Chronicles of Cloud Computing: Moving CRM to the Cloud

We’ve been talking a lot about cloud computing here at ThinkGig and we’d like to share an example of how we are moving to the cloud with our implementation.

It begins with the classic story. The Software as a Service (SaaS) implementation replaces a homegrown funnel management system whose performance had been steadily degrading. Managers lacked visibility into the sales cycle and tools for coaching. Users wanted the ability to manage customers from a Smartphone without losing performance. The tool wasn’t able to scale up quickly as the user base grew and changes to the application took longer than we’d like.

What are the benefits we found by moving to the cloud?

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Breaking Down Cloud: PaaS

In our last blog post, we talked about cloud computing’s potential to foster the kind of innovation that we saw on the Internet in the 1990s. We suggested that enterprises ask, “How can we use cloud technology to do something different?”

Now we want to dig into one of cloud computing’s core components – Platform as a Service or PaaS – and look at how this flavor of cloud computing is enabling innovation.

First, let’s define PaaS. It’s a technology that combines hosted infrastructure with a development platform such as Java or APEX, purposely separating the development environment from specific operating systems or hardware.

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Dot-Com 2.0: How Cloud Will Impact the Business Landscape

In a challenging business environment, it’s tempting to focus solely on how technology innovation can help companies reduce expenses and work more efficiently. I think it’s also time for additional focus, to consider how new technology can foster growth, innovation and a new energy in the business landscape.

At Qwest, we believe that cloud computing offers as many opportunities to shake things up as the birth of the commercial Internet did 15 years ago.

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How To Get Social With Your Marketing

Everything is going “social.” First we had social media and social networking, then the social customer and now social CRM. I’ve always believed in using the right technology to enable a customer-centric approach. When I started to see “Social CRM” appear as the latest buzzword in social media, I realized it was a great way to describe being customer-centric in today’s online world.

Paul Greenberg, founder of the 56 Group, describes the social customer perfectly when he notes that customers are now communicating outside traditional channels, and that who and how they trust is different than it used to be.

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Disaster Recovery In The Cloud

Is your IT staff prepared to deal with the unthinkable? Imagine for a moment what would happen if your network, and all the systems and applications that rely on it, were suddenly unavailable. Have you considered the impact of this scenario – not only when a disaster strikes, but also when outages are caused by a spike in business activity or a problem with your provider’s network?

Here at Qwest, we’ve developed a framework that enables multiple groups to work together to support business continuity and incident response. We have cross-functional teams tasked with this endeavor and have made disaster recovery and business continuity priorities for our business.

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It’s Official

When we heard that Microsoft used its B2B Worldwide Partner Conference to show off phones, an iPad-like slate, and motion sensors for the Xbox video game system, it confirmed one of our latest theories and one of our customers’ biggest challenges: Consumerization has hit the corporate mainstream.

Jason Hiner, editor of TechRepublic, calls the consumerization of IT one of the industry’s key trends. When the topic first arose, “It was primarily an annoyance involving a few power users who were bringing their own Palm Treos into the enterprise and using some unauthorized Web tools to get their work done.”

But these days, corporate IT must deal with personal laptops and smartphones and a mobile workforce. The buzz around unified communications, and the growth in popularity of Web-based tools such as Evernote, Skype and Google Docs, raise questions about where your enterprise data lives and who can access it.

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SIPping the Kool-Aid: Are You Ready for SIP Trunking?

If you’re thinking about deploying or upgrading a VoIP solution, you’ve heard about SIP trunking as a way to reduce both hard and soft costs, while tapping nearly unlimited bandwidth and enabling access to rich communications.

One of a SIP network’s biggest virtues is the ability to share resources cost-effectively. For example, a business with 10 locations nationwide can streamline down to one central call center in a way that’s invisible to customers. Or a company whose inbound calls come in bursts can dedicate bandwidth to voice when needed, instead of paying for more bandwidth to handle a few heavy traffic days a year.

SIP talk seems to be everywhere this summer, but the standard continues to evolve. Interoperability issues make the technology appropriate for some enterprises, but not all. In short, your communications platform may not work with the SIP gateway or edge device you want to buy.

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Five Must-Haves on Your Unified Communications Checklist

So you’ve moved from being “interested” in Unified Communications (UC) to actively considering UC. Here are a few UC best practices to think about before you implement. Together, they may save you hours of headaches, not to mention significant amounts of time and money.

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