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One of my first CEO clients - a leader in the early days of the Search industry - gave me a great piece of advice about the competition.  I still follow it. "If you pay too much attention to the competition - you'll always end up following them." At the time I actually think I thought he was nuts. After all, as a young idealistic marketing consultant, competitive analysis was one of those B school standards near and dear to my heart. Now, some twenty something years later, I see how brilliant he was. Companies have to think for themselves, not like their competitors. I'm not saying that you have to ignore your competition. That'd be kinda silly, now wouldn't it. What I am saying is that companies have to stop focusing on what their competition is doing as the baseline for defining their future direction. Following the competition's lead won't help you be a leader. ... (more)

NetSuite To Buy QuickArrow

NetSuite, the Salesforce.com rival that Larry Ellison owns most of, is buying QuickArrow Inc, an Austin-based maker of cloud computing software for professional services businesses. It's paying $20 million cash. QuickArrow will be integrated into NetSuite's OpenAir business. NetSuite claims the combination will create North America's leading professional services automation (PSA) software company with more than 80,000 subscribers and a customer base that includes Symantec, Salesforce.com, Thompson Reuters, Genesys, Informatica, Proxicom, Siemens and Software AG. The acquisition is meant to advance NetSuite's creation of a next-generation cloud computing application suite for services-based companies. Last October it unveiled NetSuite Services Resource Planning (SRP), said to be the first cloud-based solution for managing a professional services business from marketing t... (more)

Best-Selling Author Scott McKain Joins Ulitzer

Business leader, best-selling author and Hall of Fame speaker Scott McKain joined Ulitzer with his blog syndication at http://mckainviewpoint.ulitzer.com. Scott McKain is the Co-founder and Principal of The Value Added Institute, a think-tank that examines the role of the customer experience in creating significant advances in the level of client loyalty. He is Vice Chairman of Obsidian Enterprises, a dynamic holding company with 19 companies in diverse industries, that was named one of the "fastest-growing companies" in America, and is also Vice Chairman of Durham Capital Corporation. Scott's new book, "The Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails" has already reached the #1 spot on Amazon.com's list of Customer Service Bestsellers! He is the author of two #1 additional business bestsellers (Amazon.com & 800-CEO-READ): "What Custo... (more)

CDC Software Plans Cloud Computing Initiatives

CDC Software Corporation, a global provider of enterprise software applications and services, today announced that it is expanding its advanced technology research team at the Hong Kong Science Park to develop future cloud computing technology for the next generation of its enterprise solutions. C.K. Wong, Ph.D., vice chairman of the board of directors of CDC Software and CEO of iASPEC Technologies and Services, will be directing this team. Sean Yu, chairman of CDC Software operations in China and vice president of the company’s product engineering operations in Shanghai and Nanjing, will be supporting Mr. Wong and his team in Hong Kong. CDC Software also expects to leverage its technology partnerships with platform companies, such as Microsoft, in its future research and development initiatives with cloud computing. “We are delighted to launch our cloud computing... (more)

Understanding Cloud Taxonomies and Security

XML Security at Cloud Expo OWASP AppSec DC 2009 had a compelling session that defined cloud taxonomies and the security implications associated with the cloud computing. The three taxonomies that have become part of our vernacular are: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Set of virtualized components that can be assembled to build a application.  Amazon EC2, Rackspace, Opsource, and GoGrid are examples of IaaS where you can rent "virtual" hardware and software as a "pay-as-you-go" services.  If you need 5 Linux servers running MySQL Database for 3 months, you'd subscribe to an IaaS provider and using their REST or Web service-based API (or command line if you're too cool) to provision, de-provision and monitor your instance. Platform as a Service (PaaS): A runtime environment for application developer to deploy their applications in their desired programming environm... (more)

Dell Outlet States Promotional Success Using Twitter

Dell Outlet is stating through a blog representative that Twitter's ability to announce their promotions is meeting with success. This is an interesting development as it portends the future of one-to-many instant messaging as a marketing tool. From Stephanie N at Dell: "There was some buzz back in December around Dell generating over $1 million in revenue by posting offers and responding to questions on Twitter.com/DellOutlet—there’s still mention of it on Twitter even today. Since we started back in 2007, we’ve earned more than $2 million in revenue at @DellOutlet, attributed directly to our Twitter activity. We’ve surpassed $2 million in revenue in terms of Dell Outlet sales, but we’re also seeing that it’s driving interest in new product as well. We’re seeing people come from @DellOutlet on Twitter into the Dell.com/outlet site, and then ultimately decide to pur... (more)

Just Do It! Use the Marketing Data You Have Now

Content Marketing on Ulitzer When I first talk with clients about e-marketing strategy I often hear that they don't have access to the data they need to implement a targeted nurturing program. Their eyes get big and glazed and they look like Bambi in the cross hairs. One of the things we forget as marketers is that our own status quo gets in our way as much as the status quo stance of our prospects. It's time for marketers to turn the focus on themselves for a moment and consider how they can free themselves to "just do it." Information overload is pervasive. Not just for prospects and customers, but for marketers. Our customer data may be in silos we can't access-spread across the enterprise. But, unless you've been marketing in a vacuum, you've got access to enough data to stick your toe into producing a targeted campaign. In a white paper written by Elana Ander... (more)

Business Martial Arts Lesson – Be Present

This is Lesson No. 2 of a Continuing Series on How Martial Arts Skills can be Applied to Business Be Present – Woody Allen (will he ever again be mentioned in a martial arts article? Doubtful) once said that 80% of life is showing up. He was right. If you don’t show up to class, you can’t learn. Sure you can stay at home and practice the moves, but nothing replaces having a real person in front of you or two to three people coming at you at once. Show up, clear all of the junk out of your mind that creates mental clutter and learn. The Business Application of the Lesson – Show up everyday on time and give it your full attention. There is always a person who is known for being late or skipping important meetings. Don’t be that guy. Instead of coming to work and seeing it as drudgery, show up asking yourself what you will learn that day. If you’re not learning anything,... (more)

All Seven Martial Arts Lessons That You Can Apply to Business

Over the last few weeks, I presented a lesson or two a week for my readers. For your convenience, here are all seven of the martial arts lessons that I believe you can apply to business: Lesson One: Laying a Foundation – Hapkido is a building program that relies on previous steps along the way to put you in the position to learn the nuances. The thing that frustrates people in training is that if you don’t know the fundamentals and haven’t laid a foundation, you will never master the powerful nuances. This takes a great deal of dedication and hard study but the good news is that you can always go back to that foundation when you are in a pinch. It’s always there waiting for you and it works. The Business Application of Lesson One – Know the foundation of your business and your role. What problems are you solving for buyers, what is your offering, how do you make hones... (more)

FinancialForce.com Launches End-to-End Cloud Computing Solution

FinancialForce.com on Monday launched FinancialForce SRP, a complete Services Resource Planning (SRP) solution built entirely on Force.com. The solution, which combines Salesforce CRM, professional services automation (PSA), and accounting, is supposed to help services companies sell, deliver and bill projects collaboratively while leveraging the scalability, flexibility, and TCO advantages of the world's leading cloud platform. According to Todd Bursey, General Manager, PSA at FinancialForce.com, "Professional services organizations need to focus their attention and resources on selling and delivering services, not wrestling with technical integration or administrative burdens." He believes that with this solution "FinancialForce.com is making it possible for these companies to leverage the full power of the Force.com platform to optimize their businesses." Profes... (more)

TreeHouse Announces Partner Relationship Management for MS Dynamics CRM

TreeHouse Interactive, a provider of on-demand partner relationship management (PRM) and marketing automation solutions, has announced the release of its Reseller View PRM system for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The new integrated offering puts enterprise-class partner management capabilities in the hands of Microsoft Dynamics CRM users for the first time. Reseller View is the most complete PRM solution available, offering a password protected enterprise-class web portal that can be customized to include any navigation desired and match any corporate branding guidelines including a company-branded URL. Its unmatched feature set automates partner on-boarding and enables partner information to flow seamlessly between Dynamics CRM and Reseller View. Once in the system, partners can register opportunities or receive leads directly from Microsoft Dynamics CRM while logged in... (more)