Web Hosting Just One of Many Technologies on Display at HostingCon 2012

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HostingCon came to Boston this week, and SMB Research was there to take the temperature of the hosting industry.  What we learned is that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye.  Exhibitors that we talked to were enthusiastic about the conference and foot traffic – feeling that it was at least equal to, if not up by 10-15% over past years.

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How To Use a Technology Analyst Firm

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SMB Research has intended for some time to provide some ideas around how to use a technology analyst firm.  This is a difficult task because the analyst firm industry has many flavors, business and revenue models, services, and deliverables.  Analysts are often lumped in with consultants and consulting, and, for many, even the lines between analysts, consultants and resellers, VARS and MSPs (managed service providers) are blurry.  There are many streams of discussions on the internet and elsewhere about the different analyst firm models, business and revenue models, and the issues around bias and transparency, among other things.  We will not make even a pretense of trying to sort all of this out for you here.  (You can give us a call, if you like.)   What we can do for you as a start is offer some insights on what a technology analyst firm is, and how to use a technology analyst firm like SMB Research.

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Day 2 at Interop New York 2011

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Another day at Interop under our belts, and more opportunities to wander through the exhibit floor and talk to quite a few vendors.  This Interop conference has been, perhaps not surprisingly, all about the data center, cloud computing, network management and security, desktop and server virtualization, unified communications,  and wireless / mobile strategy, with more minor focuses on WANs and WAN optimization, social media, voice and video, backup and storage.   This diversity is seen on the exhibit floor as well,  and is both Interop’s attraction as well as a challenge.

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Day “1″ of Interop New York 2011

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On our Day 1 at Interop New York 2011 (actually the 3rd day of the conference), SMB Research arrived to find the event well in swing, with a lot of enthusiastic attendees, and the exhibit hall of more than 150 exhibitors very full, and very busy.

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SMB Research’s Watch List for Oracle OpenWorld 2011

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SMB Research is monitoring developments from Oracle OpenWorld 2011 with great interest.  Are you a Mid-market or SMB headed to Oracle OpenWorld? Are you evaluating Oracle for the first time, or further integrating an Oracle solution or technology into your enterprise?  Let us know what you think of Oracle’s strategy and technology and what questions/concerns you have.   Here below are a few of the things we are watching, with plans to refresh our assessment of Oracle for you in the near future.

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SMB Research – Taking Stock: SYSPRO, Lawson Software, Interprise Solutions

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SYSPRO, the long-time private ERP vendor will be presenting on June 8, 2011 in New York City at the Atlantic Design and Manufacturing Show.   SYSPRO has been around for more than 30 years, and continually showing up on the evaluation lists of midsize companies, particularly in the food, medical devices, electronics, machinery/equipment and distribution industries, looking for a cost-effective full-featured system. [Read more...]

5 Ways SMBs Can Better Influence Technology Vendors

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It has been a year since SMB Research posted “SMBs: Get Influence Working with Large Vendors; 7 Guidelines to Ease the Process”.  As we have been working with a number of end users in 2010 and in early 2011, we are updating and refreshing this with some new insights and recommendations.

While it is undoubtedly true that small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) cannot avail themselves of all of the price breaks and other advantages of larger enterprises who have bigger IT and capex budgets, there are steps you can take to “look” big and be treated with the respect and amount of attention that you deserve: [Read more...]

10 Best Practices For a Better Website

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Have you read enough pieces yet on what makes a great website?

You have probably seen quite a few articles and posts addressing this.  We here at SMB Research know we have seen a lot of material. (SMB Research includes at least one fairly good article on SMB Research’s Top 20 Favorite Reads of 2010.)

Many of these articles seem to take a cookie-cutter approach:  it should go without saying at this point that a website needs to have good navigation, and that a website needs a “Call to Action”.

We think there are a number of other critical website features and best practices that get too little attention.

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SMB Research’s Top 20 Favorite Reads of 2010

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What was the best SMB or technology-related piece you read this past year?

When we at SMB Research started talking a few weeks ago about what we thought were some of the most interesting and valuable articles from 2010, we realized that once again this year there has been a great deal of very good (however you define this) research and writing.  If you struggle to find the time to read to read everything that deserves your attention, we share your pain.

To help you out, SMB Research decided to take a look back at some of what has been written and published this past year, and to identify some of our favorite reads.

SMB Research’s Top 20 Favorite Reads, 2010:
(in chronological order)

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Virtual Server Backup – A Conversation with Lois Paul’s Don Jennings

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SMB Research is working with the Data Center Infrastructure Group’s Jerome Wendt to produce a Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer’s Guide.

Talking to Jerome and other folks, it has become apparent that the virtual server backup area is rapidly growing and evolving, and there is a lot of resulting end-user interest (and confusion).

So DCIG and SMB Research are jumping into the breach, as it were, and working on a Buyer’s Guide that should be the best source yet of information on this market segment.
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2010 IT Planning for Small-to-Medium Business

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SMB Research just completed a survey for 2010 IT Planning for Small-to-Medium Businesses (SMBs).  

SMBs: Get Influence Working With Large Vendors; 7 Guidelines to Ease the Process

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We find it amazing how often large vendors in either  ERP, Supply Chain, or some other category of software, come in to a deal and do not offer the prospect the best information to help make a decision.   References are not provided or slowly given, prices are kept at a premium, and in some cases the prospect is mislead on the functionality of the software.   While vendors do need to use their references wisely, users do need to know where to turn when they are not getting answers. [Read more...]