AS, Tripware's GUG, QuoteWerks, Robocalls, CTCOMPLY, Aspect's Sheridan

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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AS, Tripware's GUG, QuoteWerks, Robocalls, CTCOMPLY, Aspect's Sheridan

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is one of the true redwoods here at First Coffee, a sturdy stalwart standard, an old favorite, an ideal work album, what you put on when you don't know what to put on, Aimee Mann's Live at St. Ann's Warehouse:

Cary, N.C.-based SAS has announced Marketing Mix Advisor, billed as a tool helping "marketers faced with countless choices among media and marketing channels to determine the right investment mix" by "analyzing, predicting and optimizing" the mix of advertising and promotions.

The product offers data "from marketing mix models in a dynamic form that generates dashboards and Web reports as data updates occur," helping marketers "calculate the effects of specific tactics across business units, product lines, geographies, channels and time horizons." 

The hosted product is pitched as a planning and forecasting tool to help "calculate the effects of marketing tactics across business units, brands, geographies and channels." SAS officials say it consolidates all media and promotions analysis in one location, offering prebuilt reports "for performance assessment across an organization's media mix." 

Kimberly Collins, Managing Vice President, CRM, at Gartner Research, noted that understanding how to best allocate marketing resources is "one of the biggest challenges for organizations today. Companies that can figure out the optimal allocation of their marketing mix - and how to do it more frequently and accurately - will be a step ahead."

Saying they're "simplifying interactions with marketing mix data and models," SAS officials say Marketing Mix Advisor identifies opportunities to increase profit through improved ROI on existing investments in marketing and research projects and improves collaboration and consistency of analysis across business units, brands, categories and geographies.

File this one under GUG -- Genuinely Useful Gizmo: Tripware, a new travel service, provides a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook 2007 that lets travelers to handle all their business trip needs directly in Microsoft Outlook. 
It may not give the economy much of a boost, though: "I no longer pay an assistant to book my trips," says the CEO and President of Tripware, Clark C. Rines.

The plug-in, OutBook, connects to a traveler's online travel portfolio storing  flight, hotel, car, and scheduling preferences. Using the time, date and location information already entered into a business meeting, Tripware OutBook can book a trip and embed the itinerary in Microsoft Outlook within three minutes or less.
If you're not on Microsoft Outlook 2007, no problem: Tripware offers a desktop application called Tripware Travel Center with many of the same features as Tripware OutBook. 

Rines claims he can "book a complete itinerary in under three minutes, know that I am getting what I want because the system knows me personally and when the payment is made, all of my corresponding frequent flyer, rental and stay numbers are sent to the appropriate vendors automatically." He says he doesn't even have to worry about typing in a credit card to pay: "This same system automatically puts my itinerary into my Outlook calendar along with maps and weather, keeps me apprised of trip events prior to and during my travels and even helps me do my expense report when I get back."

Travel writer Jay Hammond says "based on an unscientific comparison with other online travel services, Tripware holds up well. Prices are comparable to those on Travelocity and Expedia, at least for the trips this writer checked. Choices were also similar although Tripware was the only one that displayed options according to my stated preferences."

The company is headquartered near Phoenix and is owned by Remotian Systems.

Aspire Technologies has expanded QuoteWerks' real-time price and availability support to now include BlueStar, a distributor to the specialty electronics channel.

The QuoteWerks Real-time Module is a tool for improving quoting efficiencies and accuracy by obtaining real-time product pricing and availability data from select distributors. It offers instant confirmation of stock on hand to fulfill the order, and can help reduce the time spent by the distributor's sales support team to provide verbal confirmation of current pricing and availability for the company's customers.

Basically its payback is in eliminating the need to contact the distributor sales rep for pricing. It also gives that extra bit of confidence in the accuracy of the quotes sent out to customers.

Headquartered in Hebron, Kentucky, BlueStar distributes a wide variety of product lines including point-of-sale, bar coding, biometric solutions, and printers. 

In addition to running the Professional or Corporate edition of QuoteWerks, users who wish to access real-time price and availability for Accutech will need to purchase the QuoteWerks Real-time Module and be current on their Update Maintenance Plan. Users must also have an established reseller relationship with BlueStar. BlueStar works exclusively with VAR partners.

QuoteWerks is a registered trademark of Aspire Technologies, Inc. Other trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners.

Isn't it nice to know that the government cares about the big issues as much as you do? Unemployment, the staggering deficit, North Korean nukes, and robocalls. 

Yeah, you know, those car warranty calls warning you that your vehicle warranty's about to expire? Usually come during dinner? If not, count yourself lucky: Federal regulators say as many as 1 billion of these deceptive nuisance calls have been made in recent years.
According to officials of, which bills itself as a "reputable" company in the field, "those billion calls appear to have originated from just three companies." officials say they "applaud the FTC recent lawsuits aimed at stopping this annoying practice."

FTC Chairman, Jon Leibowitz has been quoted calling the extended car warranty scam "one of the most aggressive telemarketing schemes the agency has ever seen. I'm not sure which is worse, the abusive telemarketing tactics of these companies, or the way they try to deceive people once they get them on the phone. Either way, we intend to shut them down." To that end, federal regulators have filed lawsuits against all three companies seeking the return of illegal profits, believed to be in the tens of millions of dollars, from the extended warranty telemarketing scams. officials identified two of the companies as Voice Touch & Network Foundations (FTC File No. 0823263) and Transcontinental Warranty (FTC File No. 0923110). Voice Touch owners also claim to have placed more than one billion calls for Missouri's National Auto Warranty Services, (currently doing business as US Fidelis). That prompted former Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon last year to sue for misleading sales pitches.
"These dishonest telemarketers have given the entire extended car warranty industry a black eye" says Dave Caravona CEO of in Ohio, a national auto extended warranty company, bringing to mind Henry Kissinger's famous observation about how 90 percent of politicians give the other ten percent a bad name.

Caravona recommends doing your homework before buying a car extended warranty online. Probably a good idea -- we make our kids do their homework before watching TV, too. 
"The easiest way to check out a company's legitimacy is look for a physical address on their Web site. Next, ask the representative for a telephone number you can use to contact him or her. Negative answers to either question should immediately raise a red flag," he advises.
... is announcing a new product for clinical trial professionals "to stay on top of key compliance issues and streamline their operation." 
It's described as an instant-answer interactive Web site from Thompson Publishing Group and AHC Media, putting Thompson's CT manuals, databases, news and analysis and other research tools in one online source. "The huge benefit of the online format is that we're able to keep the information continuously up-to-date," says says J.W. Schomisch, senior managing editor at Thompson.

"From keeping up with the latest compliance issues and sorting out the evolving conflict of interest guidelines, to data management, adverse effects, and preparing for an FDA inspection," -- CT COMPLY provides information and regulatory guidance on clinical trial issues, company officials say: "CT managers can help ensure 100 percent compliance with changing state and federal regulations, ensure subject protection and meet privacy requirements, and avoid errors that could lead to fines, loss of funding or disapproval of data."

"CT professionals have been asking for this for years," says Schomisch, editor of the Guide to Good Clinical Practice. "Now CT managers can find advice to stay in full compliance, as well as advice to help save time and money and smoothly speed their trials. We've made it intuitive and easy to use with several ways to find what you're looking for. "
The product includes complete, searchable online access to two industry-standard reference books -- Thompson's acclaimed Guide to Good Clinical Practice and AHC's Standard Operating Procedure for the IRB.

It also offers three quick-search databases, including FDA warning letters that show what clinical trial violations are being actively pursued. "The exclusive OHRP Determination letters database that shows exactly how to correct areas that may be out of compliance, and CT laws and regulations of all 50 states to help stay on top of state-specific requirements," company officials say.

Aspect, a unified communications vendor, has announced that Mike Sheridan has been named executive vice president of worldwide sales reporting directly to chief executive officer, Jim Foy. 

Sheridan will be responsible for providing executive leadership for all sales teams across North America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia Pacific, and the Latin America regions, according to Aspect officials. Previously, he served as the company's senior vice president of strategy and marketing, responsible for unified communications initiatives across product management and marketing.

"Unified communications has the potential to bring significant value to organizations," Sheridan thinks. 

In his previous position, Sheridan was also the executive liaison with the unified communications teams at Microsoft. This responsibility transitions to Andy Bezaitis, senior vice president of corporate development at Aspect.

Sheridan has been with Aspect for more than eight years in various marketing and product strategy roles. Prior to Aspect, he held a number of positions in sales and information technology at leading companies like Hewlett-Packard. He earned a master's degree in computer science and telecommunications from DePaul University and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and technology from Bradley University. He currently resides in Chicago.

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