SAP and RIM, Sybase Ranked, Vendavo and, Aria, Intalio

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David Sims
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SAP and RIM, Sybase Ranked, Vendavo and, Aria, Intalio

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is John Cage's "Daughters of the Lonesome Isle." No "4.33" here, just wistful, sometimes challenging but never grating piano music ably performed by Margaret Leng Tan. This is John Cage when his experiments work:
SAP AG and Research In Motion have announced the availability of a product designed to give customers "anytime, anywhere access" to the SAP Customer Relationship Management application on BlackBerry smart phones.  
The new BlackBerry Sales Client for SAP CRM is now available from RIM. It's billed as giving sales reps the same kind of access to customer information in SAP CRM "they have come to expect from BlackBerry smart phones."

As enterprise mobility using smart phones becomes more and more just something you gotta have because the next guy does, SAP and RIM felt the need to put a product out there for business users allowing access to SAP CRM. The product is billed as using "the inherent security, management capabilities and efficiency of the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution," while introducing such mobile CRM functions as "in just one or two clicks" giving users access to client information from a BlackBerry smartphone, including contacts, sales leads and logged activities.  
The product can also deliver, or "push," customer data updates in the SAP CRM system to the user, as well as pushing sales leads to the sales representative's BlackBerry smartphone inbox with one-click access. A local cache system allows access to certain information even if the user is outside of network coverage.  
The service also promises "end-to-end encryption to help protect confidential customer information whether stored on a BlackBerry smartphone, in transit, or in the SAP CRM application," company officials say, explaining that IT administrators can "securely" deploy the BlackBerry Sales Client for SAP CRM to users over the air.

The latest Vendor Matrix released by ABI Research, ranked Sybase at the top, according to Sybase officials.
Digby and JiGrahak Mobility Solutions claimed the second and third spots in the company's new worldwide evaluation of mobile commerce vendors using technologies other than Near Field Communications.

"Enterprising solutions providers are working with MNOs and merchants in Austria, India and Germany to provide mobile commerce options," says senior analyst Mark Beccue, noting Sybase's acquisition of mobile commerce pioneer Paybox "combined with Sybase's MNO relationships" in explaining why the company snagged the top ranking.

Second-place Digby, which creates mobile commerce Web sites and downloadable mobile commerce applications for merchants, was described as "well-positioned to help merchants in the mobile Internet shopping boom," and JiGrahak, which operates the NGpay program in India, has was noted for its mobile marketplace which lets consumers shop e-commerce merchants "from nearly any mobile phone."

The Vendor Matrix is an analytical tool developed by ABI Research to provide what the research firm's officials say is "a clear understanding of vendors' positions in specific markets," with vendors assessed on the parameters of "innovation and implementation across several criteria unique to each vendor matrix." For this particular matrix, under "innovation," ABI officials say they examined the functionality of the vendors' SMS, mobile Internet and downloadable application offerings, and their "NFC-readiness."

Under "implementation," ABI Research scrutinized the vendors' financial services companies, MNO and physical merchant relationships, and the breadth of their offerings -- for example, do they include SMS, mobile Internet and downloadable applications? Also evaluated: any complementary products such as loyalty and gift cards, e-commerce and mobile banking as well as "the vendors' general financial and organizational health."

Vendavo has announced the availability of Vendavo Enterprise Pricing Suite for's AppExchange. Company officials say it was developed "to confront the pricing challenges facing today's global business-to-business companies." The product integrates with customers' existing Salesforce CRM systems.  
Built using the platform, Vendavo Enterprise Pricing Suite is available for a test drive on the AppExchange.

The product can be used to access sales cycle information on such as pricing, guidance and deal scores, if you think such things would help with consistent and profitable negotiations. Vendavo sells products aimed at the pricing challenges facing today's global B2B companies.

"Salesforce CRM has become an instrumental part of the way businesses operate and serve customers today," says Jamie Rapperport, co-founder and executive vice-president of marketing and business development at Vendavo, adding that the product announced would allow joint customers "access to the right pricing information at the right time."

In an economy where "every dollar counts," bringing together Vendavo's Enterprise Pricing Suite with Salesforce CRM "helps users use pricing and negotiation guidance," explains Kendall Collins, Chief Marketing Officer,

AppExchange is an enterprise platform for building and running business applications in the cloud. officials say it has over 800 ISV partner applications like those from CODA and Fujitsu, and more than 100,000 custom applications.
Aria Systems, a vendor of on-demand billing and customer life cycle management products, has announced the addition of new customer relationship management (CRM) functionality to its A+ Billing Platform. Company officials say the move is "designed to let Aria customers address billing-related customer requests."  
Aria's Active CRM component is marketed as a product for billing-related interactions, allowing customer service representatives to handle most billing inquiries such as refund requests, monetary disputes and changes to service plans "in a matter of minutes."
The product is specifically designed to solve billing-related requests, company officials say: "Changes requested by customers or implemented by service representatives are automatically reflected in the billing system. CRM or accounting-based systems require additional steps to implement changes in the billing system."
John Miller, Managing Principal and Director from Clario Analytics, says the billing platform is useful for letting companies direct "revenue-generating resources" that would have otherwise been allocated for managing customer management related issues."

In March Aria announced version 5.0 of its A+ Billing platform, which included an increased ease-of-use, self-service and implementation capabilities suited to small, medium and enterprise-sized companies. Tying billing related customer service functions directly into a company's on-demand product "extends required billing-specific secure procedures," company officials explain, "assuring customer financial information remains protected."

The company is backed by investments from Hummer Winblad Partners, Venrock, and Dave Labuda, former CEO of Portal Software (acquired by Oracle), and headquartered in Media, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia.

Intalio, which styles itself "The Enterprise Cloud Company," has announced the acquisition of CodeGlide, a software company based in Buenos Aires, and ProcessSquare, a software company based in Munich.  
CodeGlide developed a platform for Customer Relationship Management, including Sales Force Automation, Marketing Automation, Customer Helpdesk, Analytics, Enterprise Mashups, and Office Productivity, while ProcessSquare has a Web-based Business Process Management application used by customers such as ABB, Allianz, and Henkel. Both product lines are integrated within Intalio's product stack.

Company officials say Intalio's cloud computing platform, Intalio|Cloud, uses hardware and software to deliver "multi-tenancy, dynamic provisioning, elastic scalability, and deployment both on-demand and on-premise." Charging that alternative offerings "focus on the infrastructure as a service layer," Intalio officials say their product "goes all the way up to the application layer."

Given the plethora of professional sports playoffs on at the moment, it's perhaps unavoidable that we'd hear the "take it to the next level" meme bandied about in business promotion as well: "These two acquisitions and the massive product development efforts that followed are taking Intalio to a whole new level," says Ismael Chang Ghalimi, Founder and CEO of Intalio, saying Intalio|CRM is "at feature parity with, costs 60 percent less, and is available both on-demand and on-premise, while providing a much better user interface, similar to Microsoft Dynamics CRM's."

What's more surprising -- and frankly refreshing -- is hearing business software described in Derridavian, Foucaultian terms: "Post-modern application architecture demands a deconstructed meta-platform, in which cooperation and composition outweigh cohesion," says Richard Watson, Analyst for Burton Group.  

In order to facilitate the deployment of Intalio|Cloud within large organizations, the vendor offers the Intalio|Cloud Appliance, which puts in a single rack all the hardware and software required for the platform. The hardware is made of HP BladeSystem blade servers and enclosures, Solid State Drives for all database storage, and the InfiniBand interconnect technology.

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