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

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 Apps? Cloud computing. Facebook? Cloud computing. Beyond its technical definitions, cloud computing also implies a host of benefits and perceived dangers. Here are some of the biggies. Usability - Most cloud-based applications are easier to use than their on-site brethren. This especially ... (more)

Why Cloud Computing Makes Sense For Small Businesses

submit_url = "http://www.vm-associates.com/2010/04/10/why-the-cloud-makes-sense-for-small-businesses/"; Last month I did a presentation for small business owners at the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris. For many businesses, “cloud computing” is just a marketing term that’s being pitched to them, hot buzz words thrown in their faces. I wanted to really outline what cloud computing is, and how it can make a real difference for their companies. The takeaways are simple: By partnering with a service provider to run your business software (and keep it running), you free up all the... (more)

We Need To Stop Failing The Future.

The going is good, and we’re still screwing it up We’ve been helping companies utilize new and powerful technology for just under three years now. It has been fantastic. We’re growing rapidly and seeing the sea-change in how some businesses are using software. But what’s even more astounding is the fact that so few people really are aware of just how available fantastic new services are. If anything has become evidently clear to me, it’s a profound disconnect between the businesses we’re helping and the awareness about the next generation of software that is readily available to t... (more)

Lessons from the Cloud: Capsule, Xero, and a Happy, Happy Customer

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, everything. Task management, sales management, invoicing, P & L – they needed it all, and they needed it ASAP. Sound familiar? Cloud Computing Swat Team, Converge Our first call together was on a Thursday evening. The company – let’s call them Claybourne Roofing – was hiring 8(!) new sales reps and holding an orien... (more)

Top Five Tips for Choosing a Small Business CRM

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 Cho... (more)