What technology has done for small business

Our aim has always been to make life easier for small business owners with the help of technology. So when we hear that one of our case studies has been recognised for the Most Inspired Use of Technology, we feel proud.

This week Made4Baby, a small business producing a natural range of skincare products for babies and children, won the above category in the David Awards. The David Awards recognise the unsung heroes in home and small businesses throughout New Zealand. (And yes the unassuming young David slaying the giant Goliath is paralleled with so called entrepreneurial Davids who punch above their weight.)

“We do try and push web based services (i.e. Xero) as much as possible as an extremely cost effective way to minimise overheads and control our business from anywhere, so to be recognised for this strategy is very satisfying!” says Made4Baby founder and mother of two, Rebecca McLeod.

Watch the Made4Baby Xero case study below:

Salesforce.com Introduces Jigsaw for Salesforce CRM

I read a press release today that Salesforce.com has integrated Jigsaw to their online CRM package. Salesforce have been consistently integrating new applications to their system over the last few months. Integrations are reducing data entry and improving key information available inside the system.

Its obvious the ability to easily integrate with other cloud applications will be a critical success factor for all SAAS providers.

The press release is below

Salesforce CRM customers can now receive real-time updates on important business contact and company data, anytime and anywhere with Salesforce Chatter
Jigsaw for Salesforce CRM accelerates demand for cloud-based data services, currently a $3 billion market

Salesforce.com, the enterprise cloud computing (http://www.salesforce.com/cloudcomputing/) company, today announced the arrival of Jigsaw for Salesforce CRM, an entirely new crowd-sourced business data service exclusive to Salesforce CRM customers. Built leveraging native salesforce.com technologies, Jigsaw provides a seamless integration, a new user interface, robust analytics and delivers real-time updates to contact and company information within Salesforce CRM through Salesforce Chatter.

Comments on the News
“CRM systems are only as good as the information inside them,” said Kevin Akeroyd, general manager, Jigsaw. “With Jigsaw for Salesforce CRM, customers can be alerted to changes in contacts through Chatter in real-time. This degree of operational agility is only possible with Jigsaw’s data in the cloud.”

“In this economy, companies need more innovative sales and marketing strategies and better business data,” said Denis Pombriant, managing principal, Beagle Research Group. “Jigsaw for Salesforce CRM and Chatter provides them with reliable business data that is updated and published to sales and marketing employees in real-time. We’re likely to see more companies turning to data in the cloud to support their dynamic operations.”

“Jigsaw has significantly improved the caliber of the information in our Salesforce CRM deployment,” said Diane Updyke, vice president of sales, Crowd Factory. “The result is we are able to respond to an increase in demand from new verticals, prospects and partners. With Jigsaw, our team can find and cultivate these opportunities at our accelerated pace of business.”

Data Cleansing Gets Proactive, Talks to You with Chatter
Integrated with Chatter, salesforce.com’s enterprise social collaboration technology, Jigsaw can automatically identify changes to important contact and company data in Salesforce CRM, update and reconcile the records and then publish the changes in Chatter in real-time. As a result, sales reps and marketers instantly know when business contact data degrades or becomes bad – anytime, anywhere. Updates can even be received on mobile devices like the Apple iPad and iPhone via the web browser.

With Jigsaw, Salesforce CRM Customers can unlock the Value of Real-Time Data
With the seamless integration to Salesforce CRM, customers can use the new user interface to quickly access the accurate contact information within Salesforce CRM. In addition, Jigsaw for Salesforce includes two new analytics dashboards that customer can use to monitor the overall health of data and report on usage. Jigsaw also provides customers with capabilities such as:

Real-time status updates around how much data is being actively managed by Jigsaw, and visual reports on how much data is correct, out-of-date or dead in the data graveyard.
Integrated Salesforce CRM reports with Jigsaw data to determine if records related to future sales are incorrect or incomplete.

Holistic alerts that identify when records are flagged as dead so reps can quickly search for the record and update it with new, accurate information.

Jigsaw Accelerating Data Moving to the Cloud
Until Jigsaw, the market did not have a business data service that supported the pace of change across sales and marketing operations or delivered updates as data changed. The issue is so critical to success that companies spend more than $3 billion a year on data sourcing services. Since Jigsaw is delivered entirely in the cloud, customers are liberated from legacy data sources that require expensive and complex data management, including storage, backups, security, updates, and integration.

Jigsaw is the world’s largest crowd-sourced database with more than 22 million business contacts and 4 million company profiles that are continually updated and added to by a global, Wikipedia-style community of more than 1.4 million individuals. Since the data is crowd sourced, users realize greater accuracy, which is available to end users in real-time and pre-integrated to other cloud apps.

Jigsaw for Salesforce CRM Pricing and Availability

Dynamics CRM

We knit we bake we rock!

Last Friday we had a bit of a company outing as it turns out 3 of our staff are rather hard core rockers! Dave (interaction designer) had a dream to bring a rock concert to Wellington for ‘Rocktober’ so rustled up a band of old colleagues and new to present the Golden Axes at a DressUp & RockOut party to raise money for the Cancer Society.

Dave cajoled Craig (CTO & drums) and Ross (developer & rhythm guitar) to join other band members from IT companies around Wellington and after 6 weeks practicing they brought the house down and raised over $1000 for the Cancer Society. There were loads of us there from Xero – dressed up in our rocker gear supporting our very own rock legends. Turns out Owen is a champion air guitarist and walked away with a trophy for his efforts!

Golden AxesDave, Ross & Craig

Concert goersFull house & air guitar legend

Ex-Xero Jason was there as official photographer from We Do Photography & Design – check out a gallery of images here.

Gillian Rossouw – Jill of All Trades

Gillian Rossouw – Jill of All Trades (3:05)

Using Yammer to keep the startup spirit strong

As a company, we’ve grown from a small team – all in the same room – to dozens of teams all over the world. Along the way, there were signs we’d started to change culturally, from a tight knit group of co-founders into a soulless org chart. We weren’t going to let that happen, but we weren’t sure how to solve the problem. Then we found an app called Yammer.

Yammer works better than we hoped. We’re tighter than ever – even though we keep growing, with more and more staff all over the world. We use it to share ideas, discuss tactics, reach out for help when problems pop up, and celebrate our triumphs. We openly discuss serious business, plus – amongst it all – our outside interests and daily lives make its way into the discussion, in a way that our personalities shine through. The soul of our company has become a very active and shared experience.

We wanted to let the people at Yammer know how much we love their product, so we shot a little video to share our experience and to let others know how much it’s helped us. Obviously their product means a lot to us…