powers a variety of new SaaS products including Demandbase Direct," according to company officials.
The Central platform is comprised of a search, scoring, and transaction engine which finds and qualifies B2B sales prospects and delivers them -- "without duplication" -- to a customer's e-mail, desktop or CRM system. It uses a pay-as-you-go model free of subscriptions, minimums or trial periods.
"The Direct experience makes finding and buying business contact information and sales leads as easy, fast and precise as buying music online," company officials say.
Demandbase Central is described by company officials as "performing as a search and scoring engine for leads, integrates data from the Web, third party information providers, CRM systems and social networks, then cleanses, normalizes and granularly categorizes millions of records based on each user's unique requirements." It uses D&B/Hoovers, Zoom Info, Lexis Nexis Business Information, Data Marketing Solutions, List Orbit, Opt-In Builders, and others, as well as information from across the Web.
Salesforce.com has announced the appointment of Steve McWhirter as president of its Asia-Pacific operations. He will report to Jim Steele, chief customer officer and president of international operations, and will be based in salesforce.com's Singapore office.
He succeeds Stephen J. Russell who served as president since November 2005.
"Steve McWhirter will support Salesforce.com's accelerated growth and market development in the Asia-Pacific region," said Steele, adding that McWhirter is expected to be "a driving force in extending the benefits of Salesforce CRM and the Force.com Platform to the growing number of companies in the region."
McWhirter joins salesforce.com from serving as vice president of HP Software Asia Pacific, a division of HP Technology Solutions Group, where he led an organization of nearly 500 sales, marketing, services and technical support staff.
During his tenure, the HP Software division saw the company's acquisitions of Mercury, Bristol, SPI and Opsware.
Before HP, McWhirter held positions as vice president of Red Hat Asia-Pacific and director, APAC software sales of IBM Software Group, Asia-Pacific, among others.
The Asia-Pacific region is Salesforce.com's fastest growing region worldwide. For its fiscal year ending January 31, 2008, the company's Asia-Pacific revenues grew more than 85 percent year-over-year and doubled its customer base.
MuseWorx, a vendor of on-demand marketing automation, has announced the public launch of the MuseWorx Marketing Operating System, described by company officials as "a marketing automation system to use cloud computing to support the marketing ecosystem," including service providers.
The product provides a way to integrate automation tools, resource partners and a collaboration and digital asset management system "capable of handling unlimited data, rich media files and users," company officials say.
MuseWorx has also announced a partnership with Images.com, an illustration licensing agency and digital asset library. Images.com's customers will now have free access to MuseWorx, and clients can access the inventory of previously licensed assets that Images.com currently provides.
For Images.com artists, the new partnership will allow them to consolidate their portfolios, including assignment works, for image management, copyright registration and future licensing opportunities.
"Images.com caters to marketers and advertisers frustrated with how few tools actually work together," said Paul Arbor, COO of Images.com. "We anticipate that this new offering will integrate our content into a single workspace for the advertising and creative communities."
In addition, MuseWorx has established partnerships with MediaPost and the Direct Marketing Association Affiliate Network, whose members and subscribers can also use MuseWorx to share, manage, track and analyze marketing campaigns and brands assets over the system.
MuseWorx will also incorporate other enterprise-class automation applications and tools, such as CRM, analytics, e-mail, and others.