By Stephanie Watson, 5 September 2012
DEXMA PLM is a web-based product lifecycle management (PLM) solution that provides cloud-based technology to businesses, primarily those in the engineering field. DEXMA PLM offers extensive project management and product data management, with advanced software that includes updated information on parts, materials, equipment logistics, and a manufacturing management system unlike any other system available. If you’re looking for an easy, effective way to manage your various engineering processes, DEXMA PLM is for you.
By Sharon Shapiro, 16 November 2011
Once you’ve decided to move your business to the cloud, you’re still faced with many decisions: where to discover business applications that meet my needs, which cloud service provider to use, how to best implement and integrate your new cloud applications. If you don’t know what end result you’re looking for, the migration process can be overwhelming, so it’s important that you educate yourself about the different options.
By Stephanie Kidder, 15 November 2011
A very important factor to help small businesses discover the right business applications is to hear how other companies are using cloud apps to be more successful. GetApp.com will be publishing a series of case studies for entrepreneurs and small businesses to undertand how they can benefit from cloud apps. In this post, written in collaboration with Stephanie Kidder, marketing director at RunMyProcess, we explain how cloud apps integration can improve a key marketing process. More specifically, we describe how integrating Zoho and Mailchimp has been used to boost new customer conversions.
By Rakesh Sharma, 1 November 2011
It was only a matter of time before someone thought up the concept. So far, we have been reviewing myriad SaaS applications; however, we have not really discussed ways of integrating cloud applications together for your company. After all, a single application can hardly take care of all your needs. This week we will look at OneSaas - an application that brings your SaaS applications together under a single umbrella. We will look at its interface and functionality and see how it can be of use to you.
By Rakesh Sharma, 30 March 2011
With its promise of simple and inexpensive solutions, SaaS applications might just be the thing for your small business. However, purchasing a SaaS solution is only half the job done. The other half consists of integrating your existing internal business applications with the external SaaS application to enable exchange of data and information. Then, there is that bigger question of customizing the external application to fit your business processes.
By Manuel Jaffrin, 7 February 2011
Web-based business applications can help companies grow revenues, reduce costs, improve productivity or increase customer loyalty. In other words, be more profitable! When it comes to enterprise software, things have changed a lot in the last years. Thanks to Cloud Computing, small and medium size businesses don´t need anymore to have a room full of computers, system administrators, complex networking, storage capabilities and all the traditional IT stuff. In fact many companies, like us at GetApp.com, run their business with laptops, smart-phones and a portfolio of on-demand applications. If you want, or need, to be "ultralight", you won´t need that many employees either. Well chosen web apps will perform many tasks usually done by accounting, marketing and HR staff. Some of the immediate benefits of on-demand applications: No up-front Capex Flexible Opex aligned to your exact business needs Free trials to test suitability Ease of use and maintenance Immediate availability Unlimited scalability Things you have to worry about: Data integration between different applications, legacy and other web-based apps Vendor quality Performance Security, although in most instances your information will be safer with the vendor than on your own premises Choosing best of breed vs integrated suites Check the most important categories of business applications you need to consider when you start looking at improving your productivity and profitability: CRM to organize all your business information, customer contacts and communication -> make sure it is integrated with your invoicing app Billing and invoicing to leverage existing templates that help you build the right invoices in the right way from day one Project management to plan your projects, have an efficient team collaboration and monitor with tracking metrics Tax management eases the tax calculation and other tax related matters Accounting applications to maintain account balances, and prepare financial statements and reports for your accoutant Email management to send newsletters or promotional materials to opt-in lists of subscribers When you start growing your company you will want to look at: Human resource applications may become interesting as you start hiring a higher number of employees. Applicant tracking and training being excellent candidates for web based sofwtare Asset management if you need to manage tangible and intangible physical assets If you are a Start-up business you may be better off starting with an all in a box application suite where most basic applications are integrated in one single platform, these includes WORKetc or Zoho. It is not always easy to decide which product is the best fit with your specific needs, so take some time to search the right app and check which ones are the most popular with your peers.
By Christophe Primault, 22 November 2010
After IBM acquiring CastIron a few months ago, we recently heard that Dell bought Boomi and I bet there will be more news like this as other independent integration software vendors, such as Appirio, Kapow, Pervasive, SnapLogic, or RunMyProcess may not resist the likeliness to get snapped by IT giants in the next months. But beyond this spree of integration vendors acquisitions the real questions for businesses are: What is web-based apps, or call it cloud-based apps or SaaS, integration? Why is it that hot? Why should I care? First a quick definition from Cloudappintegration.com : "SaaS integration is the process of getting SaaS tools to work with and alongside both on-premise and other SaaS applications that your organization relies upon every day. SaaS integration requires new strategies and expertise in order to make applications on multiple platforms and delivered in multiple ways come together to power your business." Now let´s see why it is hot and why you should care. 1) Everyone needs it When you buy a new application, after the first light of excitement - this app is really easy to use, it solves my problem immediately, what a great design....the next question in line is inevitably: how will I integrate this with my legacy on-premises apps or with other SaaS solutions? Let´s face it, most small businesses don´t think that much about the integration issue before buying a new app, well vendors make it very easy to buy with just a few clicks. Then most of us who bought a web-based app quickly realize how painful integration can be. This is why end-users, ISVs, SIs and channel partners need it. Without integration web-based apps can not deliver their full potential and can´t make users happy. 2) The number of integration points is huge and so is the business opportunity Even if most SaaS providers offer applications "fit for integration", usual through an open API, it will only integrate with mainstream apps such as Google Apps, QuickBooks or Salesforce.com. But there is a multitude of needs for on-premises to cloud and cloud to cloud solutions and the ecosystem of cloud-based applications is growing an incredible pace. This is fostering the development of a huge number of data adapters or apps connectors. ISVs and integrators such as Informatica offer integration services to help large enterprises integrate new SaaS solutions with existing infrastructure but smaller businesses will have to rely on affordable and ready to use solutions to integrate not only mainstream business applications but also the longer tail of cloud-based applications that serve more specific requirements. There are endless need of integrations scenarios and there will be a large number of integration services providers designing business processes and workflows for companies of all sizes. 3) It is complex stuff Beyond legacy and cloud integration, there are multiple dimensions to apps integration that will make it a very complex experience. Think about mobile apps and social media apps that also need to be added to the fold. Integration can be a major hurdle for companies willing to get started with cloud apps, it is on par or even of greater concern than security but the availability, quality and affordable pricing of a bubbly ecosystem of integration services should alleviate these issues and accelerate the pace for more and more applications to move in the cloud. We came across Cazoomi a company that is dedicated on integrating cloud applications together and found that they had a nice set of pre-built connectors.
By Christophe Primault, 4 October 2010
There are literally thousands of business applications that are suitable for small businesses. But, if like most of your peers, you have had very little exposure to these products and you are currently running your business "off of a spreadsheet", getting started can be daunting. Which features are right for me? Do I need an integrated suite? Should I pick the market leader or a niche solution? Is on-premises or on-demand the right deployment method for me? How will it integrate with what I already have? What can I afford? Should I pay up-front or on a recurring basis? Where can I find evaluation information for different software? Will I really use it once I’ve bought it? These are some of the common questions small businesses face prior to buying a new solution. Here are some practical steps that you can take: Identify needs, budgets and types of users Start with basics such as an accounting package, an email management app and an office suite (spreadsheets, word processor, etc). Then consider a series of apps that are not always necessary but that most businesses would want to use. These include customer relationship management (CRM) tools, website tools, and email marketing and database management software. As your company grows, you may want to consider project management or collaboration tools and HR management apps such as payroll management or applicant tracking. There are many small business suites of integrated programs such as Google Apps, Zoho or Microsoft Office that are well packaged, easy to use and often free or low-priced. If you are new to business software, it can be a good first step to go for these rather than buying individual products that may sometimes be harder to integrate. Evaluate available solutions Take time to research what options best match your needs, budget and user profiles. General search engines (i.e. Google) are a good starting point, but as your understanding of what you are looking for matures, you can turn to specialized online publications, consulting organizations, and vertical business app stores where you can search, compare, and evaluate apps, and contact vendors directly. From there, it's time to draft a shortlist and roll up your sleeves. Most vendors offer a demo or free trial of their product, either fully functional for a short period of time, or with limited functionality or for a limited number of users. This is called "freemium" - you start off with a free version and eventually upgrade to paid premium services. Make your final choice It is particularly important for small businesses that all parties involved participate in the final choice. This includes the owner of the business (of course), the IT person, the finance guy and the people who will be the main users of the product. You should rate products from your shortlist based on the following criteria: features, usability, integration with your existing solutions, quality, scalability, price, ROI, cost of ownership, OPEX vs CAPEX, and vendor brand. Avoid common mistakes Small businesses often make the mistake of thinking that demonstrations are equal to evaluations. These are the five common mistakes that you should avoid: Proceeding straight to demonstrations/trials without defining your needs first Selecting too many products to start the evaluation - You need to have a shortlist Testing software without a set scenario in mind Being lured by additional functionality that you don't really need Forgetting to ask the opinion of the people who will actually be using the software Business software can greatly improve the productivity of your company by automating back-end operations and freeing up time for more customer-facing activities. However, making the wrong choice can become counterproductive and expensive. By following the above steps and avoiding the common mistakes, you should be able to make the right choice and enjoy a new world of business applications that up to recently were only available to larger enterprises. If you want to know which business software is popular with small business owners, you can check the monthly Top 20 Apps published by GetApp.com