Cisco for SMBs, CA's Release, Interprise's E-Commerce, Bandwidth and CRM

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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Cisco for SMBs, CA's Release, Interprise's E-Commerce, Bandwidth and CRM

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a nice Donovan mix on the iTunes. Poor Donovan -- his career was holed below the waterline pretty much from the get-go in America when he came out around 1965 with inane comparisons between him and Bob Dylan, the American media dismissing him almost out of hand as not "the new Dylan" after all. Such idiotic things rock critics find to write about, there was never any sense in judging Donovan's work by Dylan's than it is judging John Grisham's novels by Stephen King's. As a result Donovan's strong, solid body of work was pretty much lost to Americans:

Cisco has announced new products designed "specifically for small companies," according to the company, including the Cisco Spam and Virus Blocker, a security appliance described as providing "protection for a business's network and data from viruses and malicious e-mail attacks while mitigating spam."

There's also the Cisco NSS2000 and NSS3000 Network Storage Systems, desktop, network-attached storage devices designed to protect data and let employees share information, and the Cisco Smart Business Communications System Release 1.4, a collaboration and communications system to connect offices, employees and customers "from anywhere at any time," according to company officials, "now with a wireless desktop Internet Protocol phone with Bluetooth capabilities."

The news is seen by Cisco officials as "building on" the November 2008 announcement of Cisco's $100 million "global strategic initiative to provide dedicated products, services and support for small businesses, including the formation of the Cisco Small Business technology group."

The Spam and Virus Blocker is a security appliance that's designed to stop spam, viruses and other e-mail threats. Company officials claim "incredible accuracy, with only one in 1 million false positives," and "no tuning or ongoing administration, as security updates are automatically sent from the monitoring network."

The NSS2000 and NSS3000, part of the Cisco Small Business series, are desktop, network-attached storage devices designed to "prevent disruptions that come from losing business information," letting users "back up every version of every file from every PC and server," and "store and archive digital files like video from an IP video surveillance camera.

The Cisco Spam and Virus Blocker price ranges from $2,599 to $5,399, with regional variations, depending on the number of users and subscription length. The Cisco Network Storage Systems devices start at $595, with regional variations.

CA has announced the release of its CA ERwin Data Modeling Suite, a product described as combining data modeling, data profiling and reporting capabilities aimed at "data architects at midmarket to Global 2000 companies."

Sean Graham, vice president, software engineering for data modeling at CA, says the product is pitched at data architects looking for profiling and modeling tools "at a lower price point than has traditionally been available."

Now generally available, CA ERwin Data Modeler is integrated with Exeros' data profiling technology as CA ERwin Data Profiler, offering a data profiling and modeling product starting at a suggested retail price of $8,000. The product's used to help analysts understand data in legacy systems, in the hopes of "simplifying the task of ensuring accurate and structured data for use in applications, data marts, data warehouses and Master Data Management hubs," CA officials say.

It has metadata exchange to share business and technical information with data management tools, including Oracle Business Intelligence, Cognos, SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management and others. There's also support for application development with Microsoft Visual Team System Edition 2008. Support for Oracle eBusiness Suite in CA ERwin Saphir Option "allows modelers and analysts to selectively discover, document and reuse ERP metadata to facilitate numerous business intelligence, data and application management and governance initiatives," CA officials say.

Shawn Giordano, vice president of sales for Programmer's Paradise, said "from a data quality perspective, the ability to get insight into multiple data sources and systems at one time with the new data profiler is phenomenal," continued Giordano.

Suggested retail price for CA ERwin Data Modeler and CA ERwin Data Profiler is $3,995 per seat for each product.

Interprise Software, a vendor of ERP/CRM business products, has announced that it has signed an exclusive licensing agreement for ASPDotNetStorefront's e-commerce product, "ASPDotNetStorefront for Interprise Suite".

According to the Interprisians the product will be added to the Interprise Suite product portfolio and marketed as "Interprise eCommerce."

Gary Harrison, president of Interprise Solutions, said the ASPDotNetStorefront product is intended to simplify the lives of customers and resellers "by having a single company that can develop, sell, and support the product." The agreement is characterized by Interprise officials as part of the company's strategy in the "platform-driven ERP and CRM business software" arena.

Interprise Software's flagship product, Interprise Suite, provides customers with a view of their customers through enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), accounting, e-commerce and point-of-sale tools.

ASPDotNetStorefront is a privately held company headquartered in Westlake, Ohio. The company's products include DotNetNuke based e-commerce sites. Interprise Software is a Taylor Corporation company. Its flagship product, Interprise Suite, offers "business processes in a single location, from ERP and CRM to accounting and e-commerce/point-of-sale tools," according to company officials.

CRM and sales functions are taking priority over "less critical tasks" as small business juggle priorities to deal with bandwidth issues, according to a recent finding published by author Suzy Frisch.

Web traffic has doubled over the past 15 months, but poor bandwidth choices may hinder the growth of those businesses over time, she writes.

In an article titled "The Future of Bandwidth," Frisch says IT directors are "finding themselves tapped out of bandwidth as customers increasingly turn to the Internet for information, and employees conduct more remote business operations. As a result, small business growth in 2009 is dependent upon IT directors choosing bandwidth with the capacity to expand as this trend continues to grow."

Companies who have maxed out their T1 lines are now forced to prioritize bandwidth usage, Frisch states, "giving sales and CRM functions priority over less critical tasks, such as human resources operatives. Other small businesses are gravitating toward new technologies that offer more bandwidth for less money."

The most popular and cost effective option, she found, is Ethernet Transport Services. According to Frisch, Ethernet Transport Service has become the de facto alternative to T1 lines, offering 20 to 40 megabit speeds and costing 25 percent less.

Forrester Research has reported that the number of small businesses will boom throughout 2009 -- a trend that has also occurred during the last three recessions.

"People currently running small businesses, and those starting new ones, may not realize how crucial it is to make the right bandwidth decision," says Jeff Williams, Vice President of Enterprise Sales at American Fiber Systems. "It's important to think five years ahead -- after a few T1s, there's nowhere else to turn, and that's when it becomes outrageously expensive."

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