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Microsoft ERP, CRM, Oracle Teleconference Deal

Freiburg, Germany-based Jedox, an open source software company, has announced the availability of Palo BI Suite 3.0, described by officials as a corporate performance management product for a "single version of truth." Three chords and red guitar optional.
Available as a community or enterprise version, with the enterprise version offering extended software assurance and support functionalities. Palo BI Suite 3.0 is now also available on Amazon EC2, which makes it, company officials point out, a BI product "fully operating on a cloud." The suite combines all three of Jedox's core applications -- OLAP Server 3.0, Worksheet Server 3.0 and ETL Server 3.0 -- into one BI platform.

According to Gartner, by 2012 more than 35 per cent of the top 5,000 global companies will "regularly fail to make insightful decisions about significant changes in their business and markets," because of lack of information, processes, and tools. Given this, Jedox officials contend, it's not a surprise that the market's seeing "greater demand for products delivered via software-as-a-service models."

Palo BI Suite 3.0 is characterized by Jedox officials as an open source BI product that "combines the familiarity and productivity of a Web-based online spreadsheet with the centralized server capacity typical of BI applications, together with multi-dimensionality -- in-memory MOLAP."

Kristian Raue, founder and CEO of Jedox, says the advantage of the Palo BI Suite 3.0 is that it combines a BI core with "the flexibility that our corporate customers and community want, to apply BI to a number of scenarios that monolithic BI software packages could not rapidly adapt to support."
Company officials say the Palo OLAP Server 3.0 has new logical algorithms, and offers a real-time aggregation through the multi-dimensional data model. As with earlier products, Jedox's Palo BI Suite 3.0 is available directly from Jedox.
SugarCRM has announced Sugar Express, described by company officials as "addressing SugarCRM open source users' demand for an affordable product that runs on SugarCRM's on-demand computing platform, the Sugar Open Cloud."

Sugar Express provides core sales, marketing and support features, Sugar Plug-Ins for Microsoft Office and access to SugarCRM Customer Support. Platform functionality includes the Module Builder to create custom modules and Cloud Connectors, "to integrate third-party data services from companies such as Hoover's and Jigsaw," company officials say.
"For all of its promise, the cloud computing movement is in danger of becoming yet another mousetrap to lock in customers to proprietary vendors," says John Roberts, CEO of SugarCRM.
Currently over 60,000 businesses and 550,000 people have SugarCRM. The company has invested heavily in an on-demand architecture in hopes of preserving "flexibility and choice that customers expect from open source solutions," its officials say.
Elements of the Sugar Open Cloud include multi-instance architecture for automated instance provisioning, configuration and maintenance, with instant-on deployment that requires only a Web browser. It also has support for Web services for the exchange and consumption of application and data services from around the Web and is built on an, open source infrastructure for portability and no vendor lock-in.

Company officials say Express has 24x7 monitoring from both within and outside the Sugar Open Cloud. It's being offered as an annual subscription at $499 for up to five users or $799 for up to ten users per year. Sugar Professional is offered at $30 per user per month and Sugar Enterprise at $50 per user per month.
"The benefits of software-as-a-service have been clear for several years," says Denis Pombriant, founder and principal analyst at Beagle Research Group.
WorkXpress has launched its customer relationship management application for free use by all WorkXpress customers. Company officials call is an easy-to-use tool "for a 360 degree view of customer interactions," while offering customization of the application and its reports.

Evidently the CRM on offer has the ability to track contacts, accounts, leads, and opportunities, schedule tasks and appointments, automate quote and sales order generation, and interact with inventory and Web catalogs. Further, company officials say, WorkXpress CRM integrates with telephony and e-mail services.

"With the WorkXpress CRM, organizations can manage prospect and customer data... our CRM can be used as is, or customized for a company's unique needs." says Treff LaPlante, president and CEO of WorkXpress, The Company Formerly Known As Express Dynamics.

WorkXpress officials bill their flagship product as a "functional Platform as a Service without programming," providing non-programmers "the ability to create business applications using five building blocks in an intuitive, drag and drop, point-and-click Web-based environment, eliminating the need for coding, data modeling and database querying, while automating common systems administration tasks like maintenance or disaster recovery."

Additionally, WorkXpress offers integrations with other applications such as Skype, FedEx, Google Maps, currency conversions, Google language translation, FTP services, IMAP e-mail services, and others. The company offers a "try it free for 30 days" promotion.

Now here's a clever idea: In light of all the hyperventilating about economic conditions, which includes increasing cutbacks on business travel, the Independent Oracle Users Group has announced the availability of virtual session offerings for its annual Oracle users group conference.
"Registering for a one-seat license," company officials say, "affords unlimited employee access to virtual sessions." According to the offer, companies that have registered at least one employee for the COLLABORATE 09 - IOUG Forum to be held in early Man in Orlando are now eligible to set up virtual access for their entire company.

Forty virtual sessions are now available to choose from that will run concurrently with the conference. The Webinar sessions (30 minute, one hour and two hour) can be customized depending on educational interests.

"The virtual attendance option gives companies the flexibility to access COLLABORATE content without leaving the office," says Ian Abramson, president of IOUG. "We recognize companies everywhere are looking for ways to save."
Founded in 1993, the Independent Oracle Users Group is a global membership organization for Oracle users, representing "the voice of Oracle technology and database professionals."

Microsoft has announced what company officials are calling "three major incentive offerings" for its ERP and CRM customers.

The first is Business Ready Flexible Pay, which gives new Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM customers in the U.S. "the option to purchase the products today but pay for them in equal payments over three years." Microsoft officials say this isn't just financing with associated interest charges and application processes, but "an opportunity for businesses to manage their budgets." While other vendors have "significantly raised" their maintenance fees over the past year, Microsoft officials claim, Microsoft "has held its enhancement rates steady."

In the second incentive, designed to make it easier for companies to move to Microsoft's ERP, starting in May, select partners will be able to extend their customers an offer to move to Microsoft Dynamics ERP with a 50 percent discount on licensing, and receive a rebate equal to 25 percent of the suggested retail price of Microsoft Dynamics, up to a maximum of $25,000 "to help offset the costs of switching from Sage MAS 90 or MAS 200, or Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne."
Thirdly, Microsoft says Dynamics CRM can be purchased as a stand-alone product from Business Ready Licensing. Microsoft Dynamics CRM will still be available through Microsoft's Volume Licensing programs.

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