Category Archives: SaaS

How Big Data Can Impact Marketing Sector

How Big Data Can Impact Marketing Sector

Big Data Marketing Sector

It would be an understatement to say the era of big data is upon us. If you have been living under a rock, then you should know that big data means a collection of data which is so complex and large that it cannot be processed by traditional ways.

And it is increasing by every day. According to this report, big data generation will increase by 4,3000 per cent. This big data can also be used for creating marketing strategies to tap on new customers and win back the old ones.

When you use traditional techniques to analyse your data, you won’t know you are losing customers until you have actually lost them. And any effort or strategy made after that wouldn’t be half as effective because you would have already lost customers.

But with big data marketers can analyse future customer buying patterns and devise a marketing strategy accordingly to prevent customer loss.

Understand your business’s customer life cycle

If you pay attention to the numbers and the data trends, you will actually notice clear signs when a customer decides to make their first purchase or when they decide to stop buying from you completely. Using these signs, you can take the required steps.

marketing-cloud-tech

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

In order to do that, you will first have to identify the customer life cycle. The life cycle should be as granular as possible and it should resonate with every step of your business.

Once you have defined each step of the life cycle, it’s time to define what it means to be in each of those steps. For instance, the initial phase could be when a customer makes his first purchase in the first 15 days. On the other hand, an in-between phase could be an engaged customer who has already made 3 purchases, or visited your website at least 10 times in the last 30 days.

To make the life cycle actionable, you have to make sure each customer is in a single life cycle phase at a given point of time.

Depend on your data

Now that you have defined different phases in the customer life cycle, you have to identify what it means to be in each of these phases. You need to define customer behaviour in each phase and divide it into segments accordingly.

big-data-customer

Basically, you need to use data modelling here to define the difference between an engaged customer and an at-risk customer.

This customer behaviour can help create the right marketing campaigns to make the at-risk customers go back to the engaged phase.

Find the customer lifetime value

Here’s a fact that every marketer already knows – some customers generate way more profit than the others. By calculating the customer lifetime value, it becomes easier to identify those customers and give more attention to them.

With this data, you could either create campaigns for less profitable users, to make them buy more or you could decide to exclude them from marketing campaigns.

Considering the future impact

While running any campaign, it’s important to concentrate on the full picture instead of just relying on the immediate campaign metrics.

For instance, you run an email campaign for upcoming discounts and within a few days you notice the number of purchases on the website have gone up. Noticing the immediate results, you decide to push the campaign further.

But what you don’t notice is the fact that many users unsubscribed from your company’s newsletter. This means that though there was an immediate profit from the email campaign, it ruined your company’s relationship with the customers in the long run.

That is why, instead of running every new campaign for the entire set of customers, choose a test group and run the campaign with them first. This will help you get the idea of how it will impact your business in the long run.

In Summary

Big data driven marketing will lead to more engaged campaigns. And while using customer data is not new to marketing, big data helps utilize all the data that a business has about their customers and it will definitely help improve profits in the long run.

By Ritika Tiwari

Building Your Cloud Business: Startup Facts And Figures

Building Your Cloud Business: Startup Facts And Figures

Startup Facts And Figures

A few years ago the ‘eight out of ten businesses fail within the first 18 months’ statement was introduced and quickly accepted, but on closer inspection it seems there really isn’t any hard research backing up this ‘fact.’ What data we do have is somewhat inconsistent, however, more promisingly, the US Bureau of Labor Stats finds that 50% of new businesses make it to their fifth year, with a third accomplishing a decade. So don’t be disheartened. In reality, most startups survive at least a year, and challenges such as funding and cash flow, new products, staffing, and regulations are far more relevant to their continued survival. Fleximize says it best: “Perseverance… pays off. With every year a company stays in business it’s more likely to survive and succeed.”

How Startups Succeed

cloud-comic1

Some startups do fail, but it’s not because they’re unlucky. It’s because they’re not ticking the right boxes.

  • The Right Idea. Without a market need, or at the very least, desire, no amount of brainstorming will enable startup survival. Of course, having a great idea is only the first step. It then needs to be protected (copyrighted and/or branded) and must successfully compete with similar startups.
  • Drafting the Blueprint. Some view startups as fun-filled, creative adventures; these people seldom establish successful companies. A business plan is elementary, entrepreneurial proficiencies a must, strong work ethic essential.
  • Leadership & Control. This is a crucial factor in any business, but perhaps more so in startups. Choosing the right people to work with you as mentors, partners, investors, and employees can make or break an organization, and personal skills such as flexibility, broadmindedness, vigor and humility will stand any startup founder in good stead.
  • Ops Management. The trials every company must face: satisfactory customer service; brand awareness; industry regulations & legalities; etcetera.
  • Handling the Books. Understanding and managing the accounting in the early days of your startup is as necessary as the capital investments. Successful startups are selective of which investments they accept and spend their money wisely and frugally, but are never miserly.
  • Products and marketing. Prosperous startups launch the right product at the right time, they market effectively, and they compete expertly.

Finding the Cash

the-hackers-guide-to-investors-infographic

(Infographic Source: Funders & Founders)

Startup founders have the option of taking out straight loans to fund their ideas, but there are some steadfast reasons why financial investment in your own idea is a bad idea. Top of the list, if you can’t convince someone else to back you, you might be more of a risk than you realize. And so, sourcing investment becomes necessary. Two of the greatest startup sources of investment are venture capitalists and angels, and their pros and cons are as dissimilar as their demands. First off, venture capitalists are investing other people’s money, and it’s their job to make a good return on it. Angels are investing their own money and are often as attracted by potential returns as they are enthused by your project. Angels are also likely to take bigger risks, and, in contrast to venture capitalists, don’t want publicity. Because venture capitalists are building their businesses through your success, they’ll want to be overtly linked to your achievements.

Choosing the right form of investment is necessary; some investment will come parceled with mentorship, other with complete disinterest in anything but profit. It’s worth taking the time to understand which suits your startup best.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce

It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how they want to work, and even where they want to work — a onetime executive luxury that is increasingly available across the ranks. Today’s workers are constantly on the move, accessing information, creating work product, and trying to connect with coworkers, customers, prospects and partners they may never meet, using the personal device they prefer at the time.

This work-from-anywhere movement is making organizations more connected and productive, and business conversations are now happening across apps, email, multiple phone numbers, texts, messages and back again… Speed and agility are essential, which is why employees are revolting against the antiquated communication tools the enterprise provides for them, and are instead adopting cloud-solutions that fit their individual roles and needs — anything to get the job done faster and with better collaboration. Unfortunately, this is completely inconsistent with IT’s desire for governance, creating the Great Enterprise Disconnect.

To overcome this disconnect and provide the speed and agility workers want, the governance IT requires, and the insight the C-Suite needs to improve worker engagement and collaboration, here are the five things you should start doing today.

1. Make “Work from Anywhere” the starting point

Taking a work-from-anywhere approach creates the strategic pillars for supporting what most companies already have, whether they’ve given it a name or not: a virtual workforce. Last year’s PGI survey of knowledge workers revealed that 79 percent of all respondents were able to telecommute at least one day a week, 60 percent of the teleworking respondents would resign their current positions for a similar job with similar pay if they could work from home fulltime, and 55 percent of non-teleworking respondents wished they had the ability to telecommute. Remote workers have even been found to be happier workers.

pgi-global-telework-survey-blog-header

Besides supporting current mobile workers, a work-from-anywhere strategy allows you to grow your teams using the best possible talent, no matter where in the world they live. Today’s habitual remote workers are also often self-starters with an entrepreneurial bent, so you can effectively expand your “gene pool” with these workers.

2. Make every strategy a cloud strategy

All employees, including remote workers and teams at remote offices, need the tools to collaborate effectively. Server-based productivity suites don’t scale well globally or satisfy the needs of mobile and remote workers, which is why employees who find their companies unwilling to move to the cloud are taking matters into their own hands.

Once companies decide to embrace the cloud, they must work through three phases of adoption. During the first phase, Dipping a Toe in the Water, companies have implemented a couple of operational applications, such as Salesforce and Workday, and begin allowing employees to collaborate using sites such as Box or Dropbox. During the next phase, Wading in the Shallow End, companies (including some of the largest companies in the world, like HP Enterprise) adopt a handful of cloud-based productivity tools, such as Google Apps for Work or Microsoft Office 365, as standard tools for all workers, enabling increased collaboration. While this is a huge step forward, business conversations around these productivity tools actually take place across messaging and voice, so during the third phase, Diving into the Deep End, companies look to standardize on cloud applications across the entire enterprise and create end-to-end business processes across them, from operational applications to productivity apps, to voice, conferencing, video and messaging. In this phase, workers start loving IT again because they feel more connected with each other and the company. This is the approach today’s most innovative companies are taking, and to compete effectively, you need to reach this third phase as quickly as possible.

3. Deploy a modern cloud-based communications system

cloud-phone-future

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The business desk phone is dead, or at least nearly so, even at many of the world’s biggest companies. Like the payphone and home phone,  the desk phone is beginning to fill recycling bins. Modern workers are also resisting enterprise-mandated smartphones, and for a good reason: why would they want yet another device to split their lives across? But just implementing a bring-your-own device strategy is insufficient. Today’s workers want and need their favorite devices to be a true extension of the workplace. Business conversations — personal ones too — now move back and forth from voice to chat, to conferencing, to video, to text, to apps. This is how your communications platform should work, too, from wrist to smartphone, to tablet, to laptop, to conference room — maybe eventually to your autonomous car and even virtual reality. This would allow all workers to communicate using the devices that they and those they communicate with prefer at the time, dramatically increasing engagement and productivity. This is how we will maintain our relationships, how we will innovate, and how we will grow.

cloud-office-comic

The only way to achieve this is by putting the actual business conversation into the cloud so it exists independent of any device. For example, if an employee starts a conversation at a desk using a laptop and suddenly needs to move to a conference room or leave the building, the call can be easily transferred to a smartphone or tablet.

The established telecom vendors have finally gotten the message, and they have all recently pivoted to saying they will be offering a flexible, agile cloud-based platform that lets employees work with tools that are familiar to them. This sounds great, but companies that want to compete need these solutions now. Fortunately, fully functional, pure-cloud platforms already exist, so companies don’t need to wait for the underachievers that focus on margins, not workers, to play catch-up.

4. Manage the change within your organization

As noted above, the move to the cloud can be haphazard, piecemeal, or all-in. The more aggressive the move, the more coordinated the organization needs to be. The key is bringing together all the stakeholders — business users, IT, marketing and sales, compliance, security, etc. — to get everyone on the same page to understand what is desired, what is actually available, and what the pace of change should be.

When Greg Meyers joined Motorola Solutions as CIO, he found the 90-year-old company saddled with every generation of phone system, yet 50 percent of all employees in the company’s Chicago headquarters used their desk phones only 10 times or fewer each month. Including fixed costs per line, long distance charges, Centrex charges, telephone closet space, and technical costs, the company was wasting a fortune. Meyers opted to deploy a cloud-based solution for all 22,000 employees and contractors. During an interview at this year’s Enterprise Connect conference, Meyers said you need to have a set of principles about what kind of culture and environment you really want to build. You have to think about how your employees need to work — where they will be and what they will do most. He also said that it’s not necessarily just about a particular vendor or technology, but about having a very clear philosophy about what you want to change relative to the enterprise technologies you currently have.

5. Link voice to productivity

The separation between productivity tools and voice is as old as computing, and for all the evolution in IT, the telephone closet continues to force employees to work with two distinct toolsets. But with business conversations today always occurring across voice, conferencing, messaging, even video, you need to make sure that voice is now a seamless part of every employee’s workflow, whether it’s to close a sale, build the next big product, or take service to the next level. Fully Integrating voice into your end-to-end, cloud-driven business workflows is really the Holy Grail of the connected workforce. By doing so, we can connect with anyone, anywhere — business or personal — using their single “phone” number. It is this number that will connect us all.

The Great Enterprise Disconnect is not a state your organization can tolerate. Competitors all around the world are moving to leverage the cloud and a modern communications system to ensure their workers are highly productive and fully engaged with their colleagues, customers and partners. Are you ready to compete with them?

By Craig Walker

Mobile Commerce Is Redefining The World Of Retail

Mobile Commerce Is Redefining The World Of Retail

Mobile Commerce and Retail

With a constant increase in mobile tech developments, many small businesses have made m-commerce, or mobile commerce, a priority. Whether it’s enabling sales through a mobile website or incorporating the use of a tablet in their brick-and-mortar stores, businesses within the fashion industry are finding ways to adapt to a technology-obsessed world.

According to an eMarketer report, mobile-driven online sales in the U.S. are to continue to flourish for several years. With such phenomenal growth, change is inevitable. In the years to come, multichannel retailing will continue to develop, as businesses integrate technology to help their profits grow.

In-store Wi-Fi

Well-known retailers such as Marks & Spencer, and John Lewis have seen an increase in sales within the past few years after offering free in-store Wi-Fi access to their customers. Free Wi-Fi access not only gives consumers an added incentive to shop in-store, but it also gives employees a way to quickly access product information.

Storefront Alternative

It is no secret that the e-commerce world has expanded to envelop mobile shopping. Although laptops remain prominent for browsing retail websites, smartphones and other mobile devices have taken over. As technology continues to develop, businesses that choose to opt out of having a mobile storefront will lose out on the current market of smartphone users.

Market Research Tool

marketing-growth-hacking

Mobile devices not only enable customers to read product reviews and conveniently purchase goods online, but they also help to track consumer trends, preferences, and habits. Businesses can enrich their marketing strategies by analyzing the data from mobile devices to further understand the demands and the behavior of their customers. For example, devices installed with GPS allows businesses to target specific locations with ads for local deals or promotions. Moreover, businesses can determine the location of their customers via app downloads.

Introducing a mobile-compatible website or a mobile app enables consumers to better connect with business social media accounts. Retailers that build a strong social media following can use this to their advantage in order to drive mobile sales, the way Topshop and other similar retailers have been known to do.

Special promotions, such as discount codes that are tailored to work on a specific store apps can subsequently be implemented into a marketing strategy to boost mobile conversion rates.

By Tabitha Shiflett

Gartner Names Datanyze a 2016 “Cool Vendor” for Tech Go-to-Market

Gartner Names Datanyze a 2016 “Cool Vendor” for Tech Go-to-Market

Datanyze Cool Vendor

SAN MATEO, CA–(Marketwired – April 22, 2016) –  Datanyze, the pioneering sales acceleration company, today announced that is has been recognized by Gartner as a “Cool Vendor” in the IT research and advisory firm’s report, “Cool Vendors in Tech Go-to-Market, 2016″* published on April 18, 2016. Datanyze was one of five technology vendors evaluated in this report.

This year’s Cool Vendors help technology and service providers improve sales and marketing effectiveness and execution. Marketing and sales enablement leaders should consider these software-as-a-service applications to complement existing CRM tool investments,” said Gartner analysts, Todd Berkowitz, Jim Hare and Ilona Hansen.

Backed by Google Ventures and Mark Cuban, Datanyze is a leading provider of sales acceleration software for technology companies looking to increase sales effectiveness and build pipeline. By combining data collection with predictive analytics and prospecting tools, Datanyze helps sales and marketing teams identify and convert net-new accounts into opportunities each day. Founded in 2012, Datanyze works with more than 600 technology companies across 30 countries.

The average sales pitch is no longer good enough. With the amount of messages buyers receive every day, sales has become less about volume and persistence, and more about context and timing,” said Ilya Semin, CEO, Datanyze. “For technology companies, that means understanding your prospects’ tech stack and knowing who’s in the midst of evaluating providers in your space. This kind of intelligence — or what we call ‘technology data’ flows through every solution we provide and is at the core of what we do.”

Datanyze’s “technology data” can be used to accelerate both outbound sales and inbound marketing pipeline. According to Ray Carroll, VP of Sales at Marketo, “Knowing when prospects are evaluating providers in our space helps my sales team stay one step ahead in a competitive market.” Similarly, Sara Davidson, Sr. Marketing Ops Manager at HubSpot, says, “The HubSpot marketing team relies on Datanyze to identify which inbound leads should be worked by sales and when.

By integrating both technology and firmographic data into customer CRM and marketing automation systems, Datanyze provides an actionable layer of intelligence that helps technology companies identify the best opportunities within their existing pipeline as well as net-new prospects that match their ideal customer profile.

To increase sales effectiveness and start building more pipeline, visit www.datanyze.com.

About Datanyze

Datanyze provides sales acceleration software for technology companies looking to increase sales effectiveness and build pipeline. By combining data collection with predictive analytics and prospecting tools, Datanyze helps sales and marketing teams identify and convert net-new accounts into opportunities each day. With 30,000+ active users, Datanyze is the preferred solution for over 600 technology companies across 30 countries.

Gartner Disclaimer

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in our research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

*Gartner “Cool Vendors in Tech Go-to-Market, 2016” by Todd Berkowitz, Jim Hare, Ilona Hansen, April 18, 2016.

Cloud Has Transformed the Costs and Capabilities of CRM

Cloud Has Transformed the Costs and Capabilities of CRM

Transformation of CRM Services

Over the last decade, the Cloud has transformed the costs and capabilities of customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Users can now update and access contacts and sales data anywhere, whether in the office or at an impromptu meeting a hundred miles away. These systems promise an easy setup, decreased cost, and third-party integrations for many of the apps you’re already using. The following six fill a variety of sales-oriented needs while helping users prioritize customer satisfaction.

Highrise

CRM Software for small business - Highrise

You might already be familiar with the company behind Highrise. Basecamp released their CRM system in 2007, but they’ve been making web apps since 1999. Highrise’s interface emphasizes team communication, providing task tracking and reminders as well as email capabilities and contact management. Blinklist calls Highrise a “viable option” for those who may not need the “typical full range of CRM functionality,” while CRMCog warns that Highrise may be “too simple,” and users in need of customization features should steer clear.

Integrations: Highrise supports 96 third-party app integrations, including Tracks, MailChimp, Zapier, and Wufoo.

PricingHighrise presents users with a 30-day free trial for any of the three tiers: Basic ($24/month), Plus ($49/month), and Premium ($99/month).

HubSpot

HubSpot has been around since 2006. This company’s CRM system focuses on cutting down on a user’s “tool time,” or minutes lost logging and managing data, in order to increase time spent selling. Another significant principle that went into making the software is ensuring that salespeople have customer information available in its totality when they need it. The system features a customizable “deal and task board,” simplified contact communication, and a database of potential leads. The Sales Lion classifies HubSpot CRM as “a lighter-weight CRM tool that offers some really cool features which enhance the power of the HubSpot platform,” but notes that the comparative depth of other CRM platforms may not merit a switch if your company is already using another system.

Integrations: HubSpot CRM integrates with the company’s other platforms, HubSpot Sales and Marketing (both paid services). There are 49 additional third-party apps to choose from, with the most popular including Zendesk, FreshBooks, and HelloSign. HubSpot is also developer-friendly, allowing for developers to build their own third-party integrations.

Pricing: HubSpot is free, with options for paid premium features.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive was made “by sales pros, for sales pros” and released in 2010. As a result of its creators’ history of sales experience, Pipedrive caters to the issues that typically hold sales professionals back. The “Pipeline” dashboard provides users with a data overview, “Timeline View” assists in prioritizing, and charts visually aggregate sales data and progress. Merchant Maverick points out that most of Pipedrive users complaints are related to the system’s mobile app, but nevertheless praising the platform’s application across a spectrum of business models.

IntegrationsPipedrive allows for 43 total integrations, with the notable inclusion of two-way syncing Google Apps. Other third-party options include Yesware, MailChimp, Zapier, and PandaDoc.

PricingPipedrive has just one plan, which costs $12/user/month. There’s also a free trial for customers looking to test out the service before committing.

Salesforce

Founded in 1999 and headquartered in San Francisco, Salesforce is the company more or less responsible for creating cloud-based CRM software. Salesforce operates on a philanthropic model that donates 1% of its resources to “giving back” through employee volunteering, community grants, and more. As far as its CRM features go, the service hones in on sales administration, personalized customer service, brand marketing for all channels (email, social media, etc.), employee communication, and analytics for customer info. Automation is also important to Salesforce, as a slew of integrations allow users to centralize information taken from a variety of compatible platforms. Salesforce’s aggregate rating on G2 Crowd is 4.1 out of 5 stars (978 ratings). The most helpful review labels Salesforce “the leading CRM platform for sales and service,” praising ease of administration and complex analytics but raising the concern that Salesforce may be rolling out too many products at once, stretching company resources too thin.

IntegrationsSalesforce provides 2,973 total integrations through its business app store, AppExchange. Offerings are split into categories like Sales (which has the most to choose from), Customer Service, IT & Administration, Marketing, Finance, and Collaboration. The most popular downloads include Data Loader, MailChimp, DocuSign, Gmail, and Microsoft Outlook.

PricingThere are four plans to choose from, with Starter beginning at $25/user/month and the highest-priced Unlimited setting you back $250/user/month. There’s also the $300/user/month Performance Edition Bundle, which has a $600 value.

SugarCRM

Sugar was founded in 2004, and its system is known for its open-source availability. Users can still download the community edition for free, although it is no longer being updated alongside the paid version. Sugar operates on principles of automation and customization intended to simplify the customer’s life. Features include activity streams (complete with social media integration), advanced charts, alerts and other productivity aids, case management, sales activity and opportunity tracking, campaign and email marketing, and more. Zapier highlights the helpfulness of the system’s customization offerings in both paid and Community Edition forms.

Integrations: Sugar offers 179 different third-party app integration options, such as MailChimp, Freshdesk, and Relationship Analytics.

PricingSugar provides users with a selection of three plans: Professional ($40/user/month), Enterprise ($65/user/month), and Ultimate ($150/user/month). As for alternate options, the open-source community edition is still available in its earlier form (Sugar markets it as “a good way for developers to get to know Sugar”), and there’s a free trial as well.

Zoho

Zoho’s CRM system came on the scene in 2005, though the company has been offering SAAS since 1996 (previously as AdventNet Inc.). System features include “turning looks into leads” by importing site visitor data, smart prioritization through the View for Activities option, sales activity tracking, social media integration, customer data compilation through Business Card View, and more. Small Business Trends warns that Zoho can be “tricky” for first-time CRM users, but concludes that the system is “a great value for the price“.

Integrations: With Zoho, users have the option of integrating roughly 70 different apps and add-ons. Options include Twitter, Facebook, Google Apps, Evernote, MailChimp, WordPress, and more.

Pricing: Zoho offers a free plan with limited features, as well as a 15-day free trial for paid versions. The three paid tiers—Standard, Professional, and Enterprise—clock in at $12/user/month, $20/user/month, and $25/user/month respectively.

By Leo Welder

Telecommuting – Your Office From The Cloud

Telecommuting – Your Office From The Cloud

Telecommuting Remote Work

Thanks in part to many of the ingenious cloud tools and services available today, remote jobs are on the rise, offering a great deal of flexibility and, for the lucky few, the options to travel and explore. CloudTweaks for example, is a huge supporter and believer in providing telecommuting opportunities especially in this day age with the large number of Cloud based tools available. The cost cutting is another major benefit which helps keep overhead costs to a minimum.  

Now for some resources for those startups interested in offering telecommuting opportunities.

Nomad List’s selection of welcoming locations with cost of living ranging from $456 to $5,897 per month is enough to inspire even the most fainthearted among us to take advantage of today’s cloud tools and opt for a remote working experience, but aside from the thrill of adventure, remote jobs are also offering benefits such as reduced overheads, decreased travel time and costs, and improved work-life balance.

Top Remote Jobs

employment byod

According to Flexjobs, an online job site for remote employers and employees, the list of top 100 companies offering remote jobs in 2016 includes a number of the tech giants such as Amazon (3), IBM (7), VMware (21), and Apple (47), and according to their research, telecommuting job listings increased by 36% between 2014 and 2015. IT jobs seem to offer the most opportunities, but remote appointments in healthcare, education and marketing are also making their mark.

Startups Encouraging Remote Employment

RemoteWork_Infographic

(Infographic Source: Highfive)

Though we all know one or two nomads, most of us are happy to settle in one spot and just take the odd vacation. Several startups are catering to these more common needs of flexibility and short-term adventure. Sabbatical provides one- to three-week remote work experiences, complete with accommodation, co-working space, and business and social programming while Nomad Pass offers professionals access to co-working spaces in cities globally. Teleport helps keep the cost of living low by analyzing data from various cities and has also created a new tool, Flock, that helps those who manage remote teams find affordable and appropriate meeting spots for their dispersed team members.

Remote Resources

Aside from the above startups inspiring employees to work remotely, a wide assortment of tools which support and enable remote working are being developed. Included are collaboration tools for better communication and project management, productivity tools that help create routines and prevent distractions, and virtual office tools for suitable administration and management.

iDoneThisa simple but effective tool for maintaining clarity, each day team members receive an email reminder asking “What’d you get done today?” This allows users to record achievements and consolidate team accomplishments in one place.

HelpScout – “customer support software with a personal touch”, HelpScout keeps teams organized and customers happy and offers a host of features for managing email at scale.

Xero – bringing enterprise level accounting to the multitudes, Xero offers endless levels of reporting and customization and saves the rainforests by eliminating the need for paper invoices and receipts. Simply snap a photo from your smartphone or forward receipts to your Xero inbox. The enormous array of 3rd party integrations serves only to make Xero all the more ingenious.

TOPDOX – this document collaboration platform supports any document format across any cloud storage. Now you don’t have to choose between OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

Remote working policies are not only boosting happiness and reducing expenses but improving staff retention, and with the support of the cloud we’re seeing tools that promise greater productivity, distraction-free environments, and global reach for both employers and employees.

By Jennifer Klostermann

THE WEEK IN TECH: It’s Tough At The Top

THE WEEK IN TECH: It’s Tough At The Top

Tech News Stories

It’s been a difficult week for a number of technology industry giants who were placed under the spotlight and forced to concede that not everything has been going as smoothly as they would have hoped. Perhaps no-one in tech has had a tougher week than Elizabeth Holmes, the CEO of blood lab startup Theranos, who was forced to respond to a Wall Street Journal story which claimed that US Health Regulators suggested they may have to ban them “after concluding that the company failed to fix what regulators have called major problems at its laboratory in California.”

Holmes claimed to be ‘devastated’ by the accusations and promised to dig in and fix the issues at the lab, but many were skeptical that Theranos would be able to bounce back, and viewed her interview on MSNBC as a PR disaster.

Yahoo

Another high-profile CEO who was forced to admit that they were not successful was Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer, who has been trying for a number of years to revitalize the one-time search titan with very little success. Yahoo

A sale of the company now appears to be a certainty, and the deadline for interested bidders was passed this week. Nevertheless, shareholders were encouraged by the better-than-expected results, as well as the news that Meyer was focused on the sale, and not trying to fight it.

Britain’s Daily Mail, the mobile provider Verizon and various other heavyweight stakeholders have all been named as interested buyers, but the Yahoo leadership has decided not to name names. They have publicly stated that they are moving as fast as they can and won’t be providing any further updates, but that there is a ‘a defined, aggressive calendar’ to move the sale forward.

Intel

Another industry stalwart undergoing a shakeup is the chip-maker Intel, who made waves with the announcement that it was cutting 11% of its workforce and choosing instead to “accelerate its evolution from a PC company to one that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices.” Wired magazine put forward a very thoughtful piece which came out in support of this strategy, arguing that is exactly what Intel should be doing. “Considering that the PC market is dying and that Intel had never really been successful as a chipmaker for mobile phones, Intel is right to restructure (and remarket) itself as a cloud company. According to research IDC, Intel controls 99 percent of the market for chips that drive computer servers. So for now, that’s Intel’s future.”

The company is determined to secure its future with the Internet of Things, yet at this stage no one organization is really dominant in an industry that is still more theoretical than factual, so for now data centers are a smart bet for Intel.

Netflix and Amazon

Two other global players who saw things get a bit tougher this week are Netflix and Tesla. While Netflix has recently extended its brand across the globe by opening up over 130 markets for its streaming services, the news that Amazon is about to offer a cheaper global streaming service has put the dominance of the Netflix brand in doubt. And in the world of electric cars, China’s Le Holding Co announced its all-new electric car called LeSEE which will be unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show next week. China is a huge prize for the auto industry and any one company that can dominate there in electric cars looks certain of a very bright future.

Clearly, the stakes are higher than ever and a lot can change in a week, but it seems certain that no companies can rest on their laurels in the hyper-competitive tech world of today.

By Jeremy Daniel

CloudTweaks Comics
Are Women Discriminated Against In The Tech Sector?

Are Women Discriminated Against In The Tech Sector?

Women Discriminated Against In Tech Sector It is no secret that the tech industry is considered sexist since most women are paid less than men; there are considerably fewer women in tech jobs; and generally men get promoted above women. Yet the irony is twofold. Firstly, there is an enormous demand for employees with skills…

Moving Your Enterprise Apps To The Cloud Is A Business Decision

Moving Your Enterprise Apps To The Cloud Is A Business Decision

Moving Your Enterprise Apps Whether it be enterprise apps or any other, if there is any heavy data that is going to be transacted in and through an app, then affiliating it with the Cloud becomes a must. And then an important question arises: How do you decide when to integrate your enterprise app with…

10 Trending US Cities For Tech Jobs And Startups

10 Trending US Cities For Tech Jobs And Startups

10 Trending US Cities For Tech Jobs And Startups Traditionally actors headed for Hollywood while techies made a beeline for Silicon Valley. But times are changing, and with technological job opportunities expanding (Infographic), new hotspots are emerging that offer fantastic opportunities for tech jobs and startup companies in the industry. ZipRecruiter, an online recruitment and job…

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

The Internet Of Things In 2020 The growing interest in the Internet of Things is amongst us and there is much discussion. Attached is an archived but still relevant infographic by Intel which has produced a memorizing snapshot at how the number of connected devices have exploded since the birth of the Internet and PC.…

Cloud Computing and Finland Green Technology

Cloud Computing and Finland Green Technology

Green Technology Finland Last week we touched upon how a project in Finland had blended two of the world’s most important industries, cloud computing and green technology, to produce a data centre that used nearby sea water to both cool their servers and heat local homes.  Despite such positive environmental projects, there is little doubt that…

SaaS And The Cloud Are Still Going Strong

SaaS And The Cloud Are Still Going Strong

SaaS And The Cloud With the results of Cisco Global Could Index: 2013-2018 and Hosting and Cloud Study 2014, predictions for the future of cloud computing are notable. Forbes reported that spending on infrastructure-related services has increased as public cloud computing uptake spreads, and reflected on Gartner’s Public Cloud Services Forecast. The public cloud service…

Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

CIOs Must Transform IT The emergence of the Cloud and its three delivery models of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) has dramatically impacted and forever changed the delivery of IT services. Cloud services have pierced the veil of IT by challenging traditional method’s dominance…

Infographic: IoT Programming Essential Job Skills

Infographic: IoT Programming Essential Job Skills

Learning To Code As many readers may or may not know we cover a fair number of topics surrounding new technologies such as Big data, Cloud computing , IoT and one of the most critical areas at the moment – Information Security. The trends continue to dictate that there is a huge shortage of unfilled…

Cloud Infographic: IoT For Automotive Deconstructed

Cloud Infographic: IoT For Automotive Deconstructed

IoT For Automotive Deconstructed The IoT automotive industry is moving rapidly with many exciting growth opportunities available. We’ve written about some of the risks and benefits as well as some of the players involved. One thing for certain as that the auto industry is starting to take notice and we can expect the implementation of a…

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

The Digital Twin  How smart factories and connected assets in the emerging Industrial IoT era along with the automation of machine learning and advancement of artificial intelligence can dramatically change the manufacturing process and put an end to the dreaded product recalls in the future. In recent news, Samsung Electronics Co. has initiated a global…

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation. But what about when you move to the cloud? Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully…

Cost of the Cloud: Is It Really Worth It?

Cost of the Cloud: Is It Really Worth It?

Cost of the Cloud Cloud computing is more than just another storage tier. Imagine if you’re able to scale up 10x just to handle seasonal volumes or rely on a true disaster-recovery solution without upfront capital. Although the pay-as-you-go pricing model of cloud computing makes it a noticeable expense, it’s the only solution for many…

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And Virtual Reality This is a term I created (Virtual Immersion). Ah…the sweet smell of Virtual Immersion Success! Virtual Immersion© (VI) an extension/expansion of Virtual Reality to include the senses beyond visual and auditory. Years ago there was a television commercial for a bathing product called Calgon. The tagline of the commercial was Calgon…

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security It’s no secret many organizations rely on popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft for access to computing infrastructure. The many perks of cloud services, such as the ability to quickly scale resources without the upfront cost of buying physical servers, have helped build a multibillion-dollar cloud industry that continues to grow each…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

DDoS Attacks October 21st, 2016 went into the annals of Internet history for the large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that made popular Internet properties like Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify and Box inaccessible to many users in the US. The DDoS attack happened in three waves targeting DNS service provider Dyn, resulting in a total of about…

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

The True Meaning of Availability What is real availability? In our line of work, cloud service providers approach availability from the inside out. And in many cases, some never make it past their own front door given how challenging it is to keep the lights on at home let alone factors that are out of…