Bi101 Blog … on cloud computing and SaaS, by Business Intelligence 101

Four Ways Google Apps Enhances Mobility

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“Mobility” has grown far beyond simple mobile phones.  One might even say it’s grown legs and run off!

Mobility today means freedom and universality.  A business with workers who can carry on regardless of their location is a business that’s focused, flexible, and ready for any new opportunities to come.

For companies starting to get serious about mobility options, Google Apps is a great starting point.  The premium service prices are low, and Google has what are probably the most stable servers in the industry today.  There are plenty of reasons to look into a Google Apps migration.

Four Ways Google Apps Brings True Mobility To Any Business

  1.  Works From Any Device

Google has long been a pioneer in cross-browser compatibility.  There’s no brand of phone, tablet, or other smart-device we know of which can’t access Google’s services, quickly and easily.

Plus, of course, Google offers their own line of Chrome-based laptops which are tailor-made for cheap and easy Google Apps usage and document portability.

  1.  A Single Friendly Interface

Some workers are uncomfortable with software that changes from device to device, or seem to need re-training whenever their computer is upgraded.  Google Apps eliminates these re-educational issues by presenting the same interface, on any device or browser.

Beyond that, they’ve also got dedicated mobile apps for most of their services, which similarly keep the same interface.  Basically, the operating system won’t get in the way of your worker’s needs.

  1.  Global Log-in

Anywhere your workers go, they can get Google.  It’s as simple as that.  It’s one of the most universally accessible websites in the world.  They even use Google down at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

So, whether your workers are commuting on a train, or home with a sick child, or doing field research halfway around the world, Google Apps will be there for them when it’s needed.

  1.  Simple Telecommutinggoogle 365 apps

All this adds up to what is one of the simplest and easiest telecommuting and document-collaboration platforms in the industry today.  From voice/videoconferencing through Google Hangouts to their language tools to their full suite of Office-style tools, you get a lot of productive potential from Google Apps.

That sort of flexibility means that your workforce can be anywhere in the world, without being out of touch or unable to contribute.  It makes their lives easier, and boosts productivity the entire time.

Mobility Is The Future

The Internet is taking businesses everywhere, and the businesses that are ready to move are the ones who can capitalize.  A single central office is becoming increasingly unnecessary:   As companies begin to move into mobile cloud applications, they don’t see much reason to move back.

If the world beyond your city’s borders beckons, Bi101 can take you there!  Contact us today for a free consultation on your cloud collaboration needs.

 

 

image credit: www.google.com

What Do You Get When You Integrate Your Cloud Services With Your CRM?

CRM isn’t just for sales reps!

Customer Relationship Management software is far more than a simple sales database.  For the modern data-driven business, it can be one of the most robust and powerful tools in their organization, providing data on every “touch” you have with a customer, from marketing to post-sale support.Integrate Your Cloud Services With Your CRM

CRM Brings Total Customer Visibility

CRM software, for basically the first time, gives you complete and total overview of your customer relationships on an individual basis.  For any given customer, you can see their entire history with the company.

This can include:

  • All services purchased
  • Any\all official communications
  • Quotes or estimates
  • Their billing history
  • Images or videos
  • Website activity
  • Servicing or repairs

So, an effective CRM system should ultimately be integrated into as many of your other systems as possible.  When this is done, it means all the information can be cross-linked and stored instantly.  If a customer emails you, it goes straight into the CRM database.  When a service worker responds, that email is also connected to the CRM entry.

However, this can only happen when your other cloud systems, such as Google Apps or Office 365, are integrated into your CRM.

CRM And Cloud Apps Integration

Now, many old CRM systems on the market want to lock you into their own interface, but this creates numerous issues.  Especially, most employees dislike learning the CRM’s systems when they just want to use their normal email instead.

Luckily, getting locked-in is not necessary with modern CRM.  There are a wide range of software solutions, running on the cloud or on your local servers, which can handle the translation back-and-forth between databases.  Your employees can send mail through Google or Office 365 as normal, and the message is sent to the CRM database as well.

Therefore, when looking into CRM integration, the most important step is correctly identifying all the databases and systems in which your customer data is stored.

CRM Integration Brings The Omni-Channel Experience

As the “channels” linking you to your customers expands, your need to keep an eye on those channels grows.  By linking your CRM to your existing cloud systems, you create a tool that brings a moment-by-moment overview of every customer interaction.

This is the raw data that leads directly to improved customer experiences, better-targeted products and marketing, and less time wasted on post-sale support.  CRM ultimately touches every aspect of your company, and should be treated as such.

If you need more advice or consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact Bi101!  Our experts have integrated networking systems that are small, huge, and everything in between.  No matter your cloud service needs, our technicians and top-quality business partners will ensure you get the best network for your business!

Benefits of Cloud Computing System for Your Business

 

Which is cheaper Google Apps or Office 365?

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One of the hardest things when planning a move onto a cloud architecture is what your total cost of ownership (TCO) is going to truly be.  All the costs are never stated up-front, especially when matters like migration or re-training come into play.

In terms of deciding between Google Apps or Office 365, there are strong elements to recommend both.  We’ve gotten plenty of clients up and going on both systems.  Deciding, which is more cost-effective depends on your office, as well as your planned usage.

So today, let’s take a quick look at some of the major elements that affect the price, TCO, and ROI on adopting Google Apps vs Office 365.

Major Cost Considerations When Choosing A Cloud Collaboration System

1 – Previous investments.

First, if your shop is already deeply invested in one or the other, don’t fix what isn’t broken.  If you’ve got Microsoft service contracts and everyone’s already on Office, just move to Office 365.  Or, if everyone’s using their personal Google accounts for work, stay with Google.

There usually isn’t a good reason to change horses mid-stream here, as the saying goes.

2 – Downtime.

In most situations, we find Google and Microsoft to be fairly competitive.  However, as things stand, there is one big benefit on Google’s side:  Microsoft’s servers go down more often, and have longer outages when they do.

That said, Google is widely-known for having the top availability in the industry, period, so this isn’t surprising.  They also beat out Amazon and many other top-tier cloud providers.

3 – Syncing And Compatibility

If cross-system compatibility is a key focus for you, Microsoft is likely the better choice.  Their Office formats – DOC, XLS, etc – are worldwide standards, and they offer a variety of APIs for linking third-party software into their own cloud network.

Google, on the other hand, largely uses proprietary formats and consistently has issues handling format conversions.  While the issues are usually minor, they can add up to lost productivity for employees having to actively move documents between formats.

That said, Google Apps has created individual apps for Docs, Sheets, and Presentations to enable full compatibility with Microsoft applications across mobile and tablet devices.cloud-computing

4 – Premium Prices For Premium Services

By and large, Microsoft offers better service and support for enterprise end users, whereas Google is more aimed at small and mid-sized organizations.  Google Apps can scale effectively, again if you’re staying within Google’s system, but faces challenges in companies integrating many different software systems.

Office 365 ultimately offers more robust integration and security features, but their high-end services are significantly more expensive than Google’s paid App offerings.  You get what you pay for, but you may not want/need to pay for it at all.

A Lot Goes Into Picking A Cloud Document Service

The choice between Google Apps and Office 365 is not a simple one.  They’re both great services, but with different focuses and approaches.  If you’d like more advice, please don’t hesitate to contact Bi101 for a free consultation on your needs!

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Business Intelligence 101 Recognized in CRN Next-Gen 250 Annual List Highlights Up-and-Coming Solution Providers

Livermore, CA, August 25, 2014 – Business Intelligence 101, announced today it has been named to the 2014 CRN Next-Gen 250 list. The annual list honors up-and-coming technology solution providers who have adapted their businesses in unique ways to meet market demands for emerging technologies such as unified communications, managed services, virtualization, and cloud computing.  These solution providers, each in business for less than 15 years, have embraced pressing market challenges in ways that clearly distinguish them as today’s trailblazers and tomorrow’s leaders.

Business Intelligence 101 (Bi101) delivers top cloud solutions and bottom line results. Eliminating the pain of computer infrastructure and enabling the gain of efficiency, mobility, and innovation. By leveraging cloud technology, Bi101 provides implementation, training, and managed service in support of Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365, and NetSuite.

“We are honored to be recognized side-by-side with the top solution providers in the industry. Our team stands out in the industry by providing quality work to all of our clients for over ten years. I believe that this recognition comes because of our emphasis on our company values of living a balanced lifestyle, staying united as a team, always acting in a professional manner, and being an evangelist of cloud technology,” stated, Kevin Lalor, CEO and Founder of Bi101.

“IT is undergoing a transformation today, with new technologies, new delivery models and new demands being placed upon the integrators tasked with architecting the technology solutions businesses need,” said Robert Faletra, CEO of The Channel Company, publisher of CRN.  “The CRN Next-Gen 250 recognizes the up-and-comers among the solution provider community who have found innovative ways to address these business challenges and recognizes them as the next generation of leaders in the IT channel.  We are pleased to be able to honor the organizations named in this prestigious list, and CRN editors will be following their progress in the years to come.”

A sampling of the Next-Gen 250 list will be featured in the August issue of CRN, the top news source for solution providers and the IT channel, and will be available online at both www.crn.com and through the CRN Tech News App for iPad and Windows 8.

About Business Intelligence 101

We eliminate the pain of computer infrastructure and enable the gain of efficiency, mobility & innovation. We provide software and professional services companies with an integrated suite of cloud based tools and support services that give them a competitive edge and the visibility they need to make better, faster decisions without the limitations of traditional information technology. Our partnerships and expertise with NetSuite, Google, and Microsoft make us a leader in the industry. For more information visit our website at bi101.com or call us at 866-552-4101.

About The Channel Company
The Channel Company is the channel community’s trusted authority for growth and innovation, with established brands including CRN, XChange Events, IPED, and SharedVue. For more than three decades, we have leveraged our proven and leading-edge platforms to deliver prescriptive sales and marketing solutions for the technology channel. The Channel Company provides Communication, Recruitment, Engagement, Enablement, Demand Generation and Intelligence services to drive technology partnerships. Learn more at www.thechannelcompany.com.

Contacts

Lindsay Donohue
Business Intelligence 101
866.552.4101
Lindsay@bi101.com

Betzi Hanc
The Channel Company
508.416.1182
bhanc@thechannelcompany.com

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Which Is More Secure Google Apps Or Office 365?

cloud computing

One common question we hear from people looking to move into cloud-based services is whether Google Apps or Microsoft Office offer more secure cloud networking.

We’re glad to hear the question, honestly, because cloud security is a major issue these days.  Companies need to be looking out for their data on the cloud, even if -according to studies- IT admins tend to overstate the risks involved with cloud migration.  The cloud can be more secure than physical networks, when properly implemented.

Now, as far as Google Apps vs Microsoft Office 365?  In truth, both offer absolutely world-class security and uptime guarantees.  On that subject, we’re happy to call a draw.  We set up plenty of clients on both Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, with no reservations about the security of either service.

In truth, the decision to use Google or Microsoft for cloud document collaboration is largely based in the needs of an individual basis.

Deciding Between Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365

Since either system can form the basis for a superior cloud collaboration system, individual usage and needs is a big part of the equation.

1. Prior Adoption

By and large, if a shop is already standardized on a Windows Server / Microsoft Office setup, we encourage them to migrate onwards into Office 365.  They’re the ideal setup to quickly take advantage of Microsoft’s cutting-edge cloud systems with a minimum of disruption.

Half their data may already be on Microsoft servers anyway.

On the other hand, a shop without a strong monetary investment in Microsoft likely has a strong personal investment in Google.  Which is to say, practically everyone has a Google account these days.  So, a move to Google Apps would make more sense… given that half of everyone’s data seems to be on Google servers these days.

2. Smaller vs Larger Setupsdata storage

The other main deciding factor we use in Google vs Microsoft is the size and scale of the operation.  Broadly speaking, Google’s applications are both cheaper and easier for smaller operations to adopt, especially those who don’t have to migrate large amounts of data.  The multitude of free services they offer also help reduce ongoing costs.

Plus, it can’t be forgotten that Google tends to reward its own.  A shop standardized on Google Apps, with full user profiles and such, is likely to see subtle improvements to their SEO and other online efforts… if they’re also using Google.

On the other hand, Microsoft’s services scale better, and they have superior enterprise-level support.  For an established business, or one looking to stick largely to tried-and-true strategies that have carried plenty of larger firms forward, Office 365 fits the bill.   Your operations are unlikely to ever outgrow Microsoft.

There’s A World Of Opportunity In Cloud Vendors

Need help sorting out which cloud applications are best for your business needs?  Call in Business Intelligence 101!  Our experts have been with the cloud since the beginning, with all the experience needed to find the best-fit cloud solutions.

Contact Bi101 today for a free consultation!

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