What Is The Cloud? (And Why Small Businesses Need To Care)

By Christine Hall
Posted: 11/06/2013 9:21 am EST

Cloud computing has come a long way to become a mainstream technology tool for business.

Earlier this year, Parallels, a software company that enables companies like GoDaddy.com and Sprint to offer cloud services to small and medium businesses (SMB), reported that the cloud services industry grew to $45 billion worldwide last year. Helping to drive that were 6 million SMBs purchasing their first cloud service last year.

And, the report projects that the market is expected to grow annually at a rate of 28 percent through 2015 to be a $95 billion industry.

The cloud does for IT what companies like UPS and Federal Express did for the shipping industry, Stephen Braat, senior director and general manager of cloud and managed solutions for CDW, said.

“When it comes to getting product to customers, their technology enables them to do it on a larger scale at a lower cost,” he said. “The cloud is the great technology equalizer.”

Technology is a huge driver of competitive advantage, and historically, technology that larger companies used was not available to smaller companies, who typically have 50 employees or less.

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How to Run Your Small Business With Free Open Source Software

From simple bookkeeping packages to full-blown ERP systems, open source software can provide free options for small businesses that don’t have the budget for big-ticket enterprise applications.

Posted in Accounting/ERP, Business open source | Leave a comment

ERP on a budget: Is it possible?

 Summary: For mid-sized businesses the notion of ERP and budgets is an oxymoron, but it doesn’t have to be that way if companies document all costs, consider SaaS and customize less. That was part of the message from Robert Anderson, an analyst at Gartner.

 By for Between the Lines | October 9, 2007 — 05:57 GMT (22:57 PDT)
For mid-sized businesses the notion of ERP and budgets is an oxymoron, but it doesn’t have to be that way if companies document all costs, consider SaaS and customize less.

That was part of the message from Robert Anderson, an analyst at Gartner. Anderson speaking at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando Tuesday.

The title of the talk, “ERP on a budget,” drew a sizeable 8 a.m. crowd. If you read the tea leaves that can only mean one thing: Enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations are still painful. “You control your ERP budget or it will control you,” says Anderson.

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How xTuple Ignited the Global Open Source Community in 2013

How xTuple Ignited the Global Open Source
Community in 2013

xTuple - World's #1 Open Source ERP

Standing-room only xTupleCon13 — xTuple’s inaugural open source ERP
user conference — showcases software advances and highlights community
achievements

NORFOLK, VA — October 25, 2013 — Promoted as the “ultimate user
conference for the world’s #1 open source ERP community,” the first ever
“xTupleCon” drew together attendees from every corner of the globe, including
customers, value-added resellers, technology partners, and users of the free
and open source (FOSS) xTuple PostBooks. xTuple CEO Ned Lilly welcomed the
overflow crowd into downtown Norfolk, Va., home to the company’s corporate headquarters.

xTuple's Timeline InfographicLilly
detailed the history and accomplishments of the company
to-date and addressed the company’s development roadmap for the future.

xTuple’s Annual Community Awards were presented at the closing ceremony by
Wally Tonra, vice president of sales; Danielle Kerner, director of partner
channel development; BC Wilson, director of product strategy; and CEO Lilly.

Presentation of “Elite Partners,” selected via a thorough annual analysis by a
core group of xTuple staff, kicked off the ceremony. Elite assessment categories
cover achievement in sales, marketing, technical expertise, and customer support;
a minimum score of 80 out of 100 possible points; and at least one new successful
implementation project in the past twelve months.

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SalesAgility Sweetens CRM With Open Source Sugar

SalesAgility Sweetens CRM With Open Source Sugar

By Erika Morphy
CRM Buyer
10/28/13 5:00 AM PT

SuiteCRM includes “every module that is in the SugarCRM Profesional edition,” explained Greg Soper, SalesAgility’s CEO. “It is the same functionality as the Standard Community Edition with the addition of quotes, contracts, invoices, product workflows, report generators and security features. There is also an events module that allows people manage events online, and the software integrates with Maps as well.”

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– See more at: http://www.crmbuyer.com/story/SalesAgility-Sweetens-CRM-With-Open-Source-Sugar-79279.html#!

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Xero Offers QuickBooks Conversion Service

US only –

Xero Offers QuickBooks Conversion Service

San Francisco (October 8, 2013)

By Seth Fineberg

In its ongoing battle against Intuit and QuickBooks in particular, Xero is now offering a free service to help convert QuickBooks data directly into its cloud accounting solution.

Xero’s QuickBooks Conversion platform is designed to move the QuickBooks financial landscape directly into the Xero platform, including chart of accounts, contacts, inventory items and transaction history such as invoices, payments and more. The company plans to demonstrate the service nationally during an upcoming roadshow, beginning October 21 in Baltimore and spanning 20 cities over the next month.

“We created our QuickBooks Conversion Service in response to strong industry demand. With this service, we’re removing the last barrier for small businesses and their accounting partners to realize the power of the cloud in building a strong financial foundation,” said Xero U.S. president Jamie Sutherland. “We’re thrilled to make this long awaited industry demand a reality and spread the news to small businesses and accounting professionals across the U.S. during our national road show.”

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Rest of the world – use this

 

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Bossie Awards 2013: The best open source applications Best Opensource Software)

Bossies 2013: The Best of Open Source Software Awards

Best Open source Applications  (Check out the author of the writeups on opensource accounting and ERP software)

 

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xTuple 4.1 Features Open Source Business Intelligence Integration

xTuple 4.1 Features Open Source Business Intelligence Integration

By: Taija Jenkins, Associate Editor – CPA Practice Advisor
Created: September 10, 2013

xTuple, developers of open source enterprise resource planning software, announced the release of an updated version of its accounting, CRM and ERP software. xTuple 4.1 adds sales to the mobile web offering and includes new manufacturing and distribution features.

The updated xTuple ERP integrates an open source business intelligence suite with the software’s mobile web client providing users with a deep-dive sales analytics capability and simple graphical dashboards for several modules. Other enhancements include the addition of the sales module to the mobile web client, joint CRM and Project modules, updated manufacturing time clock management, simplified order entry for distribution users and numerous minor bug fixes.

The next-generation mobile web solution is compatible with any tablet or smartphone and is also available for on-premise xTuple installations as well as the xTuple Cloud service. While the source code for the mobile web solution is available for free download, xTuple now offers a simplified service to install the full solution on-site for any user with a current xTuple installation.

“xTuple users have the best of both worlds,” said CEO Ned Lilly. “Office-based users can continue to use the desktop client, while more mobile users will be able to use increasingly more of the application on their tablets and phones. With the addition of the sales module to the already-released CRM, mobile users can now develop sales prospects, issue a quote and convert the quote to an actual sales order in the ERP back home – all while having access to the full complement of customer information, such as credit status and historical sales. And the integrated BI tools provide instant access to key performance indicators of company performance for the executive on-the-go.”

xTuple 4.1 is now available for evaluation in a free trial cloud service and the company is offering special rewards on commercial upgrades through September 30, 2013, as well as professional services help on any edition of xTuple through the end of 2013. xTuple ERP is available on-site, in xTuple’s public cloud, or in the customer’s choice of private cloud environments and is fully transferable from one deployment to another. It is available on any desktop or mobile operating system.

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Where is Xero going?

From The CentricLogic Blog:

Xero investor_presentation_may_2013_-_external_v2  link to Xero slide pack outlining their strategy.  This is a public document! The rising star of the SaaS accountancy market is Xero.  NetSuite has been around much longer, generates more revenue and has more customers but seems to be a bit stuck at the moment.  But Xero is growing much faster and, given it focuses on a much larger segment (SMB) of the market, we think it will be the true star of the SaaS accountancy market.

Xero has recently published a presentation which contains information on its performance, the market and where it sees itself over the next three to five years.  Frankly, it is a fascinating read (not just because it is burning money as it builds its business).

  • where its growth is going to come from
  • who it sees as its competitors
  • how much money it is currently burning

The SaaS accountancy market does feel a bit like a land grab at the moment with some very large bets being placed on customers moving from current platforms.  The numbers seem to back this up.  The big question is: when all the early adopters have moved, how quickly will the remainder of the market take to convert?  It will be critical for them to keep the momentum up.

Also, once a SaaS company has a sustainable base, then it quickly generates a profit.  And monthly cashflow is much better then waiting for the one month a year when maintenance contract fees come in.

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SUSE Study Shows Linux on the Rise in the Enteprise

by Sam Dean – Aug. 15, 2013

Most people who keep up with Linux know that it has been a giant success at the server level, and powers much of the server infrastucture of the Internet. In fact, many Internet and enterprise users don’t even realize the extent to which they depend on Linux and related platform technology every day. In the enterprise itself, Linux is actually much more entrenched than some people would think. A new study on Linux in the enterprise from SUSE makes this abundantly clear, and shows that 83 percent of responding enterprises run Linux at the server level.

You can find the complete results of the SUSE study here.  The study surveyed nearly 200 IT executives at businesses with more than 500 employees. Fifty-one percent of respondents were from businesses with more than 5,000 employees. Executives were employed within the financial services, health care, manufacturing, government, retail and education industries.

More than 40 percent of respondents are using Linux as either their primary server operating system or as one of their top server platforms.  In addition, the study found that Linux is increasingly the operating system of choice for business-critical applications. Many enterprises either currently or are planning to run database (69 percent), data warehousing (62 percent), business intelligence (62 percent), customer relationship management or CRM (42 percent) and enterprise resource planning or ERP (31 percent) applications on Linux servers during the next 12 months.

Other key findings are included here:

— Database (17 percent) and business intelligence (17 percent) comprise the most popular apps currently running on Linux, followed by web servers (14 percent), CRM systems (12 percent), data warehousing (12 percent) and custom/vertical applications (8 percent).

— Security, TCO and high-availability features are the most significant factors respondents look at when considering migrating mission-critical applications to Linux.

— When evaluating Linux as an alternative to UNIX, top priorities are support, security and in-house skills.

— Nearly 60 percent of respondents agreed that moving to open source platforms like Linux will ensure their organizations avoid vendor lock-in.

“It is apparent … that Linux has continued to mature nicely as both a foundation for large scale-out clouds as well as a strong contender for the kind of enterprise workloads that previously were only comfortable on either RISC/UNIX systems or large Microsoft Server systems,” said Richard Fichera, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, in a statement.

Slowly but surely, enterprises are waking up to the negative effects of vendor lock-in, and the strong benefits of open platforms. These findings are good to keep in mind next time somebody says that Linux has failed. It certainly hasn’t.

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