By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first cup of coffee this morning, and the music is the one essential Robert Earl Keen album, Live At The Ryman. Just take the version of "The Road Goes On Forever" from Live Diner No. 2 instead of the one here, and you have the ideal R.E. Keen CD, even the loopy "Farm Fresh Onions" workout at the end is kind of interesting.
Why Keen hasn't made it big, when others from the Lone Star State with less talent and fire -- hello Nancy Griffith -- have, is still a mystery to First Coffee:
LucidEra, a business intelligence-as-a-service company, has announced LucidEra Fall '08, an upgrade to its on-demand analytics platform and applications for sales.
The company has also announced a new Pipeline Healthcheck service for Salesforce.com customers "guaranteed to identify sales pipeline risks and opportunities," according to the Lucidians.
According to company officials, LucidEra Pipeline Insight Fall '08 introduces the ability to create custom calculated metrics on the fly, to "gain deeper insight into how to hit your company's number."
Building on a suite of built-in metrics such as win rates, average sales cycle lengths, and percentages of new business versus repeat business, the calculated metrics are designed to give customers "flexibility to identify trends that weren't visible" before, company officials say.
"LucidEra is providing sales management at TriNet with an understanding of the metrics that drive revenue growth," said Mike Triantos, VP of Sales at TriNet, a provider of human resources services for more than 2,000 small and medium-sized businesses located throughout the United States and Canada.
LucidEra has also announced a new 48 Hour Pipeline Healthcheck service for Salesforce.com customers to "identify potential risks and opportunities in a company's sales forecast," company officials say. Using the built-in best practices of LucidEra Pipeline Insight, Pipeline Healthcheck "analyzes the health of a company's sales pipeline, sales people, and overall sales process and identifies ways to help increase revenues, decrease pipeline risk, and get more predictable sales results."
"Your pipeline is the lifeblood of your company," said Barry Trailer, Managing Partner of CSO Insights. "Historically reporting products could only tell you basics such as whether you're hemorrhaging or not. Some of today's newest products can deliver much more granular details about your company's blood chemistry -- if you know where and how to look."
Count5, a vendor of sales force alignment software, has announced that Cbeyond, an IP-based managed services provider for small businesses, has implemented Count5's Q software companywide to enhance and reinforce training for more than 1,100 employees.
Q is patent-pending software that converts training materials into small, bite-sized pieces and sends it electronically to employees on a recurring schedule, company officials say: "Every piece of information consumed is tracked and evaluated, improving employee retention."
"We have been pleased with how Count5 and Q have enhanced our training capabilities," says Susan Mitnick, Senior Director for Cbeyond. Using Count5 Q, company officials say, Cbeyond trainers can evaluate information that requires additional reinforcement and "proactively offer supplemental training."
Cbeyond is an IP-based managed services provider that delivers communications and IT services to more than 38,500 small businesses throughout the United States.
Happy birthday, Oscar Wilde.
Oxford Global Resources has deployed the SASEnterprise BI for Midsize Business, officials say to create "a Web-based portal to help field managers proactively track internal performance metrics."
SAS, primarily known as a business analytics vendor, partnered with a local reseller to deliver the product to Oxford, which tallies over $200 million in annual sales with fewer than 500 employees.
The Web portal to Oxford's data warehouse, with over 125 people regularly accessing it, is so popular that the Windows Server 2003 hardware originally intended for 25 has proved insufficient, Oxford officials say:
"We escalated beyond the initial pilot group," says Joseph Cofone, Data Mining Analyst at Oxford. "The biggest measure of success has been that when we asked the original users if we should push availability to more users in our regional offices, the response was 'yes.'"
Oxford, based in Beverly, Massachusetts, serves clients from 21 domestic and two European offices. "We review each office's operations quarterly to identify areas of strength and areas in need of improvement. By the time our field managers discovered operational issues that needed to be fixed, three months had passed," says Scott Beyer, Oxford's Vice President of Strategy and Marketing.
Oxford's account managers, recruiters and others in the field are able to access performance data at the company, office and even individual level. "Pushing this information from headquarters to the front lines has made our people more accountable and focused on activities that really drive the business," says Beyer.
Infor has announced a software-as-a-service option for Infor ERP SyteLine, providing discrete manufacturers "choice in how they purchase, deploy and manage their enterprise resource planning (ERP) products," company officials say.
The product lets manufacturers acquire business-specific functionality as a service delivered by Infor, company officials say. The vendor offers a SaaS pricing model, letting customers choose a monthly subscription offering "low start-up costs or a traditional license model."
Infor ERP SyteLine is designed to allow companies to manufacture, sell and service discrete products. The core product accommodates true mixed mode manufacturing, from repetitive to engineer-to-order, and is used across industries like industrial equipment & machinery, high-tech and electronics, metal fabrication, aerospace and defense, and ship building.
It also is designed to provide business intelligence and customer and supplier management features so business managers can tune business processes for efficiency and profitability. Company officials say firms that select the SaaS Hosted License option for Infor ERP SyteLine can move between SaaS and on-premises deployment, or vice-versa.
"Another driver of SaaS ERP is the extreme IT staff constraints faced by many organizations. The off-premises deployment model enables software to be implemented and supported with no need for additional staff resources. This model appeals to organizations because it can free up staff to concentrate on more-strategic, value-adding processes," according to an August, 2008 report by research firm Gartner.
In the report, Gartner estimates SaaS will constitute "16.7 percent of the total ERP market by 2011, with small or midsized businesses accounting for 86 percent of adoption and large enterprises making up the remaining 14 percent."
IFS, a global enterprise application vendor, has announced that Lockheed Martin has decided to extend the use of IFS Applications in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Autonomic Logistics Information System.
IFS Applications is currently deployed in ALIS for supply chain management. Lockheed Martin has now also selected IFS Applications as the foundation for ALIS maintenance management capability, IFS officials say, adding that the expanded IFS Applications footprint is "expected to be contractually awarded and rolled out in support of the third Low Rate Initial Production contract of the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter, which is planned to be fielded in 2010."
ALIS is an embedded product integrating aircraft performance, operational parameters, aircraft configuration, scheduled upgrades and maintenance, component history, diagnostics, prognostics, health management, and service support for the F-35 aircraft: "Essentially, condition reporting of aircraft wellness is automatically reported in-flight, so crews on the ground can rapidly marshal appropriate maintenance and repair efforts," IFS officials say.
In July, Lockheed Martin signed a contract to use IFS Applications to provide the core software for the Joint Asset Management Engineering Solution project for the UK Ministry of Defence. This expanded IFS' role in the JAMES 1 Project by adding IFS Applications components for engineering, asset data collection and analysis as well as workshop management for the modification of assets.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a fifth-generation fighter that combines stealth with supersonic speed. It is designed to replace current-generation fighters for the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, and at least eight allied nations. IFS customers within the Aerospace and Defense industry include the British, Norwegian, and US defense organizations as well as the Eurofighter consortium.