By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Tom Waits' magnificent floor sweepings, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards. He's a very different talent to Bob Dylan, yes, but one thing that's impressed me about Waits and Dylan is they're two old veterans who can release outtake collections, afterthoughts and overlooked songs, that still sound better than what most anybody else does when they're concentrating:
Hypatia Research, LLC has released a report titled "Decision Science and Customer Analytics: Competitive Advantage or Necessary to Compete" which outlines "strategies, techniques, vendor products and services" used by companies, according to Hypatia officials.
Wal-Mart, American Express, Cocoa-Cola, Staples, Best Buy, Harrah's Entertainment, Proctor & Gamble, Toyota, Hilton International. AOL, IBM, and Oracle are among numerous blue-chip companies using business and consumer data today, report officials say. In fact it'd be hard to find a significantly successful company who doesn't use analytics, First Coffee thinks.
The report finds that information is "a currency used for competitive advantage since the earliest beginnings of barter negotiations and commercial commerce." In today's global economy, knowledge of consumer and business behavior, lifestyle and demographic information can be transformed through information analysis, the report finds, in a form known as "Decision Science, Marketing Science or Customer Analytics."
It is this insight that is used in decision-making to help companies that seek to enhance profitability or gain a competitive business advantage.
"In order to create an effective decision analytics eco-system, companies need to establish an operational foundation for customer data analysis and decision-support," says Leslie Ament, Managing Partner at Hypatia.
Ament said their research shows that organizations most often take one of these three approaches in capturing, analyzing and using customer information derived from multiple data sources -- to create an internal center of excellence, partner with providers of information services for flexible, on-demand expertise or a hybrid approach, using in-house expertise combined with outsourced information services.
Use of what she calls "decision science" will move from being a competitive advantage to a simple necessity in the next decade, Ament says: "We also expect product and service providers to partner in delivering greater capabilities and higher levels of customization to clients."
First Coffee's been living in New Zealand for two weeks now, north of Auckland a couple hours in Mangawhai, on the East coast, and man, the easiest job in New Zealand has to be weatherman. "Scattered clouds and showers likely in the morning, clearing by the afternoon with a high probability of more rain later in the day" covers about twelve of the days we've seen so far. I bet they just made a tape of the weatherman pointing to the rain around the country and just keep playing the same one over and over all spring. It'd be a way to save on overhead.
That's right, it's spring down here. We lived five years in Turkey before this, and the weather changed there, but nothing like this -- you literally can be wearing a wool sweater at one part of the day and shorts and a t-shirt the next, and return to the sweater in the evening.
Boy, nobody tell ACORN about this one: New Zealand's Electoral Enrollment Center is using CONTACT to make it easy for eligible voters to request an enrollment pack by simply sending their name and address to Freetext 3676.
Datasquirt, supplier of CONTACT, its multi-channel communication product, says the Electoral Enrollment Center has once again used Datasquirts product to "facilitate enrollments for the upcoming general election."
"The younger generation's preferred method of communication is SMS," and the company is working with the Electoral Enrollment Center to "make it easy for young New Zealanders to register to vote," says Aaron Ridgway, CEO of Datasquirt.
A staggering 51 percent of all enrollment requests received by the Electoral Enrollment Center prior to the New Zealand 2005 general election were processed via Datasquirts SMS product. This election, some 42 percent of all enrollment requests have been via SMS.
Since early May when the enrollment drive commenced, "we have received more than 100,000 requests for enrollment packs via Datasquirts two-way SMS platform," says Rex Arrell, the Electoral Enrollment Centers Manager for Policy and Administration.
Datasquirts CONTACT is supplied as software-as-a-service, with secure access available from most Internet browsers.
Webcom, a vendor of quote-to-order enablement and a Certified Partner in the Oracle PartnerNetwork, has announced that Tripwire, a vendor of configuration assessment and change auditing software, has implemented the Webcom WebSource CPQ product to simplify its quote-to-order process.
Tripwire's flagship product, Tripwire Enterprise, helps IT organizations automate compliance across the data center by "verifying that each change to system settings is authorized," according to the Tripwirians, "within policy and compliant. Tripwire ensures that organizations achieve continuous operational, regulatory and security compliance."
With Tripwire Enterprise, the idea is that IT systems remain in a known and compliant state, reducing risk, ensuring security, and achieving operational efficiency.
"We needed a product that would help us streamline our sales processes from opportunity to order, both for new business and renewals," said Shawn Sands, Director of Inside Sales at Tripwire. "The combined offering of Oracle Siebel CRM OnDemand and WebSource CPQ has allowed us to do just that."
WebSource CPQ requires "nothing more than a Web browser," company officials say, adding that the product allows sales people, channel partners and consumers to configure, price, quote and propose products/services.
"The handling of renewals, not just new business is a significant challenge in the technology space, in particular with software firms," said Chris Lesar, Webcom Executive Vice President.
Addressing multiple product choices, sales hierarchy, discounting rules, pricing rules and multiple channels, companies can automate quoting, revisions, the approval process, as well as use guided-selling and self-service applications with WebSource CPQ, company officials say:
"The combination of Oracle Siebel CRM OnDemand and WebSource CPQ is intended to allow Tripwire's users to bridge the gap from opportunity to order, simplify the sales process and configure, price, quote and propose a product or service offerings across all channels, anytime, anywhere and generate any document on demand without any duplication of effort or data."
Vitrium Systems has announced The Docmetrics Challenge, a program offering sales leads to trial users of the company's Web-based marketing software technology, docmetrics.
Vitrium CEO Peter Nieforth says companies today are "relying on ineffective and expensive banner ads and click rates to reach potential customers. We've developed a content management system that creates quality targeted information and generates real leads, not just inquiries."
According to David Meerman Scott, marketing strategist and author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, up to 95 percent of Web site visitors will abandon traditional Web forms gating online content: "Of the remaining five percent, many provide bogus data simply to acquire your content. Un-gated content is a bridge to nowhere."
Docmetrics is a Software-as-a-Service application intended to help marketing organizations capture sales leads by enhancing their PDF collateral with in-document forms and PDF analytics technology. Vitrium offers prospective clients a free 30-day trial of the system.
With The Docmetrics Challenge, Vitrium has pledged to provide docmetrics trial users with free access to the system "until they start see significant results," company officials say: "If a docmetrics user is not generating more, better-qualified sales leads when the initial 30-day trial period ends, Vitrium will extend that user's trial, free of charge."
The company made Gartner's Cool Vendors in CRM Marketing and Analytics, 2008 report.
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