Archive for the ‘Cloud Computing’ Category

Service Providers vs. OTT Vendors: Who will win the battle of cloud data? (Infographic)

Communications Service Providers are reaching the tail end of an era of unprecedented profits driven by mobile voice and messaging revenues. Those days are over.

The strategic dynamics of the market are in the middle of a paradigm shift where communications are increasingly data centric – VOIP, M2M messaging, social messaging, file sharing etc. There is a power struggle between telecom companies, carriers, and service providers on one side and OTT (over the top) vendors (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Skype, WhatsApp) on the other side for control of these new forms of communication.

The question for service providers is straightforward – do they keep watching OTT vendors take over the market, be content with providing access services, and continue seeing a downtrend in APRUs; or do they proactively leverage their strategic strength and claim their stake in the OTT market?

We have created the most comprehensive infographic on the subject compiling all important researches in the market (Chetan Sharma, Gartner, Erricson, IBM, Cisco, Informa, Ovum) which study this question. Please click on the image to see the complete infographic.

5 Reasons Why ‘Cloud’ Should Be Part Of An Effective Business Continuity Plan

Self-preservation is the primary law of nature… and may I add – business. Business continuity plans are therefore an essential part of business.

To create a business continuity plan, we have to identify internal and external threats to both hard and soft assets of the company – but who can really prepare for an earthquake, violent storms, tsunamis or tornadoes? Who can be ready when such calamities strike? These may not have been immediate concerns before, but we’ve seen Mother Nature strike one too many times to ignore a contingency plan.

Nowadays, business continuity has become an unpredictable variable. Timely enough, we now have the technology to protect our precious data – cloud computing. Because of cloud computing services, we can safely tuck away our data in remote data centres. If you have not yet adapted ‘cloud’ services as part of your business continuity plan, here are 5 reasons why you should reconsider it:

Safety of “Soft” Business Assets = Business Continuity

Cloud computing has 3 service models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS). Businesses can use these 3 services to host all of their “soft” assets such as: data, CRM, servers, tools, software etc. This ensures that, come what weather, virus or other contingency, the company’s data is secure.

Though you may ask, what if it was the data centres who experience the “unexpected contingencies”? Great question. They’ve thought of that as well, that’s why data centres have backups of your data, and backups of backups. Unlike the usual in-house IT servers, data centres are all about hardware muscle.

Stability = Business Continuity

Because your entire system is hosted on a remote server with much more muscle (hardware), you can count on its stability compared to an in-house IT. The reason why most systems crash or fail is because their in-house IT doesn’t have the hardware to churn the processes of several users. As your business gets larger, it’ll be hard to keep things on track unless you buy/increase your hardware. So, by leveraging on the hardware muscle of cloud services, your system becomes ‘more’ stable.

Faster = Customer Satisfaction = Business Continuity

When we need speed, we need better hardware. Cloud computing services have stacks and columns of servers with ‘super’ capacities. When we avail of, say SaaS, we are letting the servers of the cloud computing company do all the heavy lifting re: processes, software, storage. Compared to their hardware our computers, even if it has an i7 processor, are still mice. When we leverage the capacities and capabilities of these “heavy duty” computers, we can do our work faster because there is no processing happening on our end.

Reduced Operating Costs = Business Continuity

Cloud computing services help you reduce operating costs significantly! For example, you have a graphic design company that functions on 30 computers. For your employees to work, you need a graphic design software – let’s say Photoshop. Imagine the cost of having to purchase 30 licenses for Photoshop in order to install it on every employee’s computer. That’s quite an expense.

When you adapt the ‘cloud’, you can install just a single licensed software on the server and then it can be accessed by all of your employees. But you only need one license because technically the software is installed on just one computer (the server).

Global Workforce = Business Continuity

Wherever you are in the world, you can access the cloud. So whether your office is in the U.S., having global branches/reaches is possible – and it’s cheaper. And you won’t have to worry about latency problems – your data travelling from the US to Asia – because they are in the internet, so you just need the right bandwidth. The beauty of cloud computing services, such as that of Netsuite’s CRM or HyperOffice’s collaboration solutions, is that you see data real-time!

I’m sure that it is every entrepreneur’s dream to expand and launch their business internationally, as well as to keep their business alive long-term – with cloud computing software that dream ain’t too far to reach.

About the author

Vanessa Parks is a Freelance Systems Analyst and Cloud Storage Consultant. She has been an advocate of Desktop virtualisation and unified computing for improved work efficiency and performance. She also has a passion in dancing, cooking and playing golf.

What is your collaboration style? French Garden or English Garden? (Infographic)

Two top managers disagree profoundly. Abel, CEO of a happening young startup, believes that if he gives his team room to be creative, everything will fall in place for the company. Abraham, President at a large real estate agency, won’t hear a word of it. According to him, you need to give people context – in terms of clearly defined responsibilities, processes and roles -  so that they can channel their creativity to improve the organization.

Neither of them is completely right. They are right in their own situations. Through a gardening metaphor, the following infographic studies these two broad approaches to collaborating in organizations. Which one are you?

(click to enlarge)

Infographic – Cloud Collaboration in Healthcare

Collaboration, or the act of working together, is universal across business types and industries – education, healthcare, real estate, government or any other. However, each industry has its own specific language for referring to things, and puts different emphasis on different collaborative processes.  The purpose of this series is to use a simple visual format to describe how cloud collaboration technology could be useful in your industry.

The first infograph is about cloud collaboration software in the healthcare and wellness industry – hospitals, doctors offices, laboratories, health related back-office firms, pharma companies and hundreds of other organizations.  You may check the following page for HyperOffice cloud collaboration offerings for healthcare.

Click to enlarge



What does strategy have to do with buying business software?

I came across a very interesting article by Daniel Rasmus, which was in turn was inspired by an article by Doug Henschen late last year. The article talks how more and more business intelligence vendors are adding collaborative capabilities to their suites. Multiple players have tried to do this, including Microsoft with Sharepoint, SAP with StreamWorks and IBM with Cognos 10.

While it’s always good to have a few extra features in your software, things start getting a little confused when your CRM provider also includes email, your email application also includes shared folders, your collaboration vendor throws in light weight reporting and business intelligence tools, and your accounting system suddenly goes “social”.

It is understandable why vendors want to do this – the cloud deployment model offers a great opportunity to blur traditional software boundaries, enter high demand markets (is it a wonder that everyone is clamoring to enter the collaboration market), and make the user more committed to your solution.

But from an organization’s standpoint, solutions with overlapping functionality create a great temptation to use the tool immediately available to manage data (for example store an invoice in the “shared folders” section of your accounting system) and as a result fragmenting corporate data, and creating scores of mini information silos. As an organization increases in size, this potential for fragmentation grows exponentially.

Companies therefore need to take a careful look at their application portfolio, and decide exactly how they distinguish software categories, exactly what they want from each software category and how they will interact – ERP, CRM, Collaboration, Social. Special attention might be necessary in the area of collaboration, since it can have such a far reaching impact on organizational performance. Conceptual models might be of help here. For example I had proposed a model about how “social software” can best enter the enterprise.

Daniel Rasmus has the following incredible suggestions about how to see collaboration software in the organization (we suggest a similar approach : Whitepaper – Collaboration or Chaos).

Focus on deploying a set of collaboration tools that connect with other technology, not collaboration tools within other technologies. People only have so much time, and there are personal switching costs involved in deciding which tool to use to share something. There are also costs involved in remember where you shared something, or even in remember to check various locations to see if people have shared something you need to know about.

The best implementations of collaboration software should have a single interface that brings everything together for the end user, and makes the same conversations available on mobile devices that are accessible on larger clients.

But all of this goes to strongly underline one thing – the importance of a strategic, long term view while selecting your company’s software.

5 dirty Sharepoint Online secrets revealed



When you go through vendor feature datasheets, you get a view of features at a very high level. It’s only once you dive deep and actually start using the software do you get a sense of how it works. The experience might sometimes yield unexpected surprises.…

So while you might have absorbed some of Sharepoint Online’s marketing hype, here are some things they failed to mention.

1) You can’t cut/copy and paste documents and folders (let alone drag and drop). Sharepoint, supposedly a sophisticated enterprise grade solution, has somehow overlooked this very elementary functionality. The way you move information in Sharepoint is by using the “send to” function, which requires you to actually type out the entire url of the destination. Convenience be dammed!



2) Designing pages using the Ribbon pane is a pain. The default editing option for designing a page in Sharepoint is the famous Microsoft “ribbon” pane. The default view is a basic WYSIWYG editor of the kind you see in blogs and wikis. You can add Sharepoint modules by going to a separate “insert” tab, which opens a new navigation with a myriad choices. Inserting modules just dumps the default views into the page. You can customize how they look, but that requires still deeper digging. In this era of usability, there is no way to simply drag and drop elements and add information. Simplicity be dammed!

3) Sharepoint Online’s structure means features within features within features. The above themes are repeated throughout Sharepoint Online. Sharepoint Online admittedly has depth of functionality, but finding features means diving through layers and layers where each feature has sub-features and more sub-features. Sharepoint Online, keeping with its enterprise legacy, almost shows an IT expert’s disdain for user friendliness.





4) Sharepoint Online is fragmented. Beyond feature accessibility, Sharepoint’s broad structure is laid out in the following manner:

A default team site section with its own navigation structure

A “my site” section a link to which is tucked away in the top right corner (not very obviously). This section has its own navigation structure with no obvious links back to the team site section.

A totally different account management console with a different url

Usability demands that everything a user needs should be easily and intuitively accessible from a single interface. And what this interface displays should be dependent on the users’ role. For example a site admin would have ready access to the account management section, the administration section, and the portal functionality itself, while a user would have access to only portal functionality, while a group admin would have something in between. In Sharepoint’s world users do all the hard work.

5) Social features in Sharepoint Online are primitive. Though Microsoft has emphasized that social features are an important part of Sharepoint’s roadmap, the current social features can be described as Neanderthal at best. In a world of slick social tools like Facebook, where we can easily communicate and get updates on people, information and groups right on our social wall; social features of Sharepoint Online feel like managing the software administration screens of yesteryear.  There is no concept of “following” specific documents or projects (you can get feeds on “tagged content”), no ability to comment on wall activities, and no concept of “groups” in the social context.

If all this daunts you, and you would rather prefer dragging and dropping for files and folders, drag and drop designing of intranet webpages, cutting edge social tools, a unified solution experience, and importantly, a solution which is pleasing to the eye – we invite you to try HyperOffice instead.

5 reasons you should replace Exchange public folders…and MS Exchange itself.

OK, this is an inspired article. But since the subject is so highly relevant to the cloud collaboration audience, I couldn’t help but do my own version.

If we see collaboration as evolution, collaborating with Exchange public folders would probably qualify as Neanderthal. But ironically, people continue to use it widely – probably because it is so immediately accessible, or they just don’t know better. Here are 5 reasons you can do (much) better:

1. Exchange Public Folders are not designed for document sharing and collaboration

This is in Microsoft’s own admission. Public Folders do not have the advanced features associated with document collaboration such as version control, audit trails, comments, notifications and so on. As your team grows larger, you need more than a network drive where everyone just dumps documents. Our HyperOffice is an online document management system which lets exactly track who made document changes, when they were made, make sure no-one’s changes are overwritten, have discussions around documents, and keep everyone related to the document in the loop.

2. Administration of Exchange Public Folders is a nightmare

In an era where everyone is used to simple administration screens to manage users and permissions, many of the functions in Exchange, including Exchange Public Folders, have to be performed through command prompts and special commands (reminiscent of the DOS era). For example to specify permissions per user you’ll have to use the Add-PublicFolderClientPermission cmdlet. For the non-geeky amongst us, this is extremely daunting. HyperOffice has a simple admin console which lets you manage users with a few clicks and fine tune permission per user, or even fine tune permissions for groups of users at the folder, subfolder right down to the file level.

3. The lifespan of Exchange Public Folders is uncertain

While talk of Exchange Public Folders being killed off has been around since 2006, we can be sure we are nearer than ever to that event. Microsoft itself is encouraging users to move to other Microsoft tools like SharePoint and Office 365 for sharing documents. While you want to jump from Microsoft frying pan into the Microsoft fire is another question, keeping all your eggs in the Exchange Public Folders basket is risky.

4. Collaboration is more than sharing folders

Even if Exchange Public Folders were a robust document management system, companies are increasingly asking the question – are our collaboration needs limited to sharing folders? Companies are increasingly looking beyond simple information sharing to complete collaboration solutions which include tools like task management, team workspaces, wikis, social networking and more. HyperOffice is a fully integrated suite of essential collaboration tools like document management, project management, email, contacts, calendars, social business, intranet and extranet workspaces and more.

5. The cloud is where it’s at

In an era where companies, large and small alike, are looking to move their systems to the cloud because of undeniable benefits, a larger question to ask is – should you be looking to move away from Exchange altogether to the cloud even for email? Many experts have emphasized the clear cost savings of cloud email. So maybe it’s time to say goodbye to servers, Exchange server experts, ongoing maintenance, and Exchange Management Shell scripting. HyperOffice is a cloud based Exchange Alternative which lets your team just get on your web browser and access enterprise class business email features (including mobile and Outlook synchronization) fully integrated with document management capabilities, and even more collaboration tools like project management and team workspaces.

Guess what’s coming soon…? Be Social (and productive) at work!

The moment of social business is here

It is a great moment in the history of social collaboration. The idea itself is not new. Much has been written over the last 2 years about what enterprise software can learn from the principles of “social” design of popular consumer tools like FaceBook and Twitter – the impact on user adoption, on information access, on time saving, on productivity, and indeed, on the fundamental structure of organizations.

There are also scores of solutions in the market which specialize in “social collaboration” – Yammer, Chatter, Podio, SocialText and so on.

However, the last 2 years can be best described as the early beginnings of the social business movement.  Experts were just starting to flirt with the idea and its implications, and only a handful of bold companies were implementing and experimenting with this new approach. Over the last 2 years, the movement has matured, gained strength, and is now at a cusp. Although not yet close to mainstream adoption, the approach has been tried, vetted, and oozes promise.

The shortcomings of social collaboration solutions today

However, “social collaboration” software today suffers from various shortcomings. Although they claim to be more than “Facebook for business”, most current social collaboration tools offer little more than thin networking and social messaging (or wall messaging) capabilities. This approach may be great for fostering cross organizational connections and communication, but is apparently not suited for structured business needs (project management, document management, scheduling). Other social collaboration tools see themselves as “glue”, where third party applications can be plugged on top of their social layer. However, the integration in this case is limited at best (because of the divergent agendas of the social collaboration vendor and third party), and importantly, the plugged-on applications have no inter-integration. In a true collaboration solution, every piece interacts with other pieces.

The problem of current social collaboration solutions, in our view, is a lack of collaboration depth.

On the other hand, traditional collaboration software providers like Google Apps (Google Plus is NOT a social collaboration app!) and Office 365, by virtue of their size, and their user bases and positions to defend, are understandably slow and cautious in making bold changes. For this reason they have not entered the social collaboration market in a bold way (Office 365 has some basic networking features).

Guess what’s coming soon?

At HyperOffice, we have the nimbleness of a startup, and more than 10 years of experience of developing collaboration software for SMBs. We have the goods to create a social collaboration software with substance.

And we are going to.

We are within weeks of launching new social capabilities to our HyperOffice Collaboration Suite.

While we are not revealing much at this point, the best way to describe the new features is that structured collaboration needs of businesses have been combined with the open, democratic design of social media tools. The following graphic is a good conceptual depiction:

If you want to be informed when we launch, please visit the following page, and reserve your spot on our invitation list. Don’t miss out!

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King Arthur on a Collaboration Horse

We have often seen King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table brandishing swords, lances and scary looking maces in their glorious battles. But how would you feel if you see them use mobile phones, laptops and collaboration software in their armory?

In the spirit of fun, we created a cute video of King Arthur and his Knights using HyperOffice’s collaboration tools to help with their conquests. What else would you get then but dragons with bewildered expressions when the knight pulls out his laptop? Or a horse snorting in astonishment  when a knight types out a message on his iPhone (did they have rules about riding and messaging at the same time back then?)?.

Please do check out the video and share it with others!

HyperOffice Recognized as Collaboration Market “Market Pillar” in Info Tech Research Study

Info Tech Research Group just put out a market study titled “Vendor Landscape Plus: Collaboration Platforms”. Info-Tech Research Group’s well known Vendor Landscape reports help enterprise IT decision-makers identify a short list of vendors for their IT programs depending on their needs.  Vendors listed in the study make the cut only after fulfilling rigorous criteria.

We are pleased to report that HyperOffice is one of the solutions Info Tech covered this year, and has been recognized as a “market pillar” in the collaboration market. This is testimony to HyperOffice’s more than 10 years of experience and prominence in the collaboration market.

The is one of the most comprehensive studies on the collaboration software market in recent times. Apart from profiling prominent vendors in the market, it includes larger insights on emerging themes and trends in the collaboration market, maps user needs to type of solution, and includes primary end user research as well. One of the things that stood out for us is the growing importance of “social collaboration”.

It is a paid report, but we recommend it highly to analysts, writers and others who are interested in larger trends in the collaboration market, as well as to end users who want to assess collaboration vendors and chart out an implementation strategy.

Please do visit the Info Tech site and check out the study.