To Skype and FaceBook Together…or Not

Recently I discovered a solid business reason for using Skype. A company from BanglaDesh and my company are collaborating on a project together, and Skype is a convenient, economical way we can stay in touch. As a FaceBook user, I was fascinated to see on my Skype page an option to “Connect your Facebook account to message your friends from Skype and see their News Feed.” And of course, the “Learn More” link only said “Enjoy the magic of video calls when you and your friends are logged in to Facebook. ”

As a partner in a systems integration company, I love it when apps come together and play nicely with each other. However, just yesterday I had extolled the benefits of LinkNotify. I had proclaimed that LinkNotify is a fast read, that it sends me an eMail three times a week with current links posted by friends and/or organizations I had “LIKED.”  As an example, I pointed out that Nimble had posted a FaceBook link to the the July 6 LA Times piece “Facebook details Skype-powered video calling, group chats” and how I had received a report on July 7 from LinkNotify. I had immediately returned to FaceBook to see a comment about starting a group to enable chatting. Earlier in the day, a friend from the Philippines had posted a link to the FaceBook announcement, so that made me twice as interested. A 10-second scan of the LinkNotify report had just saved me a 30-minute check of links posted by all my FaceBook friends. It all looked like so much FUN!

However, I had also said that I had killed off all my time-wasting FaceBook games and apps. Considering that LinkNotify is a business-oriented app that allows me to skim through the links my FaceBook friends have posted without my being slowed down by the posts about what they’re eating or watching on TV, I asked myself the obvious question:  Would SKYPE also do that for me? Not that I could see. So for now, unless my Nimble buddies can show me a good reason to the contrary, I think I’ll pass on the Skype-FaceBook integration opportunity. 

 


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It’s Official: We are now Solution Partners with Nimble

We are proud to announce our solution partnership with Nimble. Nimble Contact is a social CRM platform that combines relationship management and social engagement into an affordable web-based solution.  It integrates LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google, email contacts and conversations into one seamless, intuitive environment, empowering small businesses in today’s socially connected world to attract and retain the right customers.

Created by Jon Ferrara, the founder of GoldMine, a pioneering SFA/CRM product, Nimble Contact is the only solution on the market that integrates the “4 Cs” — contacts, calendar, communications and collaboration — to enable professionals to effectively manage the way they see, hear and connect with their company’s most important asset: their business contacts.

“The problem today is our contacts and our communications are in too many places,” said Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble. “Between IM, text messaging, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and email, we can’t keep track of it all. Trying to manage all of this in eight different tabs on your browser isn’t the solution. We created Nimble to solve our own needs and we’re bringing it to the world to help small businesses solve theirs.”

We are pleased to offer our customers Nimble Contact which unifies email, calendar and social channels in one application.  This will allow our customers to easily see all of the communications made with their contacts no matter where the conversations took place.

Nimble Contact is the next evolution in relationship management – a social relationship manager that makes it fun and easy to nurture personal and business relationships. Our goal is to build systems for your organization that will analyze your customers and opportunities, and help your company be more efficient by examining your current business, sales, marketing, and customer service processes.

For more information,  please visit our “What We Do” page or our sister Nimble Partner website.

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The nimble CRM Leadership Revolution: Part II

Susan Ellsworth

The nimble revolution is here. Bye, bye bloat. Hello web-based solution integrated with well-known social networking sites LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and  Gmail. Nimble empowers small businesses in today’s socially connected world to collaborate more efficiently, to listen and engage with their community in order to attract and retain the right customers.

Yes, there are people who are still doubtful about the value of social networking and growing business.  You may be one of them. If you are, here is a resource that talks about how social media monitoring can grow your business. Like me, you may have prererences for a variety of browsers for different purposes.  You may even work on a Mac or on an iPad. I raised the question of compatibility in the nimble LinkedIn group.  Todd Martin, Director of Sales at nimble, responded that “Nimble works on PCs & Macs with either Chrome, IE, Firefox or Safari browsers. We support two versions back on each browser.” Other responses from the beta testing community were also positive in that regard.

Here’s a thought. Since GoldMine founder Jon Ferrara is also the founder of nimble, my bet on the likeliest CRM slated for import to nimble will be GoldMine. That would be the same CRM solution, where in 2009 there were “experts” in the FrontRange community who could not see value in integrating social networking with GoldMine CRM.

Here’s another: a FREE nimble license for up to two users you can get at our Pequod Systems Nimble Partner website .Visit. Click  Contact. Sign up. Yup, it’s that easy.

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Nimble: Love that Revolutionary Leadership!

It’s finally happening!

A hosted fun, friendly Social Customer Relationship Management solution that a small business  can actually afford.  For those who just came into this virtual room, a quick note to explain SCRM. It’s not simply adding FaceBook, LinkedIn or other social networking services to traditional Customer Relationship Management.

In her February 23 blog, Ann All says that

In perhaps the best definition of SCRM I’ve seen yet,  [Bertrand] Duperrin  says SCRM shifts the focus from the “management” aspect of CRM to the “relationship” aspect….As Duperrin writes, it’s “moving from ‘buy my product, it’s the best’ to ‘How can I help you.’” And follow-up gets more emphasis in SCRM, sometimes with a dedicated customer care channel on social media or a “peer care” platform where customers can help each other.

So why am I so excited about the rollout of Nimble Contact? Back on April 11, 2009,   I had reported the results of my advocacy that GoldMine from FrontRange stop ignoring the reality of social networking as it applies to business development. And that FrontRange should begin development along those lines. The result?  Comments from well-known FrontRange GoldMine partner technical “experts” who said things like ” I don’t see how social networking fits into the realm of GoldMine. ” A recent Tweet from FrontRange indicated the company had just joined a LinkedIn cloud computing community.

Fast forward to February 2010. Who contacted us to let us know he had started the Nimble Contact revolution? None other than Jon Ferrara, who also had inspired and led the development of  the original GoldMine customer relationship management product that many small businesses had invested in.  We signed up for the Nimble Contact beta testing and development, and have been following the progress of Nimble Contact for a full year now.  By the time you read this blog, Nimble Contacta software solution for businesses that have chosen applications in the cloudwill have been rolled out.  Here is the demo Ferrera gave today.

Usually, you see the picture of the watchful eye at the end of my blogs. Today, I am happy to say that we are partnering with Nimble, and you will now see the Nimble logo not only here but also on our Nimble Partner Website and on our Pequod Systems website as well.


Welcome, Nimble Contact !

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The High Cost of Ostrich Feathers and IIABDFI

 

Susan Ellsworth

 

Back on February 1, 2010, Dan Tynan at InfoWorld wrote about “The technology pro’s greatest enemies.” While that article and similar others provide catharsis for those of us who labor in the tech field, there is some wisdom for the rest of us in his “the six most nefarious adversaries of IT.”

In his article, Tynan talked about “bosses who bury their heads in the sand when it comes to technology, yet are still empowered to make critical IT decisions.” Here’s my classic example: the business owner, when told by an IT staff person that configuring a “souped up” workstation as a server is a bad idea. The business owner, motivated by short-term penny pinching, threatens to fire the IT tech who then caves in and installs server software on a workstation. The workstation, never intended to provide networking service to dozens of users at a time, is less efficient than a server. The result: an unhappy, less than fully-productive user community. Meanwhile, the Ostrich, who works 100% of his time on a smart phone, never experiences what everyone else does.  And never figures out why everyone is complaining.

Then there is my personal favorite:the If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It crowd.  The problem here is that just like human beings, technology wears down with time. And just like human beings who refuse to adapt to new realities (a gentleman I used to know, for example, who refused to learn how to use a bank ATM or a microwave oven), computing hardware which is not updated does not work well with newer software applications. Some applications simply will not install on older machines, but until beaten to a business pulp against the tide of technology, the IIABDFI manager refuses to update to current technology. And then pushes on the provider of technology to upgrade only to a level that is no longer supported by anyone earning an honest buck in the trade…but just might be found for pennies on eBay.

The sad thing is that both the Ostrich and IIABDFI fail to recognize that the longer they put off upgrading, the dramatically fewer resources from which they will be able to receive technical support. The Tech flavor of Murphy’s Law says that the need for technical support will arrive just at a critical business moment. And Ostrich/IIABDFI will discover not only the expense of upgrading to current technology just when funds had been committed elsewhere but also the cost of downtime. We favor front-end planning.

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Pequod Systems Announces Field Services Associates Program

Susan Ellsworth

We are pleased to announce our new Field Services Associates Program. As a Managed Services Provider (MSP) with an investment in and commitment to a major, well-known MSP platform, we are now offering an opportunity to experienced computer services technicians to take full advantage of our Pequod Proactive Managed Services with minimal additional expense by the Field Services Associate.

We ourselves remember the experience and organizational cost of far too many 3:30 am Break-Fix calls. Not any more. Our Field Services Associates Program is designed to overcome  that very scenario.

We remember friends in the business losing focus due to conflicting priorities arising from crisis after crisis. We used to be there ourselves. Not any more.

We remember being buried in break-fix work for six months at a clip and not seeing long-time friends.  Not any more.

So how does the Pequod Systems Field Services Associates Program work?

Your clients remain your clients. You and Pequod Systems negotiate a flexible, custom investment in specific services that will make you more efficient and effective while we deliver proactive monitoring of your customer’s network.

Results? You are even more professional than you were. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is replaced by rational, reasonable updates of software and hardware, based on information from the manufacturer. You reduce rush hour travel. You regain ability to focus on the major systems issues your customer really should know about before a small problem becomes a disaster. You reduce your carbon footprint—not to mention the dent in your wallet that unnecessary travel to customer sites takes. And you just might have an opportunity to get together with that best friend you have not seen for six months.

NOTE: Pequod Systems does not become your employer.

Send eMail with your questions and qualifications to FieldService@pequodsystems.com

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RANT: The Post that stopped the Nonsense Arguments

Susan Ellsworth

Lately I have been reading the marketing press, which seems still to have some serious misgivings about corporate participation in Social Media. A recent LinkedIn discussion asked: Should employees have access to social media in the office? The case for employee access to social media in the workplace is clear and compelling. So why do more than half of surveyed companies block sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter?
Discussion raged back and forth with philosophical rationales one way and the other.  Finally, I got disgusted with it all and said,

For those who monitor and measure how much time employees spend in social media…How much in US Dollars does it cost per month to track and measure time spent by each employee? Please include a dollar figure on the hardware and software spent to acquire the hardware and software, plus the cost associated with having a tech install and provide technical support for the application.

Next include the cost associated with compiling the data and the cost associated with personnel time spent in numerous meetings to decide to whom the reports should be sent, and what should be done with the data.

Associated costs include time (and therefore money) spent in managerial meetings related to decision-making about how long to keep the data and who will be empowered to do retroactive searches on the data and for what purpose. I look forward to seeing those actual numbers. Thanks.
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I have not seen a comment in the last week.
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Plan B: a Blog about AV.EXE

I had planned to open this month’s blog with a cheerful note about modifying our Pequod Systems ship logo from a puffy fat whaling ship to a much slimmed-down logo. And a note or so about a projected date for rolling out our new website.

That all fell apart when we spent several hours removing a trojan from a family member’s personal pc…and had heard about AV.EXE from a colleague who had spent several long hours at several different client sites dealing with this piece of malware.

AV.EXE, generally found at c:\av.exe, is a process which is registered as the W32/Alphx.worm.a virus. This virus changes your start-page for Internet explorer. This process is a security risk and should be removed from your system. It is a difficult-to-remove piece of malware which has, to date, avoided detection by standard anti-virus solutions. The solutions by and large are not for those who do not know what the Windows registry is.

Resources describing AV.EXE and getting rid of it are here, here and here.

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Got GoldMine? Bad Old News, Good News and the “Catches” —- Part 2

Back on November 7, I announced that “Until December 18th 2009, GoldMine Standard  Edition users can upgrade to GoldMine Premium Edition at $355 per seat.  Additional seats for the same price are available if the additional seats are included on the same order.”

Obviously, December 18 is gone.

If you place your order after December 18 but by January 29th 2010 you can upgrade from GoldMine Standard Edition to GoldMine Premium Edition for $405. That’s still a savings over the standard price for GoldMine Premium Edition.

The Catches remain the same:  You must order a minumum of five (5) GMPE licenses with maintenance required on all seats. Orders—which go through a GoldMine partner such as Pequod Systems—must be received by the FrontRange GoldMine partner in time to reach FrontRange by the deadline.

We have a few client tasks to complete over the holiday but are looking forward to spending time with family and friends.  I’m taking some time out to catch up and rest up to be ready for 2010.  Be warm, be safe and remember not to put your cell phone in one hand and your steering wheel in the other as you’re tooling down an InterState at 60 MPH.

Happy Holidays, all!

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“If It Ain’t Broke, don’t Fix It.” Here’s a BETTER idea for Business IT

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Unless yours is a one or two person business and you conduct most—if not all—business on a personally-owned laptop and/or your cell phone, managed IT services should be a standard part of your present and future business plans. Why? What’s wrong with “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?

On average, companies lose thousands of dollars a year to network downtime—in the incremental minutes and hours of lost productivity and lost opportunities as people wait for problems to be resolved. Furthermore, on average, 70% of IT management budgets are spent on systems maintenance, leaving only 30% to invest in new technologies

Consider  IT support that significantly reduces your downtime by identifying and solving issues before you and your staff have identifiable problems—and solving the problems took minutes instead of hours to resolve the remaining issues that were not anticipated.

Now consider  shifting funding from administrative tasks to more strategic infrastructure investments that would keep your network more secure and save money in the long run.

Managed IT services generally include

  • Remote support for rapid problem resolution
  • Detailed site inventories of hardware and software
  • 24 x 7 x 365 proactive network and security monitoring
  • Scheduled maintenance and upgrades in consultation with the customer

Those who offer these services successfully generally

  • hold  standard industry certifications
  • are experienced partners of major,  leading hardware and/or software solutions
  • are experienced partners of major hardware and software vendors
  • regularly receive product updates and notices about special offers from those vendors

Transparency Tip #2 Hardware today comes with internal code that identifies its manufacturer, its version number, and its serial number. Reading that information and knowing how long that hardware has been in service and paying attention to special offers not advertised to end users can give the managed services provider some insights as to cost-savings for upgrades.

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