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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

When small business owners think of software, they think of email, file management, and…. CRM. Shorthand for “Contact Relationship Management,” CRMs help businesses organize their customers, leads and sales. Important stuff. Unfortunately, choosing a CRM isn’t easy. The Google Apps marketplace lists 90 of ‘em: GetApp has over 280. There are thousands more (and they all sound the same). How’s a business owner to choose? We review (and break) new CRMs every week, so we’re pretty confident when we spot a good one. Here are 5 tips for choosing your own CRM – hope it helps! #1 Choose a usable CRM Usability matters. A lot. As you try new systems, pay due attention to the experience. How intuitive is navigation? Can you find what you’re looking for? Will employees enjoy this? Does it make their job easier? It’s tempting to pick CRMs solely for their feature set, but reme... (more)

Upcoming Cloud Conferences Worth Checking Out

Here at VM we’re planning our spring 2011 conference tour and we’re happy to say there’s a lot going on in the world of presentations and meetings about cloud-computing. Deadlines are fast-approaching though, so check out the list we’ve put together below and see if there’s something happening near you… hope to see you there! Note: this list is incomplete and bound to change. Descriptions were taken off the sponsoring organizations’ websites and so may not reflect content and/or quality. Don’t hold us accountable if a conference sucks. What: Global Services Conference 2011: Enabl... (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)

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)

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)