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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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Latest Blogs from Chris Bliss
Listen: I know this post is strange. As a consultant, it’s strange to broadcast to the world that “Hey, you probably don’t need us.” Counterproductive, right? And before I get a call from my higher-ups, I should quickly add a caveat: most businesses don’t need software consulting in it...
Hey, software junkies… how do you feel about gamification? The evolution of business software, specifically SaaS, continues to spark new, innovative, and powerful tools for business owners to optimize how their employees use, and gain from, the systems that are in place. One company th...
There’s something to be said for businesses that are ahead of the curve in terms of cloud software adoption. We have worked on hundreds of software implementations over the past 5+ years, and it’s “apples and oranges” when comparing old (legacy) systems with new...
Let’s say you buy nonrefundable, nontransferable tickets to see the Superbowl. In economics, that’s a “sunk cost” – an irretrievable past expenditure. Now say the Superbowl comes and you feel sick. Really sick. You’re convinced that going will be less fun than staying at home ...
Listen: as cloud computing consultants, we drink the cloud computing koolaid. We’ve implemented cloud-based software for businesses of all sizes, across just about every industry. We’ve seen it revolutionize how businesses work. We’ve also seen security become a very real and increasin...
Are you looking for a new CRM for your business? How about something to manage your sales efforts, or track your projects, or handle your finances? Searching the internet for “cloud based software” or “business CRMs” can be a daunting process; there are endless ...
We all like to treat ourselves during the holidays. Turkey and bacon sandwiches, piles of stuffing dripping with butter, pie after pie… it’s a good life. Still, it’s easy to forget where you spend most of your time—at work, in front of the computer, struggling with software (or enjoyin...
Business software is changing. The huge, on-premise, all-in-one systems of yesteryear are giving way to smaller, sexier, cloud-based systems (well, maybe not sexy). As the Solve360 and Xero integration shows, the best way forward for small business owners requires choosing the right sy...
It’s not uncommon for small businesses to depend on a medley of cobbled-together solutions to keep track of their sales, relationships, and metrics. In our line of work, we frequently hear stories about teams using Excel spreadsheets to record data, Outlook to communicate with and orga...
As software nerds, we sometimes forget that not all organizations are driven by sales. Your average CRM, project management, or CMS tool is loaded with terms like “leads,” “customers,” and “sales funnel” — not exactly helpful language for the ~1.5 million nonprofits operating in the Un...
What should we really be talking about when we talk about “going mobile”? There has recently been much buzz revolving around the mobile side of CRM software and the promise it brings to businesses everywhere. This commotion is exemplified by a recent TechCrunch piece written by Ankur J...
We’ve noticed something unusual. When a business first contacts us, they often ask a series of questions that are remarkably similar to to the questions we hear from other businesses, regardless of company size or industry vertical. How can they organize their business’s lead dat...
Social media has revolutionized our personal and business relationships. Leaving messages on landlines, dialing through a list of business cards, and writing hand written letters are things of the past; tweeting, poking, emailing, and reminding ourselves to follow up (with alerts on ou...
Everyone in the IT industry knows how amazing cloud computing is – it can cut overheads, introduce flexibility and make previously unobtainable services affordable for even the smallest of businesses. But with 60 per cent of the American public claiming to have no clue at all about clo...
We hear it all the time. What CRM is the best? Google it and you’ll get a litany of responses, almost all in contradiction of one another. Some say Salesforce. Some say Zoho. Some say Capsule, some say Brightpearl. You get the idea. Thing is, they’re all wrong. See, there is no “best” ...
Software changes fast. So fast that sometimes it’s hard to see the trends and changes, the patterns that determine how tomorrow’s tools will work. Normally that’s no big deal – it’s exciting, right? – but in the world of business software, even subtle changes can carry impl...
We review dozens of cloud-based CRMs every year. Some are great, some are… less great. Thing is, the great ones always seem familiar. They share common strengths. Based on our experience, here’s a list of 5 ways to tell great CRMs apart from the rest. 1. Intuitive navigation. Sof...
Today we’re happy to share a post from Deney Dentel, CEO for Nordisk Systems, Inc.  Nordisk Systems provides cloud computing infrastructure, available and accessible for businesses of all sizes and industries. Enjoy! ————— There are many reasons to make the switch to cloud servic...
We don’t typically repost our own content, but the following is a gem from 2010 that still holds true. API integration is great but it has drawbacks too! Read on for our opinion, and leave yours in the comments below… ————————...
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, conferences are a mainstay of any self-respecting industry, and cloud computing is no exception. 2013 promises some good shows, from the mainstays of Cloud Expo, to relative upstarts like ICNC. We’ve gathered information on nine of these conferences and summarized...
We’re always in the market for innovative software solutions, especially when they save time and headaches. That’s why we’re psyched to see When I Work, a slick, focused, easy to use employee scheduling solution. Last week we sat down with their founders and ran through the product, an...
One of the great aspects of Software as a Service (SaaS) is that the software is always improving. It has to improve: users pay a monthly subscription, meaning they can cancel the service whenever they choose. Hence why the top software companies stay ahead of the curve and frequently ...
We take our cloud computing seriously but it never hurts to have a laugh at ourselves. That’s why we chuckled when we saw this cartoon at the Geek & Poke blog, and it’s why we’re sharing it now. Beware of jargon! ————— VM Associates is a New York City based cloud ...
So, you use and love Zendesk. We do too. But what’s this new Zendesk thing that launched this week? How does it work? Will it affect your customer support? What does it all mean? Live Zendesk support, NYC-style This September 26th, at 6-7 pm, we’ll be answering those questions and more...
  This week we’re sitting down with Jonathan Bensamoun, head of product and resident retail guru at Shopkeep. Shopkeep is “point of sale software” (POS), ie the software that drives the registers and inventory when you buy at retail stores. Unlike most POS system...
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 ma...
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 ...
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 boug...
On the heels of yesterday’s announcement regarding Capsule training, we’re now offering Producteev 101, a weekly group webinar that covers basic Producteev navigation, use cases and best practices. Look no further if you’re in the market for Producteev training! Who it’s for Anyone jus...
We’ve helped clients use Capsule CRM for years. It’s a great product, perfect for sales teams needing simple sales and workflow management. That’s why we’re offering Capsule CRM training, once a week, every week. That’s right, you read correctly – we...
In the good ‘ole days… Customer service use to be simple — if you had a problem or a question then you called the designated 800 number. In more advanced systems you had a menu of options to choose from (“Press 1 for sales, Press 2 for technical support, Press 3...
The cloud revolution is in full swing, with dozens of new cloud-based software services popping up each month. We now have incredible business tools to manage everything from sales to marketing to accounting to inventory, and the software keeps getting better. As is the way with softwa...
A few weeks ago we were called by a frantic young business owner. His problem? His business – a 3 month old roofing company – was winning more deals than the founders and crew could manage. They were hiring sales reps and managers fast, but needed a system for, well, everyt...
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 ...
Everyone knows that marketing matters. What they don’t know is that given the right tools, marketing isn’t expensive, time consuming, or difficult. That’s great news for small business owners strapped on cash and time. Here’s our list of 5 easy to use, well tested, and free online tool...
In New York, everyone “does Biz Dev.” It’s the magic thing that people do that turns little companies into giant empires. It’s what makes great CEOs and revolutionizes whole markets and companies. But what is it?I meet plenty of Biz Dev people who “don’t do marketing or sales because t...
I speak with small business owners every day. Most of the time, we’re speaking because they have problems – workflow problems, software problems, scaling problems. Solutions aren’t obvious. If they were, we wouldn’t be in business. Thing is, it’s not just that solutions aren’t obvio...
We’ve long loved Solve360. It’s really good. That’s why we gave them an A+ review, why we partnered with them, and it’s why we’re now offering weekly Solve360 support and training. That’s right – weekly Solve360 training. Twice a week, every week, we’ll be teaching “Solve 101” an...
We’ve been hunting for quality cloud based accounting software for a long time. To date, the options just haven’t been appealing – Quickbooks Online feels dated, Netsuite is expensive, Freshbooks and Freeagent are limiting, and Wave, Saasu and others just aren’t there yet. What’s...
We’re always game for good analogies, especially when they help clarify jargon, and ESPECIALLY when they involve cereal… Props to @ed_lea for the image.