By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Alice Cooper's Killer, reputedly named as the favorite album of the Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten:
Apprivo, which sells value-added products and services for Salesforce Partner Networks, has announced three new Software-as-a-Service offerings designed to "simplify how Named Accounts, Partner Scorecards and Special Pricing are managed in the channel," according to company officials.
"Companies have unique processes based on the complexity of their channel," says Elay Cohen, vice president of products at Salesforce.com.
Apprivo founder and CEO, Andrew O'Driscoll, says the flexibility of the Force.com Platform-as-a-Service "allows us to develop the on-demand products our customers need for their channel."
Apprivo on-demand products for Salesforce Partner Networks include products to streamline lead routing "so customers can minimize channel conflict and align selling efforts within accounts," as well as functionality designed to consolidate and calculate channel performance metrics, company officials say.
There's also a product called "Apprivo Special Pricing," which analyzes the impact of non-standard pricing across the value chain, "so customers can determine whether competitive business is worth winning."
Apprivo products are fully native to Salesforce and run entirely within the Salesforce cloud, company officials say, adding that since Apprivo products are native, "features use familiar Salesforce concepts."
Orga Systems has recently launched the latest release of its top-up product Virtual Voucher.
It's designed to let mobile network operators sell prepaid airtime and communication services in real time. With the new product release, company officials say, operators have "various means to manage a fine-grained structure of a hierarchical distribution network."
Virtual Voucher can manage national as well as international affiliates for operators worldwide, company officials claim, adding that to the different levels of users, it offers dedicated reports as well as summary reports, which can be filtered in various ways.
The product's sales and distribution system is designed to support a hierarchical network of distributors and retailers, according to company officials, giving them functionality for sales and channel management in real time.
The Virtual Voucher uses standard GSM mobile handsets as vending devices and provides the sales person with a means for direct recharge of a subscribers' account. It supports sales and distribution channels in retail and high-street shop environments as well as in so-called street seller scenarios.
Company officials say the product is "suited to target new and existing customer segments -- also in areas facing logistical challenges as well as in highly populated metropolitan areas."
IT security and control firm Sophos has released the results of its research into the latest spam trends, showing what they say are the top twelve spam-relaying countries for the third quarter of 2008.
The figures show what the firm characterizes as "an alarming rise in the proportion of spam e-mails sent with malicious attachments between July - September 2008," as well as an increase in spam attacks "using social engineering techniques to snare unsuspecting computer users."
Sophos's research finds that "one in every 416 e-mail messages between July and September contained a dangerous attachment, designed to infect the recipient's computer." Company officials call this "a staggering eight-fold rise compared to the previous quarter where the figure stood at only one in every 3,333 e-mails."
Much of this increase, Sophos says, can be attributed to several large-scale malware attacks made by spammers during the period. "The worst single attack was the Agent-HNY Trojan horse, which was spammed out disguised as the Penguin Panic arcade game for Apple iPhones. Other major incidents included the EncPk-CZ Trojan, which pretended to be a Microsoft security patch, and the Invo-Zip malware, which masqueraded as a notice of a failed parcel delivery from firms such as UPS."
Windows users opening any of these attachments exposed their PCs to the risk of infection and potentially put their identity and finances at risk. The most widespread attacks seen by Sophos are not designed to run on Unix and Mac OS X: "For Apple Mac and Unix lovers, these major spam attacks just mean a clogged-up inbox, not an infected operating system," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.
"The naivety shown by many internet users is downright dangerous. In the past, hackers were more like teenage mischief-makers breaking into sheds to see what they could find. Today, they are hardened criminals wearing hobnail boots with no qualms about breaking into your home and stealing everything they can get their hands on," Cluley says.
Oh, the Dirty Dozen? The good ol' U.S. of A. relays 19 percent of the world's spam, Russia handles 8.3 percent (4.4 percent last year), Turkey's third with 8.2, and at six percent or under, in order, are China (including Hong Kong), Brazil, South Korea, India, Argentina, Italy, the United Kingdom, Colombia and Thailand, all combining for 66 percent of the world's spam.
According to Sophos researchers, there is no sign that recent legal action by the authorities against major spam gangs have had any perceptible impact on the amount of spam in circulation.
According to industry observer Vera Alves
Sage Business Solutions has announced the availability of its Sage SalesLogix v7.5 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) suite in the Australia-New Zealand region.
"Personalized welcome pages, enhanced lead-management and list creation capabilities are some of the new features of the product," she says, noting that "in addition, integration with Web 2.0 technologies such as Google Maps and LinkedIn has been added."
Mike Lorge, Managing Director of Sage Business Solutions ANZ, said Sage SalesLogix "can mash-up contextual information from the Web, such as LinkedIn profiles and Google Maps geographical information."
Alves reports Lorge saying "we collected an incredible amount of product feedback this year, and the most important themes we heard were the ability for users to work anywhere on a variety of devices."
The company has also announced the availability of ACT! by Sage 2009 (11.0), the latest version of its customer and contact management solution, Alves says, adding that "the new features include improved integration with Microsoft Outlook, improved calendar and activity visibility and greater database search capabilities."
SAP has announced its third quarter 2008 results. U.S. GAAP software and software-related service revenues were euro 1.99 billion (2007: euro 1.74 billion), representing an increase of 15 percent compared to the third quarter of 2007. If SAP's reporting currency was the U.S. Dollar, Non-GAAP software and software-related service revenues for the third quarter would have increased 26 percent compared to the same period one year ago.
U.S. GAAP total revenues for the 2008 third quarter were euro 2.76 billion (2007: euro 2.42 billion), which was a year-over-year increase of 14 percent. Third quarter 2008 U.S. GAAP software revenues were euro 763 million (2007: euro 714 million), representing an increase of 7 percent (11 percent at constant currencies) compared to the third quarter of 2007.
U.S. GAAP operating income for the third quarter was euro 614 million (2007: euro 606 million), which was an increase of 1 percent compared to the third quarter of 2007. The U.S. GAAP operating margin for the third quarter of 2008 was 22.2 percent (2007: 25.1 percent).
U.S. GAAP basic earnings per share from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2008 was euro 0.35 (2007: euro 0.35), which was flat compared to the same period in 2007.
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