What If Microsoft Expanded BizTalk Server Into A Online Collaboration Service Offering?

The Online Services Business division at Microsoft has been lagging behind the other operational divisions, even though the marketplace for these types of services has been growing steadily by leaps and bounds over the last 10 years. One potential option would be for them to leverage the success and popularity of the BizTalk server product to create a B2B service targeted towards the untapped SMB, Small Medium Business, market segment. The SMB segment is a very large segment that has a potential for extensive growth over the next few years and beyond.The service could initially provide transaction enablement to the SMB market as well as appealing to large enterprises looking to migrate their SMBs to an electronic connectivity solution. Revenue will come from a hybrid subscription/transaction processing model, while additional revenue would initially come from advertising of Microsoft’s own products on the B2B site. The site will eventually morph into a full collaboration service for the SMB market segment.Microsoft was born from its humble beginnings in 1975 when Paul Allen and Bill Gates created a version of the BASIC language for the MITS Altair 8800, the world’s first personal computer. It grew into the one of the most successful software companies in the world by creating innovative software products for personal and business computers. The company went from first year revenues of $16,005 and 3 employees to FY06 revenue of $46.6 billion and about 71,000 employees worldwide. (Microsoft History), (Microsoft Earnings) When we look at Microsoft’s revenues for the last 6 months of 2006 a significant portion of the revenue and operating profits came from the Client, Server and Tools and Business Services Division groups, whereas the Online Services Business showed lacking revenues and actually reflected a loss for the same period. The Online Services Business, which is really Microsoft’s equivalent to the B2B category of e-commerce.The expansion of B2B should be part of Microsoft’s overall growth strategy. One of the major successes in the Business Enablement and B2B offerings for Microsoft is the BizTalk Server, which was first introduced in December of 2000 as graphical tool to help integrate internal business processes utilizing XML. The tool has gone through a number of releases culminating with the launch of BizTalk Server 2006, which has added further B2B integration functions including trading partner management and enhanced tools to bring together complex business processes.The success of the BizTalk Server product line in medium to large enterprises has made it one of the top-selling B2B integration tools on the market with over 6000 business implementations worldwide. The popularity of the BizTalk Server product and the need for B2B external partner integration in the Small to Medium Business (SMB) market has created an opportunity for Microsoft to expand their lagging Online Business Services division. Many of the medium to large enterprises have been able to take advantage of the benefits of EDI and B2B, such as reduction of operating cost by eliminating manual entry errors and reducing cycle times through the integration of the trading partner community.This phenomenon has generally eluded the SMB market segment; the very small businesses may survive by using B2B portals that have been made available by the lager trading partner. But as the size of the company grows they cannot hire and maintain sufficiently trained personnel to utilize these types of solutions, yet they cannot afford to setup a complex EDI or B2B solution either. Thus these companies either pass on certain opportunities or must leverage costly non-standard solutions from the traditional value added networks. In some instances the burden of maintaining the relationship for these types of businesses is passed on to its suppliers that may be required to support these customers through manual entry or a dedicated sales representative at a much higher cost than the other sales channels.These challenges faced by both the SMB companies and those larger enterprises that provide products and services to the SMB can easily addressed through the use of the internet and a robust B2B product suite, such as BizTalk Server 2006. Microsoft, which has been also challenged to make strides in their Online Business Services division, should take the opportunity to reach the SMB customer segment. This can be done through the use of a B2B web site that would allow SMB customers register to exchange data with their business partners electronically without having to hire an in-house staff to manage a complex EDI or B2B system. The potential Microsoft solution would charge a fixed monthly subscription fee for the basic service and a nominal per connected partner fee would be assessed. The more partners that a business connects to the more benefit they will receive. Once the connected partners see the overall benefit of the service to their collaboration and improved productivity, they will join the network and add their own partners.For the larger companies looking for help in getting their SMB business partners connected Microsoft is able to create customized portals, which will include registration and partner enablement. These sites will utilize the same hardware and software infrastructure as the generic offering but it will allow the larger companies to maintain their branding. Initially Microsoft will focus on one vertical industry niche, the retail industry. This niche will provide a wide range of target customers to choose from within the SMB segment. In addition many large suppliers are looking to on-ramp large numbers of SMB customers. While there are many B2B portals available, these solutions typically don’t allow suppliers an adequate level of control over the operational aspect to protect their brand.

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How the Digital Age Has Changed What People Want From Art Paintings

In this era of modern technology, it is simple to use many of the desktop publishing applications and image editing functions to both enhance and completely change or create a picture. With the advent of social media and the “share-ability” of images through services like Flickr it is also very easy to get feedback from people as to if your “art work” is any good.In the last decade and especially the last 5 years there has been a massive paradigm shift in what people want from art, and especially paintings. If we look back at history, with the exception of Monet or Picasso, many of the most famous artists of the last 200 years have been known as much for their skill at fine art and detail as much for their application and imagination of art.Things happen fast these days (or so it seems) and with Art, what many modern day consumers want is a piece of “mood” art as opposed to a piece of traditional “art” – what is art? I hear you cry – art is anything that inspires or creates emotion which has been created from passion for making a statement. So, going back to the point, modern art buyers do not just want what we call modern art but they also want a “mood” and “effect” to hang on a wall – very few modern day artists specialise in detailed “fineart” – those that do are (in my view) in possession of a skill which most “mood” artists (like myself) could only dream of.So where will art (specifically visual arts like paintings) be on 100 years time? I personally suspect buyers will put a premium on fineart once again and that we are in a transition stage between consumers not being that interested in fineart because it can never match up to what can be done digitally and consumers getting slightly bored of mood art. There will be a time where fineart artists are once again top of the pile when it comes to skill and respect in the art world.

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Dealing With Collection Sharks

This was so popular and a lot of folks missed it. So we are going over this article again. (it really can help many of you). This is an actual copy of the Federal Trade Commission in action. Perhaps many of you have been faced with this same problem. You have an old account that is due to be automatically removed by virtue of the Statute of Limitations. Yes, the seven-year clock is getting ready to expire.But lo and behold, up jumps this company that has just purchased this old account and are circumventing the law. How? Simple, they just put a new date on your credit report relating to their purchase of the account. This now gives them another seven years to either force you, harass you or do whatever they can to force you to pay. Lets just say that you were put into a credit prison for (7) years. You accepted your fate. But about the six year and six month time you really are aware of when your sentence ends. BUT, here in the middle of the night, without your even knowing who or how, someone adds more years to your sentence. Are you mad? You bet. What can you do? Up until you read this article you might not have even been aware such things can happen. YES, they most certainly do.It is illegal as hell! Here is proof of this company being caught by the Federal Trade Commission. Remember the law works for you. If you have this situation, you can always download and reprint this letter to send to them. Don’t be afraid. This is public information. Anyone can subscribe to the Federal Trade Commission website and get these rulings. So go ahead and use the power given you under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This letter appeared in August 2000. The following letter is reprinted from the FTC website.California Debt Collection Agency Settles FTC Charges Of Fair Credit Reporting Act Violations
The Federal Trade Commission today announced a proposed settlement with a California-based debt collection agency, Performance Capital Management, Inc. (PCM), under which the company would be fined $2 million and enjoined from what the FTC called “serious violations” of Section 623 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). According to the terms of the proposed settlement, payment of the fine would be waived due to the company’s poor financial condition.The FCRA regulates the collection and dissemination of sensitive information about consumers by credit bureaus and other types of consumer reporting agencies. Section 623 was added by Congress in the 1996 amendments to increase the accuracy of consumer reports by imposing specific duties upon any entity that furnishes information to a consumer reporting agency. The settlement announced today is the Commission’s first enforcement action under Section 623.PCM is a California corporation with headquarters in Irvine, California. It specializes in buying and collecting consumer debt that has been charged-off by the original creditor as un-collectable. PCM is currently in bankruptcy, and the Commission has waived the $2 million civil penalty based upon the financial condition of the company. In its complaint against PCM, the Commission alleges that PCM violated a number of requirements imposed by Section 623. First, the complaint alleges that PCM provided credit bureaus with inaccurate “delinquency dates” for its accounts. Section 623 defines the delinquency date for an account as the month and year that an account first became delinquent.This date is important because it is used by credit bureaus to measure the seven-year period that negative credit information maybe reported under the FCRA. According to the Commission, PCM systematically reports accounts with delinquency dates that were more recent than the actual date of delinquency, resulting in negative information remaining on consumers’ credit reports long beyond the seven-year period mandated by the FCRA.The Commission’s complaint also alleges that PCM violated Section 623 by ignoring or failing to investigate consumer disputes referred by credit bureaus, and by failing to notify credit bureaus when consumers disputed collection accounts with PCM.The proposed settlement would require PCM to provide correct delinquency dates when reporting collection accounts to credit bureaus. The agreement also mandates the proper investigation of disputes. Where PCM learns during an investigation that account records no longer exist for a disputed debt, the company must delete the information from credit bureau files within five days. Finally, the agreement would require PCM to report as “disputed” all accounts where consumers have disputed the information with PCM.The Commission vote to file the complaint and the proposed settlement was 5-0. The proposed settlement will be presented to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, which is overseeing PCM’ s bankruptcy. If approved, the agreement will be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.Regis Sauger has contributed the opening portion of this article and makes you aware of how the law can help you with information that is public knowledge. Regis Sauger takes no credit for the materials in the reprint, but has provided all readers with information that otherwise they might not learn about.Respectfully, Regis Sauger

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