By Stephanie Watson, 8 January 2013
Google has started charging new users for the Google Apps for Business, its online suite of software applications, for companies with under 10 users who had it for free before last week's announcement. Their reason is that “with focus we’ll be able to do even more for our business customers.” Let´s see what that means for small businesses and how it compares with other offers from Microsoft and Zoho. Which solution will win the battle over who will control the move by small businesses to the Cloud?
By Pascal van Opzeeland, 3 January 2013
Guest Post by Pascal van Opzeeland, Marketing Manager at Userlike. Even though live chat is steadily increasing its presence throughout the web, most of the online businesses we’ve talked to are unsure about the payoff of its implementation and what solution they should try out. Acknowledging that the potential benefits, the required investment in human resources, and the amount of different providers on the markets, are factors that complicate the manager’s choice. The benefits promised by live chat software providers include a greater customer satisfaction, higher customer loyalty, a higher conversion rate, and lower service costs. But will these benefits also work out for your business? And what type of software should you try? The goals of this post are (1) to help you understand the main differences between live chat providers, and (2) to help you decide whether live chat is worth the investment of money and time for your business.
By Rakesh Sharma, 5 December 2012
The era of free is almost here. With their freemium pricing model, SaaS business applications have upended the software licensing paradigm. Cloud apps have hastened its demise. Although legacy systems are still available, small businesses and large organizations are clearly moving towards a business model underscored by free or extremely cheap offerings. The benefit of this pricing mechanism is that they enable you to run your outfit using free apps that shore up productivity amongst your workers and enable mobility. What's more, they enable you to focus on the effectiveness of your operations, instead of worrying about costs. Here are four areas of your business you can run using free tools.
By Rakesh Sharma, 21 November 2012
Should pricing be your sole benchmark for evaluating SaaS solutions? The answer to that question is a complicated one. Even as SaaS vendors re-evaluate and experiment with strategies, fundamental questions about SaaS pricing still remain. For example, the case for SaaS pricing is generally predicated on a bucket list of features. Does moving up the pricing tier translate into added functionality? Part of the answer to that question lies in the evolution of SaaS pricing and an entrepreneur's thinking.
By Christophe Primault, 12 July 2012
Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) has revolutionized the way businesses today approach lead generation and customer life-cycle management. CRM grew out of contact management software that was first made popular in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, CRM software emerged with more sophisticated tools for managing and nurturing client relationships. These solutions not only helped businesses manage their leads and customers, but offered collaborative platforms so that internal teams like sales and marketing could align their strategies. In the beginning, the enterprise was the one segment that enjoyed these new feature-rich CRM apps which required vast server storage space and deep pockets. But as the concept of storing leads and contacts in the cloud became more popular, the ability to introduce CRM capabilities to all size businesses became a reality. Now any business, large or small, can have access to affordable and reliable CRM tools.
By Stephanie Watson, 13 June 2012
It's a foregone conclusion that software is migrating to the cloud. From MS Word, to totally new software and ideas, most productivity software for small business will be cloud based in the near future. In fact, pretty much any software you currently use, other than your operating system, will eventually all be cloud based. As a small business owner, you want to choose cloud based applications that save both time and money but, that actually work. Here are my five tips for choosing well.
By Christophe Primault, 2 December 2011
If you're like most companies wondering about making a serious move to the Cloud, you're probably struggling to find and choose the right online business software that meet the exact needs of your business. Comparing websites, pricing plans, reviewing huge lists of features is likely to generate confusion with even the most advanced software buyer, and with hundreds of different solutions to choose from, most businesses become overwhelmed. When choosing ERP or a CRM apps, there is no room for approximation. We are sharing with you four easy to understand online resources to help you save time and avoid costly mistakes.
By Christophe Primault, 30 November 2011
This post refers to how software selection is rapidly evolving when evaluating cloud-based online business software. When evaluating a web-based software for your business, the TCO and ROI should be calculated differently than for on-premise software. Organizations should be cognizant of the different criteria and perspective involved when selecting cloud and SaaS software. This post highlights analyst tips when evaluating online software solutions.
By Christophe Primault, 29 March 2011
Systems management is an umbrella term that refers to the centralized management of a company’s information technology assets, and it's one that encompasses many different tasks required to monitor and manage IT systems and resolve IT problems. Systems management solutions can help small business owners address many requirements including (but not limited to) the following: Monitoring and management of network, server, storage, printers and client devices (desktop, laptop and mobile devices), including notification of impending or actual failures, capacity issues and other systems and network events Hardware asset inventory and configuration management, including firmware, operating systems and related license management Application software usage and management Software asset inventory, versioning and patching, and license management Security management, including anti-virus and malware management tools, including virus definition updates. Automated backup and restore, to backup up systems data in a central data repository Service desk problem management, which provides an automated process to generate and track trouble tickets and resolve problems Systems Management: Why Should You Care? As businesses grow, so do IT requirements. In many companies, it’s tough to find a facet of the business that doesn’t depend on IT. As dependence on IT to run the business grows, it becomes vitally important to efficiently manage and safeguard IT and data assets. System management solutions -- such as service desk management, single sign-on authentication and patch management -- can help keep systems up and running, and maximize IT and employee productivity. They can also help your IT team efficiently roll out new software solutions, or upgrade existing ones. In a nutshell, effective systems management solutions help IT organizations move beyond fire-drill mode to provide the business with proactive guidance and support. System management solutions also help companies protect against the fallout from downtime and threats, whether caused by system malfunctions, lost or stolen mobile devices, network sabotage, power outages, security breaches, identity theft, human error and natural and man-made disasters. Should any of these events occur, they can result in lasting financial loss, brand damage, legal liabilities and other extremely unpleasant consequences. Consider these sobering facts: • In a survey by Kroll Ontrack Inc., 74 percent of respondents experienced a data loss incident in the last two years. And 32 percent of organizations take "several days" to recover from a data loss -- another 16 percent never recovered. • Symantec’s 2009 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey indicates that the average SMB has experienced three disruptions to computer or technology resources within the past 12 months; 26 percent reported losing important data. These firms estimate that these outages cost them about $15,000 per day. Many small businesses fail to perform regular data back-ups, and even if they do, tools and procedures can fail due to malfunctioning hardware and storage media, corrupted data, or because backup software isn’t reset to include new files or applications. Whatever the reason, costs to replace the data and restore employee productivity can be enormous. Businesses also face stiff penalties if they can’t store, retrieve, monitor and transmit data in accordance with regulatory requirements. Systems Management: What to Consider Criteria such as company size, number of devices, complexity of IT infrastructure, IT resources and expertise all come into play when considering centralized systems management. For instance, in a small business with just a handful of PCs, centralized systems management may require more of an investment in time and dollars than it would take to just manage each device individually. But as companies grow, a lack of centralized system management can become a pain point and true vulnerability. However, the sheer number and assortment of products and approaches available can be confusing, and the cost of traditional enterprise system management solutions can send small businesses into sticker shock. Driven by the need for a quick fix, businesses can end up with several disparate point products that don’t work together. This can create both short-term gaps and integration and scalability problems over time. Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all solution or short-cut to a short-list. But small businesses can avoid these potential pitfalls by taking action on these tips: • Assess gaps, bottlenecks and vulnerabilities in your IT environment • Look for vendors and solutions that can address immediate pain points, but also provide incremental capabilities that your company may need over time • Seek out vendors with solutions designed to meet the needs of SMBs, such as Dell KACE, HP Insight Manager, IBM Service Manager for Smart Business, Kaseya and Spiceworks • Evaluate managed service provider (MSP) offerings. Major vendors, such as Dell and IBM, as well as many regional and local service providers offer managed infrastructure services that can be a great fit for companies with limited or non-existent IT staff. MSPs can often provide a level technical expertise, trouble-shooting and proactive 24/7 support that surpass the capabilities of most internal SMB IT shops By investing time upfront to consider business priorities, IT requirements and constraints, and evaluating the pros and cons of different approaches and offerings, small business owners can find a systems management solution or an MSP that will support the business now, and in the future. Original post by Laurie McCabe from the SMB-Group
By Christophe Primault, 27 October 2010
Report Date: August 2010 Forrester evaluated 11 leading business process management (BPM) suite vendors against 148 criteria reflecting the requirements of business process professionals running large-scale BPM programs. We found that Pegasystems and Appian lead the pack with the best overall combination of modeling, design, and development features for business and technical roles driving process improvement. IBM, Software AG, and Savvion are also Leaders with competitive products that offer industry-leading development environments and improved tools for business stakeholders. Additionally, Lombardi and Metastorm fall into the Leader category, with impressive collaborative process design environments and Web 2.0 features. Oracle, Global 360, HandySoft, and Fujitsu are Strong Performers with compelling products that have their own unique strengths Download your Free Report now