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

Chris Bliss

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business christmas giftWe 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 enjoying it, if you’re lucky).

Check out the gift ideas below for cheap, effective ways to make business better—and bring a little Christmas cheer to the workplace.

1. Your files anytime, anywhere. Cloud storage systems like Dropbox or Box make storing files super easy. If you struggle with keeping files and folders centralized, with easy access for multiple users across computers, look no further.

2. Automatic backups. Look, you need backups. Accidents happen. Checkout Mozy for an easy, automated, and inexpensive backup solution.

3. Better email. Are you using Outlook? Don’t use Outlook. Seriously. I know you think it’s good, but it isn’t. It’s really, really bad, and it’s wasting your time. Use Google Apps for Business.

4. Centralized social media. Managing one social media account is a hassle. Two? Forget about it—unless, that is, you’ve discovered Hootsuite.

5. Automatic reports. Everybody loves reports and no one seems to have them. Check out the cool things you can probably do yourself with Google spreadsheets, or, if you’re feeling lazy, check out something like Geckoboard.

6. Sexy lead forms. Your website is your business’s front door. Your contact forms are your receptionists (actually, that’s a terribly metaphor, but you get the point). Try out Wufoo to upgrade your contact form experience.

7. Easy email marketing. Email is a still a major seller. Mailchimp makes it better.

*Bonus 8th Christmas business gift idea!*

8. Great looking proposals. The days of glossy dossiers are over–and the days of mobile-friendly, conversation-oriented proposals are here. Use Quote Roller to get better results on your proposals.


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.

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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.