By Julia Rozwens, 24 May 2013
There is a new buzz word in town: Content Marketing. The idea itself has been around for many years but recently this phrase is on everyone's lips. If we search for it in Google Trends, it is clear that in the last months it has really gained in popularity. What's the Buzz All About? Firstly, let’s explain what Content Marketing is...
By Julia Rozwens, 26 April 2013
Small businesses from all over the world are embracing mobile solutions at the core of their business. Whether we refer to tablets, smart phones or laptops, the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is gaining traction at small businesses as revealed from a recent survey from the SMB Group.
By MatthewStibbe, 18 January 2013
The 25th October marked World Paper Free Day: if you’re like me, you probably didn’t know that. An entirely paper-free office isn’t a realistic goal, and for a lot of people, like Forbes contributor Douglas Merrill, it’s a rather dystopian concept. That said, a less-paper office improves efficiency, reduces stress, saves money and helps the environment. These are benefits that cannot be ignored, so below are some of the best ways to strike a beneficial balance between hard copy and digital.
By Elke Schmitt, 17 January 2013
We were keen to know at GetApp which apps are very useful for your business in terms of increasing productivity, cost cutting, obtaining more clients, creating a happier team and so on. Therefore, we have asked the folks on Quora, what they believe are going to be the people´s top cloud business apps for 2013. We would like to share a summary of the most mentioned apps organized by key categories with you.
By LaurieMcCabe, 4 January 2013
Original article Just before the holidays, I had the opportunity to attend Dell’s second annual Dell World user conference. Here's my take on Dell’s progress towards becoming an end-to-end solutions company, and its directions in the small and medium business (SMB) market. To put things in context, Dell has been on a journey for a couple of years to transform from a hardware company provide businesses with open, flexible and easier to use IT solutions that can scale up or down as needed. Dell is leveraging cloud computing, open standards, and a blend of hardware, service and software offerings to build more comprehensive solutions. And, Dell has pegged midmarket business requirements as its design focal point to ensure scalability for organizations of all sizes. As I discussed in The New Dell and What it Means for SMBs: Takeaways from Dell’s 2011 Solutions for a Virtual Era Event, Dell has also made many acquisitions to turn this vision into reality, including KACE, Boomi, Wyse, SonicWall, Quest and AppAssure and others.
By Stephanie Watson, 10 December 2012
Workers in the cubicle culture tend to agree that face-to-face get-togethers are the single best way to share knowledge in a company. Some like the idea of weekly lunch meetings centered around a single idea as long as they are informal. One way is having a facilitator keep the topic gently in view by introducing the idea under consideration for the first five or ten minutes. Others feel that just getting together for a brown bag lunch with no agenda works better because the topic always returns to the job and current issues affecting the group automatically. The important thing is to keep it casual, friendly, a time for socializing. Co-workers get to know each other at the same time they are throwing out nuggets of inspiration about the problem under discussion. But, today with our ever increasing telecommuting culture, what do you do if the group is spread out over the country or even on different continents? Email seems to get a thumbs down in many companies. It is good for individual communication but off-putting for many. It's very easy for emails to get lost in translation. The big blocks of type usually needed to explain ideas tends to prompt people to hit the delete key. It works well one on one, but poorly for a group.
By LaurieMcCabe, 21 November 2012
(This article originally appeared on Laurie McCabe´s blog) Earlier this year, Dell acquired Wyse, arguably the pioneer in thin-client computing. Together, Dell and Wyse have wasted little time in putting Wyse expertise to work to launchDell Wyse Cloud Client Manager (CCM), which is designed to help companies address the increasingly vexing problem of managing mobile devices and applications. Dell is delivering CCM as a cloud-based, self-service offering that gives businesses a centralized mobile management platform from which they can: Manage thin client and mobile devices. Supported devices include Apple iOS, Android, and Dell Wyse thin clients, whether they’re using 3G, 4G or wi-fi networks. Provide users with secure remote access to content on servers, laptops and desktops. Using Wyse Pocket Cloud technology, mobile users to remotely and securely access and manage content stored on home or office computers. Set rules and policies to automate provisioning. CCM enables IT to create rules and permissions to streamline provisioning, and ensure that appropriate policies are applied to devices and users. Real-time monitoring, analytics and reporting. The solution provides real-time feedback on users’ mobile activities, and the ability to send alerts in case of user non-compliance. Since CCM is a cloud service, you don’t need to install any additional hardware or software, and can be up and running with CCM in less than an hour. As critical, CCM works regardless of your company’s mobile procurement and provisioning policy. Whether your business provides and manages all employee mobile devices, supports a BYOD program, has an employee self-service model, or some combination of these, CCM enables you to centrally manage how employees access corporate data and apps from their mobile devices, and create containers to separate corporate and personal apps. The price is right for cash-strapped SMBs: Dell offers a free Starter Tier for smaller companies, which has all CCM capabilities except for group-based management. The Pro Tier comes with granular group management capabilities, and pricing starts at $5.50 per month for one user and up to three devices. Mobile Management is a Top SMB Challenge Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that the growth trajectory for mobile solutions is soaring. So it’s not surprising that SMBs are going mobile: SMB Group’s 2012 SMB Mobile Solution shows that 83% of small businesses (1-99 employees) and 76% of medium businesses (100-999 employees) already use mobile solutions in their businesses. Much of this growth has been driven by consumer demand for new and better devices and apps. As we use mobile more in our personal lives, our expectations for applying mobile solutions in our business lives also rises. But this rapid escalation of mobile use combined with a dizzying proliferation of devices and apps has led to a management dilemma. As they go mobile, SMBs are taking different approaches in terms of how they provide mobile devices to their employees (Figure 1). Figure 1: How SMBs Provide Mobile Devices to Employees Source: 2012 Small and Medium Business Mobile Solutions, SMB Group The velocity of mobile adoption and the convergence of mobile device use for personal and business needs has led to a rash of security and management issues for IT, who must manage a mushrooming and increasingly hybrid mobile environment which extends beyond devices to apps and services (Figure 2). Figure 2: Top SMB Security-Related Challenges In Using Mobile Solutions Source: 2012 Small and Medium Business Mobile Solutions, SMB Group The result is that many SMBs have yet to address the mobile management challenge (Figure 3). Figure 3: SMB Use of/Plans for Mobile Management Solutions Source: 2012 Small and Medium Business Mobile Solutions, SMB Group Dell’s Answer to Managing the Bright and Shiny Mobile Challenge The mobile management challenge will only intensify, especially given the industry’s proclivity to churn out bright and shiny new devices and apps–and users’ desire to get their hands on them. Dell CCM gives companies a secure, affordable and accessible way to manage through this inevitable churn, regardless of mobile policies, virtualization technologies or device choices. CCM offers both device and app management, and supports Citrix, Microsoft, VMware and other virtualization environments. CCM also offers management tools to automate and streamline management and offload routine chores. IT can create role-based rules and permissions for users or user groups, which allow or prohibit the use of specific apps. Once a user’s permissions are set up, the user can register devices on their won via the self-service portal. New devices automatically inherit the appropriate policies, configurations, and apps of the user. Employees also can use the portal to reset system passwords, and, if a device goes missing, lock or wipe corporate data. The platform delivers analytics and reporting, including audit trails to help IT monitor user compliance. CCM provides added through virtual desktop capabilities in Wyse PocketCloud Remote Desktop (a new web-based version is in beta now), which lets users securely access and manage content stored on home or office computers from their mobile devices. Perspective CCM doesn’t have everything in it yet, and it competes with many other MDM and mobile management platforms, including other DIY services and fully managed services. But Dell’s approach is solid, and it has removed pricing as a barrier to entry for budget-conscious SMBs with its free version. Over time, Dell intends to evolve CCM into a one-stop shop for device-agnostic, all-inclusive management of whatever combination of mobile and traditional devices companies choose to use. If it stays true to putting flexibility, ease of use and affordability at the top of the priority list, CCM will provide a very good answer for the mobile management challenges that SMBs face. Furthermore, CCM represents another step forward for Dell’s vision to transform from a product-centric to a solutions centric company. Although achieving the vision is still a work in progress, Dell’s Wsye acquisition (as with Boomi) demonstrates Dell’s ability to assemble the right building blocks and expand its footprint in cloud computing and remote services. If you like this article, follow us on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and grab our GetApp.com blogfeed Original Article
By LaurieMcCabe, 12 October 2012
(This article originally appeared on Laurie McCabe´s blog) As discussed in my blog, IBM’s Managed Service Provider Initiatives for Midmarket: An Interview with Mike McClurg, IBM views MSPs as an increasingly critical channel for delivering cloud-based technology solutions to midmarket companies. Just a few days after I posted this interview, IBM announced that it would further strengthen its initiatives to help MSPsmeet the growing midmarket demand for cloud services.
By LaurieMcCabe, 26 September 2012
Dreamforce, like Salesforce.com’s ambitions, just keeps getting bigger. This year’s event in San Francisco claimed 90,000 registered attendees and 250 media, analysts and bloggers. The pageantry surrounding the event—from MC Hammer to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and from Tony Robbins to Colin Powell—is also on the rise, seemingly in direct proportion to Salesforce’s enterprise ambitions. Anyway, with so much erupting from Mt. Salesforce, I need to write a two-part blog post. This first post covers the Salesforce.com’s vision and announcements, and my perspective on them. The second post, which will be up in a few days, will cover how Salesforce’s ever-expanding ambitions translate and apply to small and medium businesses (SMBs).
By Stephanie Watson, 6 August 2012
Small businesses owners have many decisions to make about their business, one of this is how to provide great customer service. If your business will be making sales or offering services you'll need to answer the question: Do I need a dedicated customer service agent? To answer the question, you'll need to know how many calls (tickets, or emails) you get during a specific period of time, as well as what you want the dedicated customer service agents to do for your clients, and finally what is your budget? There are problems with using shared agents over dedicated customer service agents the main one being training. It can be difficult to properly train agents who are taking calls (emails, or tickets) for multiple types of business entities, however a shared service can be a valid answer when budgets are short. But a dedicated customer service agent will always be better trained, and better able to offer your clients good customer service than otherwise. Fortunately, there is a lot of software that can help you organize your customer service agents better, allowing you to serve more customers with fewer agents. Cloud-based help desk software, and customer support software will automate ticketing systems in such a way that much of your customer service happens automatically. For instance, your client will fill out a ticket, which will indicate what type of issue they are having, whether technical or other, and then it will automatically send the customers issue on to the correct customer service agent. As you can see, this is far different from old fashioned customer service where the call just went to the next available agent. Ticketing systems allow a customer to get the right agent based on their issue.