|By Chris Bliss||
|December 12, 2012 12:41 PM EST||
We review dozens of cloud-based CRMs every year. Some are great, some are… less great. Thing is, the great ones always seem familiar. They share common strengths. Based on our experience, here’s a list of 5 ways to tell great CRMs apart from the rest.
1. Intuitive navigation. Software is only as helpful as the people using it. If you find yourself struggling to get things done inside a solution, imagine trying to launch it as a central piece of software for your employees. It’ll be an uphill battle. End-user usability should be a chief concern as you pick a CRM – don’t just focus on things managers like to see.
2. Extensive integrations. Great development teams know what their solution should and shouldn’t do. They’ll also integrate with other solutions to achieve functionality they otherwise wouldn’t have. In the case of CRMs, that means integrating with small business focused accounting solutions (like Xero or Freshbooks), helpdesk solutions (Zendesk), and, of course, Google Apps.
3. A+ support. Don’t just demo a solution – post on the forums and bug their support staff. Does it take a week to get a response? Forget it then – you’re implementing a vital software component and need (deserve?) top class customer service. Also, have a look at their partner page – do they have a network of 3rd party consultants who can help if you need additional support? It’s a good sign if they do. Dedicated partners means the solution is strong enough for other businesses to invest in.
4. Open APIs. “API” is nerd-speak for how solutions cooperate together. Great CRMs have an open API, making it easy for 3rd party developers (like us) to build our own integrations and add-ons. It’s essential, especially if you foresee building a network of applications for your business.
5. Frequent updates. Great pieces of software don’t stand still. Get a feeling for how often the software is updated (check the blog, updates page, or forum announcements). Is it more than once or twice a year? Are new features oriented with where your business is going? Be wary of software that isn’t being updated – it might mean the team behind it is working on other things.
VM Associates is a New York City based 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.
It's time to face reality: "Americans are from Mars, Europeans are from Venus," and in today's increasingly connected world, understanding "inter-planetary" alignments and deviations is mission-critical for cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems, discussed cultural expectations of privacy based on new research across these elements
Jan. 28, 2015 09:15 AM EST Reads: 3,561
"Application monitoring and intelligence can smooth the path in a DevOps environment. In a DevOps environment you see constant change. If you are trying to monitor things in a constantly changing environment, you're going to spend a lot of your job fixing your monitoring," explained Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 4,579
"Desktop as a Service is emerging as a very big trend. One of the big influencers of this – for Esri – is that we have a large user base that uses virtualization and they are looking at Desktop as a Service right now," explained John Meza, Product Engineer at Esri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,313
What do a firewall and a fortress have in common? They are no longer strong enough to protect the valuables housed inside. Like the walls of an old fortress, the cracks in the firewall are allowing the bad guys to slip in - unannounced and unnoticed. By the time these thieves get in, the damage is already done and the network is already compromised. Intellectual property is easily slipped out the back door leaving no trace of forced entry. If we want to reign in on these cybercriminals, it's hig...
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,492
BMC Software plans to acquire assets of CDB Software, Inc., a mainframe data management company that has developed utilities for managing IBM DB2 databases with virtually no outage. Focusing on the availability of mission-critical applications is strategic for BMC as it continues to help its customers transform IT into a competitive advantage for their business. CDB's technology complements BMC's existing mainframe data management portfolio, which includes software utilities for DB2 administrat...
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,496
The consumption economy is here and so are cloud applications and solutions that offer more than subscription and flat fee models and at the same time are available on a pure consumption model, which not only reduces IT spend but also lowers infrastructure costs, and offers ease of use and availability. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, discussed this shifting dynamic with an ...
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,445
More and more file-based and machine generated data is being created every day causing exponential data and content growth, and creating a management nightmare for IT managers. What data centers really need to cope with this growth is a purpose-built tiered archive appliance that enables users to establish a single storage target for all of their applications - an appliance that will intelligently place and move data to and between storage tiers based on user-defined policies. In her session a...
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 4,053
Recurring revenue models are great for driving new business in every market sector, but they are complex and need to be effectively managed to maximize profits. How you handle the range of options for pricing, co-terming and proration will ultimately determine the fate of your bottom line. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder at Aria Systems, session examined: How time impacts recurring revenue How to effectively handle customer plan changes The range of pricing a...
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 4,149
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,654
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,891
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, ...
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 4,108
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects - scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e....
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 4,073
"At Harbinger we do products as well as services. Our services are with helping companies move their products to the cloud operating systems. Some of the challenges we have seen as far as cloud adoption goes are in the cloud security space," noted Shrikant Pattathil, Executive Vice President at Harbinger Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,318
After a couple of false starts, cloud-based desktop solutions are picking up steam, driven by trends such as BYOD and pervasive high-speed connectivity. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, cut through the hype and the acronyms, and discussed the emergence of full-featured cloud workspaces that do for the desktop what cloud infrastructure did for the server. He also discussed VDI vs DaaS, implementation strategies and evaluation criteria.
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,981
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP ...
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 4,112
Bring the world's best IaaS to the world's best PaaS. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Animesh Singh, a Senior Cloud Architect and Strategist for IBM Cloud Labs, and Jason Anderson, a Cloud Architect for IBM Cloud Labs, shared their experiences running Cloud Foundry on OpenStack. They focused on how Cloud Foundry and OpenStack complement each other, how they technically integrate using cloud provider interface (CPI), how we could automate an OpenStack setup for Cloud Foundry deployments, an...
Jan. 28, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 4,154
OneCloud Software has launched the OneCloud Partner Program. Responding to demand from prospective partners, the Program offers managed service providers (MSPs) and resellers the resources they need to grow their business with the OneCloud Recovery solution. OneCloud Recovery is an automated solution for disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BC), which leverages Amazon Web Services as the disaster recovery site. “This is a tremendous opportunity with an innovative hybrid cloud-based DR pro...
Jan. 28, 2015 08:45 AM EST Reads: 1,216
“DevOps is really about the business. The business is under pressure today, competitively in the marketplace to respond to the expectations of the customer. The business is driving IT and the problem is that IT isn't responding fast enough," explained Mark Levy, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Serena Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 28, 2015 07:00 AM EST Reads: 3,855
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile ...
Jan. 28, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 4,203
In her General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing, at Verizon Enterprise, focused on finding the right mix of renting vs. buying Oracle capacity to scale to meet business demands, and offer validated Oracle database TCO models for Oracle development and testing environments. Anne Plese is a marketing and technology enthusiast/realist with over 19+ years in high tech. At Verizon Enterprise, she focuses on driving growth for the Verizon Cloud platfo...
Jan. 28, 2015 04:30 AM EST Reads: 4,770