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Optimizing Productivity

Powerful document management software, advanced CRM solutions, Open Source systems, and high definition videoconferencing can provide your staff with the tools and information they need to achieve shared goals and objectives.

Everybody uses Adobe Acrobat Reader, and many businesses have learned to benefit from the document creation management power of Acrobat. With the introduction of Acrobat 8 Professional ($449), Adobe adds many powerful features to this versatile and secure information management system. New and enhanced capabilities include control of document security, dynamic forms management, and collaborative reviews.

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Satisfaction

Maximizing the quality of customer experience is often the most cost-effective way to increase sales. The latest generation of integrated sales, service, and marketing information systems, such as the CRM solution from RightNow Technologies, intelligently combine and automate these critical functions. This helps to ensure that employees have the information they need to satisfy client’s needs and keep business processes on-track.

Big as Life

Some collaborative applications require more visual clarity and detail than can be provided by ordinary videoconferencing. Advertising, textiles, and even high-level negotiations can benefit from the use of HDTV quality interaction. Industry leaders Polycom and Tandberg have both announced HD systems for delivery in the near future–but if you can’t wait until next year, check out the slick new solution from Austin, Texas-based LifeSize Communications. With screen resolution as high as 1280×720 pixels at 30 frames a second, and built-in 4-way high-def multipoint capabilities, the standards-based LifeSize Room system ($11,999) extends the workgroup experience over any IP network.

Opening Up

It is sometimes difficult to harmonize the desire of early adopters to use the latest software with your organization’s need to integrate new tools smoothly into IT processes. Open Source vendors are delivering a range of new solutions that fulfill both requirements.

The new ThinkPad T60p is now available with Novell’s powerful new Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (SLED) and Help Center support from Lenovo. These thin, powerful 4.7-lb. laptops are a good choice for dispersed engineering groups, programmers, and other early adopters. Prices start under $3,100.

Xandros delivers economical, easy to manage desktop and server software solutions based on Debian Linux. The company’s new 64-bit server offers a plug-and-play substitute for more expensive Windows Server software, and the all-graphical Xandros Management Console (xMC) makes it suitable for administrators with little or no Linux experience. Xandros Server 1.0 Standard Edition 64-bit costs less than $450, includes databases from Oracle, IBM, and MySQL, and is compatible with most existing Windows-based network infrastructure.

Investing in powerful tools that leverage key employee’s skill and motivation is a good way to accelerate growth and improve morale. With so many powerful products available for specific business challenges, a focus on empowering people is one good basis for choosing the right solutions.

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