Thoughts on what businesses actually need from the Cloud, not what vendors wish they needed.

Chris Bliss

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Top Stories by Chris Bliss

Despite our recent(ish) blog post bashing Microsoft’s cloud initiatives, there’s a nugget of brilliance in “The Economics of The Cloud,” a recent paper published by Rolf Harms and Michael Yamartino, head corporate strategists at Microsoft. It’s a good paper, but the brilliance is in the opening metaphor:   When cars emerged in the early 20th century, they were initially called horseless carriages. Understandably, people were skeptical at first, and they viewed the invention through the lens of the paradigm that had been dominant for centuries: the horse and carriage. The first cars also looked very similar to the horse and carriage (just without the horse), as engineers initially failed to understand the new possibilities of the new paradigm, such as building for higher speeds, or greater safety. Incredibly, engineers kept designing the whip holder into the early ... (more)

Definitions for Dummies: What Is Cloud Computing?

We’ve been absent from the blogosphere for awhile now and thought we’d make our reentry with a simple definition. Cloud computing. What is it? How is it different from, well, normal computing? What does it mean for business owners? Where is it headed? Generally speaking, “cloud computing” is the use of the Internet to run applications or store data. Until recently, most software programs ran on your personal computer. Cloud computing changes that: programs run on a remote server (or servers), accessed by (but not stored on) your computer. Web-based email? Cloud computing. Google... (more)

Finally, a 21st Century Customer Service Solution: Our A+ Review of Zendesk

20th century customer service consisted of packed call centers, phones ringing off the hook, and large, convoluted databases of information to manage a never-ending stream of support requests. Cloud computing, and the introduction of powerful, business-specific software solutions, has changed that. There are hundreds of systems out there for handling contact management (CRM), project management, and sales workflows: likewise, there are more than a couple systems built for customer service. The best of the bunch is Zendesk, and we are psyched to award it an A+ and our seal of appr... (more)

RightSignature reviewed and why E-Signature should be better

submit_url = "http://www.vm-associates.com/2010/10/10/rightsignature-reviewed-esignature/"; There are more visible SaaS offerings, but e-signature services are fast becoming a cornerstone of cloud-based business. It makes sense – why print and sign paper documents when everything else is done online? Plenty of companies are asking that question, and it shows: EchoSign, an e-signature industry leader, reported growth of 216% between Q2 ‘09 and Q2 ‘10. Not bad for a company named for a dolphin. RightSignature is a relative newcomer to the e-signature game, but having signed Farme... (more)

SprinXCRM, Brightpearl and Connect2Field Reviewed

submit_url = "http://www.vm-associates.com/2010/12/01/sprinxcrm-brightpearl-connect2field-reviewed/"; We demo new business-oriented cloud solutions all the time and the holiday season is no exception. This week we looked at three inexpensive, cloud-based CRMs: SprinxCRM, Brightpearl and Connect2Field. This isn’t really a full review of each product, but more of a comparative glance at three CRMs aimed at small to medium sized companies with a budget. Lets see how they fare. SprinxCRM Sprinx strikes us as a throwback to last-gen CRMs, which isn’t all that surprising considering i... (more)