• Dreamforce 2011–A Look Ahead, and a Review of Last Year’s Predictions


    Last year was the first time I attended salesforce’s DreamForce global conference (at least in person). DreamForce is a pretty intense event – tens of thousands of people, the entire Moscone center and most hotels and hospitality establishments in…

  • Aplicor Gets Modular for Business Dashboards


    As the world moves to more complexity and businesses use more diverse systems, the need for a modular dashboard that allows users to aggregate different types of data from different applications in one place becomes apparent. It’s for this…

  • It’s All About the Suite – NetSuite Enters the Box


    Today Box.net is at the NetSuite SuiteCloud conference (see disclosure re my attendance at SuiteCloud here) opening the box (bad pun intended) on their integration with NetSuite. It’s an integration that Box have built using NetSuite’s SuiteCloud development platform, and it allows NetSuite customers to access, manage, share, and collaborate on all their content online, within the NetSuite applications.

    Recently Brian Sommer posted a really interesting discussion on who will win the SaaS wars – Best of Breeds or Integrated Suite. He took the perspective that the Suites will win due to their inherent ability to work together out of the box. It’s a similar discussion to that which I’ve talked about previously regarding The Small Business Web versus the approach taken by Intuit’s partner Platform (but see disclosure) – basically the thinking goes that integrations are hard, no matter how well they’re facilitated – out of the box apps that work together and feel like a seamless suite are the route best taken. It’s a perspective I agree with – while it’s easy to have a purist’s discussion about potential with well APId applications, I always look at the reality on the ground for businesses – and suite are incredibly attractive at that end of the technical spectrum.

    Anyway, in terms of this particular integration, NetSuite customer using Box can:

    • Make relevant content – such as sales collateral, demo videos, invoices, contracts, and purchase orders – visible and accessible when viewing a customer record
    • Keep employees across departments in sync with what files have been shared with which customers by assigning Box folders to specific customer records. Users can also upload files directly into Box when viewing a customer record in NetSuite
    • Incorporate collaboration and workflow into NetSuite with the ability to create shared folders outside of a customer record and invite colleagues, partners, and contractors to review, update, and add their own files
    • Leverage Box’s integrated third-party services within NetSuite, including the ability to email or fax files, e-sign contracts, and edit documents online


    Box.net for NetSuite will be available on www.suiteapp.com before the end of the month as part of the Box Enterprise edition. Yet another value proposition that sees the suite providers justify their somewhat myopic perspective….

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  • Company.com – It’s All About Community


    I’m an advocate for small and medium businesses (SMBs) – coming from a SMB background I’m all to aware of the difficulties that those at the bottom of the foodchain experience. I’ve long been involved in business advisory roles and was part of a team that set up a SMB online community a couple of years ago – looking to leverage the offline conversations that SMBs have in an online way.

    So it was interesting to see that company.com recently launched. Company.com is a service that promises to “Discover ways to save money and grow your business.” It does so by aggregating together a bunch of different services that SMBs can purchase (legal, loams, collaboration, business incorporation etc etc) and bundles it up with both online guides and a forum to ask questions of the SMB community.


    As I said, having been involved in setting up a similar community, albeit in an independent and not-for-profit way, I’m all too aware that key to all of this is gaining some critical mass. Company.com is apparently looking to attracts users via some “cooperative agreements” that will launch later this year. While I’m not sure what those are, it’s interesting to note that the founder of company.com. Bill Wade, formerly served as Vice Chairman of Sage Payment Solutions which is a part of Sage software – one of the “big three” in SMB accounting software.

    While I have no knowledge of the route company.com is looking to take, I really believe that what they’re offering is an excellent way for a large software vendor to start to build a community around their product. Previously Sage tried to do something similar (if on a smaller scale) around their eventually-fated SageLive product. It’s also not a million miles from what Intuit could do with their Partner Platform (see disclosures here)

    For now company.com is a kick-ass domain name and a nice flashy site – the months ahead will tell us whether it can truly become a service of value for SMBs.

    CloudAve is exclusively sponsored by
  • Wolf Frameworks – Another Contender for the PaaS Crown


    The other day I was given a briefing by Sunny Ghosh from Wolf Frameworks. Founded in 2006, WOLF is a 100% browser (Ajax, XML and .NET) based standards compliant, PaaS that is targeting users who need to create mashable…

  • Finding the Hub – A Common Data Model


    A couple of weeks ago I roused myself at 1:30am to moderate a radio show in my ongoing series for VoiceAmerica “Kepes in the Clouds”. This time I had the pleasure of speaking with Sunir Shah, Chief Handshaker from…