Gartner: cutting through the cloud hype

Great overview on making sense of your cloud strategy. Here are some notable sound bites:

Gartner’s definition of cloud computing: A style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities are provided ‘as a service’ to external customers using Internet technologies. (No matter whose definition is used it’s always full of jargon)

“If someone is selling you a product, it is not a cloud solution.

“Cloud computing isn’t particularly secure or insecure. Rather, you should look at more specific concerns like where the data is stored and the policies of each provider.

“Beware of ‘cloud washing’, where vendors put a cloud name on their products or services without really changing the products.

“List of recommendations: understand the goals your organization wants to get out of cloud computing, look at public cloud solutions first, work with your users, and see how bookkeeping practices with cloud services will affect your business. Check your contract rights and responsibility, and seek cloud brokerages.

“The value of a cloud computing service is in the outcomes it enables, just as the value of a treadmill is in building heart health or losing weight.

Read the full commentary here.

Top 10 benefits of CRM for salespeople

CRM solutions often suffer from resistance to adoption. There are many reasons for this. This blog post from Lee Novak covers the top 10 benefits of CRM for Salespeople.

He compares a CRM solution to a navigation system which is apt.

“Would you board a commercial airline if you knew, 1) the plane was lacking a navigational system, 2) you would be flying to the busiest airport in the world without the aid of an air traffic controller or radar, and 3) the pilots would not have any radio contact to direct their take off or landing approach? Most likely not. CRM is not a fad nor is it a way for your company to act as BIG BROTHER! CRM is a navigational tool that, when used properly it will increase your profitability, productivity and enhance your customers buying experience. I believe that what you are really asking is, what is in it for you, the individual sales rep.”

He goes on to describe the top 10 benefits which can be achieved when a CRM solution is properly implemented:

  • Branding and marketing
  • Determining marketing and advertising effectiveness
  • Understanding customer buying trends
  • Insights into customer buying cycles
  • A 360 degree view of customers leading to better total customer value management
  • Telephony integration for an instant view of customer information
  • Management of customer retention and loyalty programs
  • Develop effective customer business plans
  • Salesperson performance and productivity
  • Instant reports and analytics

Read the full post. NGO case study

Many not-for-profit organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have benefitted from implementing To get an idea on what can be achieved we’ve highlighed key points from a case study from on the Family Service Agency (FSA) of San Francisco. The FSA, the city’s oldest non-sectarian, non-profit charitable social-services provider, needed a system to help program managers and clinicians manage data on 12,000 clients.

Amongst other objectives, management sought to reduce the agency’s paper usage, get easy access to data on key metrics, and address the requirements of more than 66 funders, such as ensuring that its records met the auditing requirements of its many funding sources.

The solution was centered around the development of a custom application which automated client and case management. The solution was rolled out to 215 users across the organisation and included extensive training for administrators and key users.

Benefits included streamlined and consistent reporting reducing time spent on report writing and report errors. Drill-down reports provide easy access to client and operational data at an individual or organisational level leading to quicker management awareness and intervention times. Reports can easily be generated for billing and reporting purposes. Productivity reports, which used to take two months to compile, can now be compiled in minutes. Printed materials can be produced with just a few clicks.

One of the largest transformations has been the benefits of the on-demand model for the agency’s case workers working in the field with clients. Previously, case workers spent nearly 50 per cent of their time on paperwork and reporting. Now, using Salesforce, they can access client records remotely, make case notes more quickly and easily, and track client progress over time. They have been able to increase their time spent directly with clients by over 30 percent, while also improving the quality of their work and enhance client recovery.

Here’s a look at the salesforce CRM features for nonprofits for nonprofits / ngos