• Video – Live Editing In Google Wave


    From time to time, we share videos related to the topics we cover here at Cloud Ave. The idea behind these posts is to share the videos we liked or found important with the readers of Cloud Ave. Regular readers of my post know how much I loved Google W…

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  • IDC Says SaaS Is Making It Big In Enterprises


    Today morning I wrote a post that pointed to a Gartner report that said SaaS revenues from enterprise application market has increased 14.1 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. Now the market research firm IDC has come out with a study that forecas…

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  • Cloud Computing Market In India To Reach 1 Billion By 2015


    According to India based research firm Zinnov, the Indian cloud computing market is going to experience a ten fold growth by 2015. According to the firm, the current cloud computing market is $110 Million today with, approximately, 66 Million in the Sa…

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  • Pearl Goes Bright, and Gets Some Cash


    I’ve written before about Pearl, the UK based “mini-ERP” that just seems to do everything. I’ve always thought of it as the little engine that could, with a team of only five people they have managed to build a solution that covers the majority of bases that a real world business might need – stock, […]

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  • On Vaporware… And Google… And my Need for (Mobile) Speed


    So this is a bit of a rant. I was at the Google IO keynote a month ago and sat transfixed at the Froyo demonstration. The mobile operating system that promised to provide an answer to mobile speed, cancer and early balding. I got my free HTC EVO, sold it and bought a Nexus One […]

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  • I Hate to Say I Told You So.. But Ciao – SecondLife Work


    All around nice guy, and superstar sans hair Mike Maney suggested a new title for this post – “SecondLife Heads for the Afterlife” – I kind of agree with him. Mike, this one’s for you…. I was at the Enterprise 2.0 conference last year when Linden Labs announced Second Life for Enterprise. I held no […]

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  • EngineYard Goes Upmarket with its Ruby PaaS


    Just the other day Krish posted about the new partnership between Apigee and Heroku the Ruby PaaS player. Hot on the heels of that announcement comes news that EngineYard are partnering with TerreMark to provide a more enterprise class Ruby PaaS. First some background – EngineYard already has AppCloud, a mid level Ruby PaaS offering […]

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  • Multitenancy and the Enterprise Service Management Space


    I’ve written previously about Service-now, an enterprise level service management tool. The other day I had an email from Doron Gordon, CEO of SAManage, an Israeli on-demand IT Asset & Service management service. Gordon was keen to get me to take a look at SAManage and in his introductory email told me that they:

    compete with Service-Now. Our advantages are usability, design, and multi-tenancy which allows us to deliver self-provisioning and self-service

    I’ll not dwell on the usability and design aspects, in my review of Service-now I mentioned that I found it quite complex to use and that this complexity somewhat hampered the usability of the product. I’ve included some screenshots from SAManage below or even better check their demo account on the site.

    What I wanted to write about however was the multi-tenancy issue that Gordon raised. You see Service-now are unashamedly single-tenant – interestingly enough they even have a presentation differentiating SaaS and ASP in which they mention the perils of multi-tenancy (alleged inflexibility). Funnily enough we’re in the process of writing a whitepaper comparing and contrasting on-premise, ASP and SaaS and also focused on multi-tenancy as a core issue – our analysis is somewhat different to Service-now’s though in that we consider multi-tenancy to be close to a core requirement for SaaS.

    At the recent SuiteCloud event (see disclosure) we saw the high levels of customization that NetSuite is offering end users through its multi-tenant application.

    Interestingly enough, a company I’m an advisor to, Connect2Field, is right now going through the perils-of-single-tenancy issue. Connect2Field is an application for field service workers and one of the barriers to growth they’d been encountering was their (until recently) single-tenant approach. This approach has some particular detrimental impacts:

    Inability to self provision

    Part of the strategy that a SaaS vendor needs to adopt is enabling the self-provision of the application by end users. Quite simply there should be no impediment to a user signing up and starting with the application immediately – single-tenancy unfortunately requires that a separate database be set up for each user and results in a manual process needing to be made for provisioning. A previous single-tenancy strategy directly impacted on the ability of Connect2Field to grow its userbase without significant manual input.

    Cost implications

    While I’m a firm believer in articulating the added value that SaaS can bring – one of the benefits many of us articulate when talking about SaaS is the cost savings that can be made. Part of these cost savings are obtained by the vendor building their applications as efficiently as possible – both in terms of provisioning efficiencies (see above) but also in terms of ongoing efficiencies. Running a SaaS application in a multi-tenant format best places a vendor to realize, and hence pass on to their customer, these efficiencies.

    Continual Improvement

    Multi-tenancy enables vendors to learn from performance issues, solve them and have that solution immediately driving benefits for all of their customers. It’s also a real driver of trust – with single-tenancy only the customer affected knows when an application goes down. With multi-tenancy everyone is affected and hence this drives performance improvements, service improvements and honesty from the vendor.

    Anyway – enough about multi-tenancy and back to the SAManage application. As the following screenshots suggest, and my kick around with the demo version confirm, SAManage is an intuitive product to use – it doesn’t take long to achieve at least a rudimentary understanding of how it works – something that is important for any product selling into businesses were users have any degree of autonomy over what they use – if it’s not intuitive and easy to get to grips with, there’s plenty of other offerings which are.


    Of course SAManage gives users a nice graphical dashboard – full of the requisite pie chart and bar graphs:


    And with a nod to enterprise 2.0 – SAManage has a bunch of collaborative type functionality – in this example a service ticket can have comment, files and related incidents affixed to it by the operator or other collaborators – it also allows for auto tagging to facilitate findability at a later date:

     incident - notes

    From what I saw SAManage is a nice product that nicely blends the usability and functionality that it’s medium and enterprise customers require.


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  • Why Air New Zealand is not only the best Airline in the World, but how they Implicitly Understand Social Media too… (and a shout out for Southwest Airlines as well)


    I talk a lot about Air New Zealand. After flying around 200000 kilometers with them last year, and being well on my way to doing more than that this year, I speak from experience. So.. here’s a couple of examples why.

    Take a flight within New Zealand on AirNZ and you’re not greeted by a crusty safety message – rather you’re entertained by some authentic Air New Zealand staff, airbrushed for the occasion:

    But it goes further than that – just the other day Air New Zealand announced a proposed alliance between themselves and budget Australian carrier, Virgin Blue. A magazine here in New Zealand wrote an editorial criticizing the move and suggesting that service on Air New Zealand would be downgraded if the alliance went ahead. Rather than releasing a boring press release, Air New Zealand decided to have some fun with their response. The following is Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe giving a quintessentially Kiwi response to the magazine’s assertions:

    So, yet again, congrats Air New Zealand – you guys really understand engaging directly with customers and harnessing the power of the network.

    Oh and just to balance my parochialism somewhat, a bit of credit where credit is due. Southwest do a pretty good video themselves….

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  • Cloud Sherpas – Raising Money and Enhancing GAPE Admin


    Capture I’ve written before about Cloud Sherpas, a cloud computing systems integrator and application developer. They’re a Google Apps reseller that also created SherpaTools for Google Apps, a free app that gives more administrator functionality to Google Apps users.

    Only a few days ago, Cloud Sherpas raised $1 million in funding from Hallett Capital and other investors and, somewhat unusually, one of the investors in the round has taken over the CEO role from Michael Cohn who is becoming VP Product and Marketing.

    The focus of the funding is an acceleration of Google Apps enterprise adoption and a release today will help with that. The enhanced version of SherpaTools is focused on helping enterprises protect and preserve end user data.  Google Apps admins can now delegate access to fellow IT staff, such as help desk workers, without providing the company’s master username and password credentials.  Using a dedicated pin number, a help desk worker can reset an end user’s password, for example, but he or she would not have access to a broader spectrum of employee data. While a seemingly minor improvement, this gives a degree of granularity of user control that is important to enterprise users.

    An interesting new feature, and one that I’ve previously had a real need for, involves the ability to quickly and easily preserve the data of terminated employees.  Usually with Google Apps, all of an employee’s data (spreadsheets, presentations, emails, etc.) are deleted once they’re removed from the system.  In our case, when an employee left we’ve got around the issue by suspending rather than deleting a user from the system.  We then went into the account and manually removed/archived/reassigned the data files we wanted to keep.  Not at all user friendly!  With the new release of SherpaTools, IT admins can automatically delegate all of a terminated employee’s files to his or her manager or another user in the system. 

    Cloud Sherpas is moving beyond it’s free tool and will soon introduce a paid version. In an interesting twist however, users who buy their Google Apps licences directly from Cloud Sherpas will get all the SherpaTools premium features for free – a nice little inducement if ever I saw one!

    In terms of where Cloud Sherpas are at now, they’re reporting around 2100 businesses users serving nearly 300,000 workers. I’ve said before that I think tool like this serve a dual purpose – firstly to drive customers to CloudSherpas service offerings (deployment and migration to Google apps) and secondly to get the attention of folks like Google for a potential future trade sale – let’s watch and see what happens in Cloud Sherpas’ case.

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