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)

Getting Bought by Salesforce is Bad News for Thinkfuse Users

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 Thin... (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)

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)

Software, Surgery and SaaS

Back in my college days I worked at an ambitious and fast-paced non-profit in downtown Portland, OR.  It was an okay job: I was the half-IT/half-everything else guy with too much work and no pay, but I liked the people, and, well, I needed the job. Thing was, I was the IT guy and our software solutions were AWFUL. Without naming names, the email client was awkward and rigid, the CRM was everything that it shouldn’t have been (bloated, insecure, inefficient, confusing), and just about everything else changed from desk to desk. It was a mess that the organization paid for every d... (more)