Tuesday, December 11, 2012

$1 Billion for Google Apps

Google is celebrating today having hit the $1billion in revenue this year from Google Apps!
Those who still think SaaS is a toy, take note :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

New Unexpected Wiki player! Who is it?? Drumroll!..

it's.... it's.... it's... Evernote!  Yes, Evernote is turning into a knowledge management powerhouse, and by opening up Evernote Business, it's making first serious entry into the business.

One of the things (or The thing) making Evernote a good product has been its attention to details. And Evernote delivers here as well.  They realize that people are going to be using it for both personal and business needs and finds an elegant balance of integrating the two together by doing cross-searching but keeping good controls over what's shared and what's not.

Cost?  $10/user/month, not bad for small organizations of 10-20 people..

The Wiki market just got more exciting!

Standard Evernote intro video below:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Accounting 2.0

I've been working on this post for a while now, on and off, wanting to provide something that would be fairly comprehensive when it comes to evaluating the Accounting SaaS offerings for your needs.

The solutions reviewed here range from simplistic to very involved (almost ERP in traditional enterprise jargon) and I think span a wide range of approaches and needs.  I hope that the analysis and classification below will help you with decision-making. 

As usual, please let me know what you think

Monday, November 12, 2012

SharePoint 2012 Conference

I am among those who have not made it to SharePoint 2012 but very interested in SharePoint 2013 and more specifically what Microsoft's got in mind for the Yammer acquisition.

This keynote seems to do a competent job giving a good overview of the product and the strategy.  I skimmed through quickly and must say that so far I'm fairly impressed with the product evolution, but underwhelmed with Yammer strategy - seems like the acquisition was quick and loose and MS haven't got a clue in how to merge the 2 products together yet..

Here's a link to the keynote so you can form your own opinion:

(at first I posted the video in the original MS Silverlight format/player but while the quality was excellent, everything else made for an awkward experience - from messing up the blog editor, to lacking the video controls, to no way to turn the auto-play off; wonder if this is what's plaguing MS - while some pieces are good, there's no cohesion..)

P.S.  Just read something interesting - SharePoint 2013 was in development for 3 years.  This day and age 3 year development cycle is simply unacceptable as it's a guarantee that by the end of 3 years your requirements dramatically and market has moved in number of different directions.  My prediction - it's a dud and Yammer will replace SharePoint soon.

P.P.S  Microsoft literally wrote a book on Waterfall Software Development model.  It was a big book (over 700 page), a book that reflected the SW development culture at the time.  That world is gone, but I can see how this is probably hurting Microsoft in more ways than one, and it explains the 4 year OS cycles and 3 year product cycles (if they are lucky)

Monday, October 22, 2012

10 New MS Office 2013 Features

Good article covering new features in Office 2013.

Of these, my favorite are PDF editing and SkyDrive integration.

Having said that SkyDrive could use a lot of improvement as right now collaboration is practically non-existent.

Monday, October 15, 2012

SaaS going IPO is something to Celebrate

When a company is sold there are winners and losers.  The founders win (assuming it wasn't a fire sale), initial investors win as they make their profit, the acquiring company wins as they get rid of a potential competitor and give themselves a boost in a new market.  Who looses??  You, dear reader - the CUSTOMER.. The product will not be the same - it won't develop as fast as the development will go towards integration with the acquirer's own product lines, some of the talent will cash out and leave, the pricing might change, the service will get outsourced..
Now, this is a better alternative then a company who's product you love shutting their doors, but it's still far from a good outcome for the users..
When a company goes IPO however EVERYONE wins - the founders, investors, and you the customer because now the company will hire more people to develop more exciting features; which is why I'm so excited to see Workday do so well on their IPO day.  Triple Cheer!!!

Workday, Inc. is a provider of enterprise cloud-based applications for human capital management (HCM), payroll, financial management, time tracking, procurement and employee expense management. It is focused on the consumer Internet experience and cloud delivery model. Its applications are designed for global enterprises to manage complex and dynamic operating environments. The Company provides its customers the applications to manage critical business functions for their financial and human capital resources. The Company’s architecture enables customers to share the same version of its applications while securely partitioning their respective application data. Because customers utilize its information technology (IT) resources and operational infrastructure, this framework reduces the costs of implementation, upgrades, and support. Its applications use objects to represent real-world entities such as employees, benefits, budgets, charts of accounts, and organizations.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Battle of Online Drives

With everyone jumping into the fray of competing for your online storage needs, it's important to understand where these solutions stand.  Here's a take at strengths and weaknesses and where each one of them fit at the moment:

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Rent a Chromebook for $30 per month

You may have missed Google's announcement about making the Chromebook or Chromebox available for rent rather than having to buy it outright: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/09/trying-something-new-rent-chromebook.html

This is pretty big deal when you're thinking about replacing the old fleet or if you're forming a brand new company or opening a new office.  The cost for 50 laptops for example can easily add up to $70-80k, but with this deal you would just have to pony up $1,400/mo. 

Whether it gets a lot of customers off the fence and into the brave new world of web-only computing remains to be seen, but at least Google is experimenting with the model trying to get the adoption in the market which is good to see..

Also Google Chrome OS has come along quite a bit since its modest beginnings and might just be ready for a prime-time..

Have you grabbed one yet?  What's your impression?  I'm interested to hear!

Here are a few reviews:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Podio gets acquired

Not even half a year out of the gate, Podio gets acquired by Citrix!
That makes it 3 years from idea to acquisition.  Podio was one of the better executed collaboration-centric platform-as-a-service solutions I covered last year and stood out by launching a first-of-a-kind real retail location in downtown San Franciso.
To the Podio guys (who are from Copenhagen), Congratulations!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Meetings 2.0?!

Most things have evolved dramatically over the last 20 years in the office - phone calls yielded to text and instant messages, memos to emails, paper files to digital files.  Yet one area hasn't changed very much - that's meetings.. Yes, we have WebEx which allows for distributed teams to get together much like they were in the same room, but when it comes to planning, running, documenting, and referencing meetings, it has remained mostly unchanged.  Quality of meetings varies widely - some have well defined agenda, a lot don't.. Some focus on making decisions - a lot don't.. Meeting documentation is mostly very shoddy, and Action Items are best effort at best...

Why hasn't anyone tried to design a good web-based solution for meetings is anyone's guess.. My theory is that enterprise IT products are the last ones to receive any kind of real innovation either because startups worry about acceptance, competition with Microsoft, or can't relate to corporate problems very well.  If you think about it, the only new thing that's entered the corporate IT market are the collaboration solutions (like Jive and Yammer) and even that is thanks to FB developing the concept in the consumer space first.  But I digress..

I've been dabbling with figuring out what a solution like this could look like when I ran across Yamlabs.  It's a startup based out of Russia that recently received some funding from local angels/VCs and they are taking an aim at bringing meetings to the new era..

On the positive side I must say that they have put some good work into the system, providing a place to organize meetings, keep collaborative notes and even integrate with WebEx (although I haven't tested that)

As a nice bonus, they've embedded some decision-making tools that can be incorporated into the meeting notes, which is pretty cool!

Where I think it falls short is in couple of areas:
  1. Despite the pretty leather-bound binder design, it doesn't have the "corporate feel", feeling a bit like a toy rather than a workhorse bound to impress managers
  2. It doesn't incorporate a concept of sharing / publishing to larger groups either inside or outside the enterprise
  3. It doesn't integrate with LDAP/ActiveDirectory and requires for the meeting to be originated from within the system which is a big stretch if we're talking about corporate market
So to sum it up, I think there's quite a bit of value to be added there and quite a bit of disruption to be done, and in my mind the market is ripe for a Meeting2.0 solution.  The key (as with any startup but especially here) is going to be figuring out how to minimize the friction and maximize the value.  I have some ideas of my own, but excited to see what YamLabs guys come up with!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Getting Things Done... Blueprint found!

Came across an article that Karol K. (@carlosinho) published with a diagram that goes deeper then most into GTD - I think it's pretty solid..  People are not computers however, so following this process takes a lot of discipline and work, but this could also be food for thoughts to the product vendors that should integrate this into their workflows (hint..).

See HERE for the complete article..

Thursday, January 12, 2012

MangoApps might be the Closest thing to Facebook for Business

I had a pleasure of walking through MangoApps the other day and I must say I was pretty impressed!
With a lot of press going to Yammer and Jive for their office collaboration solutions, I think MangoApps could give them a run for their money (at least to Yammer)..

I like the solutions that have been well thought out and go deep and MangoApps certainly fits the bill there.  Here some things that have stuck with me about it:

  • Both SaaS and On-premise
  • Integrated with Sharepoint, S3, and Box.net
  • Can invite guests to projects, groups, networks, events
  • Task workflows!  Can assign a workflow to any task
  • Tasks are divided into Queued, Working, Pending
  • Running tape of tasks on the Dashboard page

The company is solid but not flashy, and more importantly they seem to be in it for the long haul!  I talked to them about their development practices - it's not easy to combine SaaS and ship product for on-premise at the same time, but they seem to have it worked out, with small incremental releases hitting the SaaS first, then rolling it into larger releases for the on-premise installs.

The depth of the solution is very well there, which is visible from things like task workflows, guest management, and integrations with document hosting systems and directories.

Pricing seems right (both for SaaS and on-premise installs), with quite a bit flexibility for cost-cutting if needed:

There are a few things missing from my perspective, namely ability to provide your own storage for documents (they are using Amazon S3 for storage, but same bucket for everyone), and support for more rigid organizations with limited visibility, but Orange assured me they are working on it..

Overall, a Very Strong Little-Known Contender in the Enterprise Collaboration Space!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Salesforce uses kids and puppies to get new customers

It has been about 10 months since Salesforce acquried Manymoon - a simple task management platform very popular on Google Apps Marketplace.

What have they done with it since?  Well, for one, they just launched arguably the cutest ad campaign in tech, telling a story of a the 3rd graders running for class president.

What does Do.com mean for Salesforce?  Most probably a way to get the new online teams onto Salesforce platform while they are young..

Do.com has a nice simple HTML5 client that runs in a web browser as shows well on tablets.  They also have a native client for the iPhone.  No native client for Android however.

Do.com adds to many choices for the collaborative task management.  I definitely wouldn't say it's the best one, but it will certainly work for the 3rd grade politics :)

Monday, January 02, 2012

Details matter.. A LOT! And so do Use Cases..

Yes, we all know that details matter..  But how much??   Few technology businesses take details super-seriously.. Apples does..

I was looking for a way to post a document onto the blog today, started with the Slideshare - it let me do everything I wanted to - upload the document and embed it, except the embedded document didn't have the download function.  Would seem like a small detail, but I can see the reader wanting to download the document, save it somewhere, etc.. so fairly important feature..
I then tried Scribd - same thing, let me upload the document and embed it and yes, they DID have the download function.

Download.. would seem like a small detail.. but a deal-breaker for me..  Also Slideshare should review their use cases - I get a feeling that they are serving 100% of the available market with a 90% solution - which means they are getting little to none of it..  If they want to concentrate on presentations, fine, then cut out the document feature, and make it the best mechanism to run a presentation anywhere - phone, tablet, TV, etc - right now they fall short..

Biz Soft Landscape