In response to Adrian Mello’s column, “Instant messaging, instant service,” Tech Update reader Joe Neal writes, “Instant messaging will not in any way cure a failed customer service set up. The problem is: you don’t have enough people trained well enough to fulfill customer needs.”
My spin: I’ve said this in my tech seminars so often – just because you add technology does not make a business run better, in fact, adding technology may make you do something bad much worse!
Industry analysts at IDC and other market research firms have been pointing out that small, niche PC makers are flourishing, even while the giant manufacturers are struggling for market share. IDC’s Loren Loverde says, “The industry has gotten caught up with the importance of scale and the view that PCs are commodities. But so many of these small companies had done well with a different model, emphasizing local service and being easily available for customers.” Companies like Ace Computers design custom-made systems that aficionados have compared to Lamborghini race cars
or Saville Row tailored suits. One enthusiastic company of Ace says that whereas the customization choices from large manufacturers come from “some marketing committee,” at Ace “I know I’m getting the best parts available in my PC, the people there know their stuff and I know the president and I have his home phone number.” Ace is not alone. Other niche companies are
Alienware and Falcon Northwest Computer Systems — and they’re all thriving. Ace’s president John Samborski, who founded the company in 1983 while still a student at the University of Wisconsin, jokes, “I didn’t drop out of school like Michael Dell, but maybe I should have.” (New York Times
24 Jun 2002)
My Spin:Scott Wolpow of PublicCTO.com does say that he prefers to buy PCs from local computer companies
NETGEAR Announces Latest ProSafe Series of Small Business Networking Solutions
Today, NETGEAR announced three new firewall routers, including a new wireless firewall router with print server. The products were made for small
and growing businesses looking for secure, affordable and easy-to-use solutions for their office networks.
NETGEAR Announces Latest ProSafe Series of Small Business Networking Solutions with its Wireless Firewall Router with Print Server NETGEAR ProSafe series of growing business networking solutions offer secure, high-performance networking at breakthrough prices SANTA CLARA, Calif. – June 24, 2002-NETGEAR Inc., a worldwide provider of easy-to-use, high- performance networking products at prices affordable to homes and growing businesses, today announced the second addition to its ProSafe series of secure, high-performance networking solutions for business
at breakthrough prices. The new series of products include a high-performing, ultra-secure wireless firewall router for small business networking-the NETGEAR ProSafe 802.11b Wireless Firewall with Print Server (FM114P) list priced at $271. Other routers announced include the NETGEAR ProSafe Wireless-Ready Firewall (FR114W) list priced at $154 and the NETGEAR ProSafe Firewall with Print Server (FR114P) list priced at $154, all of which deliver higher security and more integrated functions for customers to choose from than other less affordable products on the market today.
My spin:At Smallbiztechnology.com’s Technology Solutions for Growing Businesses at PC EXPO, 2 hackers, flown in from Europe demonstrated live, that wireless networks can be very insecure and need to be hardened.
Small Businesses Save Time and Money With New Versions of Peachtree(R) Software Desktop Accounting Line
ATLANTA, June 24 /PRNewswire/ — Peachtree Software, a division of Best Software, today announced the availability of the latest release of Peachtree First Accounting (R), Peachtree(R) Accounting and Peachtree Complete(R) Accounting — Peachtree 2003. The new features include enhancements and integrated products and services to help small businesses to successfully grow and more effectively manage their operations. (full story)
StoreSense 5.0 Gives Smaller Retailers and Service Firms the Power to Easily and Affordably Increase Sales, Market Share & Profits Via Web Commerce
SAN FRANCISCO ≠ June 24, 2002 ≠ Kurant Corporation, the leading provider of e-business software for organizations that serve the small and medium-size business (SMB) market, today unveiled the next generation of StoreSense, its award-winning e-business software suite. Leveraging its experience with thousands of small business users, Kurant’s new StoreSense 5.0 offers a set of powerful, easy-to-use tools that extends the opportunity of e-business to more small and medium-sized businesses than ever before.
My spin: Kurant’s Store Sense is nothing to sneeze at, but provides an even better feature sense than previous versions. Of special note is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) web page editor to help make building web pages that much easier. In addition, more wizards have been created to build one’s e-commerce store – adding products, customer lists, adding merchant account, etc. In addition, Store Sense enables online merchants to have scheduling features (great for those in the service industry), and recurring billing.
Kurant has also built Paypal support into Store Sense so merchants can easily receive PayPal transactions
Finally, Kurant does not plan to get left behind the Web services push, but in fact hopes to lead the charge and make it easier for smaller businesses to partake in Web services. Store Sense comes with an XML SDK wherein programmers can add web services features to store sense.
SalesLogix and Vaultus Partner to Fully Mobilize CRM Vaultus Mobile Sales for SalesLogix enables customers to utilize the complete SalesLogix application on a handheld device
Scottsdale, AZ and New York, NY ? June 24, 2002 ? SalesLogix, the leader in
small business and mid-market CRM, and Vaultus?, one of the industry’s leading enterprise mobility software companies, today announced a partnership to provide SalesLogix customers and prospects with a mobile CRM solution for Pocket PC handheld computers. Vaultus Mobile Sales for SalesLogix will benefit both existing SalesLogix customers looking to increase access to their SalesLogix information, as well as prospects interested in accessing larger data sets than mobile access previously enabled.
IBM SMB Wireless Offering:
IBM simplifies wireless deployment for small, medium businesses IBM wireless kits help businesses easily add to and extend their wireless infrastructure Everyone talks about addressing the needs of small and medium-sized businesses to help them go wireless, but IBM has begun to do it. Today, IBM is providing a variety of offerings with competitively-priced hardware, along with installation services to help small and medium-sized businesses quickly and easily install reliable wireless infrastructure. For these businesses, which do not have large in-house IT staffs, these offerings are available from IBM Business Partners in different levels and customizable to provide a wireless solution based on the size and the need of the particular business. This offering is the latest example of IBM’s company-wide effort to deliver the e-business solutions and technologies small and medium-sized businesses need to create competitive advantage. Here are some wireless bundle examples from IBM:
Starter Kit: Designed for smaller businesses for easy implementation in-house, this bundle offers two ThinkPad notebooks with integrated wireless, and one wireless gateway (a network point that acts as an entrance to another network).Intermediate Kit: Perfect for businesses that want to integrate the wireless technology into an existing hardware infrastructure, this offering includes two wireless-integrated ThinkPad notebooks, one access point (a communications hub for wireless clients and provides connection to a wired LAN), and two wireless adapter cards.
Advanced Kit: For businesses that want a multi-departmental solution, such as human resources, marketing and finance. This bundle offers three wireless integrated ThinkPads notebooks, two access points, and four wireless adapter cards.
Total Kit: Created for customers needing a robust wireless solution, this bundle includes five ThinkPad notebooks with integrated wireless, three access points, five wireless adapter cards and one server. IBM is working closely with its Business Partners to provide expert installation services for SMBs. IBM recently announced the IBM Business Partner Training Program, which educates IBM Business Partners on the IBM wireless solution and entitles them to receive SMB wireless leads from IBM after completing the course. To date, there are more then thirty business partners
signed up to participate in this program. Additionally, IBM plans to expand its offerings by launching security and manageability offerings for PCs for the SMB market. These, along with the wireless bundle examples described above, provide customers with the flexibility they need to address their business concerns. On June 4, PCD announced new NetVista desktop PCs and
ThinkPad notebook PCs intended to serve the SMB market by their balanced
blend of performance and affordability. The wireless bundles advance IBM’s focus on the SMB market. By combining selected ThinkPad notebook PCs with the other equipment and installation services needed, IBM enables SMBs to quickly and cost-effectively implement the wireless infrastructure they need to take advantage of e-business. Security and manageability bundles address other key needs of the SMB customers as they continue to build-out their business infrastructure.
My spin:You’ve got to hand it to IBM. They provide smaller businesses with an increasing array of full service solutions, often bundled in a turn key solution, with services provided by an IBM partner.
Bachmann Software Introduces Wireless Printing Solution for Palm Powered Devices
PrintBoy Anywhere supports Infrared, Bluetooth, 802.11b, Network printing NEW YORK (June 25, 2002)–Today, Bachmann Software introduced PrintBoy Anywhere, the latest version of its market leading PrintBoy software. PrintBoy Anywhere allows Palm OS(r) users to print their business-critical information by selecting their wireless method of choice, and sending their data to the printer. Whether the users work in an environment supporting Bluetooth, 802.11b (also known as Wi-Fi), have modem access, or infrared, PrintBoy Anywhere allows them to send their data to the printer of their choice.
Appgen(tm) Financial Software Designed into Toshiba’s New Magnia? SG20
Wireless Mobility Server Provides Accounting and Business Applications for
Users On the Go Installation of critical financial software on multi-function server will enable SOHO and small business users to affordably and wirelessly network their offices and key operations on the road
PC EXPO, Booth 3136: New York, NY – (June 25, 2002) – Appgen, Inc., a premier developer of financial business software, announced today that its complete line of MyBooks(tm) software was selected for bundling into Toshiba’s Magnia? SG20 Wireless Mobility Server. Toshiba’s portable
“network-in-a-box” is designed to provide users with a complete mobile network communications package at an affordable price for mobile consultants, remote users in large organizations, home offices, and small-to-medium-sized businesses seeking mobile networking capabilities.
Manufacturer To Produce Affordable Wireless NAS Microserver for Small Businesses (PC EXPO/TECHX, NY)–TEAC, a world-leading manufacturer of CD-ROM, CD-RW and DVD-ROM storage technology, announces its entrance into the Network Attached Storage (NAS) market. TEAC’s Vendotto Microserver, to be available in the third quarter of 2002, will be a multi-use product for small and medium sized businesses, able to connect both small workgroup desktops and remote notebook users via their wireless LAN cards. Using TEAC’s Vendotto Microserver as a main access point will make it possible for mobile clients to gain full access to their network. It will also be available for use as a file server, web server, print server, Internet router for shared Internet connections or a wireless LAN. The product will connect in minutes to an existing LAN for extended storage, which can be split by users and groups with disk quotas per application. It will require little maintenance and its compact design will save space and provide portability. The Vendotto Microserver will easily be backed up through the network connection and will support third-party back up software applications. Available in 80GB, 120GB, 160GB and 240GB capacities, TEAC’s Vendotto Microserver will provide Ethernet 10/100 Base-T-LAN connectivity and dual NIC cards for acting both as a gateway application within the network environment as well as a connection to an ISP as a Web server.
“TEAC has made a very natural transition from its high-quality storage products to the growth stage of an immerging network attached storage market,” states Les Luzar, division manager, TEAC America’s Data Storage Products Division. “TEAC’s Vendotto Microserver is much more than a basic
NAS product. It allows our large base of wireless PC customers-remote notebook users-to share files, projects and schedules from anywhere, without any cable connections. It provides a one-stop-shop for all their needs, a value appreciated by our mobile professional users.”
Oak Tree Press & Palo Alto Software Announce Strategic Alliance
EUGENE, Ore., June 26 /PRNewswire/ — Oak Tree Press (OTP — http://www.oaktreepress.com/), Ireland’s leading business book publisher, and Palo Alto Software UK (PASUK — http://www.paloalto.co.uk/), the leading developer of business planning software, today announced a strategic alliance under which OTP will take responsibility for the sales, marketing and business development of Business Plan Pro, the leading business planning software tool available for small and medium sized businesses, and other PASUK products in Ireland and the UK.
get usr=rayramon/res=2089323/sch=1069106
Xara Online, a leading provider of modular Web Services, today announced the second release of its Data Manager Modules.
These Xara Modules are building blocks that enable non-programmers to create powerful web applications that integrate into and enhance the functionality of any website. The range and level of sophistication of database, email, SMS and content management applications that can be built is extensive.
The Data Manager comprises of the Form, Database, Query, Database Writer, Mailer and Reporter Modules. Version 2 offers many new features, such as the capability to use HTML within an application, allowing highly customized emails to be used for newsletters, auto responses, etc. Such emails are created using a simple WYSIWYG rich text editor. The Reporter, an extremely powerful Module, allows for the customized display of search results, database data or site content. It can be used for site content management to add, edit, or delete data on a website without having to use an authoring tool.
My spin: Web services is all the rage. Fortunately it’s not a mere fad, but a tool that can really increase the value of a businesses online presence, customer satisfaction and more. Xara’s been quickly adding more and more features to its online Web production/hosting services and Web services is an important aspect of this expansion.
CEO: Corel’s on the comeback (ZDNet)
Having got costs under control last year, Corel now says it has resources and ideas for a new, smarter company. There will be products for everybody, but with a clear focus on the enterprise.
(full story)
Intuit Agrees to Buy Software Maker (Associated Press)
Intuit Inc. announced plans Thursday to buy small business software maker Eclipse Inc. for $85 million in cash, the latest in flurry of acquisitions.
(full story)