Thursday, December 20, 2007

NetSuite Goes Public

According to Red Herring, shares of Larry Ellison's NetSuite (ticker symbol "N") edged higher today in its New York Stock Exchange debut after a $161.2 million auction drove the IPO share price to $26, double the $13 initially set by underwriters as the bottom rung of the expected price range.

NetSuite, which makes on-demand order management software for small and medium-sized businesses, has yet to post a profit, recording a net loss of $35.7 million in 2006 and $20.6 million for the nine months ended September 30. Revenue, however, increased from $47 million in the nine months ended September 30, 2006, to $76.8 million for the corresponding period in 2007.

But Mike Fitzgerald, a venture capitalist whose firm has invested in similar software-as-a-service companies, said profits eventually fall to the bottom line.

"NetSuite is a $100 million company growing at 60 to 70 percent per year," he said. "A lot of SaaS companies are in this mode: Relative to the money they bring in each quarter, they have to spend a lot on sales and marketing. That revenue stream has to build up.... Eventually that marketing expense is dwarfed by the size of the customer base."

NetSuite plans to use $8.0 million of the IPO's proceeds to retire an outstanding loan of $8.0 million from Tako Ventures, an investment trust controlled by Ellison, according to regulatory filings. The company also says it will use the proceeds for capital expenditures of between $10 million and $15 million and for working capital and other general purposes.

Credit Suisse and W.R. Hambrecht managed the IPO using a modified Dutch auction format to find the top price at which all the offered shares will be sold. The Dutch auction format, which is rarely used, gained attention when it was adopted for Google's IPO in 2004.

The format arguably delivers good value to selling shareholders such as Mr. Ellison while leaving little room for the share price to climb once public trading begins.

FTC Approves Google-DoubleClick Deal

U.S. antitrust regulators approved Google Inc.'s $3.1-billion purchase of DoubleClick Inc., eliminating a major hurdle for the proposed combination in the burgeoning online advertising sector.

"After carefully reviewing the evidence, we have concluded that Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick is unlikely to substantially lessen competition," the Federal Trade Commission said Thursday in a statement.

Despite the FTC's green light, the transaction still faces antitrust scrutiny in Europe, and Google has said that it won't close the deal before it has clearance from European regulators. The European Commission has set a deadline of April 2 to complete its review.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Corporate Express Simplifies Reporting

Corporate Express is the world's largest business-to-business supplier of everything from office and computer supplies to promotional products and imaging supplies. With $7.3 billion in worldwide sales in 2005, the company can deliver products to companies in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

In preparing a business review to each of its 15,000 customers, the Corporate Express sales organization would spend up to six hours pulling together data and creating a PowerPoint presentation. Making the process more difficult, the company used 28 versions of a PowerPoint sales template rather than a centralized one.

Then the company decided to use an add-in to Microsoft's Office applications that incorporated MicroStrategy reports into its PowerPoint template. This action enabled users to answer two simple prompts to build a custom report with up-to-the-minute data for any customer, cutting the preparation time from six hours to just one.

Read the complete case study at this link.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Changing the Way You Look at Customer Data

Most analytic tools used by marketers take snapshots in time, giving you static pictures of customer behavior. Accordingly, it is difficult to use such crude tools to discover trends in the underlying data. Since customer behavior is always in a state of flux, traditional analytical tools are intrinsically limited in determining strategies to maximize your marketing ROI.

Lloyd Merriam, founder and CEO of CoLinear Systems, Inc. whose RESPONSE software has been an innovative order management system since 1986, has formed a new company, Deltalytics, to address the challenge of hitting marketing’s moving target.

Clever name, as the Greek symbol Delta means “change.” What Deltalytics does is look at changes in current customer behavior to predict future behavior across all customer segments. And it does this at a cost that small businesses can afford.

Many of the analytical techniques used are proprietary (and patent-pending), but Deltalytics also relies on such established tools as Markov Chain Models, and Cluster, Bayesian, Chaid and Regression analyses. What you get, in a nutshell, are current and projected customer lifetime value, behavioral segmentation analysis, customer defection prediction and intervention, sales forecasting, and customer-centric accounting.

A laser-guided “Smart Bomb”
Think of it as a laser-guided “smart bomb” for pro-active marketers, only this bomb doesn’t blow things up, it “pumps” them up, instead. Customers in decline can be identified and potentially salvaged. Similarly, customers who are ramping up the RFM scale can be readily pinpointed and encouraged to make further purchases.

Says Merriam, “Once you've mapped out the lifecycle of, say, seasonal shoppers who responded to the Christmas catalog, for example, you can predict how similar customers should perform in the future. When they don't, we look to other metrics to get a better handle on why and what the implications will be. For example, are they spending less/more? Ordering less/more often? And so on.

“Of course, the predictions (given a relatively stable business) will become increasingly accurate and confident over time. So what you might see, for example, is that lowering the price on a top-selling item may increase short-term revenue (and even profit), but the long-term effect – which Deltalytics will reveal pretty quickly ( in 30-90 days in most cases) – might be a serious decline in the quality of this new group of customers and a dramatic drop in their aggregate potential future lifetime value. We know from basic RFM, given an adequate population to work with, that group behavior is surprisingly predictable.”

Three Critical Metrics

Deltalytics hones in on three critical metrics:

1) Multi-buyer conversions: how many one-time buyers (who typically cost more to acquire than they yield in net margin) become multi-buyers?

2) Latency: the number of days between a customer’s orders (a variation on “frequency”)

3) Recency: the date of the customer’s last order, and the most powerful predictor of future behavior

Starting with Recency scores for the current customer population, Deltalytics measures the changes in Recency from period to period to tell you whether the percentage of recent customers is on the rise or declining, and at what rate. By excluding one-time buyers from the analysis, you are able to see how profitable customers (i.e. multi-buyers) are performing without skewing results from purchases made by new customer acquisitions.

Guiding you to motivate the laggards and boost the risers, Deltalytics helps you to:

• increase average customer lifetime duration
• predict the long-term financial impact of strategic initiatives much sooner
• determine which promotions yield the most profitable customers (in terms of their lifetime downstream value)
• identify which products attract the most profitable customers over the long-term
• assess how changes in company policies (pricing, product mix, etc.) will impact future sales and profit
• anticipate when imminent customer defection is likely (so you can prevent losing them)

Incredibly Affordable
The cost for this service is incredibly affordable. While still in its “beta” or testing phase, the cost for the "basic" Deltalytics service is currently $39.95 per month, but is likely to drop to $29.95 later on (note to Steve Jobs – this is called customer-friendly disclosure!). At this point, five different “editions” are planned, each with increasingly sophisticated features and reporting. They are:

ESSENTIAL - $19.95/mo, with fewer features than Basic, but still offering useful results
BASIC - $29.95/mo
STANDARD - $49.95/mo
PROFESSIONAL - $99.95/mo
ELITE - $179.95/mo
The Elite level will provide Multi-buyer Pattern Detection and Analysis, Latent Segment (cluster) Analysis, Forecasts of Future Business Value, Reports on Confidence Levels, and Self-Tuning Algorithms.

But even at the Basic level you are still getting a boatload of trend reports based on all RFM measures, plus Latency, Conversions, Customer Profitability analysis, and Business Strength (rate of growth or decline).

Analysis is based on data feeds using a generic field mapping tool for importing the requisite data from virtually any system, and system-specific “adapters” are planned to easily interface with any of the leading accounting and order management systems.

Deltalytics is designed to run in-house on MS SQL/Server, to assure optimum performance and stability (Deltalytics will supply the free "express" edition, if you wish). That means that all application data is stored and processed locally by the user. The application relies on an internet connection only to maintain the monthly subscription and to provide diagnostic and trouble-shooting support.

For more information, contact Lloyd Merriam at, or visit

FTC Chair Denies Conflict In Google's Bid For DoubleClick

Information Week reports that the head of the Federal Trade Commission, Deborah Platt Majoras, will not recuse herself from reviewing Google's DoubleClick acquisition bid.

Chairwoman Majoras issued a statement last Friday in response to petitions alleging that she should remove herself from reviewing Google's proposed acquisition of Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners (DoubleClick). She said that the law and rules do not require her to bow out of the proceedings. She also said the petition for her removal from proceedings contained several factual errors.

Earlier in the week the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy filed a petition for Platt Majoras' recusal. It stated that she should not review the acquisition because her husband, John M. Majoras, is an equity partner with the law firm Jones Day, which has done work for DoubleClick.

Platt Majoras denied having any conflict in the matter.

She said another law firm represents DoubleClick in the FTC proceedings and that no one on the FTC realized that Jones Day represented DoubleClick before a European commission until earlier this week.

She also said her husband changed his status to non-equity, fixed participation partner in January 2006 and that her husband is not affected by the firm's income.

"Thus, I do not have an imputed financial interest," she said.

"In 2004 and 2005, when my husband was still an equity partner, I assumed that I would have a financial interest in FTC matters in which Jones Day represented a party and recused myself in such matters, as petitioners note," she explained. "After my husband relinquished his equity interest in the firm's income, I began to consider participating in FTC matters in which Jones Day represented a party, in consultation with the FTC's Ethics Official."

Platt Majoras said she has continued to consult with FTC lawyers and other staff members to decide whether to participate in reviews that involve DoubleClick.

She pointed out that U.S. Code 18, section 208, prohibits officials from participating personally and substantially in matters they know will affect their finances in a "direct" and "predictable" way.

A code of ethical conduct for executive branch employees also warns against participation in matters likely to affect the finances of a member of her household, or when she knows that a person with whom she has a covered relationship is or represents a party, if she determines that a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would question her impartiality in the matter.

Platt Majoras said that when she heard Jones Day might represent DoubleClick in the E.U. review, she sought guidance from FTC's Designated Agency Ethics Official on whether that would affect her impartiality, or appearance of it. She said the official ruled out a conflict over impartiality and added that even if it threatened the appearance of impartiality, Platt Majoras' contribution in reviewing the acquisition outweighs likely concerns about the agency's integrity.

"Because my participation in this matter is consistent with federal ethics laws and regulations, I intend to fulfill the duties entrusted to me when I was appointed and confirmed," she said.

Commissioner William E. Kovacic also filed a statement disclosing that his wife, Kathryn Fenton, had also become a non-equity and fixed participation partner at Jones Day.

"Even though the petition does not ask for my recusal, I want my position to be clear to avoid any future questions relating to this issue," he said. "Because, like the Chairman, I do not have any current conflicts in this matter, I have determined not to recuse myself."

Commissioners Pamela Jones Harbour, Jon Leibowitz, and J. Thomas Rosch also submitted a statement supporting their colleagues' participation. They said they "see no legal grounds" for disqualifying Platt Majoras or Kovacic from investigating the transaction.

"It is evident that these Commissioners have at all times taken affirmative steps to conduct themselves in complete conformity with the ethical standards that apply to their positions," they said.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

iDashboards to Offer BI for Oracle E-Business Suite

iDashboards, a vendor of business intelligence (BI) dashboard software, said it will offer a new application for Oracle Corp.'s E-Business Suite, in response to requests from E-Business users.

The tool combines a pre-configured data mart with pre-built and customizable dashboards, reports and alerts. The dashboards present a view of key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics. iDashboards also offers a collection of reports covering multi-dimensional views and drill-down capability.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Business Objects Partners with SPSS

Intelligent Enterprise reports that: Business Objects may be the largest business intelligence vendor, but in striking an original equipment manufacturer agreement today with SPSS, it acknowledged that it needed to fill a crucial gap in the area of predictive analytics.

Under the terms of the OEM arrangement, the BusinessObjects XI platform will gain two predictive analytics data mining offerings. The BusinessObjects Predictive Workbench will be a co-branded, "Powered by SPSS" version of SPSS Clementine integrated with the BusinessObjects Universe semantic layer to enable data mining experts to develop predictive models.

"The Universe becomes a data source, and you will then run your modeling within the Workbench and ultimately send the results back to the Universe for further analysis," says James Thomas, Business Object's vice president of BI Content and tools.

In a second phase of integration, BusinessObjects Predictive Services will be integrated with the BI vendor's Web Intelligence query and analysis tool to expose predictive capabilities to ordinary business users through reports and documents.

"Predictive Services will give business users a simpler and more compelling way to understand where their business is headed in areas such as sales and customer churn, and what interesting trends may lie underneath their business intelligence content," says Thomas.

If, for example, a Web Intelligence report details customer sales by region, running the detailed data through predictive algorithms would return deeper insights into best customers, customers likely to churn and those likely to respond to cross-sell and up-sell campaigns.

In the wake of October's announcement that SAP would acquire Business Objects, rival SAS openly derided Business Objects as having "shallow" capabilities in the area of analytics, a point that Thomas now concedes: "We've been working with the 'predictive' concept for a number of years, but we had just a few algorithms buried in our product line and we just didn't offer the scope of predictive functionality that our customers were asking for."

For SPSS, the Business Objects deal bolsters its strategy to extend its predictive capabilities through partnerships. "We don't own the data, nor do we own the delivery mechanisms to get the data and the predictive analytics out to the end users, so Business Objects is a perfect partner for us to do that with," says Patrick McCue, vice president of global alliances. "We've had joint-marketing success with companies like Oracle, Microstrategy and SAP, but as we started planning for 2008, we put a big focus on the channel and on deeper OEM relationships."

SPSS already has OEM relationships with Hewlett-Packard and J.D. Edwards, and McCue says most SPSS OEM targets would consider SAS to be a competitor. "That gives us a competitive advantage against SAS to be able to go out into a customer base with that partner leading the way," he adds. "Once we sell the data mining/predictive piece, we have a plethora of other products that our sales team can sell, such as text mining, real-time decision making and statistics."

Thomas says the Clementine-based Predictive Workbench will be added within the first half of 2008. Predictive Services may take longer to integrate because it will change the Web Intelligence user interface.

Friday, November 30, 2007

DMA Offers Web Analytics Report

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has published a Web Analytics Report, based on detailed input from 130 marketing organizations, to identify which elements of Web analytics to employ for specific business goals, such as:

* increasing sales
* improving customer loyalty
* monitoring Web site usability

The report is divided into two sections:

* Part 1 provides a comprehensive overview of Web analytics purposes, challenges, usage, and effectiveness in the field of direct marketing. It covers such specific aspects of direct marketing as using Web analytics to design and evaluate online and off-line marketing campaigns and increase channel integration
* Part 2 focuses on how to use Web analytics specifically to increase conversions

The Web Analytics Report provides four major categories of information:

* Popularity: The percentage of respondents who currently use a particular Web analytics practice and can rate its effectiveness a.k.a. How popular are Web analytics practices?
* Effectiveness ratings: How marketers perceive each Web analytics tool and practice in terms of its impact on the overall ROI a.k.a. How is this affecting my bottom line?
* Expertise: Information about the popularity and effectiveness segmented by respondents’ level of expertise (beginner, intermediate, expert) a.k.a. Who are we really asking?
* Insights from the Expert: Dave Rhee (Wandering Dave of Ox2) a Web analytics expert, gives commentary throughout the book to help interpret and decipher the data provided a.k.a. "Lessons from the veteran direct marketer"

Eugenia Steingold, Senior Research Manager for the DMA, notes that the Web Analytics Report looks in-depth at over 20 specific metrics and tools, including:

* hit reports
* browsing patterns
* online order volumes
* conversion rates
* internal search results

Steingold points out that both standalone and CRM-oriented Web analytics vendors deliver the goods from a functionality perspective, but that many companies are neglecting to incorporate these Web metrics into their sales and marketing strategies. "A lot of SVPs don't look at data as often as they should," Steingold points out. "You need the right people to collect and analyze data. You need to develop decision-making sensibilities so that you can adjust sales and marketing campaigns in response to real-time trends."

List Price: $445.00
DMA Member Price: $245.00

Thursday, November 29, 2007

IBM, Mainsoft Facilitate .NET Integration

Developers using Microsoft's .NET Framework technology and SharePoint can now readily integrate their .NET applications with IBM's Java-based portal technology, after IBM agreed, in a global reseller deal, to sell Mainsoft Corp.'s .NET Extensions solution with the IBM WebSphere Portal solution.

IBM WebSphere Portal lets users create composite or "mashup" applications in service-oriented architectures and enables organizational performance monitoring, self-service applications, document access and team collaboration.

"Portal-to-portal interoperability is going to become increasingly important," said Yaacov Cohen, Mainsoft's CEO and president. "With a service-oriented architecture you want to connect all of your systems together, and you want to deliver your composite applications -- coming from different platforms."

Mainsoft's technology can integrate a number of Microsoft .NET technologies:

* Windows SharePoint services
* Microsoft Office document libraries
* SQL Server Reports
* .NET-based applications

Mainsoft, an advanced IBM business partner, provides solutions that help organizations with mixed .NET and Java environments. The company's solutions are certified as "Optimized for Visual Studio" and have been validated as "Ready for WebSphere Software."

Mainsoft Portal Edition solution is a plug-in to the Visual Studio development environment. It has a cross-compiler that compiles .NET code into Java bite code. The solution makes it easier for developers with a background in C# and Visual Basic to integrate ASP.NET on WebSphere Portal.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

JunctionBI 4.2 Adds Customer Predictive Analytics

Junction Solutions has announced the release of Version 4.2 of JunctionBI, its Business Intelligence platform, which offers:
• Historical Sales Analytics
• Customer Predictive Analytics
• Customer Profiling
• Customer Retention
• RFM (Recency, Frequency, and Monetary) Scoring
• Inventory Movement
• Unique Person Identification
• Direct Marketing List Pull
• Campaign Matchback
• Customer Lifetime Value

Developed using the Microsoft Business Intelligence Platform (including Microsoft SQL Server 2005), JunctionBI can run against virtually any type of source database including Junction Solutions’ own Retail and Consumer Goods applications. Information is presented using common Microsoft tools such as SharePoint Portal, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services (SSRS) and Dundas Visualization.

At the heart of JunctionBI is a multi-dimensional Kimball-style data warehouse designed to cleanse, enhance, and store data to facilitate rapid, flexible access. Reports and queries can be initiated by users from anywhere in the organization using desktop or web browser interfaces. Information can also be generated on a scheduled basis and 'broadcast' to users or individuals as required. The JunctionBI system can be customized to meet unique business rules without costly alterations to the underlying data schema or architecture.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

DMA Slams NY Sales Tax Ploy

New York Governor Spitzer’s Department of Taxation and Finance has issued a new regulation that requires out-of-state marketers to begin collecting state sales tax on deliveries made into New York based merely on a link to their website.

In response, Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Executive Vice President for Government Affairs & Corporate Responsibility Steven K. Berry issued the following statement:

"It is unfortunate and particularly ill-timed to impose a legally questionable tax collection responsibility just as companies are headed into the all-important holiday season. This is an overreach of authority that will harm consumers and merchants both in New York and nationwide. Businesses depend on a robust fourth quarter to meet payrolls and operating expenses. The last thing businesses or consumers need is uncertainty in the marketplace.

"We are very disappointed that Governor Spitzer and the New York Department of Taxation and Finance have just put forward a new directive attempting to require out-of-state sellers to collect sales tax on deliveries into New York State. This directive goes against the US Supreme Court’s landmark Quill decision, and thus would not survive legal scrutiny."

Monday, November 12, 2007

IBM to Buy Cognos

A month after SAP announced it was buying Business Objects, IBM has now announced it will acquire Cognos for $4.9 billion, or $58 a share.

The two companies already had an alliance where they served customers such as the New York City Police Department and Canadian Tire Corp., according to a statement today.

IBM said the all-cash deal was subject to shareholder approval and should close in the first quarter of 2008.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Junction Solutions Centers on Retail

Following the lead of other major direct commerce order management solutions, Junction Solutions has moved closer to the retail channel in announcing the release of Version 4.2 of its newly branded "Junction Solutions for Retail" packaged software suite.

This release, containing over 70 new features, extends Junction Solutions’s cross-channel retail enterprise functionality to encompass eCommerce and in-store POS systems within a single corporate data source built upon Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Junction Solutions announced earlier this year the acquisitions of both and ISS Retail, which expanded its capabilities to run eCommerce and in-store/POS operations. The former catalog and direct marketing JunctionMCR product, built on Microsoft Dynamics AX, has been expanded to become a hub for cross-channel retailing. Accordingly, the product has been renamed to JunctionRES – Retail Enterprise Solution.

All together, the Junction Solutions for Retail solution provides cross-channel retailers and vertically oriented retailers/manufacturers a comprehensive retail enterprise solution (or “Retail ERP”).

The focus of Junction Solutions’s 4.2 software development team was integration of the data and store, eCommerce, and direct marketing business processes, enabling merchants to operate and provide a seamless, cross-channel shopping experience.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

HighJump Offers SME Solution

According to SupplyChainBrain, HighJump Software, a 3M company, has released a warehouse-management system (WMS) aimed specifically at small and mid-sized companies. Known as HighJump Warehouse Advantage-45, it is designed to be fully implemented within 45 business days.

The software is built on the same technology that supports HighJump's Warehouse Advantage suite for large companies. Like its predecessor, the new version is intended to help customers achieve tracking and visibility of inbound orders, accurate receiving, directed put-away, and rapid picking, shipping and replenishment. Implementations will be structured by a detailed "playbook," directing daily activity and issuing instructions according to each individual's role and responsibility.

A flexible pricing structure includes both license and subscription-based options. Companies can purchase only the functionality they need, then add more complex features and modules over time, according to HighJump.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cybersource ePayment Management Guide

The 2008 Cybersource ePayment Management Guide offers benchmarks, key projects, and practical approaches that leading merchants are adopting to optimize business results.

Payment consultants Dave Glaser and Paul Brock review strategies to optimize business results in 2008.

Topics covered include:
- A framework for managing payment operations in 2008
- Key process benchmarks by merchant size (see how you compare)
- Adding new payment types (alternative, global)
- Optimizing fraud management operations
- Managing payment security and system centralization

Click here to download a free copy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

TJX, PCI Compliance Update

According to Storefront Backtalk, attorneys suing TJX about its data breach have cited new information from the clothing retail chain to amend their complaints on Thursday and want a jury to evaluate TJX's security professionalism.

- New details that emerged from documents filed in federal court Thursday indicate that a TJX consultant found that not only was TJX not PCI-compliant, but that it had failed to comply with nine of the 12 applicable PCI requirements. Many were "high-level deficiencies," the consultant said.
- "After locating the stored data on the TJX servers, the intruder used the TJX high-speed connection in Massachusetts to transfer this data to another site on the Internet" in California. More than "80 GBytes of stored data improperly retained by TJX was transferred in this manner. TJX did not detect this transfer."
- In May 2006, a traffic capture/sniffer program was installed on the TJX network by the cyber thieves, where it remained undetected for seven months, "capturing sensitive cardholder data as it was transmitted in the clear by TJX."
- In 2004, before the attacks began, TJX was issued a report on its security compliance that "identified numerous serious deficiencies at TJX, including specific violations. TJX did not remedy many of these definciences.
- At his deposition, the unnamed TJX consultant said that "he had never seen such a void of monitoring and capturing via logs activity at a Level One merchant as he saw at TJX."
- "The data breach at TJX affected more than 100 million separate and distinct credit and debit card account numbers, more than twice the size of the next largest data breach in the history of the country."
# The filings confirmed that both Visa and MasterCard have fined TJX. Visa issued "a substantial fine" in connection with the TJX data breach, dubbing it an "egregious violation" of security procedures. The sizes of the fines were not specified.

The filings for the first time also listed the key security problems that a TJX consultant found: improperly configuring its wireless network; not segmenting cardholder data devices from the rest of network traffic; "TJX did not have an IT department that was properly tasked to manage the environment used to store, process or transmit cardholder data;" improperly storing prohibited cardholder data; using usernames and passwords "that were easy to penetrate;" improper patch procedures; logs not properly maintained; antivirus protection "improper;" and weak intrusion detection.

Thursday's revised complaint linked the bad security practices with the computer breach, which forces banks to take expensive actions to defend themselves. One key issue in civil cases such as this is whether the defendant can be shown to be simply careless or deliberately reckless. That distinction relies on showing what was likely in the defendant's mind at the time of the acts that lead to the data breach.

Attorneys for the banks indicated they would try to show that intent with internal TJX documents obtained during discovery. "TJX knew —- and discussed internally prior to the breach —- that its deficiencies in network and data security could lead to the exact losses incurred here in the many millions of dollars," said the filing, "and that had TJX properly disclosed information about the extent of its noncompliance with network security requirements prior to the breach, then actions to correct the deficiencies and prevent the breach could have been taken."

On a related matter, Visa on Wednesday reported that some 65 percent of the nation's largest retailers are now compliant with the industry standard Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI). That means that that 35 percent -— more than one out of every three —- large retailers today are still not PCI-compliant, despite the passing of the Sept. 30 deadline and the start of the promised $25,000/month fines for non-compliance.

On a potentially even more scary note, Visa reported that PCI compliance among the more numerous Level 2 retailers —- who process between one million and six million Visa transactions a year —- is only at 43 percent, as of Sept. 30, 2007.

However, Visa did say that 99 percent of Level 1 and Level 2 retailers "confirmed they are not storing prohibited account data such as magnetic stripe -- also known as track data -- CVV2 (the security code on the back of the card) and PIN data." That's up from the 96 percent that Visa reported in July. Those sets of prohibited data are seen as especially attractive to data thieves.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Business Systems Director, Consumer Sales

NBTY, Inc., a global leader in the Nutritional Supplement industry, located in Ronkonkoma, NY, is looking for a Business Systems Director, Consumer Sales.

For information, see the listing on

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cognos 8 Has Excel Interface

Cognos has introduced an add-in for Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet in "Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel 8.2," providing users a familiar interface to slice, dice and drill down on OLAP data sources, including relational data in a data warehouse, Microsoft's Analysis Services, or Cognos's PowerCubes, which are dimensionally modeled data sets generated within Cognos 8.

It is designed for the business or financial analyst who works regularly in Excel under tight time pressures to create ad-hoc analysis and reports that access multiple data sources.

The popularity and benefits of spreadsheets create many management and control issues and challenges for both enterprise users and IT professionals. Spreadsheets traditionally lack integrity, traceability, consistency, redundancy, security, and compliance, which ultimately erode confidence in spreadsheet data, information, and results. When spreadsheets are tightly integrated with business processes, there’s a much higher risk that lack of controls will introduce error and risk into the process.

Circuit City, Manpower, and Bloorview Kids Rehab are representative customer organizations who beta-tested Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel 8.2. Their business and financial analysts and line managers were able to interactively explore and analyze multidimensional performance information by region, product, customer or business unit within Microsoft Excel, while leveraging the Cognos 8 BI infrastructure for data consistency, freshness and security, all without additional IT resources.

“With Cognos 8 BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel, we appreciated the ability to analyze multiple data sources together in one spreadsheet, while maintaining data consistency and security,” said Bill McCorey, senior vice president and chief information officer of Circuit City Stores, Inc. “Our team saw tremendous value in conducting exploration and analysis of enterprise performance information while working within Excel. Our financial analysts quickly saw the benefit of being able to perform their own ad-hoc self-serve analysis in situations that previously required IT involvement. They were able to quickly and independently resolve issues by finding answers and presenting scenario results to answer typical business questions.”

“Our analysts were able to use the sophisticated functionality and benefit from the power of Cognos 8 BI, while remaining within the familiar environment of Excel,” said Hakim Lakhani, director, decision support and planning, Bloorview Kids Rehab. “They could enhance the Cognos data with specific Excel functions and formulas and add data from various applications while keeping both the data and their calculations dynamic.”

Monday, October 08, 2007

Open Source Solution Previews Vers. 1.0

The past few months have been a period of significant changes in opentaps. By incorporating several new open source applications into its core framework, the system is now positioned to transform itself from an ERP application to an enterprise-wide application platform. The new opentaps 1.0, to be released shortly, will offer a full range of capabilities, including:

- New sales order entry systems in the CRM module, with enhanced support for bulk mailings and customer address validation.
- New tools for integrating opentaps with, eBay, and Froogle.
- Voice Over IP integration into opentaps CRM.
- New opentaps Ajax UI framework tools have been developed and will now allow for re-designing much of the legacy static screens and forms.
- New warehouse management applications for managing inventory, shipping (including UPS/DHL/FedEx integration), and manufacturing.
- New purchasing application for managing suppliers, purchase orders, and automating the procurement process.
- Support for lot-level inventory management for food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries.
- Support for payroll, commissions, third party billing, and contract-based billing.
- New library of tools for building online stores for opentaps with other languages and frameworks, developed in conjunction with the open source Joomla! content management project.
- Last but not least, a new opentaps documentation site which will be professionally developed and freely available to all opentaps users.

opentaps is an open source ERP and CRM application with an out-of-the-box feature set for product-based eTailers, retailers, manufacturers, and distributors. Its modules are represented in the diagram below.

SAP to Acquire Business Objects

SAP announced on Sunday that it will acquire business intelligence firm Business Objects, vendor of BusinessObjects XI and Crystal Reports, for 42 euros in cash for each share in Business Objects, a 20% premium over the stock's closing price on Friday.

SAP will finance the deal with available cash and borrowed funds. It cautioned, however, that the acquisition would reduce earnings in 2008 before boosting profit in 2009. The acquisition is SAP's largest to date and a reversal of its avowed organic-growth strategy.

The Germany-based software giant said the primary driver for the deal was the opportunity to gain new business. The company is racing to double its customer base to 100,000 by 2010 by wooing more small- and medium-sized firms. The business intelligence market is estimated to be worth $10 billion in annual revenue and is growing at 10% a year.

The purchase comes in the wake of a shopping spree by rival Oracle Corp. , which has spent more than $25 billion on acquisitions since 2005. Earlier this year, Oracle bought Business Objects' competitor Hyperion Solutions for $3.3 billion.

Analysts warned that the transaction could damage the company's relationship with Microsoft Corp., as Business Objects is Microsoft's primary competitor in the mid-market space. Goldman Sachs analysts cautioned that SAP now has a "significant need" to prove it can integrate Business Objects successfully, particularly given its limited experience to date with acquisitions.

Business Objects management said it supports the takeover and that its board plans to recommend the offer to shareholders. The company will operate as a stand-alone unit in the SAP group, the companies said.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

DMA Publishes Retail E-mail Study

The Email Experience Council (EEC) of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has published its second annual "Retail Welcome Email Subscription Benchmark Study," which examines the welcome e-mails of 118 of the top online retailers tracked via RetailEmail.Blogspot, identifying a number of best practices and benchmarks in the areas of merchandising, relationship-building, deliverability, and CAN-SPAM compliance.

"Studies have shown that welcome e-mails have significantly higher open rates than regular e-mails,"” said Ramesh Lakshmi-Ratan, Ph.D., DMA’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. "That makes them worth extra attention and critical examination. All marketers should be reexamining their welcome e-mails on a regular basis."

This year, for the first time, the EEC also tracked the passage of time between subscriptions and the delivery of welcome e-mails. While the majority of retailers deliver their welcome e-mails within 10 minutes of sign-up, 19 percent take more than 24 hours to deliver — with nearly a third of those taking more than a week. In the world of digital communications, that’s an eternity to wait for a welcome e-mail.

Here are some other findings from the EEC’s Retail Welcome Email Benchmark Study:

· 58 percent of welcome e-mails were CAN-SPAM-compliant in terms of including both a mailing address and unsubscribe method, versus 52 percent last year. Not all welcome e-mails need to be compliant, but considering that these are welcome e-mails for promotional e-mails, the EEC believes that they should be.

· 62 percent of welcome e-mails asked the subscriber to whitelist them by adding an e-mail address to their address book, up from 49 percent last year.

· 79 percent of retailers sent out HTML welcome e-mails, up from 69 percent last. The remainder sent text-only welcome e-mails. That said, most of the HTML welcome e-mails were HTML "lite," making extensive use of HTML text.

· 75 percent of the welcome e-mails include the retailer’s brand name in their subject lines, on par with last year. Including branding here helps the subscriber recognize the e-mail as one that they requested.

· 32 percent of welcome e-mails include a discount, reward or incentive, down from 34 percent last year. That’s in line with the results of the EEC’s Retail Email Subscription Benchmark Study, which saw a move away from incentives during sign-up.

The new EEC study can be purchased for $179 by visiting the EEC’s Whitepaper Room.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sanderson Buys Retail Business Solutions

Sanderson, a major UK provider of software and IT services to the multi-channel retail and commercial sectors, has acquired Retail Business Solutions Group Limited (RBS). Based in Milton Keynes, RBS provide front- and back-office EPOS systems, including Retail-J software, serving primarily the higher end of the retail marketplace, with over 200 customers throughout the UK and Ireland including Blacks Leisure, Slater Menswear, Wyevale Garden Centres, Harrods, and French Connection.

RBS complements Sanderson's Midas Front Office EPOS for the SME multi-channel market.

This acquisition follows the purchase of Elucid earlier in the year, serving the mail order and e-commerce markets.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sigma Appoints New President

Sigma Micro LLC, Indianapolis, IN, vendor of the multi-channel SigmaCommerce suite of solutions, has announced that Matt Konkle, previously CFO for Sigma Micro, has been appointed president of the company.

Mr. Konkle has served as CFO for Sigma Micro for the past four years and takes the helm from Joe Swern, who recently stepped down from the position. As president of Sigma, Mr. Konkle will be responsible for leading the company’s strategic direction and overseeing all aspects of worldwide operations.

Mr. Konkle also served as CFO for Sigma Communications, LLC a Sigma Holdings portfolio company acquired by PlantCML in April 2007. Prior to Sigma, he most recently served as director of finance for Aprimo, Inc., an Indianapolis-based developer of enterprise marketing management software. Before Aprimo, he served as financial reporting manager for Lilly Industries, Inc., where he was responsible for all SEC reporting. Mr. Konkle began his career with Ernst & Young LLP as a member of the entrepreneurial services group, serving a client base of dynamic, high-growth technology companies.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Body Shop Founder Dies

Dame Anita Roddick, 64, founder of The Body Shop, died today after suffering a major brain hemorrhage, her family said in a statement to the UK Press Association.

The Body Shop, a major multi-channel success story, became an international mecca for "green" cosmetics as customers were becoming environmentally aware. She was also an outspoken and indefatigable campaigner for animal rights, human rights, fair trade and Community Trade, and founder of organizations like Children on the Edge.

See a message from Dame Anita Roddick.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

PCI Compliance Webinar

Imperva, a global leader in data security and compliance solutions, is offering a Webinar on PCI Compliance. With PCI deadlines looming, organizations are not only struggling with the complexity of the PCI Data Security Standard but with how they can reach compliance with their current resources and budgets.

The Webinar will cover:
- Tracking and monitoring cardholder data
- Protecting stored card holder data
- Application Security

Attendees will not only learn the details on these specific mandates, but they will also learn how they need to address these requirements while effectively mitigating security risks.

“Roadmap to PCI Compliance: Navigating the Most Challenging PCI Requirements" will be presented twice.

Wednesday, Sep 19, 2007 at
9:00 AM Eastern and 2:00 PM Eastern

To register click HERE

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Email Experience Council Whitepaper

The Email Experience Council (EEC), the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) vertical working group focused on the e-mail marketing industry, today announced that the holiday e-mail marketing season for retailers has begun. Along with the announcement, the EEC released "Ring-Cha-Ching, Hear Them Ring: The Guide to Gearing Up for the Holiday Email Season," a 15-page report that discusses retail e-mail marketing trends and practices from the past holiday season.

According to DMA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ramesh A. Lakshmi-Ratan, PhD, a DMA survey conducted last December found that 21.9 percent of those marketers surveyed had experienced an increase in their 2006 Cyber Monday sales compared to the same post-Thanksgiving Monday in 2005. "Many of those sales were the result of commercial e-mails," he added.

“Long before retailers hang any wreaths or tinsel in their stores, they send out e-mails promoting their Christmas deals to their subscribers — lots of e-mails!” said Chad White, the EEC's director of retail insights and editor-at-large, founder of RetailEmail.Blogspot, and the guide’s author. "Last year we tracked more than 2,000 e-mails from nearly 100 top online retailers during the fourth quarter and released daily reports on strategies, tactics, and trends via RetailEmail.Blogspot. Based on those reports, the EEC has produced this helpful roadmap to the e-mail holiday season so retailers and other companies can better formulate their campaigns this year."

Here are some of the metrics and advice from the guide, which is available in the EEC’s Whitepaper Room:

- The guide includes discussions and examples of the “12 Phases of Christmas,” the 12 strategies that retailers use at different points in the holiday season. Those strategies include promoting e-gift cards and “buy online, pick up in store” services.

- Last year major online retailers increased their e-mail volume by 47 percent on average during the holiday season.

- Seven of the eight biggest retail e-mail volume days of the year occurred in the weeks before Christmas last year. Those days included Cyber Monday (November 27) and all three “Echo Mondays” (December 4, 11 and 18) — the Mondays that follow Cyber Monday. Interestingly, two of the three Echo Mondays were bigger e-mail days than Cyber Monday, which is billed as the biggest online sales day of the year.

- E-mail volume should peak in the second week of December this year.

- Twenty-nine percent of major retailers promoted e-gift cards in their e-mails during the eight days ending Christmas Day.

- Just as some online and multichannel retailers promote Thanksgiving Day sales to get a leg up on offline competitors whose stores are closed on that day, some will also begin their post-holiday sales on Christmas Day and promote them in their e-mail campaigns.

The guide can be purchased for $99 by visiting the EEC’s Whitepaper Room at

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Leapfrog Using Open Source

At Leapfrog Enterprises, maker of children's learning toys and electronics, the company's best-of-breed infrastructure planning strategies are leading it in the direction of open-source software, while shifting from hosting the bulk of its Web sites in a third-party ASP model to bringing its new Web properties into LeapFrog's own data centers. eWeek has a very interesting article detailing the challenges Leapfrog has faced (particularly with integration).

Stibo Catalog Doing Road Shows

Stibo Catalog invites you to attend one of their Road Shows to find out how the Stibo STEP Product Content Management Solution for multi-channel marketing can help your business drive sales and increase production efficiency. You will learn how successful direct marketing businesses are using STEP for:

- Managing their product information centrally
- Creating catalogs, flyers and other collateral for print and electronic delivery
- Communicating with their customers more efficiently

Road Show locations and dates:

San Francisco, CA - Wednesday, September 18
Los Angeles, CA - Tuesday, September 19
New York, NY - Tuesday, October 9
Boston, MA - Wednesday, October 10
Atlanta, GA - Tuesday, October 16
Detroit, MI - Tuesday, October 23
Pittsburgh, PA - Wednesday, October 24
Chicago, IL - Tuesday, November 6
Minneapolis, MN - Wednesday, November 7
Raleigh, NC - Tuesday, November 13
Toronto, ON - Wednesday, November 14

You can sign up at
or call Stibo at 678-797-8474.

Conversation with John Marrah

I spoke with John Marrah this morning about his taking over as President and CEO of ProfitCenter Software. Two major themes came out of the conversation:

1) John sees on-demand solutions as the "dominant strategy" going forward for multi-channel commerce applications, since they eliminate the need to maintain a staff to worry about tuning the database and load balancing and server maintenance and other routine issues of systems maintenance. Users can just concentrate on running their business. He believes that PCS is the dominant player in the on-demand category.

Fair enough. But what about implementation issues?

2) John acknowledged that that was the big challenge facing PCS. They have 35 companies who have signed on, but only five that have gone live so far. Another five or six should go live in the next three months. But it is a priority for him to make implementation more robust at PCS. To that end, they have hired about 20 people in the last few months (some managers, some implementers), and have 12 openings to fill (some in New York, some at their Florida location – John will be working out of both). And a couple of new key executives are heavy-weights with “strong experience” in the enterprise software and direct commerce/multi-channel commerce world, specifically Dominique Laborde and Les Johnson (see previous post).

John was also excited about the potential for leveraging the object-oriented architecture of the PCS platform to make the product “more mature” very quickly, adding functionality into the product set for things like a gift registry, standing orders, or continuity management without having to program everything from scratch by inheriting functionality from other parts of the program. “It is truly amazing what you can do when you don’t have to rebuild functionality multiple times and maintain it multiple times within the application. By taking advantage of the object-oriented architecture and developing functionality and managing it in one place, you get huge speed and maintenance advantages.”

I will be spending a day at PCS in the next couple of weeks and will let you know what I think first-hand. Meanwhile, with "new blood" pumping through its veins, the company has the chance to become a much stronger player.

Comments? Please use the Comments function below this post, or click Discuss PCS & Escalate for our ad hoc discussion board.

New Execs at PCS

In addition to bringing on John Marrah as President and CEO (see previous entry), ProfitCenter Software, Inc. has announced the following new additions to its executive team:

Dominique Laborde
Chief Operating Officer
Dominique Laborde joined PCS as Chief Operating Officer in April 2007. For much of his professional career over the last 29 years, Mr. Laborde has held technology leadership roles within complex software organizations with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion, directing teams of up to 300 people situated globally, to achieve business results in highly competitive markets.

Most recently, Mr. Laborde was Chief Technology Officer with Vertafore, a developer of On Demand enterprise software. Prior to Vertafore, Dominique Laborde has held technology executive positions at large corporations such as Business Objects, Dun & Bradstreet, American International Group (AIG), Computer Associates and Cap Gemini.

Dominique Laborde holds a Bachelors degree in Mathematics and a Masters degree in Computer Sciences from The University of Paris, France.

Les Johnson
Vice President – Professional Services

Before joining PCS, Mr. Johnson was Vice President of Client Operations for Ecometry Corp. While at Ecometry, Mr. Johnson led the Professional Services, Training and Implementations groups. Having spent over 30 years in the technology industry, Mr. Johnson is well versed in the systems and technologies available to multi-channel direct marketers.

Monday, August 27, 2007

John Marrah Taking Over at PCS

We have learned from our sources at ProfitCenter Software that John Marrah has left his position as head of Escalate Retail to take over the head spot at PCS. Here is the text of the press release:

ProfitCenter Software Inc. ("PCS"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Systemax Inc. (NYSE:SYX), announced today the appointment of John Marrah as its President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Richard Leeds, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Systemax Inc. commented, "I am extremely pleased to have someone of John’s stature come aboard to lead PCS. I consider John to be the world’s leading executive in the direct marketing and multi-channel retail software industry, and his joining PCS recognizes the company and its product’s strong position as the right technology platform for the direct marketing industry in the future. John Marrah provides the senior leadership and experience necessary to take the PCS product and business to the next level."

John Marrah brings over 23 years of software and technology experience to his leadership role at PCS. He most recently served as President of Escalate Inc., a leading provider of software solutions for direct and multi-channel commerce, where he was responsible for Escalate’s engagement in retail vertical industries and delivery of customer value across all business units. During his eight years at Escalate (formerly Ecometry Corporation), John grew the company significantly thorough the replatforming of the Ecometry system to an open systems platform and through the acquisitions of Blue Martini Software, ADS Retail and GERS. Prior to joining Escalate, John was Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Services at Workgroup Technology Corporation. Additionally, he has held executive management positions at Oracle Corporation, XDB Systems, and Information Dimensions Inc.

We have a call scheduled with John Marrah tomorrow morning, and will post further details on this very significant development Friday morning.

Meanwhile, we have set up an ad hod discussion board for anyone wishing to comment on this. Just click here Discuss PCS & Escalate to participate. You may also, of course, post comments right here on the blog immediately under this listing.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Data Mining/Modeling Workshop

SPSS and The Modeling Agency are co-sponsoring a Workshop on Data Mining and Predictive Modeling, Burlington, MA, September 10.

The Workshop will show you how your company can acquire new customers, keep existing customers, and increase ROI and profits using the predictive power of data mining. Designed to provide you with ready-to-use resources, the Workshop will address how to get started with data mining, share best practices, and offer first-hand data mining experience. Cost for this day-long event is $299.

Click here for more info, including a full agenda.

OrderMotion - Yahoo Stores Webinar

OrderMotion and Yahoo! Merchant Solutions have teamed up to sponsor a free Webinar on automating your back-office tasks and managing multiple Yahoo! storefronts, Thursday, August 30, at 2:00 PM Eastern time. Click here for further information.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

TNT Sets Up Canadian Customs Brokerage

TNT Express has launched a new customs brokerage division for international shipments entering Canada. The division will help to ensure fast and accurate clearance of all import shipments via a direct electronic connection to local customs authorities and other government agencies.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

World Marketing Selects Direct EDJE

World Marketing, Inc., a leading fulfillment and marketing services bureau with offices in eight major markets nationwide, has selected Direct Response from Direct EDJE, a Web-based Software-as-a-Service solution, to manage fulfillment operations and give clients control over fulfillment and print programs.

Monday, August 13, 2007

CommercialWare Adds eCommerce

Datavantage/CommercialWare has added eCommerce to its retail solutions portfolio with the acquisition of a 51% interest in the eOne Group, a premier eCommerce solutions provider based in Omaha, NE.

eOne Group and its offerings will be integrated into Datavantage/CommercialWare (which will be renamed MICROS-Retail later this year, as we have already reported). The addition of eOne Group extends CommercialWare's capabilities to offer full support for front-end, customer-facing transactional websites and allows retailers to embrace Web 2.0 and the growth of this channel.

eOneCommerce™ engine and complementary products were developed with open Java architecture, allowing the company to deploy its applications and technology into virtually any enterprise, and perform real-time data access to the customer’s choice of OS/database/hardware platforms. Through the use of a three-tiered application architecture, eOne Group is able to separate the web interface, business logic, and back-end data structures, allowing its solutions to interface with raw data structures, as well as flexibly accommodate existing application processes.

News from VendorNet

VendorNet, which produces solutions for drop-ship management and Web-based Supply Chain Collaboration, has launched a new online newsletter. It's first edition reports that:
VendorNet Converts to the Microsoft .Net Framework

VendorNet Integrates with UPS (while already integrated with FedEx, VendorNet adds UPS to its carrier integration partners)

The Shopping Channel Expands Merchandise by More than Fifty Percent Using VendorNet Dropship Manager

Friday, August 10, 2007

DRTV Becoming MultiChannel Mainstay

According to a recent white paper sponsored by the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA), entitled "The Evolving Role of Direct Response Television in Multichannel Marketing Execution," direct response television (DRTV) continues to grow as a marketing medium. This growth is attributable to both DRTV marketers —who are accelerating their adoption of interactive technologies as a component of multichannel execution strategies —and traditional advertisers, who have begun using the direct response model to enhance customer relationships, drive incremental sales, and ensure marketing accountability.

The Winterberry Group, a strategic consulting firm which conducted the study on behalf of the ERA, surveyed nearly 100 senior industry executives throughout North America to discover the reasons behind DRTV's increased traction. The panel for this study included representatives from "legacy" DRTV marketers (those that have traditionally used the channel as a primary promotional tool) as well as product distributors, full-service DRTV agencies, integrated marketing service providers (those "MSPs" that offer DRTV in addition to other services, such as direct mail), media buying agencies, production companies, and a variety of specialty service providers.

The report identifies five leading trends that are actively reshaping the DRTV industry"

1. Most notably brand marketers entering the DRTV space, with the growing use of DRTV to develop and nurture customer relationships rather than merely sell individual products, and the increasing use of DRTV to drive Web and retail traffic.

2. DRTV marketers will accelerate their adoption of emerging interactive channels as marketing models and metrics are refined.

3. The focus of call center activity will shift away from inbound order receipt to outbound customer relationship management (CRM).

4. DRTV agencies will develop sophisticated marketing solutions to help marketers optimize strategies around Web 2.0.

5. DRTV marketers will explore forays into branded entertainment and product placement.

Copies of the report, at $500 each, are available at the Website (members of the Electronic Retailing Assoc. can get the report for free).

Zappos at eTail CEO Tony Hsieh spoke at the eTail conference in Washington this week. Multichannel Merchant Weekly recounts his 10 lessons learned in e-commerce during his Aug. 7 session at the eTail conference.

8 Tips from 8x8

Attendees at the Direct Marketing Association "Fast Forward 2007" Executive Summit for Information Business Leaders, held in New York, August 1, had the opportunity to hear high-powered Ecommerce Consultant Amy Africa of Eight By Eight deliver eight tips for Ecommerce optimization:

1. Search inquiries should lead to micro-sites and targeted Web sites for a specific request, with merchandise offered as the result of analytics, not "gut instincts." Moreover, marketers should be using a variety of search strategies, including pay per click, organic, and listings in alternate or industry- or topic-specific search engines.

2. Make better use of integration tools for online and offline contact management, such as circulation-combining tools (although software programs that would facilitate them aren't commercially available yet). They also include tracking metrics like the number of clicks within a site before a prospect makes a purchase. Combine the data, and use it to inform marketing decisions back and forth across the virtual and real worlds. But remember that the mechanics of marketing online and offline are very different, from the breadth of products offered to the sales cycle times.

3. Use trigger-based e-mail efforts in reaction to customer or prospect behavior, such as EBOPPS, EBOSI and EBOTAS -- e-mails based on past purchases, selected interests and target audiences. Be aware of the factors that influence your response rates such as time of day and e-mail format.

4. Get help obtaining e-mail addresses. As Africa put it, "the company with the most viable names wins." Use e-mail appends, and remember to include source lookups.

5. Forge third-party agreements, including banners, swaps, e-mail introductions for complementary offerings and mentions in offline media.

6. Develop user profiling programs. There's a lot more information available online than offline. The more information a user has about its customer, the more streamlined the site it can show.

7. All markets are not alike, and should not use Web sites that work as if they were. The needs of the education, government, business-to-business and consumer audiences are radically different. So too should be the sites that present to them.

8. Take better advantage of metrics. Know the average audience user session (AAUS) length. Track page views, user paths within a site, which pages surfers come in through, which pages are the last ones viewed before they leave, what the main referring URLs and Web sites are, and which key words are used, both to access your site, and within internal site searches. Know where and when prospects abandon shopping carts, and where within the sales funnel they drop out.

And above all, remember that even with a good, well-designed site, 60 percent of visitors will leave without making a purchase.

Harry & David Expanding Ohio DC

According to MultiChannel Merchant magazine, Harry & David will be adding 45,000 sq.-ft. to its Hebron, OH-based distribution center facility. The $16 million expansion will be completed in fall 2008.

To receive a $351,000, seven-year, 45% tax credit from the state, Harry & David must maintain a presence in Hebron for at least 14 years and keep its current workforce of 225. The company said it expects to add about 160 new full-time jobs to the DC, with an annual payroll of approximately $4 million.

The Hebron facility shipped more than 3.6 million gifts last year, about 1 million more than Harry & David's Medford, OR-based headquarters.

First Data Buyout Hits Snag?

Aug. 10 Bloomberg reports that the global stock-market decline has hurt shares of buyout target First Data Corp., prompting speculation the deal may go back to the negotiating table.

First Data, which agreed to be taken private by New York-based Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) in April, dropped as much as 6.1 percent to $29.13 and has decreased 7.4 percent since July 10. KKR agreed to pay $34 a share.

From another source, on Wednesday a story from Dow Jones Newswires reported that the financing for the $26 billion buyout of First Data still contains $14 billion of loans that are light on protection for creditors, and no such high-yield loans are moving right now. That means that unless things change dramatically between now and September, the banks arranging the debt sale are going to be forced to eat the paper.

Those banks are Citigroup, Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Lehman Brothers Holding, Goldman Sachs Group and Merrill Lynch. According to the Newswires piece, comparable debt now is trading in the market at about 95 cents on the dollar, which could mean 5% in losses to be shared by the banks, or roughly $700 million.

State of Competition in European Postal Services

According to -- Deutsche Post AG may be defenseless against invaders into its lucrative home turf as the rest of Europe backtracks on promises to throw open national mail markets.

A two-year delay in opening most of the region is thwarting plans by Europe's biggest postal service to expand. That leaves Deutsche Post little room to improve margins when its letter-delivery monopoly in Germany, its most profitable business, ends Jan. 1. The shares have dropped 20 percent since April, after more than doubling in four years as Deutsche Post shed workers and boosted profit.

Deutsche Post has forecast domestic competition will trim earnings at its mail division -- which makes up over half the company's income before interest and taxes -- by as much as 20 percent by 2009.

The delay in ending monopolies in countries including France, Spain and Italy will "put a halt to Deutsche Post's foreign expansion," said analyst Michael Benedikt at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. "They won't be able to compensate for market-share losses at home."

The European Parliament dealt a blow to Deutsche Post's expansion strategy on July 11 by voting to allow mail monopolies throughout the European Union to continue until at least January 2011. Deutsche Post had urged the parliament to stick with an original plan to open markets no later than 2009.

Preparing for Competition

Deutsche Post has been preparing to compete at home and abroad since the German state began selling stakes in the company in 2000. The state still holds 30.6 percent of Deutsche Post through development bank KfW Group.

To cut costs, Deutsche Post closed about 4,000 post offices in the past 10 years and shed 140,000 jobs, mostly in the domestic mail and parcel businesses. The mail division employed almost 130,000 at the end of 2006.

Deutsche Post also made about $20 billion in acquisitions in businesses such as logistics, express delivery and freight as e- mail began supplanting letters and competition to ship heavier items in Germany increased.

Takeovers of Plantation, Florida-based DHL Worldwide Express in 2002 and Seattle-based Airborne Express Inc. in 2003 positioned Deutsche Post as a global express delivery company pitted against United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. The 2005 purchase of Bracknell, England-based Exel Plc made Deutsche Post the world's largest manager of warehouses and inventories.

Debt Increase

The expansion also more than doubled Deutsche Post's net debt, or debt minus cash and cash equivalents, to 3.08 billion euros in 2006 from 1.36 billion euros in 1999.

Even as Deutsche Post has branched out, its monopoly in Germany on delivering letters weighing less than 50 grams (1.8 ounces) remains its most profitable business. The mail division had a profit margin of 15.5 percent last year, compared with 1.9 percent at its express unit and 3.4 percent for logistics.

Deutsche Post had about 91 percent of Germany's 9.8 billion euro mail-delivery market last year, according to the German regulator, the Federal Network Agency. That will probably drop to 70 percent within five years after liberalization, Commerzbank's Benedikt said.

Two Main Challengers

TNT NV, one of Deutsche Post's biggest competitors in Germany, has a local market share of about 2 percent to 3 percent, Klein said. The Hoofddorp, Netherlands-based company aims to increase that figure to 10 percent by 2013.

Pin Group AG, a Luxembourg-based deliverer, aims to boost mail revenue in Germany to between 1.5 billion euros and 2 billion euros by 2015 from 168 million euros in 2006.

... [but] competition will be limited, with TNT and Pin likely the only major challengers, said Andre Mulder, an analyst at Kepler Equities in Amsterdam.

The government may also impose a minimum-wage requirement on postal companies, preventing rivals from paying much lower wages than Deutsche Post.

A potential legal dispute between Germany and the European Commission is also brewing as the two argue about German plans to continue exempting Deutsche Post mail services from the value-added tax, Benedikt said.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

HP Data Warehouse at Wal-Mart

Intelligent Enterprise reports that "Wal-Mart, a data warehousing pioneer, is showing that it's not afraid to take a gamble if there's more business insight to be gleaned from the 800 million transactions generated by its 30 million customers each day.

"The $345 billion-a-year retailer revealed last week that it's one of the earliest customers of Hewlett-Packard's new Neoview data warehousing system. That Wal-Mart would choose Neoview was unexpected, though not entirely surprising. Unexpected because Neoview is new and unproven, formally introduced just three months ago, and because Wal-Mart is heavily invested in Teradata's data warehousing platform. But it's not surprising because HP CEO Mark Hurd, who once headed Teradata, and HP CIO Randy Mott, who once ran Wal-Mart's IT organization, have firsthand knowledge of the retailer's data warehousing environment and almost certainly drew on that experience to close the deal.

"Neoview will be used in conjunction with Wal-Mart's strategically important Retail Link system, which gives Wal-Mart's 20,000 suppliers access to data about the movement and sales of their products in its stores. In other words, the HP platform isn't being relegated to some secondary business process. HP couldn't have hoped for a better proof-of-concept customer as it tries to sell its new business intelligence platform in a highly competitive market that includes IBM, Oracle, SAS Institute, and Teradata.

"For more than a decade, Wal-Mart has operated one of the largest commercial data warehouses in the world. Over the last two years, that Teradata-based warehouse has doubled in size to more than 1,000 Tbytes, or a petabyte, packed with sales information on every item sold in its stores. 'Business intelligence is huge' at Wal-Mart, says CTO Nancy Stewart. Wal-Mart is making 'significant investments' in BI tools, Stewart adds, though she declined to reveal how much it's spending on the HP system.

"Earlier this year, Wal-Mart created a loose-knit internal BI team under senior VP Marc Rosen that's assessing new graphics-rich desktop tools that render 'what-if' scenarios, as well as new options for cleansing and managing data with an eye on governance. The company also is considering building data marts--smaller, subject-specific data warehouses--that focus on snapshots of operational data, Stewart says.

"...At Neoview's core is the Tandem NonStop operating system kernel and database acquired with Compaq in 2002. Before jumping into the market, HP engineers tuned that software, originally designed for transaction processing, for data analysis workloads.

"... Until now, Wal-Mart's Teradata-based data warehouse has been used to support Retail Link, which tracks everything from percentage of items in stock (Wal-Mart aims for a 98.5% in-stock rate) to profit analysis on markdowns and so-called 'market-basket analysis.' Neoview will now be shouldering some of that workload; Stewart says Wal-Mart is looking at 'a whole new set of queries and algorithms.'

"... In the early going, HP has identified retail as one of its target markets for Neoview. One customer is Bon-Ton Stores, which has 278 stores under such brands as Bergner's and Boston Store. Bon-Ton went live in October with its first Neoview application, which measures suppliers' merchandise performance. The company has since added marketing and merchandising applications, the largest of which contains a database table with more than 4 billion rows, says CIO James Lance in an e-mail interview. The system has exceeded the expectations of users, Lance says."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Red Prairie Enhances WMS, Workforce Management

RedPrairie Corp. has enhanced its Warehouse Management and Workforce Management software applications to include new billing options and support for third-party logistics (3PL) providers. The new features incorporate all of the functions required to optimize a multi-client distribution center, RedPrairie said. User-defined billing options cover multiple operations, including receipt check-in, putaway, picking, loading, storage and value-added services.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dr. Schulze’s Selects CWSerenade

Datavantage/CommercialWare, a wholly owned subsidiary of MICROS Systems, Inc. and a leading provider of retail technology for the specialty and general merchandise retail industry, has announced that its Java-based CWSerenade solution is providing Dr. Schulze’s American Botanical Pharmacy, based in Marina Del Rey, CA, with order management and fulfillment functionality as well as personalized customer service.

With the implementation of CWSerenade, Dr. Schulze’s American Botanical Pharmacy, which ships 1,000 packages per day on average, is able to accept, fulfill and handle all changes to customer orders, gaining greater cross-channel efficiency, scalability, and improving the customer experience.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Google Offers Low-Cost Site Search

For as little as $100 a year, Google will provide site search in a new offering targeting small businesses, including retailers. The site search box can be customized and the ads Google serves up can be blocked.

Called "Google Customer Search Business Edition," the $100 service covers searching on up to 5,000 web pages, going up to $500 annually for searching as many as 50,000 pages.

Google says setting up the hosted service is a three-step process that takes less than 10 minutes.

Google also offers more sophisticated site search engines, including the Google Mini, which starts at $1,995 per year and includes hardware as well as software.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

CommercialWare, Users Win Kudos

Datavantage/CommercialWare, a wholly owned subsidiary of MICROS Systems, Inc., and a provider of multi-channel technology for the specialty and general merchandise retail industry, has announced that the Company and many of its customers have recently received numerous industry acknowledgements from leading publications and organizations.

In Apparel magazine’s "Top 50 Software Scorecard" in the May 2007 issue, Datavantage/CommercialWare earned the highest score in Overall Satisfaction as well as the number six position overall in the retail software category.

“Of the approximately 160 apparel- and retail-specific software firms invited to participate in the project, just 50 qualified for inclusion in our Scorecard report,” said Kathleen DesMarteau, Apparel’s editor in chief. “So those firms who made the cut have truly demonstrated their excellence in serving our industry.”

The March issue of Catalog Success featured the fifth-annual exclusive ranking of U.S.-based catalogers with the speediest recent housefile growth rates, defined as how many new customers catalogers add. Sur la Table was awarded the number one spot and is among many Datavantage/CommercialWare customers in the Top 200 ranking including: #14 Edwin Watts, #29 Van Bourgondien, #40 J.Jill, #45 Jos. A. Banks, #51 Pendelton, #56 Avenue (United Retail Group), #66 Appleseeds, #85 Aerosoles, #97 Garnet Hill, #108 Park Seed, #131 Boston Proper, and #196 Flax Art.

Several Datavantage/CommercialWare customers were named as finalists in Multichannel Merchant's MCM Awards including J.C. Whitney & Co. (Print Channel, Cross-Channel and Web Channel), Patagonia (Print Channel) and Sundance (Web Channel). The judges named finalists in 17 categories from more than 200 entries.

Peruvian Connection was one of 10 retailers selected as a Mid Market All-Star in the May issue of RIS News. As stated in the RIS News – Mid-Market All Stars 2007 article, “They may not all be at a mall near you, or housed in a behemoth big-box store, but [these] 10 midsize retailers are all achieving impressive marketplace success and growth in year-over-year revenue gains. Beginning with a strong retailing concept, these retailers are taking their initial success to the next level by building up their brands, expanding geographically, fine-tuning business processes and investing in IT as a key enabler of critical initiatives and goals.”

For the fourth year in a row, CommercialWare has also been awarded the Garnet Hill True North Award, an annual tribute to core business partners. The award was established four years ago for its vendor community and recognizes those partners that provide superior service and value to its business.

We already noted that Datavantage/CommercialWare was recognized as a Top 10 best retail software vendor in the 7th Annual RIS LeaderBoard, scored by RIS News. In addition, the Company was voted the preferred retail software POS (point-of-sale) vendor with the highest adoption of STORES Magazine’s Hot 100 Retailers reported in the Eighth Annual POS Benchmarking Survey, an independent study prepared by LakeWest Group. I assume this last honor applies more to the Datavantage tools than to CommercialWare's....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

PRIAM Signs Two New Accounts

We cover the UK as well as the US, and across the pond Waterford Crystal, which has used the PRIAM solution for their shops and international mail order, selected PRIAM's EPOS solution for the Edinburgh Crystal concession which they acquired at the Royal Worcester centre. The local EPOS system implemented is linked directly to the back office order management system in Ireland, with no local management of the EPOS system required and all reporting and re-ordering managed instantaneously in Waterford.

In other PRIAM news, Transair Pilot Shop, Europe's largest supplier of pilot flight equipment and aviation accessories, has commissioned PRIAM to develop their new eCommerce Website.

Over the past 10 years Transair has used PRIAM to successfully expand their multi-channel retail business. Now in their 21st year of trading, Transair despatch over 80,000 orders each year to more than 100 countries worldwide, as well as run four successful retail outlets.

PRIAM's eCommerce functionality will enable them to integrate their Website seamlessly with their back-office PRIAM order management system. This upgrade will further enhance Transair's established customer service, a key to its ongoing success.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Junction Gets Top Dynamics AX Certification

Junction Solutions has announced that Microsoft has certified its JunctionMCR software for multi-channel retailers to its highest standard for partner developed software solutions, making it one of only three software solutions to meet the new Microsoft standard.

JunctionMCR achieved certification by passing the new Microsoft Dynamics software compatibility test and securing recommendations from at least ten customer references. Certification was only possible because Junction Solutions is a Microsoft Gold Certified partner to begin with, and has a Microsoft Support Plan service agreement. [Huh? I know, sounds confusing, but that's the way it is, as Cronkite would say.]

"We have worked hard to develop solutions that are completely embedded within Microsoft Dynamics AX rather than being connected or add-ons in this initial phase of this program," said Greg Penn, Vice President of Product Development. "We’re proud to be one of only three Microsoft Dynamics AX solutions to attain certification, and the only one completely embedded within Microsoft Dynamics AX."

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services. Dyanamics business management solutions all work like and with familiar Microsoft software to manage processes across an entire business.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

NetSuite Files IPO, Reports Losses

According to Channel Web Networks newsletter:

"...NetSuite Monday filed for an IPO intended to raise up to $75 million. The registration statement offers the first detailed look at NetSuite's finances, shining light on its history of losses and on the deep hold Oracle CEO Larry Ellison retains on NetSuite.

"NetSuite, based in San Mateo, Calif., reported revenue of $67.2 million for 2006, an 85 percent increase on the $36.4 million it took in a year earlier. Its net loss in 2006 was $23.4 million. Founded in 1998, NetSuite has operated at a loss since its inception.

"As of March 31, the end of its first fiscal quarter of 2007, NetSuite had 5,300 active customers. It did not disclose how many end-user subscribers it currently supports.

"...NetSuite's ongoing losses were ... unexpected. NetSuite has for years implied in the press that it is profitable or very close to it, and partners were getting the same message...

"The vast majority of NetSuite's shares are owned by Ellison, who financed the company's creation in late 1998 to develop on-demand ERP and CRM services. The ties between NetSuite and Oracle run deep: Ellison and his private investment group, Tako Ventures, currently control 74 percent of the company, and NetSuite's two top executives, CEO Zach Nelson and CTO/Chairman Evan Goldberg, spent time in Oracle's executive ranks.

"The ownership overlap between NetSuite and Oracle could cause conflict-of-interest issues between the potential rivals. Like the rest of the ERP field, Oracle would like to deepen its footprint in the small- and midsize business market in which NetSuite specializes. It also now owns Siebel CRM OnDemand, a NetSuite competitor."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

RBS Launches US Payment Gateway

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), which has been handling overseas transactions for U.S.-based online merchants, has unveiled a new service that will compete for transactions generated within the U.S. as well as those coming from foreign customers. "Now we can handle merchants’ transactions through a single gateway," says Josh Groves, president of the San Francisco-based Retailer Solutions, North America unit of RBS. "We’ve been selling in the U.S., [saying] let us do your non-U.S. transactions. Now with this combined gateway we can do everything."

The new service combines three platforms RBS operates in Europe and the U.S.: Atlanta-based merchant processor RBS Lynk, Bibit Global Payment Services, based in the Netherlands, and Streamline, a U.K. acquirer. Bibit provides back-end settlement and authorization for all card transactions funneled to it via RBS Lynk and Streamline, which can convert 14 currencies. The gateway currently serves 2,000 merchants, about 100 of which are in the U.S., including job site Groves refuses to disclose current or projected transaction volume.

The RBS service is PCI-compliant, enabling merchants to accept online credit card payment without having to store the card information or become PCI-compliant themselves. The gateway also helps merchants determine the level of risk for transactions before they are sent for authorization, meaning that merchants can lower the risk of incurring charges for fraudulent transactions.

The new business unit has a U.S. sales force of 20 calling on large and medium-size merchants. A distribution strategy to reach smaller merchants through e-commerce software developers, hosting companies, and larger IT developers is under development.

Pricing will be key. “In the U.S., pricing is very competitive,” says Groves, who will not give details beyond noting that "we’re competitive with [gateways like] CyberSource."

Ironically, last fall Island Pacific, Inc., a leader in retail POS and Merchandising software solutions, inked an agreement with RBS Lynk to offer full-service integrated payment processing solutions through its Retail Pro Payment Solutions division. The three-year agreement with RBS Lynk would allow Retail Pro to offer an embedded payment solution with support for credit, debit, check, gift, loyalty club payments and more.

The Island Pacific software is an integrated application suite consisting of POS and store operations, merchandising, planning, business intelligence, and customer management/CRM available in 18 languages and localized for use in 73 countries around the world at over 35,000 retail customer locations.

"This is an exciting arrangement for us, as well as RBS Lynk," said Kerry Kodatt, Vice President of Retail Pro Payment Solutions. "As a registered ISO ["Independent Sales Organization," or middleman] through RBS’s US subsidiary, Citizens Bank, we are now well-positioned to deliver robust, multi-faceted payment solutions which provide our customers reduced costs through very competitive rates and create a significant new revenue stream for Island Pacific/Retail Pro and its business partners."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Stone Edge: #3 Among Top 500 E-tailers.

The Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide lists the order management systems (OMS) used by the 500 largest E-tailers. Of the 500, 167 listed something other than "n/a" or "in-house" for their OMS. Looking at the list below (showing the vendor and number of users listed in the Top 500), it is interesting to note that Stone Edge lands at a very respectable Number 3, behind two giants, Escalate Retail and GSI Commerce. Way to go, Barney!

The entire list is actually quite fascinating, and provides some provocative food for thought:

Escalate Retail: 34
GSI Commerce: 17
Stone Edge Order Manager: 13
CommercialWare: 9
Dydacomp: 6
Oracle: 5
Everest: 4
Sterling Commerce: 4
SAP: 3
ATG: 3
Epicore|CRS: 3
Microsoft Dynamics: 3
NetSuite: 3
Sage: 3
Kewill Systems: 2
Avexxis: 2
Island Pacific: 2
*Amazon Services: 2
Alexander Interactive: 2
OrderMotion: 2
Acadaca Internet Solutions: 2
QuickBooks: 2

41 others had a single user each.

*I am interested in learning what any of you may know about Amazon Services, or what your experiences have been. Please let me know. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Google Analytics Leaves Beta

Google Analytics, Google's Web site analysis service, graduated from beta yesterday with several new features, according to Intelligent Enterprise.

As part of the announcement, Google said that the old version of Google Analytics will be removed on July 18th. Google introduced the new version in beta back in May.

Google Analytics began life as Urchin On Demand, a hosted Web analytics service offered by San Diego-based Urchin Software Corp. Google acquired Urchin in March 2005 and initially offered the Web traffic measurement service for $199. In November 2005, Google re-branded the service Google Analytics and began offering it for free.

The updated version now includes the option to view site traffic on an hourly basis, a feature from the old version that didn't make it into the recent interface upgrade. Google also added the ability to click through to external pages from links in Google Analytics reports.

Users can also now cross-segment reports by network location, which means they can view traffic from different network locations separately. The company has also made it easier to integrate a Google AdWords account with Google Analytics. In addition, the new interface now shows up to 500 rows of data on a single report page, up from a previous limit of 100 rows.

Earlier this month, Google acquired content syndication and management service FeedBurner, which offers similar traffic analytics for RSS feeds. Google has yet to say how or whether FeedBurner will be integrated with Google Analytics.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

RSAG Publishes MultiChannel Fulfillment Report

RSAG, the Retail Systems Alert Group, has published a White Paper/Survey called The State of Multi-Channel Fulfillment: Benchmark Report 2007-2008, sponsored by DataVantage/CommercialWare.

This 25-page report is definitely worthwhile (though a bit discouraging on the challenged state of the art) for anyone interested in both the technologies and operations of multi-channel commerce.

To get a copy, visit the RSAG Website; the link is at the top of the right-hand column, "Industry Research."

Table of Contents
Executive Summary
SECTION I: Overview
Why the Study Was Conducted
Survey Respondent Characteristics
SECTION II: The Business Challenge
Retailers Struggle With Customer Service and Channel Synergies
Retail Winners Track Changing Consumer Behavior
Experienced Multi-Channel Retailers Value Channel Synergy
The Cross-Channel Window Gets Smaller Every Day
SECTION III: Opportunities
"Multi-Channel" Means a Lot of Different Things
Little Movement between Channels, Even As Maturity Grows
Retailers Focus On Efficiency and Customer Service Opportunities
Customer Service Options Remain Sparse
Emerging Best Practices: Fulfillment Methods
Emerging Best Practices: Inventory Management
Cross-Channel Order Fulfillment Is Still Immature
Retailers Tackle the Hardest Things First
SECTION IV: Organizational Barriers
Technology and Cultural Issues Hamstring Multi-Channel Fufillment
Overcoming Organizational Inhibitors: Contradictions Abound
Figure Out the Org Structure First
SECTION V: Technology Enablers
Top Technology Enablers: Inventory and Order Management
Kiosks Not Considered "Multi-channel"
Experienced Multi-Channel Retailers Use More Technology
Technology Adoption: The Advantage and the Curse
SECTION VI: "Bootstrap" Recommendations
Multi-Channel Fulfillment Follows a Learning Curve
Establishing A New Channel
Maturing the Secondary Channel
Driving Synergy across Channels
A Note on Mobility
Appendix: Methodology
Defining Retail Winners
Report Sponsors

New York Mint Selects Junction Solutions

New York Mint, one of the largest rare and collectible coin marketers in the United States, has selected JunctionMCR, a multi-channel retail solution to manage its business across multiple sales channels and better integrate its warehouse, order management, fulfillment and customer service processes.

New York Mint, headquartered in Edina, MN, is one of several collectibles retailers that have chosen JunctionMCR this year, including Royal Canadian Mint, another provider of collectible coins and currency. Besides a wide selection of rare and hard-to-find U.S. coins, New York Mint offers many other collectible products, including paper currencies, coin jewelry, foreign and ancient coins, ancient coin jewelry and specialized numismatic services. Through an international partner, Aber & Levine, based in Israel, New York Mint also offers a variety of custom-made jewelry and ancient artifacts to collectors.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

DMA Launches New Tech Council

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has announced that its former "Marketing Technology and Internet Council" will be reborn as the DMA "Marketing Technology Council" (MTC).

The Council's mission states that it will serve as ‘a resource that represents, educates, and communicates the benefits of technology-enabled marketing, creating the most efficient and effective marketing processes that deliver superior shareholder and customer value.’“

The MTC plans to reach out to the membership, create a dialogue, and help them to understand how to solve their marketing technology issues so their marketing processes will work more efficiently. Technologies involved include sales force automation, enterprise resource planning, marketing operations management, marketing automation, data quality, digital asset management, marketing resource management, and customer relationship management technology.

The old MTIC was a doomed, rudderless disaster. The new MTC may fare better; it will be doing a session at DM Days in New York this month on understanding and implementing a marketing technology plan. Let's see if it can provide not only guidance but leadership (and a little vision, maybe), which was absent from its predecessor.

The odds are dicey, though. In the list of technologies, if "ERP" is meant to stand for order management and fulfillment, then why didn't they label it something more appropriate than ERP? And if they do mean ERP, then where is order management (and why is ERP a "marketing" technology)? One assumes "marketing operations management" relates to campaign management, no?

And where is the Web in all of this???? Conspicuous by its absence, I'd say!

If the Council itself is confused and wobbly on its own foundation, how can it bring clarity to the marketplace and the user community?

Frankly, if this were a stock, I'd short it.
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