By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is one of the greatest albums recorded in the second half of the 20th century -- Frank Sinatra's A Swingin' Affair:
Global mobile network operator Truphone has launched a beta of its mobile internet telephony service, Truphone Anywhere, for BlackBerry smart phones. The service is described by company officials as a way to get cheap international calling to BlackBerry users.
Truphone Anywhere works in 33 countries worldwide, and company officials claim it "saves BlackBerry users from those countries money on the international calls they make from their home country. The service works alongside domestic service providers, but reduces international call costs to as little as six cents per minute."
Instead of requiring the user to remember what to do, Truphone Anywhere simply asks whether he wants to make a Truphone call whenever an international number is dialed.
"There's no GSM business tariff that gets close to the prices we can offer BlackBerry users with Truphone for international calling," says Geraldine Wilson, new CEO of Truphone. "And in these days of financial belt-tightening, businesses are looking at every means of cutting costs, which is an opportunity for us."
In technical terms, company officials explain, Truphone Anywhere works by connecting to a local Truphone server, which then connects the long-distance part of the call over the Internet. Because most BlackBerry users are contract customers, they say, the local connection to Truphone is, typically, free because it uses bundled minutes from the customer's usual cellular service provider.
Truphone for BlackBerry smart phones is available to download for free from www.truphone.com/blackberry.
Self-described "Walking and cycling holiday specialists" HF Holidays officials say the company has chosen SAS Marketing Automation software to be "the foundation for improving its marketing communications."
SAS' marketing software is expected by HF Holidays officials to create better targeted direct mail campaigns and e-newsletter offers to its customers, based on accurate customer data. "Using SAS," company officials say, they want to accelerate growth by an additional 5-10 percent within the next 5 years through better targeted mailings.
HF Holidays turned to SAS for a customer profiling system to improve their targeting and personalization of marketing communications. SAS is expected to provide HF Holidays with data management, campaign management and customer analytics in one integrated product.
SAS officials say the product will integrate data from several separate databases within HF Holidays, "improving the quality and accuracy of its customer information... this centralized platform will enable the company to generate targeted campaigns, as well as understand and track customer responses."
Aimee Hart, Communications Manager at HF Holidays, says SAS' complete marketing product "will provide us with a holistic approach to marketing to our customers. With SAS we will be able understand all of our customer data and gather insight into their behavior."
Ian Manocha, Managing Director of SAS UK, called the leisure industry "a real growth area for SAS. We have recently expanded our footprint in this market by acquiring IDeaS Revenue Optimization and forming a new Profit Optimization Global Practice."
Vancouver-based CRM Vendor Lasso Data Systems, specializing products for the real estate industry, has announced that Equine Management Services, a vendor of equine-themed communities, has selected Lasso as its enterprise CRM.
Please tell me First Coffee isn't the only one to see the total tonnage of bad punnage lying in wait here.
EMS is the master developer of the mega 200 acre residential project, Escape, located in Ajman, United Arab Emirates.
"Our team evaluated several CRM systems," said Anwer Sher, Co-Founder and Managing Director, EMS. "Lasso provides the functionality that we need for marketing and customer service for Escape and our upcoming equine projects."
Located thirty minutes from downtown Dubai, Escape will comprise more than five hundred "Arabian and Mediterranean-influenced" villas, saddle home duplexes, and 16 low-to-medium rise apartment buildings to be constructed and sold over the next two years.
Escape will also be home to a one hundred-fifty room boutique hotel, an equestrian center for two hundred horses with spa and therapy center, several multipurpose sports arenas and the HoofbeatZ Center.
Symphony Metreo, a vendor of enterprise pricing and operations management products, has announced availability of its new Price Manager software, described by company officials as a tool for pricing and product managers to build pricing strategies linked to financial objectives.
"With Price Manager, users can predict the impact of pricing decisions on the business and set new prices based on changing market or competitive conditions," company officials say.
According to a recent AMR Research study cited by the Symphonians, when setting and executing prices, the largest gap occurs in the planning phase: "Conducting profitability analysis and incorporating findings in future price analytics and setting presents the biggest disparity with a gap of 31 percent," they say.
The Symphony Metreo pricing suite is designed to "close that gap," company officials say, since the product "treats price as a lever and driver for achieving a company's revenue and margin goals." It's designed to bring "order and efficiency" to the process of setting and managing list prices and price lists for products and services by combining planning and analysis with interactive what-if scenario capabilities to test trade-offs.
Price Manager offers a set of reports for analyzing the current state of business, identifying problem price points and understanding the impact of changing prices, as well as role-based dashboards and alerts to "provide each user with his or her own view of the price setting process, and a J2EE-compliant Web interface is designed for ease-of-use," company officials say.
There's also a feature called Decisionflow which lets users "make the necessary midcourse pricing corrections for achieving the pricing plan, including what-if scenario capabilities for appreciating the trade-offs involved," and a feature called "ActiveRules" technology, which manages the business rules in complex models, enables customers to "capture all the interdependencies of the rules pertaining to their business operations."
FYI: Working in cooperation with Oulu Innovation, Global Connexus has announced that plans are well underway to set up the world's first Web Commerce Center of expertise in Oulu, Finland.
The new center, according to Global officials, will provide companies seeking new Internet business models "the resources to develop Web stores, simplify electronic purchases, reduce the need for working capital, increase e-commerce volumes and develop a higher standard of customer service."
That last one sounds pretty good.
The Technical Services Department of the City of Oulu has zoned an area in Oulu for industrial and business development. Itella Corporation has announced plans to build a sorting facility scheduled to be fully operational in summer 2009. Palmberg-Rakennus is developing other facilities to provide logistics.
"This is the time to focus on Web commerce as consumers continue to seek virtual shopping and easy electronic purchases," said Samuli Romppainen, former vice president of Erätukku and current Web commerce consultant.
Web commerce is the fastest growing type of consumer trade in Europe with consumers purchases largely focused in leisure time products, home electronics and interior decoration. In recent years, Web commerce has grown at a rate of 20 to 30 percent in Finland against an annual overall retail trade growth of some five percent.
However, over 30 percent of the web purchases made by Finns go to Web stores abroad.
The project's partners include the Technical Services Department of the City of Oulu, the University of Oulu and the Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT.
Oulu Innovation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the competitiveness of business expertise in the Oulu region, as well as increases the region's attractiveness as an operating environment for skills and business development. Global Connexus is a management consulting firm located in Silicon Valley.
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