Is 2010 the year SMEs Fully Embrace Cloud Computing?

Overview A year or so ago, the term “cloud computing” was by no means mainstream. While it has certainly been a topic favoured among IT professionals for the last few years – the so-called “next big thing” in technology that could spur a whole new decade of growth – it was only in the latter part of 2009 that it started to gather pace and enter day to day business vocabulary. As early as 2008 small businesses had began to take note of cloud computing, but how seriously were they taking it? It’s one thing to be aware and excited by a new technology, but it’s another thing to run your business on it. To shed some light on this matter, Easynet Connect commissioned research to determine how seriously SMEs were taking the cloud at the end of 2008.... »

CRM – Valuing Simplicity

Simplicity Can be an Undervalued Criteria When potential IT products are evaluated the main criteria are always functionality and cost. The choice normally comes down to a compromise between the two: Product A does everything we need and more, Product B only meets 90% of our needs but is half the price. High functionality products cost more than low functionality products, you pays your money and you makes your choice. So why is simplicity not a key criteria, especially when most products are good enough? Simple products are easier to use and go wrong less often. Easier to use means that people use them more often and with more success, going wrong less often means happier users and an IT department not distracted by fixing problems. As software design and capabilities mature we are moving... »

CRM – Whose Data Is it Anyway?

The data your company holds is one of your most important assets, too important to be trusted just to a proprietary system. We’ve taken a few calls from friends in the last month along the lines of “I’ve bought a new iPod and now it won’t play my old music files”. The reason is because Apple encrypts its music files using its proprietary DRM (Digital Rights Management) which can prevent a music file being played on any other device as an anti-piracy measure including, until the problem was sorted, our friends’ new iPods. Now this is not the right forum for a debate on the rights and wrongs of DRM, but it did bring home to us the importance of ensuring that you can always access your data. Over the years we all accumulate data and often it is held in a pr... »

CRM – Six Things a CEO Should Know About CRM

Introduction Apart from the detailed functionality, there are six criteria that a CEO should make sure are addressed before the company commits to a new system. 1. Will the evaluation succeed? If one department runs the evaluation, chances are the other departments won’t want to use the system. If everybody is involved in the choice, the final solution risks being overly complicated and will die a slow death once rolled out. Make sure you get the balance right between keeping everybody happy and committee paralysis. 2. Will my people use it? Sadly, the number one cause of CRM failure is that the people on the ground won’t use it. Make sure that system is fast and easy to use, does not have features that get in the way of useability, that people are bought in to the project, tha... »

Customer Databases

Introduction Organisations are increasingly using databases to manage customer relationships to increase both sales and customer satisfaction. A database can help you identify key trends and important information such as your most and least profitable customers. This is often called Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and it plays an important role in many small business’ sales and marketing strategies. This guide will help you to understand both how to use a database for marketing and the concept of CRM. In particular, you will learn what kind of information your business should collect in a CRM database and how to integrate it with other company systems. The guide also outlines the practical steps in getting a database started, such as what sort of system to acquire, how to fin... »

CRM – Customer Relationship Management

Introduction Customers are key to all businesses, regardless of size or industry. Successful businesses build their reputation based on long term relationships with satisfied customers Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a business philosophy, not just a technology – understanding your customers’ needs enables you to build better relationships and increase sales. Practicing CRM helps you stay close to existing customers and win new ones Although a sound customer relations strategy has to come first, it can be effectively supported by technology, such as CRM software. This business advice article based on Crown Copyright © 2004-2014 »