Revolution in CRM


Many companies keep avoiding social media contact center integration. But the CRM that we all know is morphing into CEM (Customer Experience Management). A conclusion is that CRM and marketing need to merge. So “CEM Marketing” will  become a key player in customer engagement strategies. Marketers will be working as part of a cross-organizational team with executives and contact center agents to understand and reach out to customers. So where does “CEM Marketing” fit in the company organization? If you said SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT you are correct. 


Open Text Buys GXS!!!


OpenText Enters Into Agreement to Acquire GXS. Transaction Expected to Expand Information Exchange and Cloud Service Offerings.

Now for the rest of the story. If you have been following my series on David and Goliath, you know how giant GXS has been trying to bury Todd Gould’s Loren Data.

 Goliath is in a tight predicament. If he swings his might weapon at David, he risks falling off the cliff he is on. In other words, cutting Loren Data out of the fragile INTERCONNECT game COULD send the whole EDI World into a tailspin. It could spell the end of the 20+ year old “traditional” EDI VAN. Wonder if Open Text is aware of this? I sure would not want to buy a company that had this “baggage” hanging on their back.

Supply Chains depend on EDI. When they send a transaction to be routed to a supplier or customer, there is an “Expectation of Services” from all service providers involved. If a service provider intentionally blocks transactions for any reason, are they not are guilty of obstructing commerce (much of it is interstate commerce…..listen up Federal Courts).

Supply Chain Management Control Towers and BIG DATA

ImageControl towers are used in many industries for different purposes: airports and railroads use them for traffic control; power plants have control rooms to monitor operations and third party logistics providers use them to track transportation activities. These are places where operations run well. Why not a “SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT CONTROL TOWER” to monitor and assure supply?

The SCM Control Tower is all about having visibility throughout the supply chain. But if there is total visibility and no ability to make decisions, then it is not a control tower. To be a decision maker, you will need to run “what if” scenarios: forecast and recalculate the entire inventory if “your ship doesn’t come in” (something that literally could happen). To be able to calculate effects of events, it will require a LOT of data. Hence, we need to introduce BIG DATA to our Control Tower.

The Control Tower needs high quality data from both internal and external sources. With a global supply chain, a company is more vulnerable than ever. Suppliers are also vulnerable on the land, sea and air. Issues arise from political events, weather, security and health issues. The possibilities are almost endless. Yes, you can monitor news channels, weather forecasts, police radios; but it could be overwhelming. The answer is to automate the gathering process, then use data analysis to highlight YOUR hot spots. RSS FEEDS are increasingly available, even from local police departments (well, the “police blotter” is now electronic and applications are available to attach grid coordinates to almost anything). Even weather data can get more accurate by folding in the thousands of “backyard” weather stations that have become more popular. These little guys can provide METAR feeds. See how many are in your area at Wunderground. All this increased data (BIG DATA) will overwhelm you without analytic capabilities. Simplified, you have to automatically “sift” through it, pull out what applies (YOUR parameters), and utilize it (maybe “post” to your “trouble map”).


New Promenade Du Paillon in Nice France


Opened 26th October, 2013 after a massive 3-year project, the people of Nice and visitors will see the long-awaited opening of a brand-new 12-hectare urban park, 1.2 km long, in the heart of the city. With the demolition of the former bus station, the perspective has been cleared to provide a splendid view of the heights of Nice and the facades of the old town.

A pedestrian walkway will lead walkers alongside strips of lawn dotted with water mirrors and take them on a botanical journey, with the promise of trees in blossom in every season. And the children aren’t forgotten: there are swings, a variety of games and giant structures in the form of whales, dolphins, turtles, octopuses, etc… they’ll have a whole range of marine animals sculpted in wood to play with. Running between the Nice National Theatre and the sea, this vast green corridor of 1,000 trees, 61,730 shrubs and 55,364 hardy plants is intended as a place for recreation, well-being and tranquillity. The promenade is equipped with smart underground networks (fibre optics, Internet networks, electricity, etc.) and may therefore be used as a venue for future events.

The Promenade du Paillon was constructed over the river of the same name, buried since the nineteenth century to clean up the city. The garden has planted 40,000 m2 of space, including 17,000 grassed. This walk provides an opportunity to a botanical journey across continents, “with promises of flowering trees each season,” ensure its promoters.

One of the major attractions should be the mirror of water of 3.000 m2, based on the existing one in Bordeaux along the Garonne and with 128 water jets, says the mayor. Or “tray of mists”, an area of ??basalt and limestone 1,400 m2 equipped with hundreds of foggers.

The total cost of the project, funded by the city and the city of Nice Côte d’Azur (with participation of the Conseil Generale of the Alpes-Maritimes 3.5 million), amounted to 40 million euros.

Nice’s Coulée Verte – or, loosely translated, ‘Green Corridor’ – replaces two monumental, aspirational but irredeemably ugly brutalist structures; its central bus station (Gare Routiere) and a spectacularly hideous public car park. Both sported huge roof terraces complete with tennis and baseball courts, ornamental gardens, interesting stairwells etc., but all were neglected, abandoned, and the projects were ultimately unsuccessful. The Promenade du Paillon, reports Nice Matin, opens September 2013, replacing these sorry structures with a remise en beauté des 3 hectares de verdure, avec sous-sols intelligents (fibre optique, réseaux internet, électrique): a return to beauty comprising 3 hectares of greenery with (get this) subterranean connectivity.

This weekend I went to the opening of the lovely new ribbon of a park that flows through Nice, France. It is called the “Promenade du Paillon” in honour of the Paillon River which still flows beneath it.

We were treated to a “dancing waters” show with jets of water leaping into the air in time with the music. And then we walked on water. That’s right, all of us walked on water. The basin containing the “mirror of water” is only two cm (less than one inch) deep so when the jets are not in use you can walk right across – some even did this when the jets were on. It was a nice warm day, so no one minded getting wet, especially the children.

Everything in the park is designed to remind us of the river. The walkways are covered in aquatic coloured stone and there is a “plateau of mist” made by air pumps that blow tiny drops of water into the air. In the section for children, there are sea animals carved of wood for climbing, swinging, bouncing, etc. The whale, octopus, sting ray and turtle are all following the river toward the sea.


But what about the real river?

The park’s watery theme reminds us that the Paillon is still there, but if you are imagining a picturesque flowing river, think again. The Paillon is not that kind of waterway. Even though it has a very wide bed, most of the time there are only a few small streams of water running through it. The 19th century tourists weren’t very impressed by it. One of them called it an imaginary river. Another said, it was the driest part of Nice. The Paillon is probably best known for the paintings of laundresses washing their laundry in the little streams and then spreading it out to dry in the river bed. This led the amused tourists to say that the Paillon was only good for drying clothes.


Torrential River

However, if there was a lot of rain in the hills behind Nice, that “imaginary river” could, and did, turn violent very quickly because of its steep descent into the city. Even though these deluges were infrequent, the risk was so great that in the 1800s watchmen on horses were strategically placed to keep an eye on it. If there was danger they would gallop along the riverbanks crying “the Paillon is coming…the Paillon is coming”. Why? Because the nearly dry riverbed was often full of people and animals. Mostly it was full of Niçoise ladies doing their laundry.

But should we worry about those torrents which at times poured over the riverbanks? Well, there is a system of overflow tunnels underneath to take care of excess water and an electronic monitoring system which constantly assures that all is ok. So hopefully the deepest water we will see in the park is 2 cm and no more rescues will be necessary.

There is even a bulldozer which lives on the promenade and controls the outflow when necessary.

After two years of building works that included the demolition of an eyesore, Nice’s giant public gardens are set to open with much fanfare this weekend. Named after the river that once separated Vieux Nice from the main town, the Promenade du Paillon is bound to add value to properties in the area and rack up the city’s green credentials even higher.

See some more great pictures of the Grand Opening

zCon Solutions is a software product development and services company


Recently I was invited to some presentations by zCon Solutions. Never having heard of them before, I learned a lot and will first give you a thumbnail sketch of who they are. zCon Solutions is a software product development and services company, serving small and medium sized companies and their clients from their global delivery center in India.

zCon was founded in 2006, by IT partners experienced in business analysis, technology services and project management. Since then, zCon has successfully built, supported and implemented multiple technology products and custom applications, using variety of technology stacks, programming languages, development tools and databases, GUI/Web technologies. zCon has the unique ability to provide data engineering, and software solutions under one roof.

They lead off any company presentation with all that they have developed in the healthcare arena, but turns out they have developed numerous solutions in other areas too. Looking at a chart of their skills like platform technologies, languages, web technologies, database/data warehousing, middleware, project management tools/technologies shows their expertise in just about any current skillset.

Offshoring offers a cost advantage and can match on-site or nearby contractors for quality and service. Zcon staff is English speaking and contact with clients matches being on-site with email, Skype and voice-over-IP.

OK now let’s take a look at some of the cool things they have done / can do:


WHO: Several companies who have formed a consortium to estimate and bid on construction projects. A natural match are several small and minority businesses invited to participate in the “Ohio River Bridge Project” (two large bridges between Louisville, Kentucky and Jeffersonville, Indiana).

WHAT: An on-line construction estimating and collaboration tool. Provides workspace for individual participants, build-up to totals, data-sharing available.

WHEN: Development complete, adaption required. Demo available soon.

WHERE: is headquartered in India with a facility in Chicago. Service will operate in the CLOUD, “Software as a Service”. zCon “support administrator” available for individual questions and to set up WEBEX collaboration sessions. With WEBEX, click on a link and go over your computer (or call in)

WHY:Common system for all participating companies PLUS a collaboration platform.

Electronic Medical Records

zCon’s demonstration shows a multi-facility practice which integrates labs, drug database, third-party providers. A closely-related pharmaceutical purchase order processing system searches catalogs for the best price and generates an EDI PO.


Exhibit 3 Electronic Medical Records


Exhibit 4 P/O Processing

Warehousing and Distribution Systems

Financial Risk Analysis

Brokers cross-check data for exceptions to rules of regulatory bodies.


Exhibit 5 Partial list of zConn Technical expertise

Please note, this is NOT a paid advertisement from zCon, it is simply my thoughts and impressions from seeing their repertoire of accomplishments. It is more like a “trip report” because I “visited” zCon from my office with the comfort of “WEBEX”.

This is a guest editorial by Ken Kinlock

Analyzing and Reporting


A while back, in December, 2010, we covered How Business Analytics is Being Delivered in the EDI World. Lot of water over the dam since then, so let’s take a look! Business intelligence / analytics coupled with data aggregation are not new terms. They have depended directly on the business system (like SAP) hence indirectly on the EDI system. They go back before EDI: a lot of them were once called “Decision Support Systems.”
So what do we focus on with Business Intelligence? A common list includes: (1) Customer Behavior (what your customer has done previously is an indication of what the customer might do in the future), including data like does customer buy at store, over the phone or on the Internet; (2) Sales and Marketing Research (all kinds of external data); (3) Financial Analysis (includes budget analysis and “spend analysis”); (4) Procurement; (5) Supplier Relationships.

Lot of opportunities to collaborate with partners like suppliers, vendors, customersWant to safely jump into this amazing new world? Best finding an experienced partner for help. Check out Techdinamics. For a robust link to vendors, see the EDI Tool Box.

Goliath Letter About David a.k.a. GXS versus Todd and Loren Data


You will enjoy this…got a call today from a consultant with a handful of spokes on GXS that trade with SPS customers. He said he read everything out there, stuff we put out, GXS put out, independent, legal. Said, “Seems we need to cut a link out of the ‘daisy-chain’ so I’m going to have my customers sign up with Loren Data and cut GXS out of the loop.”

Signing up is simple and painless, just go to

Now for the “official” GXS Announcement:

“Interconnect Advisory:
GXS to Stop New Loren Data Partnership Setups Effective January 1, 2014
GXS previously announced the agreement governing the connection between Loren Data and GXS will expire at the conclusion of its term on March 4, 2014; and that
GXS would enter into a static environment andno longer enable new relationships via the Loren Data Interconnect starting November1, 2013. The date to enter a static environment and no longer enable new Loren Data relationships has now been extended to January 1, 2014. GXS will be using the period from January 1, 2014, to March 4, 2014, to monitorthe static environment in order to ensure that all clients have been notified and migrated.
GXS clients who are still sending or receiving transactions via Loren Data are encouraged to seek alternative connectivity options immediately, in order to provide sufficient time for both them and their trading partners to establish and test new routing options.
Contractual terms with Loren Data for the Interconnect Service will expire on
March 4, 2014, and at that time GXS will have no way of receiving or sending data to Loren Data.
GXS clients with any questions regarding this service change should contact their GXS support team or send an email for assistance to”
This announcement was presented as a public service by Daisy Chainers Anonymous.
Let us know how you feel about what is going on.

Causes of Supply Chain Disruption


Recently we wrote about “Supply Chain Management and Logistics Risk”. While we did not get specific as to which risks are “bigger”, we did cover a lot, even pirate ships. Now, Zurich Insurance Group, through the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) has done a survey and gotten specific about causes of supply chain disruption. The top three: IT, weather events and outsourcing failures.

Ft Wayne Union Railway


October 11, 1922 The Ft. Wayne Union Railway is incorporated to serve the International Harvester plant on the east side of Ft. Wayne. It is jointly owned by the Pennsylvania, Nickel Plate, New York Central and Wabash railroads, each with a 25% share in the new company.
Corporate Genealogy of Fort Wayne Union Railway

Originally the Fort Wayne Union Railway, the curvy Union Belt runs between the NS Huntington District and Piqua Yard on the east side of Fort Wayne.  The connection to the the Huntington District is next to the old Gladieux Refinery.  A long time ago the Union Belt actually crossed underneath the Huntington District and ran into the Chicago District near the Maumee River.  The bridge underneath the Huntington District is still there today and you can see it just east of the State Road 930 Cloverleaf.  The line runs along Meyer Rd. near the old International Harvester plant then curves west towards Piqua Yard.  Here the track runs across the old Piqua Yard hump and then into the Triple Crown Yard.  Norfolk Southern operates the Union Belt to switch out several shippers along the line.  The western most end of the track is used by roadrailer trains switching the Triple Crown Yard.  NS refers to the line as “the belt.”  NS used to run roadrailers in and out of Triple Crown using the Union Belt on a regular basis but now predominately uses the Piqua Wye near Winter St. instead.

Find out more on what railroads the New York Central owned all or part of.

Passenger Train on the Peoria & Eastern Railway


Robert Thompson of Peoria, Illinois bought a schedule of the Peoria and Pekin Union Railway Company dated Time table no 14 Sunday, Sept 26, 1954 . it has the New York Central passenger train #12 leaving Union Depot (pictured above, built in 1899) at 2:05 PM
2:07 at CB&Q crossing
2:12 at Bridge junction
2:19 at Wesley Junction
2:20 at Wesley
2:25 at Grove
2:30 at Pekin Junction ( from mile marker 0.00 to 8.8)
ending at Illinois Central Junction (mile marker 9.2)then NYC No. 13 coming the other way from 12:45 PM to 1:10 PM

See more about the Peoria & Eastern Railway

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