Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday Links: Edelman, Twitter, Mergers, Microsoft, Jackbe

It is Friday! Time to review some of the interesting, compelling, fascinating blog posts, news stories and whatnot of the week.

Study: Social awareness up with consumers, businesses should follow
"Americans seek deeper involvement in social issues and expect brands and companies to provide various means of engagement," said Carol Cone, Managing Director of Brand and Corporate Citizenship with Edelman. "We call this the rise of the 'citizen consumer'."
The study found:
• 30% of consumers believe government should 'do the most' to support causes, an 11% decrease Year over Year (YoY)
• 23% believe 'people like me' should do more for causes, an 8% increase YoY
• 87% believe that businesses should be more involved with social issues
• 74% believe a combination of brand and consumer 'doing good' for causes is the best option
• 47% believe brands are working with causes only for the publicity

Ad agency abandons website for Twitter presence
A few weeks ago, a Swedish ad agency moved its website to Facebook and, before that, another agency based their web presence entirely on Youtube. Now, another agency has decided to ditch its website and establish its online presence elsewhere - this time on Twitter.

Government is hot, hot, hot for M&A
Investors were not kind to publicly traded government services companies in Q3 2010. In fact, you could say these companies took a beating from their investors. The federal services space took the brunt of it, with pricing down 19%, while defense prime contractors declined 5%. Even worse, valuation multiples are at the lowest levels in the past decade.

While this sounds like a lot of ‘glass half empty’ perspective, it isn’t all bad news. Recently ACG National Capital member Jean Stack of Houlihan Lokey wrote an article in Washington Technology regarding mergers and acquisitions in the government services sector. She, like so many others, predicted the M&A pace will remain strong into 2011 even though the industry has experienced downward momentum in pricing. Why? Companies and investors are cautious about organic growth prospects and are looking at M&A opportunities in order to support growth.

Create Mashups in the Cloud with Microsoft Azure DataMarket and JackBe
Mashup tool provider JackBe is working with Microsoft to create dashboard apps using Azure DataMarket. In our coverage of the DataMarket, we noted that it's a marketplace, not an app environment. That's where JackBe comes in. JackBe can run in Azure to help end users create their own mashups using data sources from the marketplace. JackBe shares an example app in a company blog post. The example is a logistics app designed to plan routes to keep perishable food fresh and incorporates the following data from the following sources:
  • Bing maps: with Navteq dynamic routing information and Microsoft's Dynamics CRM on Demand customer data;
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM on Demand: customer order data, and real-time Weather Central information visualized in Microsoft Silverlight, this App also supports write-back capability to the Dynamics CRM;
  • Microsoft SharePoint: aggregating information on delivery trucks and their locations;
  • And from Azure Data Market services: dynamic fuel prices and geographically correlated fuel station locations.
There's a video on the blog post that explains how it works.
The advent of cloud computing and big data makes huge amounts of data available to organizations, but it's not always clear how to make practical use of it. Tools like JackBe can help turn all this data into something end users can work with minimal support from IT.

And finally, the GOP won the House of Representatives but didn't quite gain control of the Senate.

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