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 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 calendaring, and limited integrations are all serious drawbacks. We’re giving it an 85/100, a respectable “B” on our grading scale. Read on for details… Functionality = 28/30 Base’s feature list is quite good. Standout features include email integration (you can send and track emails from within... (more)

Why Cloud Computing Makes Sense For Small Businesses

submit_url = ""; 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)

RightSignature reviewed and why E-Signature should be better

submit_url = ""; 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)

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)

No Tecknolegy: Five Costs of Inaction, or Why Cloud Computing Makes Sense

It’s easy to always say no. Your systems function, the processes are clear, it works. Why invest in cloud computing if nothing is broken? What’s wrong with inaction? We hear that sentiment all the time and it’s easily understood. Business owners are risk adverse and they don’t want to fall for short-term fads, especially with the backbone of their business (IT). That’s commendable. Unfortunately, when a game changer like cloud computing comes along, undue conservatism becomes increasingly costly. Here’s why. 1. When you overlook meaningful trends you then lend a strong competiti... (more)