Thoughts on what businesses actually need from the Cloud, not what vendors wish they needed.

Chris Bliss

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MS Excel & Outlook – The Inefficient Past

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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 organize prospects, and Post-It Notes to manage a project.

These solutions are typically loosely organized and often depend on improvised metrics that emerge based on discoveries made during the team’s daily operations. It’s completely understandable – the team encounters a need to impose some sort of order on the chaos, and so they are compelled come up with whatever terminology and organizational method they can.

While such solutions may prove helpful for a while, in the long run they unfortunately cultivate a fragile infrastructure that requires a great amount of time and effort to maintain – thus undermining whatever value they can bring to the table. More pressingly, its informality also results in a situation where crucial questions of the business are easily overlooked: What sales channels are converting the best? Which sales reps are producing the best numbers? Where do we stand in our active projects?

Cobbled-together solutions impede the ability of businesses to effectively interact with these questions. If your business seeks to grow in scale and sophistication, if you want to truly know what’s working and what’s not, you need to develop a strong grasp on your information and metrics.

There exists a wealth of solutions out there that help businesses gain control over their operations and answer the most important questions with features already baked into the system. For example, CapsuleCRM, a sales CRM, natively includes a robust pipeline sales tracking feature that helps businesses always know who is performing, which channels are the most lucrative, and what is working (and what isn’t).

Similarly, Zendesk, a cloud-based customer service system, boasts an elegant ticketing system to keep track of support requests and allows for one-on-one communication through any channel (agent interface, email, Twitter, live chat, and so on).

With these cloud-based software systems populating the marketplace, there is simply no excuse to remain dependent on cobbled-together solutions. The only legitimate cause for concern should be the question of what your business needs and which software can best meet those needs. No two operations are the same, and if you need some help finding the best fit, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to help!

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VM Associates is a New York City cloud computing consulting firm. We help companies transition into newer, better, smarter software. Contact us to talk about your business, the cloud, and how we might help.

The post MS Excel & Outlook – The Inefficient Past appeared first on VM Associates.

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Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.