By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Belle & Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister. For Scottish mope music it's okay, and this'll probably date me faster than my birth certificate, but honestly now, what do they do that original Scottish mopester Donovan, not to mention The Kinks, hasn't already done better?
PlasMedia Mobile, a vendor of interactive mobile technology, has launched "Coupon Envy
," which company officials say is a Web interface allowing businesses to create and manage mobile marketing campaigns.
The PlasMedians say that "After reading the August 2006 International Herald-Tribune report where it clearly stated that although 74 percent of Americans still use paper coupons, around 99 percent of the 200 billion coupons distributed annually in the US end up in the trash," Dean Tally CEO of PlasMedia Productions, the parent company of PlasMedia Mobile at the time, "embarked on a journey that would make paper coupons a thing of the past."
CouponEnvy allows businesses to send messages out to their whole customer base "in one shot," company officials say, "alerting interested patrons of upcoming special, VIP events or additional discounts." Since the message is received on a personal cell phone, businesses can offer "immediacy and relevancy to their customers."
"Mobile marketing is not just for the big guys anymore. Mobile couponing is a way for small and midsize business owners to reward their best customers. They can provide special offers, discounts, event invites, news, or anything else their customers might find valuable," says Talley. "In return, the business owner gets the holy grail of marketing: their target consumer's undivided attention in a database they can remarket to."
Rates start at $17 per week for 2500 messages per month. PlasMedia Mobile is a division of PlasMedia Productions, headquartered in suburban Kansas City, Missouri.
The recent instability in the financial markets has caused speculation about its effect on the communications industry. Recognizing that many companies are now setting budgets for next year and need to make assumptions on how current events will play out, Ovum is offering what company officials describe as "several planning scenarios that put boundaries on the uncertainties in the telecoms industry for 2009."
Ovum officials say the most likely scenario is a generally mild impact on the telecoms industry, with growth and spending slowing but not declining. The scenarios are described in the October edition of Ovum's Straight Talk Monthly communication to clients.
"Scenario planning was made for times like this," says John Lively, the report's author and Ovum's Chief Forecaster. Ovum officials say they used their database of service provider revenues and capital spending to look at what has happened during past recessions and during the tech bubble burst of 2001-2002.
Three scenarios were created based on different revenue growth rates and different levels of capital spending as a percent of revenue. The scenarios can be summarized as follows:
Optimistic case: brief slowdown in 2H08 with growth rates of revenue and capex returning to 2007 levels in 2009.
Most likely case: reduced growth rates in 2H08 continuing through 2009.
Pessimistic case: declines in wireline revenue and capex, with fixed capex falling 28 percent -- a drastic but not unprecedented decline. A significant slowdown in mobile revenues and no growth in mobile capex between 2008 and 2009.
Underpinning the choice of assumptions, company officials say, is a belief that the absolute worst case -- a global, severe economic depression and an unprecedented crash in the telecoms market -- will be avoided.
CloudAPPy is a new company on First Coffee's horizon, company officials describe it as "a drag-and-drop hosting cloud service for deployment of applications in a load-balanced high availability environment."
The service is intended to cut down deployment time by providing Web control which "with a drag of the mouse, enables users to deploy applications to load-balanced clusters of application servers."
The way the service works is that users upload an application and drag-and-drop to deploy it via the Control Panel. "The application gets automatically propagated to various nodes in a load-balanced cluster in the cloud," according to the CloudAPPians, adding that the number of load-balanced nodes can be increased or decreased on demand.
Supported application programming languages and frameworks include Java, RAILS, and PHP. The service automatically configures the database and application for the application to run automatically in the load-balanced cloud.
The company is now offering free developer accounts, according to Gabriel Wong, Chief Architect/Founder, CloudAPPy, who says the default enterprise server for deploying enterprise applications is Glassfish.
Knoa, a vendor of "experience and performance management software," has announced the findings of a survey conducted among IT executives
and business stakeholders
at Global 1000 companies.
The goal of the survey was to "gain insight into the impact of end-user experience
on the results derived from CRM deployments," the Knoaves say, adding that survey results show that "many enterprises find their end-users are having difficulties interacting with these systems."
CRM systems are "one of the most challenging of enterprise software deployments because so much of the end-user behavior necessary to drive results is essentially voluntary," says Lori Wizdo, vice president, marketing, for Knoa Software. "All too often, adoption and effective use
of CRM functionality is hampered by a below par end-user experience with the application."
A majority of the survey respondents, 65 percent, said end-users within their organizations complain about the usability and response time of their CRM system. And 60 percent of respondents expressed "concern" that a lack of adoption and use of a CRM system causes the information to be inaccurate, or unrealistic.
The survey revealed that the stakeholders in CRM implementations recognize the importance of end-user experience, as only 16 percent are not attempting to measure end-user experience at all. Thirty percent of survey respondents said they use help desk logs to measure user experience.
The research, Knoa officials say, "hinted that a certain degree of resignation creeps into the expectations of the stakeholders of CRM applications as the deployments mature through the application life cycle."
While sixty-eight percent of survey respondents who have had their CRM system in place between two and five years reported that it was running smoothly, 55 percent of the same respondents reported that the users of their CRM systems complain about usability and response time, and 67 percent of those respondents were concerned that a lack of adoption and use of CRM systems causes the information to be inaccurate, or unrealistic.
The end-user experience survey was executed by ReachForce , a marketing data services company based in Austin, Texas.
Firepond has announced that VoIP vendor BroadSoft's product is now implemented on the Firepond CPQ OnDemand application. BroadSoft has integrated Firepond CPQ OnDemand with Salesforce.com's application.
"The BroadSoft implementation uses many standard features of theFirepond CPQ OnDemand application, including rule-driven workflow, proposal generation, tiered discounting and data export," says Firepond's president Bradlee Sheafe, adding that the implementation also uses features such as data-driven functions to "accomplish specialized tasks."
Sheafe says BroadSoft will use Firepond's Product DataManager as the master data source, since this will allow them to "deploy data updates to Firepond CPQ OnDemand so that all users have immediate access to the latest data."
"We choseSalesforce.com's SFA and Firepond CPQ OnDemand because of the ease of use and flexibility," stated Tom Notar, vice president of SalesOperations for BroadSoft, adding that "we needed a product to automate the configuration and pricing of our offerings with easy data integration into Salesforce."
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