big-ideas-features
 

Forward Thinking

By Bobbie Hartman, Monica Mehta, Christopher Null, Kate Pavao, Fred Sandsmark, and Alison Weiss, May 2007

Cool Coats Coddle iPods and Their Owners


Apple's iPod may be a must-have twenty-first-century fashion accessory, but it can be a hassle to carry around. The number and variety of iPod cases and holders on the market attest to this.

Koyono, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based maker of apparel and accessories, thought differently about the problem. It designed a coat with a special pocket for the iPod. It then used washable "smart fabric" technology from London's Eleksen Group to build iPod controls into the lapel of the jacket, so adjusting the volume, selecting a track, and other operations can happen without fishing the iPod out of a pocket.

The result is Koyono's "Built for iPod" BlackCoat. The company makes four versions: BlackCoat Sport (US$299) is a hybrid sport coat/overcoat made of NexTec Flathead nylon with Epic waterproofing. BlackCoat Work Premiere Edition (US$275) is made of the same fabric, but its style is somewhere between a sport coat and a jean jacket. BlackCoat Work (US$245) has the same design as the Premiere Edition but is made of lightweight stretch cotton with Nano water-repellent technology.

And the BlackCoat Surf Edition (US$199) is a casual short-sleeved stretch cotton shirt.

Koyono Chief Experience Officer Jim Haviland says that Koyono's popularity among Apple employees probably helped the coats earn the coveted "Built for iPod" designation. "We have a lot of fans in Cupertino," Haviland says.

For more information, visit www.koyono.com.

Book Review
Angle of Approach


Deals on the Green, by David Rynecki

David Rynecki, a former financial journalist, realized that he got the best interviews from business leaders when he met them at the golf course. "Golf became this great way to connect with people," says Rynecki, formerly a senior writer for Fortune magazine. "For five or six hours you're out there getting to know them. You get a sense of who they are."

He compiled his most satisfying golf adventures into a book: Deals on the Green: Lessons on Business and Golf from America's Top Executives. Each chapter includes a lesson that's applicable to golf and business, such as "Don't listen to the gallery" or "Look for opportunities others can't see."

Along the way you find out what Warren Buffett and Tiger Woods have in common (it has more to do with their attitudes than their swings) and why GE's Jack Welch is the patron saint of business and golf. There are even tips for getting into Augusta National Golf Club and other great golf courses. The book's most memorable moments may be Rynecki's personal revelations, such as how he spent an afternoon golfing with Merrill Lynch's Chairman and CEO Stan O'Neal—and learned to see past O'Neal's public "bean counter" persona to find a truly inspirational leader.

And here's one lesson that didn't make it into the book but that Profit readers may want to take to heart: "If a person is a really good golfer, they're probably not a very good businessperson," Rynecki says, "because they're not spending enough time in the office."

New Marketplace for Developers


Want to be able to play Tetris on your new cell phone? Or use your PDA to display train schedules? Then check out www.ipswap.com, a new online marketplace that connects software developers with buyers who want to create new enhancements for their digital devices (PDAs, BlackBerrys, digital music players, GPS systems, etc.).

"The notion behind IPswap is to provide a market for the participation age," explains Hart Rossman, IPswap technical advisor. The Pleasanton, California-based company developed the site to offer a new approach to the way that software is created and sold, particularly for the tools that consumers want that involve only small bits of code.

Once the two parties agree on payment and royalty terms, they can sell their product as business partners on IPswap. The site also lets members share and collaborate on ideas and gauge interest in proposed products. "Odds are," says Rossman, "if the idea is exciting to me, there's probably a broader market out there." If you've got an idea you'd like to buy or sell, go to www.ipswap.com to get started.

Home Brew


If you are passionate about whiskey and looking to take that love to a new level, the Ladybank Company of Distillers Club is a new single-malt whiskey venture that could be your answer. Located in Scotland, Ladybank is the first members-only distillery club. Members pay a one-time fee to take part in the entire whiskey-making process.

The club allows members to be fully involved in the development process—from helping to determine optimal production methods to eventually sampling whiskies from different casks as they mature over the years. Production is expected to reach approximately 35,000 liters annually, compared with the more common capacity of one million liters for large distilleries. Ladybank emphasizes collaboration among members with a members-only internal blog and two public blogs.

Members pay US$4,950 and will receive an allocation of 300 bottles of spirits over a 50-year membership period-—the equivalent of six bottles per year. And a Ladybank whiskey allocation can be passed down to heirs, as well. Ladybank plans to begin distillation in late 2007. For more information, visit www.whisky.co.uk.

Getaway Places
Six Magnificent Beaches


Banzai Pipeline at Ehukai Beach Park
Hawaii, U.S.
This beach on Oahu is arguably the best place in the world for big-wave surfing. Gnarly, brah.
www.aloha.com/~lifeguards/ehukai.html

Bora Bora Island
Tahiti, French Polynesia
Overwater glass-floored bungalows— need we say more?
www.boraboraisland.com

Heron Island
Australia
Some of the best marine life in the world can be spotted at this stop along the Great Barrier Reef, making it a top destination for snorkelers and scuba divers.
www.heronisland.com

Petit St. Vincent
The Grenadines, Caribbean
This private island resort offers the true romantic getaway: Twenty-two secluded cottages with no phones or TV.
www.psvresort.com

Tenerife Island
Canary Islands
With its superb dining and nightlife, the emphasis along the beaches of this island is on sophisticated fun.
www.etenerife.com

Veligandu Island
Maldives
Stunningly beautiful coral reefs and year-round sunshine await you on this isolated island paradise off the coast of Sri Lanka.
www.veliganduisland.com

Tech Events


Gartner IT Security Summit
June 4-6, Washington DC
Security remains a top concern for senior management, and with good reason: security issues cut across every aspect of your business. This educational summit will help you build on-target strategies, develop the case for IT security investments, and implement successful solutions to protect your organization. Topics include critical infrastructure protection, enterprise risk management, and security software and strategies.

ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2007
June 18-21, Daytona Beach, Florida
More than just a showcase of new technologies, the annual conference of the Oracle Development Tools User Group (ODTUG) offers developers and DBAs expert insight into how to use these technologies to enhance, expand, and empower older applications. Look for the latest information on service-oriented architecture, development tools, data warehousing, and development database administration.

Forrester's Technology Leadership Forum 2007
September 25-26, Carlsbad, California
"Dynamic applications" is the theme of this year's conference, which offers one-on-one meetings with Forrester analysts, in-depth knowledge from expert speakers, and winning strategies to add more visibility and collaboration to today's business processes, while adapting quickly and cost-effectively to marketplace changes.

Taming the Ferocious
PowerPoint


PowerPoint has revolutionized the sales pitch, with video, sound bites, and eye-catching graphics. But these show-stopping effects have created huge files that clog e-mails and take forever to download.

Ontra Presentations, a company that develops presentation management solutions, recently launched PPTshare File Compressor, a desktop application that compresses PowerPoint files, making them easier to e-mail, download, and edit. The company says that its product can reduce the size of PowerPoint files by up to 95 percent without sacrificing image quality.

While reducing the size of digital files certainly helps, it solves only part of the problem, according to CEO James Ontra. "Organizations have huge amounts of knowledge stored in PowerPoint files and other digital assets," he explains. "Yet they have no means of keeping track of the most up-to-date information and getting it out to the people who need it the most: their sales force."

Ontra Presentations has got that covered as well, with products that ensure employees have the most-accurate presentation information, combine presentation data directly with customer data, and manage a library of hundreds of video, graphic, and animation files. For more information, visit www.ontrapresentations.com.

TV on Your Laptop, Anywhere in the World


Internet television has come a long way in recent months (you can download episodes of Lost for free, for example), but it hasn't gotten to the point where it can replace the good old boob tube.

Now there's good news for TV junkies: The deceptively simple Slingbox Pro.

The idea is simple: Connect the Slingbox to your TV and you can rebroadcast any station you get at home to your computer, no matter where you are. With the new Slingbox Pro, you can control your TiVo, watch DVDs, and even stream high-definition programming over the internet. And you don't need to be a computer expert to set it up. Sling Media offers extensive support to help out. The Slingbox Pro can handle up to four separate audio/video sources.

The Slingbox Pro retails for about US$220. For more information, visit www.slingmedia.com.

Oracle Update


PECO Chooses Oracle E-Business Suite
When IT staff at Perry Equipment Corporation (PECO) sought new business applications, they really wanted one thing: "We wanted all company data in one centralized, integrated database," says Brian Czajkowski, PECO's CIO and vice president of administration. "We wanted that single source of truth."

But this was no small task for family-owned 70-year-old PECO, with 450 employees on three continents designing and building high-quality engineered filtration systems for the petroleum industry. Data integration and maintenance on PECO's multiple, aging SyteLine and Sage enterprise resource planning installations had become onerous, so management decreed that the new solution would work without customized code.

PECO evaluated several vendors in detail, including SAP, Epicor, and Infor, before selecting Oracle E-Business Suite; the company is now in an aggressive enterprisewide rollout. The headquarters in Mineral Wells, Texas, and a facility in Queretaro, Mexico, will go live by September 1, 2007; deployment to the entire company should be complete by May 2008.

Oracle was chosen after a detailed study matched product features to PECO's special needs. PECO's engineered-to-order product lines made powerful project management, product lifecycle management, and quoting modules essential. Price, return on investment (ROI) potential, and ease of implementation and use were in Oracle's favor. A reputable, experienced implementer, Lucidity Consulting Group, of Dallas, Texas, eased concerns. Oracle's open source nature and Oracle E-Business Suite's ability to support PECO's operations without customization carried the day. "We trust that Oracle integrated best business practices into their software," Czajkowski states, "and that's another reason PECO selected Oracle as the cornerstone to build our business processes on."

Oracle Updates Siebel Self-Service Components
Oracle has released Siebel Communications Billing Manager 5.1.1 and Siebel Billing Analytics 5.1.1, two key components of Oracle's Siebel Self-Service. The two applications enable online bill payment and presentment and detailed analysis of billing data, which can result in better customer service at reduced cost; lower printing, postage, and payment processing expenses; accelerated collections; and better understanding of customer spending patterns.

Siebel Communications Billing Manager can now link bills for multiple services within a single self-service experience and features improved scalability, performance, and security. The updated Billing Analytics application now creates historical and trend reports that cross billing periods, with versioned hierarchy capabilities. Hierarchical access to billing data—as opposed to role-based access—lets organizations assign data-access permissions based on the structure of the business. And because snapshot versions are kept for each billing period, historical data remains accurate as business structures change.

Oracle's Siebel Self-Service and eBilling solutions support more than 125 million users in a wide range of different industries, including communications, utilities, healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services.

Get Targeted Support Expertise with Advanced Customer Services
Oracle Advanced Customer Services, a set of enhancements to Oracle Premier Support, offers flexible support choices that help customers align their technology strategy with business priorities, improve IT efficiency, and better manage cost risks and upgrades. Depending on the level of support needed, there are five programs:

  • Oracle Priority Service provides front-of-the-line, prioritized assistance from support engineers, providing faster problem resolution and expert guidance from a priority service manager and lowering IT risks and cost.
  • Oracle Advanced Support Assistance provides improved management of Oracle systems through proactive assessments or knowledge transfers and personalized assistance from a service delivery manager.
  • Oracle Business Critical Assistance provides the benefits of Oracle Advanced Support Assistance, plus additional proactive advice and assistance from service delivery engineers.
  • Oracle Solution Support Center provides the most comprehensive support by building on Oracle Business Critical Assistance with a high-touch, designated team of senior Oracle service delivery engineers.
  • Oracle Assisted Services offers the expertise of Oracle service delivery engineers through a variety of services, such as performance assessments and tuning, disaster planning and recovery, and problem-avoidance HealthChecks.

 

 
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