Wednesday, January 30, 2008

GSI Commerce to Acquire e-Dialog

Leading e-commerce and multichannel solutions provider GSI Commerce Inc. has announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire e-Dialog Inc., a Lexington, Mass.-based market-leading provider of advanced e-mail marketing services and solutions to more than 100 blue-chip companies in the U.S. and Europe. The acquisition will significantly expand the breadth and depth of GSI’s interactive marketing services capabilities, its reach into existing and new vertical markets, and its growing European presence.

In December 2007 GSI acquired Ltd., a Manchester, U.K.-based provider of fulfillment, customer care and e-commerce solutions. And in September 2007 GSI acquired Accretive Commerce (formerly NewRoads), an e-commerce solutions provider of e-commerce technology, customer care and fulfillment solutions and related services whose roster of partners was primarily in the categories of apparel, home, health and beauty, and specialty foods.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Omniture Acquires Visual Sciences

On January 17 Omniture, Inc. completed its acquisition of Visual Sciences, Inc. (which last year acquired WebSideStory, a leading Web Analytics platform), creating a company with more than 1,000 employees, over 4,000 customers, and 14 offices worldwide including: Utah, San Diego, Virginia, San Francisco, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, China, Korea, Singapore and Australia.

Visual Sciences’ employees will continue to be located in their San Diego, California and Herndon, Virgina offices. All Omniture employees located in the San Francisco Bay Area—including the Visual Sciences and Offermatica teams—will be brought together in Omniture’s San Francisco office.

Omniture’s more than 4,000 customers include eBay, AOL, Wal-Mart, Gannett, Microsoft, Neiman Marcus, Oracle, Countrywide Financial, General Motors, Sony and HP.

The Omniture product line now includes:

* Omniture SiteCatalyst®—the industry’s number one Web analytics solution.
* Omniture Discover™ and Discover OnPremise™—advanced segmentation and analytics available both on demand and on premise, incorporating the Visual Sciences Platform 5 technology.
* Omniture Genesis™—automated integration of Web analytics and marketing applications using a “Plug and Play” interface.
* Omniture SearchCenter™—automated search marketing for optimizing SEM results.
* Omniture Site Search & Publish™—Site search and Web content management for Web site optimization.
* Omniture Optimization Suite™—the industry’s most comprehensive testing and targeting solution uniting the Offermatica and Touch Clarity products.

HBX Analytics will be rebranded as Omniture SiteCatalyst HBX, and will continue to be supported until the key features have been integrated into Omniture SiteCatalyst.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

SPSS Simplifies Predictive Modeling

According to Intelligent Enterprise: Predictive analytics and text mining are two topics you might associate with elite business intelligence experts, but SPSS says its latest releases, Clementine 12.0 and Text Mining for Clementine 12.0, will make these technologies, and associated insight, more accessible to ordinary business users.

Clementine 12.0, the latest version of the vendor's predictive analytics software, extends automated modeling capabilities. In Clementine 11.1, developers could build and evaluate binary (yes/no) models in one click. Clementine 12.0 adds this capability for models that yield continuous variables. In addition, Clementine 12.0 has an "Ensemble" modeling node that lets users blend models to achieve more accurate predictions.

"Certain types of models tend to have certain biases," says Richard Hren, SPSS director of product marketing. "Blended modeling is a hot topic because you can get a better model by combining several models into one. The Ensemble modeling node will combine models and average out the differences automatically."

The Clementine 12.0 release also incorporates improved data visualization capabilities via a Graph Board that lets users develop bar charts, scatter plots, concept maps and linkage maps. These visualizations help make predictive analyses readily understandable to business users. In addition, built-in interaction features let users highlight, rope or otherwise select data for deeper analysis and visualization.

Text Mining for Clementine 12.0 is designed to extract concepts, sentiments and relationships from textual data such as e-mail messages, blogs, RSS feeds or surveys. Putting that insight to use, the software is designed to work with SPSS's Dimensions survey software, and it is integrated with SPSS Predictive Enterprise Services, so text mining results can be combined with the predictive power of Clementine for broader and more accurate insight.

"As we've made text mining easier to use and more tightly integrated within our predictive analytics portfolio, we've seen user adoption and acceptance flourishing," says Hren. "Lots of vendors are doing text mining and content classification, but for us, the real power is in linking that to the analytical space."

As an example, SPSS points to European cable provider Cablecom, which uses Text Mining for Clementine to analyze call center notes fields. The company then combines those results into its predictive analyses for better predictions and more effective efforts to mitigate churn.

Among the other refinements to Clementine 12.0 and Text Mining for Clementine, the software is said to take better advantage of multithreading, multicore processors and load balancing in clustered server environments. As a result, processing speeds in clustered deployments are reportedly as much as 10 to 20 times faster than in older versions of the software.

[EHS: I still think it is flirting with danger to put too much modeling and analysis in the hands of users untrained in analytic disciplines and the use of the tools. You may no longer need Ph.D. statisticians on staff, but these tools can still yield misleading results if not used carefully and properly. 'nuf said!]

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Readers Union Selects PRIAM

Readers Union, home to Britain's best specialist interest book and kit clubs, has replaced their existing systems with PRIAM, a leading multichannel business system.

PRIAM has over 2,000 programs to manage CRM, mail order, retail sales, stock control, accounts and database marketin, plus a fully integrated content management and e-commerce solution.

James Gaisford, Finance and Operations Director of Readers Union, said, "We have reviewed a number of different systems and are impressed with the depth of functionality available in the PRIAM's core system. However, the most important element in our decision is the ability of PRIAM to make bespoke amendments within specific timeframes to accommodate the specialist requirements of the book club."

Glyn Carvill, Commercial Director for PRIAM commented, "The development for Readers Union provides us with a fantastic opportunity to establish PRIAM as a major supplier of book club systems. We look forward to establishing an excellent working relationship."

Monday, January 21, 2008

CoLinear Acquired By Weaver Tech Group

CoLinear Systems, Inc. of Marietta, GA, vendor of the RESPONSE order management solution, has announced that Weaver Technology Group (WTG) has acquired all of the outstanding shares of CoLinear Systems stock from its Founder & CEO, Lloyd Merriam. Scott Weaver, CoLinear's acting VP-Development and a principal of WTG, also assumes the role of President and CEO effective immediately.

Weaver, who joined CoLinear in 1996 as a Junior Programmer, quickly rose through the ranks to become CoLinear's highest-ranking developer in 1999, at which time he led the initiative to re-architect the flagship RESPONSE product for the Windows/SQL platform.

Merriam, CoLinear's Founder and former CEO, will continue to work closely with the company through a strategic partnership agreement which includes management consulting, sales, and cooperative marketing between CoLinear and Deltalytics, Inc. which was founded by Merriam in 2007 to create and deliver low-cost customer analytics software and services to the small business market [see separate posting earlier on Deltalytics].

"As much as I have enjoyed building CoLinear and working with the most wonderful clients and partners a vendor could ever hope for, after 23 years I felt the need to explore something new and different, namely, customer behavior analytics," said Merriam.

"Although Scott's technical prowess and legendary productivity are widely known, few realize the extent and depth of his executive skills," Merriam added. "Much more than just up to the current challenge, Scott's keen vision and total commitment to dramatically enhance the RESPONSE software is light-years ahead of what I could have done. The future of CoLinear, I believe, is better served under his leadership, drive and unwavering resolve," Merriam concluded.

"I get a great deal of satisfaction knowing that problems I solve help businesses function more effectively, efficiently and at a lower cost," stated Weaver. "Taking control of CoLinear, its products, and related services, permits me to have an even greater impact on not only the operations of the many businesses we serve, but also the rapidly evolving direct commerce industry as a whole. I’m pleased that Lloyd will continue to share his insight and expertise as we move forward, and I look forward to growing on the solid foundation he built."

Added Weaver, "The RESPONSE product is the cornerstone of this agenda which I’m excited and firmly committed to making more powerful and easier to use while leveraging its configurable nature to improve virtually any business which sells product through any of the direct channels."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

CyberSource Online Fraud Report

CyberSource has pubished its nineth Annual Online Fraud Report: Online Payment Fraud Trends, Merchant Practices and Benchmarks

This year's study found that online merchants estimate they lose 1.4% of their revenues to fraud or over $3.6 Billion in annual sales. Read about this and over 25 other fraud management benchmarks, trends and practices by clicking HERE.

Oracle to Acquire BEA Systems

Oracle and BEA Systems report that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Oracle will acquire all outstanding shares of the Java-based application server and middleware vendor for $19.375 per share in cash.

In a press release, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, said, "The addition of BEA products and technology will significantly enhance and extend Oracle's Fusion middleware software suite. Oracle Fusion middleware has an open 'hot-pluggable' architecture that allows customers the option of coupling BEA's WebLogic Java Server to virtually all the components of the Fusion software suite. That's just one example of how customers can choose among Oracle and BEA middleware products, knowing that those products will gracefully interoperate and be supported for years to come."

The board of directors of BEA Systems has unanimously approved the transaction. It is anticipated to close by mid-2008, subject to BEA stockholder approval, certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Dydacomp Acquired by Dydacomp Holdings, Milestone Partners

Berkery Noyes, a leading independent investment bank serving the media, information and technology markets, announced that it represented D.A. Kopp & Associates, Inc., Card Management Services, L.L.C., and Card Financial Services, L.L.C. (Dydacomp) in its sale to Dydacomp Holdings Corporation and Milestone Partners. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Dydacomp is a veteran software developer and marketer of solutions serving direct selling, e-commerce, and catalog merchants, specifically for small to medium-sized, business-to-business, multichannel merchants, distributors, manufacturers and third-party fulfillment operations. Its solutions range from complete front-end applications such as hosted e-commerce Web sites to complete back-end order management solutions.

"The alliance between Dydacomp and Milestone Partners provides a powerful impetus to the company’s near-term and longer-term growth in a very dynamic market," said Dave Kopp, President and CEO of Dydacomp. “With Milestone, we now have the resources, products and management depth to capitalize on the current favorable market environment.”

Milestone Partners is a private equity firm that partners with management to invest in leveraged buyouts and recapitalizations of lower middle market businesses. Milestone pursues prospective platform companies that are leaders within niche markets and are engaged in producing or distributing high margin products or services. Milestone's transactions typically provide liquidity to shareholders of family-owned businesses, facilitate the transition of ownership to key managers, and allow management to capitalize on growth opportunities while maintaining the legacy of the founders.
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