The latest technology news for companies

Transaction-capable mobile business intelligece package

MicroStrategy, the US specialist in business intelligence, has a new version of its flagship product, with the improvements aimed mostly at mobile BI users. With the widespread corporate use of smartphones and other mobile devices, most BI vendors have produced mobile versions of their software. But these mobile applications can fall short of the full range of features available to a desktop PC user - for example allowing mobile users to view but not enter data. MicroStrategy 9.2.1 goes further by adding transaction capabilities, which means mobile workers can now submit orders, approve or deny requests, and perform other types of transactions that connect directly to back-end applications such as SAP, Oracle or Salesforce.com. Developing mobile applications can be onerous work for corporate IT departments, but MicroStrategy insists its transaction applications are easy to develop, even by those who are not programmers, because the apps are assembled using drag-and-drop templates and familiar controls such as calendars, sliders, switches. The Starbucks coffee chain is one of the first users of this latest “mobilised” version of MicroStrategy. It is looking at using the software to allow Starbucks managers to access real-time data held in back-end systems while visiting stores.

Spend management software-as-a-service

Wax Digital, a UK vendor of spend management software, has joined the software-as-a-service trend that is sweeping through the enterprise software industry. Spend analysis lends itself particularly well to the SaaS model and, according to a recent report from Forrester Research, this is one of several segments of the enterprise software market where the majority of revenues now come from subscription-based services rather than businesses licensing and installing software the traditional way. Wax Digital is aiming its SaaS offering at mid-sized businesses with 50 to 500 users. The firm is best known for its web3 financial management suite, which it sells to large pubic and private organisations, but this new SaaS offering specifically focuses on spend management and is aimed lower down the market at mid-sized organisations, typically with a few hundred users. “Organisations with a spend of between £10m and £200m have often struggled to make the business case for spend management software,” says Daniel Ball, commercial director.

Viralheat aims to turn social media buzz into sales

How do you make money out of social media? Viralheat, a US social media monitoring company, claims it has the answer. It has just added a “human intent” feature to its monitoring service offering that sounds like a salesperson’s dream. Viralheat’s existing social monitoring service trawls through the social networks and comes back with a list of posts or tweets that mention your company’s name or product. This new human intent feature goes one better and filters out incidental mentions to leave only actionable sales leads that can then be exported to an Excel spreadsheet or Salesforce.com. Sound too good to be true? The feature is currently in beta test, so Viralheat is not yet ready to offer it as commercial service -- or disclose its price. The main Viralheat service costs from 29.99 a month for business users and once you have signed up for that, you can apply to become a beta user of the human intent feature.

SAP plays catchup

SAP Sales OnDemand is the first in a new generation of software-as-a-service offerings that the German enterprise software group hopes will help it to catch up with cloud-based offerings from upstarts such as Salesforce.com. Sales OnDemand comes with built-in social collaboration to enable sales teams to collaborate and supports mobile devices including BlackBerrys and Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Pricing ranges from $40 to $80 a month for each user, depending on length of contract. For large organisations that are already use SAP software in the back office, the biggest attraction of this new offering is likely to be Sales OnDemand’s integration capabilities, particularly with Microsoft Outlook and SAP’s flagship enterprise resource planning suite.

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