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Bogies Spotted: Jet Ventures Into Amazon's Airspace
July 22, 2015
Amazon has been in its prime for quite some time, but there's a new show in town, and it claims that its prices are lower. Online merchant Jet opened its inventory of millions of products to consumers on Tuesday. While Amazon's Prime subscription service offers consumers extra perks for $99 a year, Jet requires payment of a $50 annual membership fee to make purchases.
Leverage Big Data to Get Rid of Network Attackers
July 21, 2015
Up to 30 percent of their firms' security incidents this year should have been detected by perimeter security measures -- but weren't -- said 55 percent of respondents to a SANS Institute survey. The truth is that today's attackers have become skilled at bypassing conventional defenses, which no longer can be counted on to protect enterprise networks on their own.
The Art of E-Commerce Site Search
July 6, 2015
Providing an effortless shopping experience is a key driver to the success of any e-commerce business. E-commerce search is a big factor in this experience and when done right can provide a significant competitive advantage. An effective on-site search experience leads to higher sales and increased customer loyalty. A substandard search experience can lead to the permanent loss of a customer.
Google Takes It to the Streets
June 18, 2015
Google last week announced the formation of a new company that will develop technology to improve city life for residents, businesses and governments. Google has teamed up with Dan Doctoroff -- former Bloomberg CEO and ex-deputy mayor of economic development and rebuilding for the City of New York -- to advance the effort. Doctoroff will be CEO of Sidewalk Labs, which will be based in New York.
Sage and Salesforce Tie Partnership Knot
May 13, 2015
Sage and Salesforce put on a lovefest on Tuesday to announce their partnership, in which Sage has developed Sage Life, a product to enable small companies to connect their customer, accounting, payroll and finance data into one system, accessible from any device, anywhere. It's unclear whether the customer data is held in Salesforce's traditional CRM or if it refers more broadly to ERP data.
Sage and Salesforce: An Odd Couple?
April 15, 2015
It came as a surprise when Keith Block, vice chairman of Salesforce, made an off-the-cuff remark about a Sage-Salesforce alliance at Salesforce World Tour last week. Sage and Salesforce in February had announced they would work together, with Sage moving some of its undisclosed ERP applications to the Salesforce Cloud. However, the word didn't seem to spread, and it remained off my radar.
T-Mobile Sows Seeds of Discontent in SMB Arena
March 23, 2015
Following a sterling Q4 in which it added 2.1 million individual customers, T-Mobile last week announced it was going after competitors with its "Un-carrier for Business" plan. By offering one flexible rate plan, T-Mobile vowed to put an end to the pricing shell game and compulsory haggling businesses currently experience. T-Mobile's Simple Choice for Business plans have a 10-line minimum.
Importance of a System
March 18, 2015
I was telling a friend recently about some of the ideas in my book, Solve for the Customer. He was interested in my belief that customer science has evolved from a general emphasis on process in business, especially in the back office. His company does a lot to ensure that its customers are happy and loyal, because their business involves long-term relationships and agreements that renew for many years at a time.
Square Reshapes Itself for Small Businesses
March 10, 2015
Square on Monday introduced two new services for small businesses: instant deposits; and protection for disputed purchases. Square, which six years ago began offering square-shaped mobile credit card readers for smartphones and tablets, has shifted its focus away from point-of-sale operations and toward data collection. The company processes millions of credit card swipes daily.
Capitalizing on the Cloud
March 6, 2015
I've been traversing North America keynoting a series of cloud events hosted by Oracle. At every stop of the roadshow my comments regarding the opportunity to transform traditional product businesses into powerful information services via cloud-based alternatives has generated the greatest interest among enterprise decision-makers and software developers alike.
BlackBerry Makes a Leap in the Dark
March 4, 2015
BlackBerry introduced its new Leap smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Equipped with a touchscreen rather than a physical keyboard, the Leap is a successor to BlackBerry's Z3 model. Its enhanced security and performance features are designed to appeal to young professionals and startup companies. BlackBerry is counting on the Leap to help it bounce back.
'The Practice of Cloud System Administration' Brings Network Management Down to Earth
November 25, 2014
The Practice of Cloud System Administration, Volume 2 is a look into IT gone bad in some companies, and how doing it right can salvage enterprise use of cloud computing. The authors make 11 statements about computers and their networks on the first page of the book's preface. They ask which statements are true. You most likely will get numerous wrong answers.
Salesforce Adds App Hub to Centralize Customer Service on Desk.com
November 25, 2014
Salesforce.com on Monday launched App Hub, an upgrade to its Desk.com customer service platform. App Hub features more than 50 apps for a wide range of functions including e-commerce, email marketing, telephony and text messaging. Partner apps available with Desk.com include Harvest, JIRA, MailChimp, Olark, Shopify, Twilio, Five9, NewVoiceMedia, OneReach, RingCentral and TalkDesk.
BitTorrent Sync Goes Pro
November 20, 2014
BitTorrent on Wednesday announced new plans for its Sync service, including a premium subscription option, along with other new paid products. Sync, which was released in beta in July, is billed as a cloud-free file-sharing solution. Currently in version 1.4, Sync soon will graduate to version 2.0, with both an improved free version and a Pro version offered by subscription for $39.99 per year.
SBA Proposal Could Change Landscape for IT Resellers
November 17, 2014
Doing business with the U.S. government is always a challenge. In addition to uncertain budgets, political infighting, and the seemingly endless procurement terms of the Federal Acquisition Regulations, there are many other special provisions that come into play in government contracting. One of them is the small business set-aside policy designed to ensure that smaller companies can participate.
Charting the Course for the Channel in the Cloud
November 14, 2014
While most people view Salesforce.com's annual Dreamforce event as the largest user conference in the cloud industry, it is also the biggest gathering of cloud companies and their growing assortment of business partners. In many ways, Dreamforce is the best demonstration that the channel isn't dead and actually is prospering in the cloud. This year's Dreamforce was preceded by a Partner Summit.
HP May Sprout New Manufacturing Techniques
October 29, 2014
HP has introduced its Blended Reality ecosystem: HP Multi Jet Fusion, an advanced 3D printer; and Sprout by HP -- a combination scanner, depth sensor, high-res camera and projector that provides 3D images of items and enables real-time remote collaboration. The ecosystem might revolutionize manufacturing, sharply reducing the design-to-prototype cycle and making it easy to customize products.
Toll Fraud Can Take a Big Toll on SMBs
October 22, 2014
Toll fraud -- the hijacking of a phone system to dial out to premium numbers in distant countries at several dollars a minute -- costs companies more than $4.7 billion a year, up nearly $1 billion from 2011. Major carriers, such as the companies that make up the CFCA, have sophisticated fraud systems in place to catch hackers, and they can afford to credit customers for fraudulent charges.
Highfive Offers Easy, Breezy Videoconferencing Handoffs
October 8, 2014
Highfive on Tuesday released a product priced to put high-quality videoconferencing in any room in any company. The product, also named "Highfive," is a $799 device that connects to a TV and the Internet and can create video conferences in HD with high-fidelity sound. What separates Highfive from other videoconferencing products is the seamless way it integrates mobile devices with conferences.
Leveling the Monetization Playing Field on the Internet of Things
September 29, 2014
The Internet of Things is expected to be a $7 trillion market in six years. However, many small to medium-sized IT firms that do not have the capital to acquire the Nests of the world are left to wonder how they can benefit from this lucrative trend. SMBs with little or no IT in-house support can monetize this new market without reinventing the wheel.
PredictionIO's Simon Chan on Machine Learning by Devs for Devs
September 16, 2014
PredictionIO is building the MySQL of prediction. The young company recently released version 0.7.3 of its open source machine-learning server. Unlike typical prediction algorithms and open source libraries, PredictionIO is based on making machine learning more available. Cofounder Simon Chan sees a gaping hole in open source tools to connect database programmers and software developers.
The Fortune 500 Crowdfunding Conundrum
September 11, 2014
Marvell recently launched its Kinoma Create construction kit for consumer electronics on Indiegogo. Should a $6.5 billion company turn to crowdfunding to raise money? Are large companies drying up a source of funding that otherwise would be available to startups? Is that morally reprehensible? "Ethics is a personal set of standards and beliefs," noted marketing prof Larry Chiagouris.
Monetizing the IoT From A to Z
September 10, 2014
There is no question that one of the hottest topics in the tech industry is the rapidly evolving world of the Internet of Things. The seemingly infinite variety of use cases for capturing data from a widening array of connected devices and objects is inspiring the imaginations of corporate decision makers and fueling a new wave of innovation among established and emerging players.
Infor Aims to Fill a Gap With Saleslogix
August 15, 2014
Infor, a provider of business application software and cloud services, has agreed to acquire Saleslogix, a CRM application that is currently owned by Swiftpage. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks. Financial details were not disclosed. For Swiftpage, the reason for the sale is straightforward: It allows it to focus on ACT!, a less-complex CRM application.

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Do video cameras make the world safer?
Yes - People exercise more restraint because of them.
No - We just get to see more horrible things happen.
Maybe - They might deter some kinds of crime.