Secret Sauce of the Business Cloud–SaaS

 

Why SaaS is the secret to success in the business marketplace

The next wave of the Cloud is well on its way. For a good time, SaaS models focused on inevitable Cloud disruptive factors – Subscription, Billing, Hosting, Zero Legacy etc. Disintermediation proved a big success mantra for upcoming SaaS companies. But the middleman took note and turned the tide against itself, defeating the objective of having the Cloud in the first place. Transactions started happening directly. Its now the turn of the new SaaS model – SaaS becoming the System of Record as opposed just a low cost line item. Businesses take note, it may well be the tip of the iceberg!!

I came across an excellent article along the same lines:

By serving as the access portal to the marketplace, the system of record and most importantly, the paywall that drives predictable revenue, SaaS can revolutionize the marketplace model to offer modern advantages the failed B2B marketplaces of the early 2000s never had. These include revenue predictability, favorable unit economics and a barrier to disintermediation.

Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/14/why-saas-is-the-secret-to-success-in-the-business-marketplace/#VYgSbOwdc32dTuM3.99

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Get your free online personal research assistant…

 

If you are like me, you spend lotsa time researching on your customers before you meet them – (not to mention senior folks from your company). You have back to back meetings, and less than five minutes to run from one to the other.  It will take you much longer than 5 minutes to lookup everyone in the meeting and try to find their LinkedIn accounts, Twitter accounts, Blogs, Company blogs, and news related to their companies.Till date, I used to research by hand on the Net- LinkedIn, the works… Now we have a cool startup, Prepwork(https://prepwork.com) which promises to automate all of that. PrepWork searches for you and sends information that will help you make a positive impression. I have synced my calendar, so should you!

Prepwork, a digital assistant application that aggregates background data from all over the web that applies to each person that you are meeting with during a given day (e.g. alma mater, company news, recent blog posts and tweets, etc.). Then it emails this “intel” to you during the morning prior to your meeting, just like your own personal research assistant.

It gives you insights into someone’s sports interests.  So, in the sample image, this user follows the key players on the Miami Heat.  Because the user follows the Miami Heat, they show you the score from their last game and a link to the ESPN recap. Cool isn’t it …

We just rolled out a new feature - we give you insights into someone’s sports interests.  So, in the sample image, this user follows the key players on the Miami Heat.  Because the user follows the Miami Heat, we show you the score from their last game and a link to the ESPN recap.
Let us know what you think feedback@prepwork.com

Add Yesware, Become more productive

One of the key objectives of my blog is to provide my readers details of tools which are cutting edge (and usually free) which moves their productivity needle several notches higher.

So introducing Yesware – the Boston-based startup  that helps sales and marketing people assess how effective  email campaigns are by tracking who opens what  and when. A big part of that story is that Yesware’s service integrates with Gmail and contacts as well as with Salesforce.com, synchronizing appointments between Gmail and Salesforce.com accounts.

Get your free Yesware at http://www.yesware.com/

Product Tour

Yesware is a free add-on for Gmail that helps you sell more effectively right from your inbox.

Email Tracking

Email Tracking

Get actionable insights into how your prospects and customers are reacting to your messages with our email tracking features.

  • Get alerts each time someone opens an email or clicks on a link
  • Know exactly when to follow up with your clients and prospects
  • Know where in the world your message is being viewed
  • View the device that prospects are using to open your email

Yesware Team Collaboration

Team Collaboration

Yesware Teams make it easy to share winning messages and viewing detailed team reports.

  • Name your team and invite colleagues to collaborate
  • Share all of your winning email templates with each other to increase sales and productivity
  • View detailed team reports & analytics on emails sent, opens, response rates, & much more

Yesware Custom Templates

Custom Templates

Create personal, customized email templates for every stage of your sales process.

  • Choose your best templates by seeing which ones your customers reply to most
  • Incorporate links and rich text to send great looking messages at the click of a button—every time
  • Use [brackets] to indicate custom fields to make your templates even faster and easier to use

Yesware Reminders

Reminders

With Yesware Reminders, you’ll never miss a follow-up again.

  • Remind yourself to follow-up on important emails
  • Use Reminders to easily prioritize critical messages that don’t receive replies
  • Get detailed tracking information about your emails when your Reminders come due

Yesware Salesforce Sync

Salesforce Sync

Harness the best that Yesware and Salesforce have to offer. We let you manage your sales funnel, right from Gmail.

  • Create and Edit Salesforce contacts directly from Gmail
  • Automatically sync all tracking data— sent emails, opens, link-clicks, and replies— to Salesforce
  • Quickly add new tasks to Salesforce while you’re reading an email from a contact
  • Get activity reporting for each contact, lead, account, and opportunity

Yesware CRM Syncing

CRM Syncing

With just one click every email you write can sync automatically with your CRM. You can focus on selling, we’ll take care of the data.

  • Ease of use thanks to partnerships with popular providers like Salesforce, Batchbook, Pipedrive, Base, Highrise, SugarCRM, and other services like TimeTrade
  • Save time and avoid mistakes from manual entry
  • Actionable information when it matters most

Yesware Reports and Analytics

Reports and Analytics

Our reports and analytics turn you into a sales superstar by helping you close more deals—faster.

  • Know exactly who’s best to follow up with by using our personal tracking reports and gauge your email opens for the last 30 days
  • See where in the world people open your emails from inside your inbox
  • Find out if your message is reaching top decision makers
  • Prioritize your email prospecting with subject filters and email activity sorting

Yesware Team Reports

Team Reports

Quickly and easily monitor your team’s performance, and goal progress, with Team reports.

  • Learn how your team’s messaging is resonating with your target market
  • Know what your team is doing everyday without having to rely on manual data entry
  • See which emails get high open rates and leverage these insights to share expertise amongst the team
  • Reward best practices and winning approaches

Chatter on ….

A good validation of my earlier assertion that having a Chatter interface is pathbreaking for Salesforce.com.

Read on :

Salesforce.com is not solely a CRM company anymore. It’s a CRM company that has its sights on owning the enterprise SaaS stack, well beyond its core sales roots. The latest example comes with Salesforce Company Community (SCC), its social and mobile replacement for the corporate Intranet.

SCC is designed around Chatter, the activity stream technology that without question is becoming Salesforce’s brand and model for its new and emerging services.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/30/salesforce-com-offers-replacement-to-corporate-intranet-and-moves-farther-from-crm-roots/

A Brief History of Cloud Computing

There are probably as many definitions of Cloud Computing as there are self-acclaimed Cloud Specialist. Most of those definitions include pay-per-use, instant availability,  scalability, hardware abstraction, self-provisioning, virtualization and internet. A short but safe summary would be “Cloud Computing is a new way of delivering IT services: end users can deploy the services they need when they need them. Many of those services are available over the internet and users are only charged for what they consume.” The Cloud Computing market is typically segmented into public clouds (services offered over the internet), private clouds (internal enterprise) and hybrid clouds (a mix of both). The Public Cloud market is often sub-segmented into IAAS (Infrastructure as a Service), PAAS (Platform) and SAAS (Software).

Cloud Computing found its origin in the success of server virtualization and the possibilities to run IT more efficiently through server consolidation. Soon, visionaries came up with idea to bring virtualization to a next level by implementing some early storage and network virtualization techniques and thus making abstraction of the hardware in the entire data center. Add to this self-provisioning and auto scaling, and Cloud Computing was born. At the time it was called utility computing, however, and only Amazon – a bookstore – was good at it. Amazon saw a growing popularity of its EC2 (compute) and S3 (storage) and the Amazon API was being used by thousands of developers and many more customers to deploy and run infrastructure in the Cloud.

The first BYOC (build your own cloud) products that were brought to the market came from companies like Flexiscale (UK), 3Tera (US) and Q-layer (BE). They aimed at the ISP’s – who had an urgent need for innovation: ISP’s had entered into a price war amongst themselves and their market was now also threatened by newcomers like Amazon, Microsoft and Google. The first new services those ISP’s offered were nothing more than virtual machines – allowing them to run their facilities more efficiently and still charge the same prices to their customers. Soon, companies like Savvis, GoGrid and Rackspace added interfaces that enabled end users to control their own infrastructure. In early 2009, Sun Microsystems launched the Virtual Data Center (VDC), a graphical interface with drag&drop that enables users to create and manage a full virtual data center in the cloud.

Currently, the battle has moved to the Private Clouds. Enterprises seem to be ready to cloud-enable their infrastructure either in a purely Private or a Hybrid (enabling cloud-bursting to Public Clouds for certain services) environment. All the leading software providers have announced their products and I expect an important role for integrators and telcos to help enterprises to pick a best of breed for their own implementation.

Implementing a private cloud affects the entire business, including the entire IT infrastructure (hardware, software, services) but also most business processes (e.g. regulatory compliance). As none of the big software providers have teams with experience in all those fields – except maybe IBM – enterprises will  have to rely on integrators to build their clouds. I do expect, however, that quite a few enterprises will build their clouds all by themselves (e.g. Wall Street banks).

So what is the benefit? What is the promise of Cloud Computing? That really depends on the point of view you are taking. The CIO should be able to serve his customer more efficiently. The user at home will probably not be aware but they already use Animoto, Gmail, Flickr and Facebook – all of this not possible without Cloud Computing. The test engineer in an enterprise will be able to deploy his servers in seconds – not minutes. The CFO will be able to negotiate better conditions with his energy supplier thanks to more efficient metering of energy consumption. The are plenty of scenarios of how Cloud Computing benefits users and providers. In my opinion however, it all comes down to using new technologies to really abstract the hardware and to make, supply and use software independently from the hardware it runs on.

Read on at http://java.sys-con.com/node/1150011

Why Cloud Single Sign-On will become a crucial differentiator for Cloud Vendors

Visualize this. You have a IaaS provider, then a SaaS provider (possibly multiple), identity provider and so on. And each has a disparate access policy. The rumblings should be clear by now. A classic case of cocktail of systems.  Of course you dont want to tie it back to your own systems for access purpose. It defeats the Cloud vision. moreso, it becomes a daily routine to coordinate with so many vendors.

So whats clearly up in the air is a requirement that all Cloud providers work towards a single sign-on option. Implementation is not in scope of this blog post. I do see many ways of reaching only if the spadework starts now.

As with my other blog posts, I do see a big market opportunity for someone to solve this problem.

And if you do solve it, pls inform me so I could throw away those scraps of paper with codewords to remember my URLs and passwords.

Why I agree that Cloud is An Antidote To Corporate Bureaucracy

The Cloud helps me get deployed in “Record Time”. It allows me to design and develop,in fact they coexist”, in an Agile manner. Its fits with my age profile – Too Old to rob a bank, Too Young to hang up my boots. Its Retail in every sense of the word – Convenience Trumps everything else. Location is Where I am. And I do it not because its cool but because it makes work impactful and meaningful. Meaning cutting off the older guys who get in the way of True Work. I don’t have to spend time trying to show their relevance.

Here’s a write-up on Forrester and others buttressing the Antidote claims.

In other words, as with open source, these developers can’t be bothered with corporate bureaucracy. In an earlier Forrester survey, developers said the primary benefit of the cloud is that it’s the “Fastest way for me to get my project done and deployed.” This calls to mind Redmonk analyst Stephen O’Grady’s assertion that “Convenience trumps just about everything” when it comes to cloud adoption.

Read on @ Forrester- Middle-Aged Developers Driving Cloud Computing – ReadWrite

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The State of Saas

Staff.com presents The State of Software-as-a-Service

SaaS Helpdesk – Best in Class Cloud Based Helpdesk

The startup provides a Cloud based Helpdesk and is used by several organizations globally. It’s a Pay As you go service which means you don’t have to invest in any new hardware,software or other services. The First three Users are Free for you. I would allow you to explore the other interesting options on the site.
You can visit http://www.freshdesk.com/.  You can setup a free account on this site itself through the Get Started button on the Homepage. You could also create a
Custom domain for e.g. mycompany.freshdesk.com which could then be used by employees of “mycompany” globally.

TOP FEATURES

·         Help Desk Ticketing
·         Social Customer Service
·         Time Tracking
·         Built-in Knowledge Base
·         Help Desk Automation
·         Integrated Forums
·         Multi-product Helpdesk
·         Help Desk Reporting
·         Help Desk Gamification
·         Help Desk Mobile App

How Cloud Computing Can Help Small Businesses

Good Read.

Cloud computing makes use of the excess server capacity of specialized providers. Your work may be split among many machines, sometimes called virtual servers, that also work on the tasks of other individuals or companies. (Software-as-a-service, often confused with cloud computing, is a subset of it.) Cloud computing can help small businesses ease capacity issues such as the ones BrickSimple experienced. You don’t need to invest in your own servers or employ staff to take care of them. Instead, you pay only for the capacity you need at a given time. And as demand rises, capacity increases without interruptions.

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_68/s0908060315092.htm