Taking Stock – Eloqua, HostingCon, ClickSoftware, Meridian Associates

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SMB Research is overdue in producing another one of our occasional, but irregular, “round-the-horn” Taking Stock pieces.   The waiting is over, and the summer be damned: there is stuff going on.  We can’t bring ourselves to watch the Red Sox every night, or Olympics‘ synchronized diving or synchronized swimming any night.  It’s raining too much to go to the beach.  So SMB Research is out of excuses.   Read, enjoy, and comment.   This Taking Stock talks about Eloqua, HostingCon, SoftLayer, ClickSoftware, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce‘s 2012 Small Business of the Year, and New England Network Associates.  For a Taking Stock primer, see “SMB Research debuts…’Taking Stock’
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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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Small Business Technology Tour, 2011

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The Small Business Technology Tour, hosted by the energetic and engaging Ramon Ray came to Boston this week, and SMB Research had an opportunity to sit in to hear what the experts and small businesses are talking about.   This Boston event was the 3rd of 5 stops for the 2011 tour, and, like the agendas in the other tour stops (with some minor variations) the Small Business Technology Tour focuses on addressing how small businesses can strategically use technology to grow their businesses.  There are technology references and insights mixed in, but the primary focus is on strategies and best practices in the establishing an on-site presence, and then leveraging that with the right marketing, sales and content strategies.  Ramon Ray and Laura Leites of Smallbiztechnology.com brought an engaging mix of speakers who in general provided some valuable insights to the enthusiastic audience.

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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: Interprise Solutions, LogicBay, Partner Relationship Management, Kiva, Jobscope

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Interprise Solutions has announced its 2011 Event for August 23-26 at the Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas.  This promises to be, we would think, one of the more exciting Interprise events in recent history with release of its 6.0. (We’re working on an overdue review of this solution which Gary Harrison has kindly taken the covers off for us.)

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Sustainability Strategies for the SMB / SME

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 Mango NetworksLisa Lillelund provided a timely and engaging presentation at the North Shore Technology Council‘s (NSTC) North Shore Technology Council  first Wednesday of the month Sustainability Forum at the Cleantech InnoVenture Center in Lynn.  Mango Networks describes itself as “a Sustainability, Clean Energy, and Environmental Communications Company..[who] advises companies, universities, schools, clean tech start-ups, and resorts…[and advocates] for environmentally friendlier business and living practices through our consulting projects, articles, Mango Networkspresentations, and educational events.’   Ms. Lillelund’s message to the assembled audience reflected Mango’s mission to educate on what sustainability is, and what we can all be doing about sustainability in our businesses and our lives.

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SMB Research – Taking Stock: NetSuite, Internet Retailer Conference (IRCE), Enterprise 2.0

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SMB Research provides another wrap-up of news big and small – or simply epiphanies for us -  that we think you may want to know about.  On deck this week are: Events, events, and more events. – oh, and also NetSuite, Waterloo Manufacturing, Plex Systems, and Tribute, Inc.

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Everest Software and Versata – Software Vendors or Portfolio Companies?

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SMB Research has been hearing some interesting things from the Everest Software end-user community.  So we decided it was time to take a closer look.  What we find is a software company that seems to like to do things its own way – and perhaps a bit differently than some of the software and technology companies you are more familiar with.  Everest Software has been around for quite a long time, and continues to make an impression on customers – either quite positive or very negative.

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SMB Research – Taking Stock: Microsoft SharePoint, Plex Systems, Salesorder.com

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SMB Research attended SPTechCon Boston 2011 this week, and the highlight (as you might infer if you are keeping up the SMB Research Blog) were the exhibitors.  We diligently trolled the booths looking for SMB and midmarket stories, and vendors and service providers servicing same.

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SMB Research – Taking Stock – April 20, 2011

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It was great to get an update this week from Lawson Software (there’s a lot to be said for a briefing after a conference, btw).  More to come!…. [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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Great Learnings from Boston’s Small Business of the Year Awards

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SMB Research was very pleased to be able to attend the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s 26th Annual Small Business of the Year Awards yesterday (Oct 14, 2010) at the Colonnade Hotel.  Emceed by WBZ Radio’s co-Anchor of “WBZ Morning News” Ed Walsh, the event itself was flawlessly put together and efficiently executed, for a very enjoyable event. [Read more...]