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Hello. I'm Rodney. Welcome to my blog. This blog is all about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) business software systems. Blog posts are largely on the topics of CRM & ERP software selections, implementations and production advice.


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Innovation is the Fuel That Grows Companies

Innovation starts with an idea - so what's yours?

It all begins with the simplest idea.

Mitek Systems had a long history as a digital capture and imaging company. The new CEO, Jim DeBello, had a deep background in mobile communications. And like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups brought together chocolate and peanut butter for a new synergistic combination, some smart people at Mitek realized they might have a similarly powerful combination.

"Somebody sees something, gets an idea, figures out how to capitalize on it and the next thing you know, it takes off," said Drew Hyatt, Mitek's VP of Business Development. With Mitek's image capturing experience and DeBello's mobile computing knowledge, it eventually all came together, said Hyatt.

"Somewhere somebody got the idea that a smartphone can be used as a scanner," he noted. "Then we started thinking, wow, a smartphone can be a scanner. What can we do with that?"

That's when we got the idea to use a smartphone to take digital photos of checks, so that the images can be accepted by banks and used to make electronic deposits - all through the convenience and ease of a smartphone photograph, and without a trip to the bank. Read more »

Best Buy Delivers Customer Service To Learn From

Are you welcoming your customers back next time by giving them great service today?

In the game of golf, for myself at least, it's the one good shot I have each round that always brings me back to the links another day.

I feel the same way about great customer service. If I have a great buying or service experience with a company or store, then I'll be back, spending my money again. I'll also share the experience with my friends - in both online and face to face settings.

That's just what Best Buy hopes to see with the retail chain's new customer service approach The retailer is training its staff to be 'human search engines who can help customers find just about anything they may want to buy, even if it's sold by a competitor.

It reminds me of the old rivalry between the former Gimbels department store and its then major competitor, Macy's, which was portrayed infamously in the classic film, 'Miracle on 34th Street.' If Macy's didn't have the retail item a shopper wanted, the store staff located the item elsewhere and sent the customer to another store. The sales people at Gimbels did the same thing.

Now that was customer service.

Well, it's back, at least at Best Buy stores, according to a recent editorial by The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch. Read more »

ERP Software Learning - at ERP Boot Camp

ERP Analyst Firm Panorama Consulting Group Offers Novel ERP Software Training Approach

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software applications are complex, challenging and hugely important to your company, and too often the cause of massive headaches, or even career limiting moves, for those that select or implement them and fail to achieve projected benefits.

If you've ever wished that it could all be easier to grasp, then Panorama Consulting Group might have something for you.

Panorama Consulting, a five-year old ERP project management and consultancy led by veteran ERP expert Eric Kimberling, unveiled a new three-day ERP Boot Camp to help business leaders and IT managers get a better handle on their ERP projects.

Why is this a big deal? Because if ERP software is important to your company, understanding proven software selection approaches and constantly learning more about these business software systems should be at the top of your career agenda. ERP applications are constantly evolving, and your knowledge base needs to keep up with these changes.

Continuing education is one of the primary reasons Panorama decided to start its boot camp, according to Panorama Consulting President, Kimberling. Read more »

Innovation By Way of Extending Other Companies Innovation

Piggy Back Innovation

Building a better mousetrap is the goal of many inventors, entrepreneurs, visionaries and successful companies. It often can start with just one step.

That's what Saint Paul, MN-based software company , CodeWeavers, counts on almost every day. Like many innovative software companies, they often don't start from scratch to develop something huge or complex. Instead they take what others have already created and build upon it.

In fact, that's the business model for thousands of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), including companies that build third party products for IBM's Lotus Notes or add-ons for Microsoft's Exchange, to the ISVs that build modules or join complete ecosystems of other software manufacturers.

What caught my eye this week is CodeWeavers participation in the open source Wine Project to do something unique. They have created CrossOver Games, a software product that will allow Linux and Apple Macintosh users to run the latest edition of the market share leading Windows-based computer game, Civilization V, on computers which run Linux or Apple operating systems. The Wine Project began in order to find ways to port Windows software applications over to Linux and Mac computers and give users more choice. Under Wine, Windows programs run on Linux and Mac operating systems as though they were designed for them. CodeWeavers was founded in 1996 and has been working with Wine since 2002. The company is now one of the main corporate backers of the project. They created their CrossOver products and provide consulting to help users make their Windows applications run on any platform. Read more »

Asset Management For Improved Asset Performance

Asset Management Done Early is Done Best

If you've ever taken some long looks at your company's IT software and hardware inventories, then you know just how daunting a task it can be to track and manage every IT asset your company owns and uses to run its business. You may have a multitude of employees, several physical locations, and all the complexities of mobile devices, portable laptop computers and equipment located in the home offices of remote workers.

Well, misery loves company and your not alone. Even the big guys sometimes have trouble managing their assets. The federal government has been working to consolidate many of its data centers. The government defines a data center as a room larger than 500 square feet that's used for data processing, and which also adheres one of the Tier 1 through 4 classifications of The Uptime Institute. The consolidation plan is designed to save energy, decrease costs, improve data security and lower carbon emissions.

Unexpectedly though, the government got a surprise when its data center inventory was taken. Originally, agencies believed they had 1,100 data centers among them based on the government's definition. But a more thorough IT audit found a total of 2,094 data centers that fit those criteria.

Try explaining something like that to your CEO. So what can your business learn from this? Well, to start, be happy that your consolidation and asset management processes are likely not nearly as cumbersome as the government's. Read more »

What You Can Learn From HP's Mark Hurd

Remind Staff That Improper Behaviors with Company Resources Are Recorded and Accessible

The forced resignation of HP CEO Mark V. Hurd has been a public spectacle for weeks and continues to be played out in the media. Hurd resigned at the pressure of the HP board after a cascade of allegations related to a sexual harassment complaint was filed against him by a woman, Jodie Fisher, who was an infrequent contractor. As the complaint was investigated by HP, the computer maker uncovered expense reports related to the contract worker's employment that were not accurately kept by Hurd, according to a story in The New York Times. Fisher has previously worked as an actress, including in some soft porn films, according to the Times story. After some internal investigation, it came down to more than just the errant expense reports.

"The situation was made worse after H.P. discovered that Hurd had viewed some of Fisher's racy acting on his work computer, signaling that he was aware of her past," revealed another New York Times story. "Hurd has told people that he did a brief Google search of Fisher in April or May of 2009, nearly two years after she started contract work for H.P."

So what, if anything, can your company learn from HP's experience? First, make sure that everyone who works for your company knows that their behavior at work is always under the microscope. Read more »

Red Hat Sponsors The Garage

Another Source For Business Inovation & Competitive Advantage

In the world of business innovation, new ideas and directions translate into competitive advantages and company advances. Pushing the envelope is certainly better than just sitting around for the world to somehow discover your business and beat a path to your door. Not every company is just sitting in its foxhole, waiting for the other competitors to make the first moves toward tomorrow's better ideas. Linux and open source vendor Red Hat have teamed with North Carolina State University to open "The Garage," a physical and virtual place where students and Red Hat staff can jump in with their ideas and visions and experiment among IT variables to see if they can find better ways of making better mousetraps - or servers, software, switches, routers, gadgets or whatever.

Co-sponsored by Red Hat of Raleigh, N.C. and the university's Entrepreneurship Initiative, The Garage has been formed to "provide curricular and extra-curricular opportunities to empower students, whatever their discipline, as entrepreneurial thinkers, doers and leaders."

"We are grateful to our friends at Red Hat for their generous support of the Garage," said Dr. Tom Miller, director of the two-year-old Entrepreneurship Initiative. "It reflects a commitment to the motivation and talent of NC State students and will enable those students to focus on developing their entrepreneurial ideas in an environment designed to foster innovation and creativity."

The project is being kicked off in a 2,000 square foot school campus location. The setting is so far equipped with prototyping studios, conference rooms for mind-melding discussions and a lounge. Red Hat contributed lab equipment, tools, technology and furnishings. Students at the school will be encouraged to bring their best ideas forward and apply for access to The Garage so they can watch their ideas mature and come to life. Larger and improved facilities are on the plan for the future as part of the project. "We are eager for students from all over the university to gather here to work, learn, and share," Miller explained. "We want to support these students in becoming North Carolina's future job creators." Read more » | ERP Software, CRM Software & Business Software