What SaaS Vendors Don

HCR Software to Host complimentary webinar on “SaaS secrets revealed” The webinar “What SaaS vendors don’t want you to know about Software as a Service” event on February 13 will discuss how organizations can successfully avoid hidden traps and costs associated with SaaS (Software as a Service).

Jacksonville, FL (PRWEB) February 14, 2008 — HCR Software, a leading provider of salary planning and compensation management software, today announced a free HR technology webinar. Titled “Hidden Traps in Software as a Service,” the complimentary event will take place on Wednesday, February 13; the keynote speaker is George C. Brady, III, Vice President Sales & Business Development for PDS Software.

Brady joined PDS in 1993 after previously serving on the company’s Board of Directors. He is responsible for managing the sales force and PDS’ business relationships with third parties. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and Villanova Law School.

There is a great deal of buzz in the technology marketplace regarding software as a service, much of it well deserved. However there are often overlooked details which would-be-buyers would do well to learn about. There are hidden costs and other more meaningful traps for companies may fall into when selecting Software as a Service (SAAS). Providers of the services position themselves as ‘low cost’ and often ‘one size fits all’ solutions. Potential buyers may inadvertently overlook the differences between these offerings and traditional software vendors when it comes to licenses, ownership, configurability, and ultimately the capacity to truly meet their business needs. To register for this webinar select: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/214364609

Topics Include:

  • SaaS as a Vendor Valuation driven model (explicitly not customer driven)
  • Exploration of pricing models and hidden costs in SaaS offerings
  • How to determining if the solution actually fits your organization’s needs
  • How SaaS offerings affect both productivity and ROI

The event is the latest installment of HCR Software’s popular Wednesday Webinar Series, featuring topics related to employee retention, engagement, and HR technology.

About HCR Software
HCR Software is a leading provider of flexible and affordable compensation management software and performance management software. The Company prides itself on its patent-pending technology, its solid customer references, and its flexibility in meeting customer requirements with an approach that maximizes business impact and minimizes change management challenges. More information can be accessed at http://www.hcrss.com

Media Contact:
Casey Quinif

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.



Review: Service Magic

Service Magic is a web based service platform that matches homeowners to qualified service professionals. The company was founded in 1999 and is primarily intended for home improvement projects and services such as carpentry, plumbing and other home repairs.

However, in recent years Service Magic has expanded into IT as well, and this, I believe is where they have problems.

The system is simple. Buyers put in requests for contract work and the requests are routed to service providers in their areas to perform the work. In simple terms, it is like most of the other platforms such as OnForce, ServiceLive, etc.

The difference is that with Service Magic, the requests are actual leads for the work. The leads are routed to a maximum of three providers, the providers contact the buyer directly and the buyer chooses who will perform the work. The contact information is not filtered or hidden. It is sent directly to the providers.

The buyer routes the lead at no cost to him or her. The provider pays a flat fee for receiving the lead. That fee is based on value within a category of services predetermined by Service Magic.

The upside to this system is that both buyer and provider are free agents on the platform. Once the lead is accepted and the work is performed, both are free to conduct future business together. In other words, unlike many other venues and platforms, Service Magic is a true, bona fide marketplace.

The downside is that it isn’t cheap. Every lead that is sent to the provider is billable, whether the lead pays out or not.

Now, on the surface, this seems like an open and fair deal. You win a few, you lose a few and it all works out in the end, right?

In principle, this is right, provided the company operates within and stands by a set of principles. However, any system can be manipulated or abused. Every transaction is based on a level of trust between the buyer and provider. Yet the party that most to be watched is not always the buyer or the providers. It is often the platform itself and the organization that runs it.

Yes, I was with Service Magic for a couple of years. Currently my status is suspended – at my request. Basically they are set up for general service contractors and offering IT services is clearly out of their league. I have had numerous issues and discussions with them to no avail. I have tried to explain that the IT service market is not like general houshold maintenance work and requires an understanding of the business to be able to offer their services to it at a fair price.

The advantage to using them is that it can be a better deal than the Yellow Pages if you are in a metropolitan area and are the only tech for their region. The leads are precisely that – leads. They don’t own the customer. You do. That was the main reason I went with them. If you want to build your customer base, it can be another source for leads.

However, it isn’t for everyone. The reason they were not listed in The Force Field IT Business Resource Directory before today is because I held off on publishing the listing. I did so on a promise to their rep that I would not publish anything about them – good or bad – until I had cooled off a bit from my last encounter with them.

I really like the overall concept but the execution is lacking. When I moved to Charlotte I temporarily suspended the account because they had been sending me leads and I was concerned they would continue to do so during the move. After the move they kept calling me to turn them back on and the pitch was that the new area I was in was hot. According to the rep they had 30 leads in the area and no one to send them to. Suspicious, I said okay on the condition that I would have a few free ones to cover some past issues. They agreed and – guess what – nearly a month with no leads. They finally sent me two, both of which were bogus. When I finally received one that was legit they wanted to bill me for it and I found out that the free leads were only good for thirty days, something which was never disclosed to me.

To add to the insult, one of the free leads was supposed to be a “refund” for a bad lead they sent me when I was still in Orlando.

I won’t go into the details, but to make a long story short, the rep was not correct about the “hot leads” and I called them on it. They offered to give me five free leads, which they later called and accused me of trying to “game” from them, which they initially offered me without my asking for them, and which I never actually got to use. They would just take money from my credit card and there was no way to stop it without actually cutting off the card. In the end they wanted to play the free leads game with me again at which point I told them where to go, cancelled my account (which was a very long call as the rep debated the issues with me) and I haven’t heard from them since.

(Incidentally, they owe me money, but I wrote it off as a loss because they don’t refund in cash, only in leads.)

They were initially charging me $8 for leads and then raised it to $9 with no notice. They did bill me once for an $11 lead because it involved wiring (Actually I had chosen the category “network” for advertising home and small office wireless networking but they lumped it into the electrical and low voltage wiring category because they didn’t have any sub-category for setting up wireless networking).

The company was set up for doing building and maintenance projects, not IT and they just didn’t know how to incorporate it into their platform. In my opinion, Service Magic is clueless when it comes to the IT industry and it shows.

The perfect platform would be a Service Magic lead generation approach with an OnForce platform and management. Service Magic is a marketplace in the true sense of the word. Unfortunately, based on my own experience, they seem to lack the integrity and trust that OnForce initially built into theirs.

If you want an example of a real marketplace , it is Service Magic. It doesn’t attempt to control or manipulate the marketplace, only provide a platform on which the client and provider can meet. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it isn’t the best one.

The Virus Hunters Workshop

Last week I was invited to attended The Virus Hunter’s Workshop , an all day event sponsored by Kaspersky Labs .

The event was held in a meeting room at The DoubleTree Guest Suites in Charlotte NC and consisted of a basic course in malware detection and removal. The workshop included several hands-on labs. Each attendee was provided a laptop complete with software tools, malicious code to launch and complete instructions for conducting the exercises.

While the entire workshop was very interesting and informative, I found the labs to be the highlight of the entire day. I walked away with some real training I can use in my business and was well worth the time spent.

The Virus Hunters Workshop will also be hosted in Reston, VA and Boston, MA. Registration is closed for Reston but if you are in the Boston area you may be able to register for that event scheduled for June 24 and 25, 2008. You can register at www.virus-hunters.com .

I highly recommend the Virus Hunters Workshop to every service provider who currently offers or plans to offer malware removal services to their customers. If you can’t attend the Workshop, I recommend you search for some form of education or training in this area before performing the services as a professional.



Security Source Magazine


Step by Step

If you are a web designer than you probably already heard of Step by Step “Microsoft Expression Web” ….If not you need to look into it. The days of Frontpage and Dreamweaver may be limited now that you can use Expression Web. It takes alot of the work out of updating and tweaking sites.

This is the actual description:
The smart way to learn Microsoft Expression Web one step at a time! Work at your own pace through the easy numbered steps, practice files on CD, hands-on exercises, and master the fundamentals of creating effective Web sites. You ll work with advanced design technologies and discover the powerful and easy-to-use Web design experience that Expression Web delivers. You’ll learn how to create professional-looking Web pages, work with powerful design tools and task panes, and incorporate support for XML, Microsoft ASP.NET, Extensible HTML (XHTML), and Web pages built using Microsoft Office FrontPage®. You ll also learn how to build templates, work with sophisticated cascading style sheets and other design features that help you to precisely control your work, and take advantage of built-in support for today s Web standards. With STEP BY STEP, you can take just the lessons you need or work from cover to cover. Either way, you drive the instruction, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Includes an easy-search companion CD with files for practicing the book s lessons, a complete eBook, and more!

I need a book with pics to get the full effect and Chris did the job with this book.

Look for it on Amazon and the author is Chris Leeds

New gOS Reviewed

New gOS Reviewed

by Eric Vititoe

Customers now have another choice in the cheap PC market.  Wal-mart is now selling a $199 personal computer running gOS, a derivative of the Ubuntu Linux 7.10 distribution.  While I haven’t yet touched the hardware, I have downloaded, installed, and tested the operating system.

The stock hardware for the $199 machine utilizes a VIA C7-D 1.5GHz processor, 512Mb RAM, an 80Gb hard drive, and a CD burner.  While not a power horse, this machine will suffice for the average user.

The new gOS is simple to use, even for someone new to Linux, as I am.  It comes with many programs pre-installed, such as OpenOffice, GIMP, FireFox, and a host of games.  From my experience, the average user should have no problem surfing the internet, checking email, or typing the occasional document.

Installation is simple.  Boot and run from the cd.  Once in the graphical interface, you can run gOS straight from the cd, or choose to install to your hard drive.  Simply click the install icon, answer a few questions, and it does the rest by itself.  It even has a partitioning template for those who don’t know how to partition the hard drive.  Reboot after install and gOS is completely installed.

The entire installation took less than 20 minutes on my test machine.  My test PC is a Dell Optiplex GX270 with a 3.0GHz Pentium 4 processor, 512Mb RAM, a 40Gb hard drive, and an ATI Radeon 9800SE video card with 256Mb VRAM.

Once installed, gOS boots fairly quickly.  From pushing the button to the log on screen only took my test system 65 seconds, including POST.  Another 15 seconds and it was ready to use.  If you have a broadband connection, it will almost immediately let you know there are updates available.  There were 36 updates available at the time of my installation.  It advises you to install all updates for security reasons, and will do so automatically if you press the select all button.

A second system was also used in the testing.  A Compaq Presario 5000 series.  This older machine has an 800MHz CPU, 256Mb RAM, 40Gb hard drive, and a stock 8Mb Vanta LT AGP video card.  This second system was, not surprisingly, much slower.  Installation took nearly an hour.  After installation and updating, the Compaq took 1min 21sec to get to the log on screen, then another 25sec before it was ready to use.

The interface is clean.  By default, the wallpaper is a green leaf print and all windows and cursors have a green outline to them.  All open windows have the traditional close, minimize, and maximize buttons, but in a different order and on the left of the window instead of the right.  That took a little bit of time for me to get used to.

Using gOS is fairly simple and straightforward.  You are presented with a quick launch shelf at the bottom of the screen with your favorite applications.  It is pre-populated with Xine Movie Player, Rhythmbox Music Player, Skype, and links to a variety of online applications such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google, YouTube, Meebo, and more.

If you want to use an application not on the shelf, left click any where on the desktop to bring up an application menu.  From the menu, you can also choose administrative functions, such as changing the desktop resolution, update manager or printing.

Speaking of printing, gOS makes it easy to install a printer. The process is simple, but not all printers are supported.  It did not have drivers for my Epson Stylus R200 or Brother MFC9700.  I could not get my Epson working at all, but did get my Brother printer working by installing it as an MFC9600.

The makers of gOS have not yet made the operating system multi-user friendly.  You can only set up the system as a single user.  They state that is a feature that they need to work on.

Although the system found both my Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H2 and Samsung Digimax A503 cameras, it had a little bit of a problem transferring the pictures from camera to hard drive.  Dragging and dropping individual photos were effortless, but I received multiple “Enlightenment” errors when copying more than one file.  That is definitely something that will have to be fixed in future versions.

Overall, I found gOS very easy to install and use.  I believe it to be a good operating system for a new Linux convert or anyone who simply needs an internet appliance.  A little more tweaking by the developers would make it a great one.  I give gOS 3 out of 5 penguins.