SMB Research – Taking Stock: Interprise Solutions, LogicBay, Partner Relationship Management, Kiva, Jobscope

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Interprise Solutions has announced its 2011 Event for August 23-26 at the Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas.  This promises to be, we would think, one of the more exciting Interprise events in recent history with release of its 6.0. (We’re working on an overdue review of this solution which Gary Harrison has kindly taken the covers off for us.)

Google+ has launched to limited release.  Intended as a competitor to Facebook, while addressing some privacy concerns, we can only hope that Google+ may be easier to use, without the plethora of settings and constant changes to adjust to.  Two people’s opinions on Google+ worth reading: Forrester‘s Josh Bernoff (“Will Google+ succeed? Probably. Will it replace Facebook? Nope.“), and Chris Brogan (“The Google Plus 50“).

SMB Research looked in on the recent  TEDx Boston event from Google‘s offices in Cambridge (where Google was every bit the  gracious host you would expect).    We seldom miss an opportunity to hang out with the smart and intellectually curious (’cause we are continuing to fill out our Board of Advisors, for one thing.)   The TEDx experience is as stimulating as we imagine the TED event (which we have not attended) must be.  For us, the highlights (difficult to pick out from an overall strong agenda) were the compelling presentation by one Skylar Tibbits on self-replicating systems; Rick Borovoy on the “Junkyard Jumbotron” and “convergent collective moments”; and Mick Mountz talking about the revolutionary idea that Kiva Systems brought to market.

The Precision Metalforming Association‘s “The Manufacturing ERP Experience” event is in Chicago on August 23-24, 2011.  Register here.  The speakers you will get to hear are well worth the price of admission:   Cindy Jutras on “Can Your Small Business Afford ERP?…or, Can You Afford to Operate Without It?”;  Constellation Research‘s Frank Scavo on “Trends in Manufacturing ERP / Recommendations for ERP Users”;  and Panorama Consulting‘s Eric Kimberling on “ERP Implementation Boot Camp”.

Will LogicBay be successful in resurrecting Partner Relationship Management (PRM)?  They are giving it a go.  We spoke briefly with Todd Grant, LogicBay’s V.P. of Marketing, at the recent Enterprise 2.0 Boston event, where we started talking about the evolution (and devolution) of Partnership Relationship Management.  Now, LogicBay has launched a new blog, the Channel Readiness Blog.

To catch you up (briefly) PRM was a distinct segment recognized in the late 90′s into the early 00′s (its heyday was probably from 1999 to 2001 or so), by which time then-AMR Research (now Gartner) declared:  “The notion of Partner Relationship Management (PRM) as a stand-alone vendor market is no longer viable from a software category perspective. The majority of channel operations business functions are being addressed by Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and multichannel sales application suites.”

The PRM segment was once dominated by vendors such as Entigo (which evolved into a provider of warranty management), Allegis Corporation (which was acquired by Click Commerce, which was acquired by the Illinois ToolWorks, which later sold off Click Commerce to Huron Consulting Group); ChannelWave (which was acquired by Click Commerce – see above); PartnerWare (ceased operations in 2002); and Comergent (Who remembers Comergent), acquired by Sterling Commerce in 2007, which was itself acquired by IBM in 2010.

“Partner Relationship Management” is today more popularly referred to as Channel Management.  Does LogicBay make an intentional distinction?  We’ll get back to you.

It is always nice to hear from friends we have not heard from for awhile. In this category, Jobscope, always one of the first names that comes to mind when it comes to managing jobshop environments,  has updated us.  We saw their press release talking somewhat vaguely about their most recent customer advisory council meeting, and so we appreciated having some more meat put on the bones for us by Jobscope’s Michael Montjoy.

Jobscope is 30+ years old, and still focusing on “project-based manufacturing”.   Such a singular focus has many advantages, one of which is that when you are bringing in an ever-larger group of customers to an advisory council meeting, the relative similarity of your customer base means that they can provide a real synergy of ideas to the table.  Jobscope is trying to leverage this.  Next up:   “Jobscope Mobile”- an increasing focus on delivering the capabilities of Jobscope on mobile platforms, with apps reportedly in development for CRM, Field Services, Field Inspections, Reporting, and portals for Customers and Vendors.  Want to know more?  Jobscope will be at Fabtech (in booth 1553) in Chicago in November (14th-17th) or, well, give them (or SMB Research) a call.