Your private GoogleIn between the Internet (where search engines help you find the information you need) and the slightly smaller world of your own desktop (where, hopefully, you don't need help finding information), there lies a whole realm of knowledge that's often hard to access - that created by the combined data wells of your company. With the content of corporate intranets, databases, Weblogs, Web sites and so on growing exponentially, a company-specific search tool could come in very handy.

Enter the Google Search Appliance, from the makers of the search engine so famous it became a verb. The standard version of this combination of hardware and software will search through up to 500,000 documents in a single collection (other versions can index 15 million or more), while a scaled-down version, Google Mini, can search up to 100,000 documents; all promise to unleash the information scattered around your organization.

Price: Google Search Appliance - $30,000 (includes two years of customer support). Google Mini - $2,995 (includes one year of support).


Online CRM for pro services

When you go to Wal-Mart, you expect to be greeted by an over-friendly escapee from a retirement home in a red vest. It's part of the charm. If such a person met you outside your lawyer's office, though, you'd start to worry. Different types of businesses treat their customers or clients in different ways, so it makes sense that online business software provider NetSuite should make available a customer relationship management application specifically for services firms.

Its NetCRM-Services Edition is designed around long-standing client engagements, rather than short-term sales opportunities, building all data around a client record. In addition to the normal CRM capabilities, it also includes services-specific features like job/project tracking and advanced activity time tracking. It can be used stand-alone, or in integration with the suite of NetSuite applications.

Price: Monthly subscription - $70 per user.


SOX HR and payroll

Application control software vendor Logical Apps has introduced pre-bundled human resources and payroll controls for its Sarbanes-Oxley compliance solution for Oracle applications. Now chief financial and information officers can enforce internal control policies and automate critical processes at the application level in Oracle's E-Business Suite.

The controls let management control access to sensitive data, like employee Social Security numbers; address close to 100 segregation-of-duties conflicts; and monitor almost 300 change controls related to HR and payroll. They also provide a full audit trail.

Price: Contact vendor.

Logical Apps

Intacct enhancements

For 2005, Intacct has made several additions to its ERP On Demand online accounting software. To the functionality already available in the suite, the company has added new budgeting, reporting, supply chain management and business analytics capabilities.

Users can now compare multiple budgets in a single report, and generate real-time reports comparing spending and sales; they can also group multiple ERP reports, save the customizations, and distribute reports with a single click. The multi-entity supply chain management enhancements let local managers control their unit's order entry, purchasing and inventory, while the new on-the-fly business analytics capabilities allowed complex, industry-specific analysis. The suite also now includes kitting and assembly functionality for greater efficiency and flexibility.

Price: Contact vendor for monthly subscription prices.

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