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December 2008

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Pitney Bowes's CDQ, Informatica and Kerensen, DMC's Link 200, Oracle and Regal Beloit,

December 10, 2008

The news as of the all-important third cup of coffee this morning, and the music is a faux-live album from the Grateful Dead, Europe '72. The band used the live performances from their tour of Europe mainly as a way to get basic tracks down on a bunch of new songs, mostly of the laid-back country style which comes off better live than in the studio. They came back and recorded the fills and overdubs in the studio and ended up with a pretty good album, as long as you're not under the impression it's a "live album."

Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software has announced the newest version of its Customer Data Quality Platform.

Everlusion's CustomerHunt, Vindicia, YouTube Rules, Voxify Work Up 100 Percent

December 10, 2008

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is the perfect rock'n'roll wallpaper - the so-called Apple Jam portion of George Harrison's All Things Must Pass. It's little more than half an hour of fine blues-based rock guitar jamming chopped up into five "songs" with titles like "I Remember Jeep" or "Thanks For the Pepperoni." But it's perfect if you want an up-tempo background without distracting lyrics:

Everlusion has announced the release of CustomerHunt 2009, described by company officials as sales and customer management software for small businesses. It's billed as a customer management application "that enable users to boost their sales results with intuitive tools."

It's supposed to help sales people increase individual performance by managing their customer contacts through a selling pipeline and accessing "every detail related to their interactions."

Jigsaw's Research Tab, Netezza and SAS, QAlert in Providence, XTime and Sonic

December 9, 2008

The news as of the all-important third cup of coffee this morning, and the music is the peerless Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Cosmo's Factory." As the usually flannel-mouthed Greil Marcus wrote in a rare fit of coherence, rarely in rock history has artistic achievement and popular success aligned so wonderfully as they did with CCR - the band, one of the greatest American rock bands ever, was highly popular, and their best albums were the most popular, and this one is their best:   Jigsaw, which sells business information and data services with the angle of "user-generated content contributed by its global business-to-business community," has launched Research Tab, described by company officials as a free resource for "an improved approach to investigating companies online. 
"Whether researching companies for lead generation, better targeted marketing or job opportunities, individuals want to be prepared and informed before reaching out," says Jim Fowler, Jigsaw CEO and co-founder. "With Research Tab, the time consuming act of trolling the Web and companies' sites to gather information becomes obsolete."
Jigsaw Research Tab uses tools such as RSS and social network sites to deliver aggregated business intelligence. In one view, individuals can access a company's recent news and announcements, Web analytic details, job listings, financial information, maps and more. It can be used in conjunction with "Jigsaw Unlimited," a newly-released subscription model that gives users access to Jigsaw's database of 10 million business contacts.
"We're equipping our community members with the best available resources during this financial downturn," said Garth Moulton, Jigsaw co-founder and vice president of community, listing "Jigsaw Unlimited, Company Wiki, Research Tab along with Jigsaw's free access to company listings."
Along with Jigsaw's 1.5 million business contact records and its recently announced company wiki, an open-source resource where any company or individual can promote basic business information, Research Tab is part of Jigsaw's platform for B-to-B. ...   Foxwoods Resort Casino has chosen the Netezza Performance Server data warehouse appliance and SAS Marketing Automation software to analyze in more detail its gambling and hotel data of its 40,000 daily customers.   In conjunction with Netezza, Foxwoods is expanding its data mart to collect more detailed gambling data and customer demographics for use in micro-targeted marketing campaigns, special offers and comps.

Neptuny and Caplan SaaS, Dovarri and Directory One, Fonality Agent,

December 9, 2008

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is Echo and the Bunnymen's "Ocean Rain." A delightful early '80s album filled with snappy and bright music, competent songwriting and fun to sing lyrics, none of which mean a single thing:   Neptuny, a vendor of performance optimization products, has introduced Caplan SaaS to provide what company officials call "capacity management for small to medium-sized enterprises who want to set up a small-scale capacity planning and management project."   Company officials say Caplan is "able to cover multiple domains in one single product," while having "zero impact in production environments" thanks to its agent-less architecture, out-of-the-box integration to management platform and tools, and what company officials call "the ability to integrate custom data sources."   It provides analyses, forecasting and reporting capabilities by means of Web interfaces and dashboards.

The SaaS version of the product "provides all the benefits of the standard edition of Caplan," company officials say, without any infrastructure and maintenance cost. The vendor is billing it as a Capacity Management product available on the market "that complies with the Software-as-a-Service paradigm."   According to Butler Group, Caplan SaaS "can also be used as a Proof of Concept for customers wanting to undertake a large deployment exercise."

Features of the product include no setup and maintenance costs as "Caplan SaaS infrastructure is hosted in a high-availability data centre, and all maintenance activities are guaranteed directly from Neptuny's 24x7 support,' company officials say, adding that "no ongoing effort and costs of maintenance is required once the service starts."

The product's Web interface itself is structured "to enable the entire lifecycle of capacity management process - data gathering, analysis and model building and reporting," and such functions. Access to data and functionalities can be restricted by means of Access Control Lists in order to assign roles according to user responsibilities, and data and access security are guaranteed by SSL encrypted communications. ...   Dovarri, a vendor of Customer Relationship Management and Sales Force Automation software, has announced a multi-year agreement with their newest client, Houston-based Directory One.   Owned by Philip O'Hara, Directory One has retained Dovarri to provide CRM and SFA services through Orizon, Dovarri's recently released software. Directory One has been named one of the top two "Largest Houston-based Website Design & Development Companies" in the Houston Business Journal's annual Book of Lists for the past three years. The firm sells Web site marketing services that include search engine optimization, site hosting and design, and consultation services.   O'Hara said managing sales and customer service is a concern "with our recent expansion into San Antonio, Austin, Los Angeles and Chicago."   Geary Broadnax, Dovarri President and CEO, said "companies like Directory One possess the capacity to take full advantage of Orizon's capabilities.

Customer Futures, Elephant Talk, SpeechStorm, Cloud9 in the U.K., CampSoftware

December 9, 2008

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Horace Silver Quintet's album "Song for My Father." Not sure what you'd call this, bossa nova jazz, or jazz with strong melody lines and cool piano, jazz that sounds like actual songs as opposed to meandering noodling, the album Steely Dan ripped of the intro to "Ricky, Don't Lose That Number" from, you know, that duh-duh, duh-DUH figure:   Customer Futures, described by its officials as an "international members-based network to the improvement of customer experience" which is owned by OgilvyOne Worldwide, has published a free report to help firms retain their customers in an economic downturn.

Recently Customer Futures' MD Peter Lavers teamed up with his San Francisco-based associate, John Todor of The Whetstone Edge, to commission what they regarded as "some of the world's top experts in Customer Experience Management" to write short papers on "how not to lose customer focus when difficult decisions have to be made."

The resulting publication, cleverly titled The Importance of the Customer Experience in a Down Economy, originally published for Customer Futures' membership, is now available free for all.

Peter Lavers says the report is "for all business people who are facing tough decisions at the moment. It contains numerous nuggets of good sound advice from 18 different contributors who are some of the world's most respected experts in the field."

The report can be downloaded completely free from Down Economy Publication.

ERMLive, Forrester on Epicor, Salesforce Winter '09

December 9, 2008

The news as of the all-important third cup of coffee this morning, and the music is The Rolling Stones's 1978 "Some Girls," alternately dubbed their greatest album "since Exile On Main Street," or "since Sticky Fingers," or "since Let It Bleed." However far back you want to go, all Stones albums since 1978 are measured by it as their standard. And no, none are better:   Christchurch, New Zealand- based Donald Hastie has announced a successful year for ERMLive, the most comprehensive product for employee management available today.   Since 2005 Donald Hastie, CEO of ERMLive and founder and former director of PayGlobal, says he has been "busy developing and perfecting" the HR & payroll product he says he has "always dreamed of."   ERMLive is described by Hastie as "a full featured Employee Relationship Management (ERM) tool designed to enhancing the relationships companies have with their employees," as the culmination of his "almost 20 years HRIS and payroll experience, knowledge of next generation technology and understanding of business improvement processes. The product is a radical departure from traditional rigid payroll systems."   Hastie says HR managers "need to be heard at the executive table," and says he developed ERMLive to let them "focus on enhancing the employee relationship in line with the strategic goals of the organization." He says he has taken into account "the mistakes and inflexibilities" of existing payroll software, and introduced new employee management functions that "meet the increasing demands of HR professionals, managers and employees."   "Considering the increased investment involved with managing employees, the benefits of an integrated approach between the operational and strategic has never been more important," he says. "ERMLive is designed to...

Infogain Expands, Real Estate Agent Survey, Postcode for Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, Convio's VP

December 9, 2008

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is Thelonious Monk's "Brilliant Corners," a landmark album that concludes with the stirring "Bemsha Swing," an all-time jazz favorite of TMCnet Web Editor Michael Dinan:   Infogain Corporation, a vendor of CRM, ERP, Integration and Business Intelligence products today announced the expansion of its international operations with the opening of offices in the United Kingdom and the Middle East.   Investment in expansion demonstrates confidence in outsourcing growth for Oracle and Red Hat activities, according to one analyst commenting on the move.
The Los Gatos, California-based firm said the move will enable Infogain to meet the growing demand for its products in the European and Middle East markets and support its outreach to new verticals, as well as to "grow its presence among potential European and Middle East partners" and to "expand its portfolio to provide client service in key geographies."   Mark Collin has been appointed Vice President - UK & Europe, heading up European operations working with an n experienced senior management team based in Manchester.   Having previously established some presence in the UK, Infogain is now investing in what company officials are describing as a "long-term strategy to develop its European market share from the UK, strengthening its sales and consultancy presence with a new management team and a fresh approach."   In the Middle East, Neeraj Chhibbar takes the role of Manager - Sales & Business Development for the Middle East, based in Dubai, and will be responsible for markets in UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Yemen. The focus, company officials say, will be on offering end-to-end products on Oracle's Technology platform including Oracle e-Biz and Oracle Retail.   Kapil Nanda, founder and CEO of Infogain Corporation, said the expansion "reflects our confidence that we have the right service offering for these markets... to deliver integration, CRM, ERP and Business Intelligence products." ...   CRM and analytics vendor Rexer Analytics has announced the results of their New England Real Estate Agent Survey showing "declining levels of sales and agent satisfaction during 2008."   Many agents remain "guardedly optimistic," the survey found, with over half projecting that the coming year will be the same or better than a typical year, and 90 percent of agents reporting that they plan to remain in the real estate field "for the foreseeable future."   In April of 2008, Rexer assessed the experiences, priorities, and challenges of New England real estate agents through an online survey. In November, the agents who participated in the spring were asked a few follow-up questions about their experiences over the intervening six months and their current outlook.   For the April 2008 study 211 agents from the six New England states participated in the survey.

Iron Mountain and .tel, Intel and Traffix

December 9, 2008

The news as of the first coffee this morning, catching up on some news of a more general nature, and the music is country-Caribbean-rock maven Jerry Jeff Walker's "Hill Country Rain," his 1991 comeback record. A good album, it's not his best - that would be 1975's "Ridin' High":   Service provider Iron Mountain Digital, the technology arm of Iron Mountain Incorporated, is now offering the new .tel domain name.   The .tel domain "is similar to an interactive business card on the Web, and has been called 'the Google of online address books,'" according to company officials.   The .tel domain allows businesses and individuals to store and manage all of their contact information and keywords directly in the Domain Name System, or DNS, thereby displaying the contact information more quickly. "For large businesses with established domain name portfolios, .tel is a way to consolidate contact information and make their company or brand easier to contact," according to the Iron Mountain men.   The domain is being pitched to individuals and small businesses as a way to enable an online contact directory "without the need to build, host, or manage a Web site. The domain name's extension began on December 3, the first day of the domain's sunrise period.   The sunrise period is reserved for trademark owners and extends from December 3, 2008 through February 2, 2009.

The Future of... IM and PTT, SMS, LCD TVs, NFC, SpinVox

December 5, 2008

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is John Coltrane's My Favorite Things album:

Let's call this one the Crystal Ball Edition of First Coffee, as we peer into the future:

The worldwide market for presence-based telecommunication services, including instant messaging and push-to-talk, is expected to exceed $16 billion in 2009, as an ever increasing number of cellular and wireline carriers provide customized services predicated upon the availability of their end-users.

According to a market research study from The Insight Research Corporation, presence-based telecommunication services such as IM and PTT are "wildly popular in Asian countries" - carrier revenue from presence-based services is nearly 25 percent greater in Asia than North America.

Fineos and Quinn, Cincom and IBM, IQMS's ERP, SAS and Marketing Store, Retail Software Market Report

December 4, 2008

The news as of the fifth coffee, and if you're not awake by the fifth coffee forget it, go back to bed and start over tomorrow.   The music is a Beach Boys iTunes mix. Really it's quite wonderful music every now and then, especially if you get their late '60s and early '70s albums, like "Wild Honey," "Holland," "Smiley Smile," "Surf's Up" and "Sunflower." If you haven't heard those you'll be surprised how different they are from "Surfin' U.S.A." and "Fun Fun Fun," as great as their early style is:   Fineos Corporation, a vendor of software products for insurance, bancassurance, and government, has announced that Quinn-Insurance, the second largest property and casualty insurer in Ireland, has gone live with its Fineos Claims product.   Fineos is now providing comprehensive enterprise claims management for Quinn's private motor lines and will be used by 600 employees at Quinn's insurance operations in Ireland. The second phase of the project will see the expansion of Fineos Claims to cover commercial lines and home insurance.     Colin Morgan, General Manager at Quinn-Insurance, says Fineos Claims is expected to deliver "improved efficiencies in claims processing."   In the high claims volume insurance industry, particularly for motor claims, the general industry consensus is that it is critical that insurers can process more claims faster and with greater accuracy, qualities more crucial than in other aspects of the insurance field. Fineos Claims is expected to help Quinn automate its claims process and reduce administrative costs.     Fineos was selected by Quinn following an evaluation of software products available for general insurance (property & casualty) claims processing.   Quinn-Insurance has been the fastest growing insurance company in Ireland over the past 12 years, and is now the second largest insurer in Ireland.

Agresso's ERP Study, Open Solutions and Osoyoos, Volante and UBC, InterCall's Upgrade

December 4, 2008

The news as of the all-important third cup of coffee, and the music is an old high school favorite, The Kinks' live album "One For The Road." Long one of First Coffee's favorite bands, they were admittedly a bit twee and fey on studio recordings, but this is one full-blooded, muscular, hard-rockin' live album:   Agresso has reported a change in ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) buying habits for the first time in 15 years as companies look for a faster ROI in the face of a global recession.   The vendor recently reported strong third quarter global results with a 37 percent increase in revenues (28.8  percent in North America) including new orders in the $1 million-plus category. The Agressians throw an elbow as company officials point out that "this compares to market rivals like SAP, who announced an unimpressive nine percent year-over-year decline in new license revenues" over the same period.   "ERP buying habits are changing," says Shelley Zapp, president of Agresso North America. "The downward trend we see in SAP licensing revenues suggests that organizations are unwilling to invest in a product that hooks them into a never-ending cycle of need-spend-need-spend... unnecessary IT spending is no longer an option."   Agresso officials cite a survey of nearly 900 users by Technology Evaluation Centers, aimed at determining the impact of ERP products on an organization's perceived ability to make changes, reporting that 70 percent of ERP users feel "notably disadvantaged" by their existing systems.   According to another survey, conducted by the Business Performance Management Institute, only 11.2 percent of respondents could keep up with business demands to change processes.   Earlier this year, the TEC prepared a report detailing the ability of different ERP vendors to manage a list of business change scenarios.

Jenzabar, Vantage CRM Platform, The Salvation Army and Blackbaud

December 4, 2008

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is a John Fogerty - Creedence Clearwater Revival mix. Fogerty's solo stuff is underrated, but maybe that's because there's not a real stylistic difference between that and his peerless Creedence material. Well, except when he releases a clunker like Eye of the Zombie. Even in CCR's least-distinguished hour - that would be Pendulum - they never bit quite that hard.   Really, the lesson of Fogerty's solo career isn't that all his stuff sounds like old CCR, it's that CCR still sounds fresh:   Jenzabar, a vendor of CRM software for higher education, says that in a survey the firm conducted higher education CFOs identified "growing budget constraints" as their top concern.   Jenzabar discussed financial concerns, major technology developments, and economic challenges affecting higher education at its recent Jenzabar CFO Conference, held in Boston and featuring speakers Kenneth C. Green from The Campus Computing Project and Michael K. Townsley of Stevens Strategy, who addressed CFOs from institutions of higher education.   Jenzabar held a CFO conference at the Harvard Club of Boston for client executives who also attended the 2008 MIT Sloan CFO Summit.   The survey found that the top concern for CFOs, regardless of institutional type, was increasing constraints on institutional budgets.

Majestic Consulting, TrueShip and Mac OS X, Info@Hand Training, Information Builders

December 4, 2008

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a wonderful blues album, Sweet Home Chicago, featuring what can really only be described as the Jewish Blues Ax Attack - brilliant blues guitarists Barry Goldberg, Harvey Mandel, wunderkind Mike Bloomfield, as well as gentiles such as Charlie Musselwhite, Ray Strazza and Bobby Jones:   Majestic Consulting Group has announced an e-commerce product described by company officials as "customizable to accommodate simple to complex online order systems integrated into CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software products."       The product allows users to order online, check the status of their orders, view their order history, re-order and edit the order history for new orders and "integrate information into a CRM package."

By having this information available to account managers, customer service and executives, company officials say, "it allows for information to be digested, allowing information to be used for management decisions. This is what CRM is all about, having a 360 degree view of your prospects and customers."

Each eCommerce product will have a customized integration to your CRM software product. "The system is flexible enough to push or pull selected data components to and from any CRM and ERP software," the Majestics say.

MCG also represents Microsoft CRM and SalesLogix CRM software. ...   What's being described by company officials as "the world's first global training and support resource for Info@hand," an online business and marketing management product for small to medium business, has been launched by US-based CNP Integrations.   The info@hand customer resource business management suite is a Web-based platform developed by the Long Reach Corporation of Canada, and built upon the Sugar CRM open source framework.   It's not uncommon for companies to find themselves spreading data out across a number of systems, stretching resources and people close to their limits. This product's feature set and capabilities are designed to avoid that, company officials say, by centralizing data, marketing, sales support, and customer service efforts.   CNP Integrations has put some of the most frequently asked questions and issues facing new info@hand CRBM users in its knowledgebase for 24/7 access.   Clients can sign up for subscription-based training seats or get training bundled with seat licenses for info@hand.

Forrester Places Oracle, FrontRange's Launch, Rimini Street and UBid, Tectura and Microsoft, BigMachines and EPrize

December 4, 2008

The news as of the fourth cup of coffee, and the music is 1990's Seven Turns, The Allman Brothers' best album released in the thirty-one year span between their other two best studio albums, 1972's "Eat A Peach" and 2003's "Hittin' The Note." Always a dependable live act, the Allmans have been, to put it charitably, hit and miss in the studio:   Oracle E-Business Suite Order Fulfillment and Oracle's Siebel Customer Order Management are both positioned as "Leader" in Forrester Research's November 2008 report "The Forrester Wave: Order Management Hubs, Q4 2008."
The research firm evaluated eight order management products for the report. The products were evaluated against 152 criteria. According to Forrester, the Oracle E-Business Suite "led the pack among the Leaders who delivered technologies that support the perfect order."
The research concluded that the Oracle E-Business Suite "articulates a strong, integrated vision for end-to-end order management," and Oracle "delivers a rich go-to-market strategy for the Oracle E-Business Suite."
Forrester's research also found that on the infrastructure side, "Siebel Customer Order Management ranked the highest with the most comprehensive support for inbound order channels. Market, leading areas include support for direct field sales, call center, mobile device, machine-to-machine, and partners." ...   FrontRange Solutions, which earlier this year acquired SAM products specialist Centennial Software, has announced the launch of License Manager 3.0, the product described by company officials as helping organizations "automate the process of managing software license entitlements."   Central to the new features in License Manager 3.0, according to the FrontRangers, is the ability to accelerate the process of reconciling usage against entitlement for Microsoft software licenses through the ability to bulk upload licensing data from the Microsoft CLP report.

BackOffice and SAP, IDC's BI Study, Zicam on T-Mobile, Five9 in Carolina, Consona and Solid Works

December 4, 2008

The news as of the all-important third cup of coffee and the music is Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love." Yes, there is life in Dusty outside of "Son of a Preacher Man." She never hit it big in the States, but she was one of England's most popular Swingin' Sixties crooners:   BackOffice Associates, a vendor of SAP data products, has announced the offering of a competitive bundle of their Boring Go Live data migration toolset with their active and passive data governance products for delivering business data.   The BackOfficers say the bundle will provide SAP customers a product for "achieving the data quality required to implement and operate SAP products."   BackOffice Associates has provided data migration and data governance products exclusively for SAP since 1996. The vendor's products "focus on eliminating risk associated with inadequate data quality, and letting SAP customers realize the benefits from their SAP ERP projects," company officials say.   Evidently some SAP customers have attempted to implement SAP only to find their data was not ready for the rigors of a fully integrated ERP system. "A successful SAP implementation requires data that is ready for SAP," company officials reasonably contend. "This means you will need experts in SAP data migration and data governance with a proven methodology and Web-enabled tools specifically built for the job."   BackOffice has delivered over 400 Boring Go Live data migrations for SAP customers worldwide, according to Patricia Kennedy, President and CEO of BackOffice Associates.

Politicker Dumps Amazon, Soffront and Religare, Servoy 4.1, Zoho CloudSQL, Infusionsoft and Message Systems

December 3, 2008

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is Arlo Guthrie's "Victor Jara" from his "Amigo" album, a song which never fails to remind me of a wonderful girl I knew in college, who had exactly the sort of social passion Arlo sings about so well here. I could see somebody writing a song like this about her one day. Hopefully with a happier ending, and without the electroshock or bone smashing:   Politicker.com, an online political news network which operates seventeen political news sites across the country, has announced that it is has changed managed hosting providers, leaving Amazon EC2 for Voxel.   Voxel sells managed hosting and content delivery network services. It provides managed hosting and content delivery network services for other political leftist sites such as Daily Kos, Air America and Observer.com.   According to the Politickerians the problem was "primarily due to unanticipated scalability difficulties" with the popular cloud offering.

Facebook-Twitter Breakup, Maximizer and Symbian, Axonom for CRM, Go Daddy Goes

December 3, 2008

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is gonna be the sweet jazz sax of ol' Dexter Gordon all day, starting with his 1961 album Dexter Calling, and moving into such classics as Go and Live At Carnegie Hall.   There's a difference between background music, i.e. wallpaper music, and good music to have on at work. Dex is not wallpaper schlock jazz like some others we could name (cough Kenny G cough), he keeps your brain percolating without breaking concentration on what you're doing:   Madan Sheina, principal analyst at Ovum, says the breakdown of the Facebook-Twitter talks "might not be a bad thing."   What would have been the first major consolidation between two social networking giants "has failed to materialize, as Facebook's attempts to woo Twitter with an all-stock offer fell on deaf ears," Sheina notes, adding that "Facebook's valuation seems to have been the sticking point. But with neither company as yet able to demonstrate that it can make money on a scale that matches its number of users, the outcome might not be a bad thing."   Sheina says Facebook was tabling a $500 million all-stock offer for Twitter, on the face of it - sorry - a relatively high offer, "but apparently it wasn't enough for the micro-blogging site."   First Coffee must say he agrees with Sheina's observation that it was probably as good a price as Twitter could hope for at this time: "Could Twitter really look at itself in the mirror and justify a higher price, or even that price for that matter?

WhiteFence Savings, 'I'm Going Here,' Human-Powered Laptop, Vectone's Free India Calls, Telecoms

December 3, 2008

A special edition of First Coffee, as we're eating leftover turkey for dinner and ham sandwiches for lunch, we'll take a look at some interesting pieces that slipped by as we were watching the Detroit Lions take their annual drubbing. They may not necessarily have to do with CRM specifically, but they're pieces my editor wanted covered, and they should be of general interest.   The music is starting at the top of the "Most Played" list on iTunes for the past couple months - Ry Cooder's "5,000 Country Music Songs," Robert Earl Keen's "Feeling Good Again," The Grateful Dead's "Brown-Eyed Woman," MFO's "Bodrum," Alan Jackson's "I'll Fly Away," Aimee Mann's "The Moth," great stuff like that.   And for this special evening edition the wine is a Lindeman's 2007 Merlot, a nice Australian table wine. Hey there are some perks to working at night:   WhiteFence.com, an online comparison-shopping marketplace for residential home services and utilities, is touting its services to save money on home phone, Internet, electricity and other bills.   "With the winter season providing higher energy costs and reasons to cut back on non-essentials items, there is no time like the present to find ways to be more energy efficient and lower monthly bills," company officials said.   From comparison shopping to bundling services to home services tips, WhiteFence offers a variety of services to take a bite out of winter bills and save some money in the coming months.   Company officials say shoppers at WhiteFence.com can compare head-to-head the cost of TV service, high-speed Internet access, electricity, natural gas, long distance phone and a suite of other services to see if they are currently getting the best deal: "People can compare plans without the hassle of calling several companies, then switch to lower their monthly bills."   The service also lets users combine multiple services like local phone, high speed and television in a bundle. Bundling services can be a cheaper alternative to buying services from several different companies, and getting one bill from one provider can be preferable, too.   For people in states with deregulated electricity or natural gas, WhiteFence.com offers the ability to shop around to find the best rates and switch providers without interruption in service.

CHEP's RFID, Customer Effective in S.C., GiftCards on ITunes, Nice and Southern Company, Intuit Wants Entellium, T-Mobile

December 3, 2008

The news as of that all-important third cup of coffee, and the music is Alice Cooper's "Killer" album, once said to be Johnny Rotten's favorite record. It's not hard to see why a Sex Pistol would say that: In his prime the Coop was the master of the fun, don't-take-yourself-seriously school of goofy high-energy rock, churning out such pop masterpieces as "School's Out," "Under My Wheels" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy." But about Billion Dollar Babies he... sigh, it happens to the best... started taking himself seriously and quickly became unlistenable.

Meezoog's 'Trust Dating,' Unisys in New Zealand, Home Enterstayment, Loyal Men or Women?

December 3, 2008

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is Alan Jackson's nicely understated gospel album "Precious Memories":   Tel Aviv-based Meezoog.com (Beta) will be launched this week as what company officials are calling "the first trust network for dating."   The idea, according to the Meezoogers, is to let singles "find their matches in a safer environment, with some help from their family and friends." Yes, the global online village yenta will be listening in, so make nice.   Meezoog uses technology which company officials say "reflects real-life connections on the Net and to measure social trust between people." Sort of like Facebook's "Mutual Friends" and "People You May Know" features mashed up to a whole new level.     The company also claims to be "the first social network to employ a profound technology to address the usage of fake identities and profiles. Unlike prevailing approaches, it claims to imitate the societal way people build their trust with other people." Company officials explain that this means Meezoog's "social trust," or "social proximity," reflects "people's relationships in the real world and the ways in which they are connected to each other."   The nut seems to be that while Meezoog aims at single individuals, it also includes family and friends that act as "introducers" and vouch for their dear ones. Singles looking for matches get the search results organized in order of "social proximity," where people who are more socially trusted appear first: "In every profile, a social proximity gauge indicates the trust rank between the two people as well as the best human paths that link them," company officials say.   First Coffee supposes you have to see this in action to appreciate it, but the overall concept sure sounds an awful lot like your friends setting you up, with your family getting their two cents in.   Today Meezoog's Social Layer includes Facebook and Meezoog.com, and will soon include additional platforms and social sites such as OpenSocial, according to the Meezoogers, and others.

CRM's NetSuite's UK VAT Suite, Interactive Intelligence and Pinacl, Astelit and Orga, Finding Direction(s)

December 3, 2008

The news as of the first cup of coffee this morning, and the music is Al Stewart's "Down In the Cellar," a better-than-it-should-be 2000 collection of songs centered loosely around the theme of wine, from oenophile Stewart:   CRM vendor NetSuite has announced a plan for customers doing business in the United Kingdom who need to respond to the recent changes in value-added tax rates announced by the British government a couple weeks ago.   In a good bit of news the revision reduces the standard VAT rate from 17.5 percent to 15 percent as of yesterday, requiring businesses to adjust their systems to comply. Using the NetSuite Tax Engine integrated within the NetSuite business management software suite, NetSuite customers can reconfigure to comply with the new rate without waiting for updates or software patches, according to the NetSuiters.   The British government's recent decision to reduce the standard VAT rate by 2.5 percent as part of the economic stimulus package left most businesses "with little time to adjust to the changed rate, adding to the compliance challenge," NetSuite officials say, adding that the ability of SaaS-based products to respond to changing business conditions in near real-time "trumps older generation, on-premise packaged software."   And of course NetSuite officials can't resist throwing an elbow or two: "In the case of this recent VAT change, vendors of packaged software products, such as Sage and Microsoft Great Plains, are no doubt scrambling to distribute updates and coordinate consistent direction through a myriad of distribution channels."   Not that this is an everyday concern: "Changes to UK VAT rates are relatively infrequent," acknowledged Craig Sullivan, Vice President of International Products for NetSuite.   Both UK businesses and global businesses with sales operations in the UK will be impacted by the VAT rate change. NetSuite customers can create a new tax code within NetSuite that reflects the new 15 percent rate with an effective date of 1 December 2008, then apply this new tax code to their catalogue of items sold using either mass-editing tools, or the graphical Import Assistant if a large number of items are involved, company officials say.   NetSuite Customer Support is also staffed with accounting compliance specialists to address customers' questions. ...   Every once in a while a company nails the opening sentence in a news advisory: "Getting lost in London is inevitable." According to new research commissioned by Nokia, there are more people getting lost in London than anywhere else in the world, including cities like Bangkok and Beijing, which are nearly twice the size of London.   Amen. Is there any more confusing major world city except Tokyo - which if it wasn't in the Top Five probably wasn't included in the study, First Coffee suspects. Anglophone First Coffee lived in Istanbul for a number of years and found it easier to get around than London.   The findings are part of a global study, one of the largest navigation studies to date, where 12,500 people in 13 countries world were quizzed about their sense of direction and navigational habits.
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