Enterprise software, customer relations management and aerospace designers will be in high demand this year by Southern California tech companies, according to high-tech talent and outsourcing firm Yoh Services LLC.

Yoh interviews hundreds of hiring managers and job seekers in compiling the list, and there were some significant changes from last year when companies were still investing heavily in Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, according to Jim Lanzalotto, Yoh's vice president of strategy and marketing.

Now, data projects that have been on the back burner for a couple of years will come to the forefront given rise to demand for different skill sets in the software arena.

"Customer relationship software is becoming much more important," he said. "Companies have data banks of customer information, and they're trying to cross-sell all of it."

Another change in the list was renewed demand for aerospace engineers. That follows a few years of layoffs in the sector. Aerospace jobs didn't even crack the top 10 list in 2004 or 2005. "We believe the aerospace market is going to have a continued renaissance," Lanzalotto said. "Boeing has had a huge influx of orders. The defense industry will have a bump this year."

Rounding out the top-10 high demand tech jobs were enterprise resource planning software specialist (SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft); customer relationship management consultant; data warehouse architect; net developer; aerospace design engineer; clinical project manager; hardware engineer; firmware engineer; clinical research associate; and data manager.

Funding Phones
L.A.-based office phone company Fonality secured $5 million in first-round venture capital funding from Silicon Valley-based Azure Capital Partners. The company develops open-source software for office phone systems. "We're an interesting company in a really boring space," said founder and Chief Executive Chris Lyman.

Fonality targets small businesses with its Linux-based operating system, which allows businesses to manage their own phone systems via the Web. It sells both the software and the phone system hardware. Fonality hopes to compete with established vendors by undercutting them on price: A typical phone system costs $500 to $700 per employee, while Fonality charges $150 to $300 per employee, Lyman said.

Launched in December of 2003, the company has 22 employees (half of whom are software engineers) and has signed up 500 customers in 40 states and nine countries. Fonality's phone systems can be managed on a Web browser and are Voice Over Internet Protocol compatible.

Online and phone movie ticketing company Fandango Inc. has signed exclusive ticketing agreements with five more national theater chains, increasing its market share edge on AOL's Moviefone. The new chains include Wallace Theaters, which owns screens in California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Hawaii and Guam; Wehrenberg Theatres, a Midwest chain based in St. Louis; Colorado Cinemas; Southeast chain Cobb Theaters, and Hollywood's American Cinematheque. Fandango is the exclusive remote-ticketing agent for 1,150 theaters, or about 70 percent of the theaters that offer remote ticketing, according to spokesman Harry Medved. About half of the nation's theaters offer online ticketing. In December, Fandango teamed up with popular digital recording device company TiVo Inc. to allow TiVo subscribers to buy movie tickets directly over their television sets.

*Staff reporter Hilary Potkewitz can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 226, or by e-mail at hpotkewitz@labusinessjournal.com .

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