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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

Last week we received an email from Thinkfuse, a cloud app that delivers “simple status reports.” To make a long story short, they told us (and their many customers) that they were purchased by Salesforce and were shutting down operations. Here’s a screenshot of the email: Getting bought by Salesforce is big news for Thinkfuse. They probably made a splash load of cash for themselves and their investors. They’re now involved with a product serving millions of subscribers, instead of a few thousand. They’re moving up the totem pole. Unfortunately, the deal is less good news for Thinkfuse users. We don’t use Thinkfuse internally, but we thought highly of the product, and knew several clients who used it. It is (was) a great piece of software: simple, focused, functional. To lose the service abruptly, with Mailchimp as the only proffered alternative, feels a bit… well… h... (more)

The Top 5 Overlooked Reasons Why Business Belongs in the Cloud

There are plenty of “Top 5 lists” with generic reasons for why businesses should migrate into SaaS and cloud computing. Scalability, cost, mobility – they’re good reasons, sure, but we’ve heard them before: what else does cloud computing offer? If you’re thinking about moving your business into the cloud but haven’t yet, here are five reasons that are often overlooked: 1. Clients notice. Traditionally, IT has served a “backend” role in business. With the exception of email and websites, most businesses hide their IT solutions from clients, and with good reason: IT is ugly. Cloud ... (more)

Why SaaS and Cloud Apps Can Learn from WoW

Anyone who knows what WoW or MMORPG stand for also knows that PC gaming has something important to say about SaaS. For the acronym-unacquainted among us, “World of Warcraft” (WoW) is a “massively multiplayer role-playing game” (MMORPG) in which millions of online players compete for in-game rewards and experience. The numbers behind WoW are staggering – at the time of writing, over 5.5 million users were online. Add to that some 7 million inactive users, and Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind WoW, has over a dozen million paying subscribers. Wow indeed. Considering that ... (more)

Cloud Computing and the Horseless Carriage Syndrome

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 ... (more)

Our B Review of Base CRM

We review small business CRM software all the time. Sometimes we find great systems. Sometimes not. More typically, we find systems like Base CRM, a well designed and promising system that’s almost there (but not quite). Read on for our full review. The Quick and Dirty Verdict Base is a web-based CRM built by Future Simple, a venture-backed, Chicago based software company. As small business CRMs go, Base is pretty damn good: it’s easy to use, includes some neat features (client spaces!), and boasts an awesome mobile app. Unfortunately, the expensive pricing scheme, lack of cale... (more)