Cloud for SMBs

POSTED BY on Jun 11 under Uncategorized

I have heard feedback from readers that my previous post sounded like I was discouraging businesses from going to the cloud. I want to clarify that it was not my intention to dissuade companies from going to the cloud but merely intended to give the raw facts and where could SMBs burn their fingers trying out such unfamiliar territory. That being said, I have listed a bunch of applications that SMBs could benefit from by going to the cloud.

1. Google Apps including Google email and Google Docs are offerings from Google cloud kingdom. Google Apps is a business-class version of Google Docs and includes apps such as eMail, Calendar, and Documents (for word processing, spreadsheet, presentations and forms) and with cool, easy to use administration capabilities.

One advantage of the cloud is that your data remains in one place no matter where you access it from. Google makes it even more easier by providing great tools to access your data anytime as long as you have access to the internet. Now, its great that I keep all my stuff on Google but how safe is it? Google’s cloud tools are actually more secure on the whole because, although you are trusting your data to an external provider, it works hard to secure your data. No one is immune to hackers but Google pays a lot of close attention to such things and it’s the sort of attention to detail that you probably don’t have time or money for in your local one man IT department.

2. Box.net (the last I looked it was free for 1GB of storage; $10 for an individual plan; $15 monthly for three or more users) is an online workspace service for file sharing and collaboration. In my opinion, Box’s tools are incredibly easy to use and very powerful for someone who is always on the go especially if you’re working with a virtual team that requires a lot of coordination.

3. QuickBooks Online ($10 to $35 per month), unlike QuickBooks installed on PCs, makes collaboration easy across a small team. It enables bookkeepers, accountants and outsourced finance teams to all look at the same up-to-date information to advise on your financial health.

4. Google Voice (free) is a chat and voip application from Google that allows you to make free calls everywhere within the USA and Canada. Google Voice used to be known as GrandCentral before Google bought the company in July 2007. New users get a free new number, hopefully somewhere near their local area. I have personally tried this and the call quality if impeccable.

I will try to add more apps as I come across to help our clients and other SMBs.

“To the Cloud…”

POSTED BY on May 10 under Uncategorized

Access to your applications anywhere at any time isn’t the only way your businesses can take advantage of cloud computing. Storing data in the cloud is a way to cut down costs and address your ever growing customer needs.

Before you take the leap into the cloud for storage, it may be a good idea to do some homework on the available cloud service providers. After all, for some permanent loss of data could mean the end to their business. According to a report by PWC, 70% of small businesses that have a major data loss go out of business within a year. That is a shocking number. Cloud computing means applications, processing power and data storage accessed over the Internet and hosted outside of the business premises. You, the owner doesn’t have to spend money on servers, storage systems and applications. Thus far Cloud computing has been popular among large enterprises, but these days small business owners are worried about handing over their data and applications to a cloud provider, partly over security concerns. Since cloud computing is much cheaper than having hardware and software at the business’ physical location, many industry watchers predict cloud computing will be a mainstay in the future and something small business owners will need to embrace to stay competitive.

To the Cloud

While small business owners may be more willing to access applications in the cloud, they may balk at storing mission-critical data on the Internet over concerns the data can be breached and not easily accessible. Experts say those concerns are unwarranted, especially if the small business goes with a reputable service provider that is out there. In addition to security, storing data in the cloud gives small businesses flexibility because they can access their data anywhere at any time.

When you’re ready to make the move, Vebinary can help you get there.

Vebinary is hiring…

POSTED BY on Mar 25 under Uncategorized

Vebinary Solutions has a good problem today. There is business but Vebinary does not have the right talent to take on the business coming down the pipe. If you have read through Vebinary’s site you will know what the company does.

Vebinary is Hiring

Currently we are in need of a Junior Project Manager here in Atlanta and several .NET technical experts in its offshore development center in India. If you’re interested to work in some of the cutting edge business applications and social media marketing please email your resume to resumes@vebinary.com or you could contact us using the contact us form.

Japan Earthquake – Redcross

POSTED BY on Mar 13 under Uncategorized

Help The Victims of the 8.9 Earthquake in Japan by Spreading Awareness and Aid.

Visit Redcross Donations for Japanese Earthquake to donate.

More recent  footage can be viewed at

More recent footages

Importance of software testing

POSTED BY on Mar 13 under Uncategorized

In modern times when “Time to Market” (TTM) makes all the difference between a successful and failed product, it is very important that we keep the length of time it takes from a product being conceived until its being available for sale to as low as possible.
A common misconception out there in many people’s minds is that TTM is improved (shortened) by skipping steps of the development process, thus compromising quality. For those who use highly structured development processes, such as Six Sigma, product development is often viewed as a sequence of steps to be followed. Skipping a step, due to time pressure, for example, not only undercuts quality but can lengthen development if they must complete or repeat the step later.

One area that gets compromised in most software development projects is Software testing. Software testing is an investigation conducted by a individual or a group of technical experts to provide stakeholders with information about the quality of the product or service under test. It also provides an objective, independent view of the software to allow the business to appreciate and understand the risks of software implementation. There are several testing techniques including, but are not limited to, the process of executing a program or application with the intent of finding software defects or most commonly known as “Bugs”. It is a process of validating and verifying that a software application meets the business and technical requirements that guided its design and development and can be implemented with the same characteristics live for consumer consumption.

Testing Nightmares

Although software testing sounds elaborate and time consuming, it is actually not as bad as it sounds. If done right, it is usually 20 to 30% of the time it takes to develop the application – the key words here being “If done right”. Many companies that develop application software tend to compromise in this area due to several reasons, some popular ones being (a) the timeline for delivery is too short (b) Investors don’t have the money required for this process (c) Lets have the business people test what was developed. This is where many companies miss the boat. Testing is a very important activity in a software development life cycle that saves the development team’s rear end right before it is out there for people to consume. Once out there it is hard to retract back. It could make all the difference in getting your next round of funding for your company. Testing saves the company’s reputation from getting flushed down the toilet. There are several “Doh” moments that you wouldn’t have imagined you would have to deal with.

Please, please, please give as much importance to software testing as you do to come out with the coolest idea on a product development and launch.

Web Analytics

POSTED BY on Mar 3 under Uncategorized

According to Wikipedia, Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage.

Web Analytics is not just a tool for measuring website traffic but can be used as a tool for business research and market research. Web analytics applications can also help companies measure the results of traditional print advertising campaigns. It helps one to estimate how the traffic to the website changed after the launch of a new advertising campaign. Web analytics provides data on the number of visitors, page views, etc. to gauge the traffic and popularity trends which helps doing the market research.

There are several companies that offer such analytics in the market and there are some FREE ones…Coremetrics is a leading company in this space. That said, their offering is very rich in data and gives all kinds of analytics and reports to help businesses identify where and how are customers getting on to your site. A close second is Google Analytics which is FREE. The data google offers is sufficient for most businesses and is a great way to keep track of your online customers.

Let me talk a bit about Google Analytics. Lets discuss an example – when Google Analytics is added to a website, within your Google Analytics account, you  can view information about your website, such as referring traffic and  keywords searched to land on your site etc.  To add Google Analytics to your website, you will need to sign up for a Google account. Then Google will generate a code which you will need to add to the code of  your website.  There are also advanced settings which will track conversions, Google ads and many many data points that would help you, the businessman make concious business decisions.

Web Analytics Dashboard

I use Google Analytics for this site. I use it to gain insightful information to help me make decisions about things I need to do to grow and enhance my blog. Vebinary can help you setup this information on your site for you to track your customer behavious on your website.

Does my business need a mobile site?

POSTED BY on Feb 26 under Uncategorized

First, some staggering facts…

1. There are 5.3 billion mobile subscribers (that’s 77 percent of the world population). Growth is led by China and India.
2. Half a billion people accessed mobile Internet worldwide in 2009. Usage is expected to double within five years as mobile overtakes the PC as the most popular way to get on the Web.
3. Many mobile Web users are mobile-only, i.e. they do not, or very rarely use a desktop, laptop or tablet to access the Web. Mobile-only in Egypt is 70 percent, India 59 percent, even in the US it’s 25 percent of subscribers.
4. In 2011, it is expected that over 85 percent of new handsets will be able to access the mobile Web.
5. Today in US and W. Europe, 90 percent of mobile subscribers have an Internet-ready phone.
6. Almost one in five global mobile subscribers have access to fast mobile Internet (3G or better) services and the number of 3G handsets is growing fast.
7. M-commerce is predicted to reach US$119 billion in 2015, Japan remains king. Top m-commerce retailers globally include: Taobao, Amazon and eBay.
8. On eBay alone consumers bought and sold over US$2 billion worth of merchandise on via mobile in 2010.

Reference: http://mobithinking.com/mobile-marketing-tools/latest-mobile-stats

Is that enough to convince you to have a mobile site for your business? I rest my case…

Go Mobile

In today’s mobile era, every website should include a mobile version of the same site, as consumers continue to shift their behavior to regularly using the mobile web. As mobile traffic increases exponentially, it makes sense for small businesses to craft mobile-friendly sites to ensure they don’t miss out on mobile traffic, and more importantly, sales.

Mobile and smartphone optimized web design will also be key to driving online sales, so now is the time to invest in designing your site for the mobile masses. For small business owners, considering your audience and user behavior for the lifecycle of your site is essential, and creating a professional mobile experience is key to this. Making this experience fast and efficient is an excellent way to improve your site’s effectiveness and make purchasing products as easy as possible. With the mobile web estimated to overtake desktop internet in usage by 2015, it’s time for businesses to think ahead of the competition and create a great mobile website experience now. I would take it a step further and say you are behind some of your competitors if you do not have a mobile site yet.

Web 2.0 – what the heck is it?

POSTED BY on Feb 24 under Uncategorized

So what is “Web 2.0” anyway? Though the version upgrade sounds like a newer version of a software product, it doesn’t actually refer to any one technology. Rather, Web 2.0 is just a new catchy name for an emerging set of internet-based applications and an emerging philosophy on how to use them.

Web 2.0

Newer technologies such as blogs, rss, social networks and the use of newer communication protocols are commonly referred to in technology circles as Web 2.0. The philosophy focuses on the idea that the people who consume media, access the Internet, and use the Web shouldn’t passively absorb what’s available — rather, they should be active contributors, helping customize media and technology for their own purposes, as well as those of their communities.

This philosophy contrasts sharply with the old “Web 1.0” (so to speak) methodology, in which news was provided by a handful of large corporations, Web pages were static and rarely updated, and only the tech-savvy could contribute to the development of the World Wide Web.
Of course, it may seem premature for nonprofits to be thinking about Web 2.0 when many haven’t yet mastered Web 1.0, but Web 2.0 isn’t just the latest new toy for geeks or the bleeding edge so beloved by entrepreneurs. It’s the beginning of a new era in technology — one that promises to help ease the voodoo nature of web development.
So what is Blogging?

Short for “Web logs,” blogs are online journals created by an individual or an organization and cover topics ranging from a variety of topics.

Blogs are a great example of how emerging voices are not only being heard but amplified. By reading and discussing each other’s posts, bloggers form a ut do not e massive network that is able to exert pressure on national media and, increasingly, on policy makers as well.

Blog postings, typically updated frequently, can include photos, links, video, audio, or just plain text. Whatever you are reading on my site is a blog.

Widgets and AJAX Applications

The centerpiece of the Web 2.0 transformation is AJAX, a group of Web page coding technologies that allows pages to respond to a user’s input without processing or reloading the page.

Specifically, AJAX is a term that refers to JavaScript, XML, HTML, and CSS used in conjunction to develop interactive Web applications. AJAX does not change the Web itself, but rather how programmers present the data to users. If you don’t understand AJAX, dont worry. There are a lot of people who claim to be experts in this technology b

With traditional Web applications, when a user clicks something, the action triggers a request to a Web server, which renders the page in the user’s browser. The user must then wait for the page to load while an hourglass or a blank Web page indicates that the request is being processed. Each action a user performs results in lag time. In an AJAX-driven Web application, when a user performs an action — say, clicking a map — the results are immediate, so there’s virtually no waiting time.

One of AJAX’s most popular applications is Google Maps, where you can drag the map around on the screen seamlessly and add and remove flags without having to wait for Google’s server to send you an updated Web page.

What is Social Media Marketing?

POSTED BY on Feb 20 under Uncategorized

What is all the hype about Social media marketing? www.about.com had done a great job of explaining what it is in plain English without much Techno jargon. Let me try to summarize it here. It is the process of marketing your business and its products through social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It utilizes the social aspect of the web to connect and interact on a much more personalized and dynamic level with your customers than through traditional marketing avenues.

Social Media Marketing Avenues

A social media marketing strategy can be as simple as just having a company blog, a Twitter account, or attaching a “Tweet This” tags to the end of your articles. It can also be as complicated as having a full campaign that encompasses blogs, Twitter, social networking and viral videos through YouTube.

Social Media Marketing and Social News

This type of marketing can often be automated, so it is simple to implement. It can also be very effective for media companies, and can be a great way to promote a company blog.

Social Media Marketing and Blogs

In many respects, blogs can serve as an extension of traditional media. Much as review copies might be sent to traditional media outlets like newspapers and magazines, they can also be sent to popular blogs on the subject. Dell Computers used social media to sell their Refurbished, overstock and off lease computers through their twitter account. In 2009 they are reported to have earned around $3 million via Social Media channels. (NY Times Article June 12, 2009)

It has become increasingly important to have a presence on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. In addition to these popular social networks, there are also many specialized social networks that might be the perfect place to set up camp for specific products. For example, a musician might set up a profile on Last.FM as well as Twitter, while a movie might be best promoted through Flixster in addition to Facebook.

Social networks not only give the marketer a place to get the word out, they also provide a place to interact with customers and allow customers to interact with each other. This can be a great starting point for the marketing to go viral and pick up a grassroots effort.

Social Media Marketing and Twitter

Twitter has picked up a lot of steam in the last year for being a great place for social media marketing. While Twitter has grown far beyond its micro-blogging roots, it is important to think of Twitter similar to a company blog. While the primary purpose is to get the word out, it is just as important to add a personal touch rather than relying on RSS feeds to deliver stale press releases or simply repeat the company blog.

Social Media Marketing and YouTube

Some of the most effective social media marketing strategies center around YouTube and the viral video. While often more time-consuming and expensive, YouTube can easily become the centerpiece of a larger social media campaign. Watch Microsoft’s “I’m a Mac” commercial on You Tube. Microsoft’s Response to Mac

The more you interact with the customer, the more brand loyalty you build.

e-Commerce is back baby!!!

POSTED BY on Feb 12 under Uncategorized

* Thank you James Slavet of Greylock Partners for writing such a good article *

The most successful social commerce teams will combine highly-developed right and left brains. The right brain is essential from the earliest days of a company’s life. By right brain I mean the instincts and passion to recognize and deliver an experience that will resonate in a deep, authentic way with the customer. Most v 1.0 e-commerce sites didn’t seem to use much of the right brain. In social commerce the experience starts with identifying great merchandise that’s unique and hard to find—you can’t just get it anywhere. The experience extends to story-telling so that the company describes the merchandise in a compelling way. In the end, it is wrapped up in a brand and experience that customers are excited to identify with and participate in.

In e-commerce operations there are never-ending opportunities for the left brain to test, iterate and improve. The best companies relentlessly crunch data generated from initial customer contacts through to transactions.

The One Kings Lane launch team nailed the initial customer experience. They provided access to “accessible luxury” through a curated selection of unique, high quality products for the home refreshed on a daily basis and sold at reasonable prices. One Kings Lane arrived like a trusted, knowledgeable, stylish friend to help shoppers (mostly women) on their never-ending quest to find great products to decorate their homes and entertain. It was the team’s highly-functioning right brain that recognized and tastefully marketed the truly great finds.

But the One Kings Lane team, including CEO Doug Mack, founders Alison Pincus and Susan Feldman and a management team drawn from Walmart.com, eBay, Amazon, Zappos and Netflix, also represents some of the more highly-tuned left brains in online retail today.

Some teams’ brains are strong on the right or the left, but the magic comes when they’re strong on both sides.

Addicts and Evangelists

In the past, even the best known e-commerce companies grew at a linear pace and acquired the vast majority of their traffic through a combination of paid marketing and SEO. Commerce didn’t take off right away through Facebook and Twitter because the products and the experiences most people engage with on classic e-commerce sites were engineered for simplicity, speed, and comprehensiveness. They just weren’t exciting, fun or interesting enough to warrant sharing with friends.

What makes a social commerce business work at the core is an experience that is fundamentally worth sharing. The act of sharing involves social capital – you’re withdrawing a deposit from the social capital account with a friend when you share something lame with him, and you’re earning social capital when you share something cool.

Most social commerce companies do spend money on marketing (in some cases lots of it) but the key difference is that their ROI on paid marketing is amplified by high lifetime value customers (addicts) and viral spread (evangelists). This amplification is what’s driving the near exponential growth and increasing defensibility of breakout social commerce companies. When customers are addicted and willingly infect their friends, strong companies get stronger and become ever more difficult to beat.

I first discovered One Kings Lane through my wife and her friends. The women in our neighborhood were showing signs of One King’s Lane addiction. Online products that inspire this kind of daily habit are unusual. One King’s Lane customers are their greatest champions and the company is acquiring the majority of their customers through word of mouth.

Markets, Not Just Mechanics

Social commerce companies are adopting a range of mechanics that have proven successful in driving user behavior in other kinds of existing social products – including invitation-based access, time-limited sales, daily emails, offers tied to friend referrals and achievements. Over time, I think we will see more e-commerce companies attempt to replicate the mechanics of existing players. Some will execute well on these features, most will not.

But the ultimate driver of new valuable social commerce businesses will be based on the potential of the underlying market the company is addressing. Is it a big enough market? Is it poorly served by existing players?

We were attracted to One Kings Lane’s vertical focus. There are very few consumer verticals that aren’t already dominated by an existing online brand. The market for home décor products is under served and massive: $150 billion. Think about this question: Who is the defining Web-native e-commerce brand today for home décor products? It doesn’t exist. Williams Sonoma generates billions in annual revenue but lacks unique selection. There’s a huge amount of vendor fragmentation in the space, which makes it hard for consumers to discover new brands.

One Kings Lane is emerging as the leading e-commerce player in the home décor vertical and the business opportunity is about more than just daily emails or events – it’s about successfully addressing a massive, underserved market.

A new generation of breakout social commerce companies is emerging. It’s an exciting time to shop!

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