Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Do you SaaS?

Software as a Service (SaaS) is maturing and becoming a credible delivery option for many SMEs. As with any new technology, it comes with promises such as cutting cost, improving efficiency and helping enterprises along the way of becoming more agile giving them an edge in today's competitive markets.

Let's talk more about what SaaS really means for your organisation:

No software installation or maintenance – SaaS is simply a web based software package. From the user's point of view it is software that you use from a thin client (i.e. a web browser). It is also software that you do not need to install or worry about patching or upgrading!

It a scalable solution with instant deployment– It is as simple as starting a subscription and registering more users as your organisation grows with no need to invest in hardware or infrastructure.

Use anywhere – It is more than just giving the users in your organisation access to applications remotely. It is about providing access anywhere and from any web browser connected to the internet.

Regular updates and fixes – Traditional software typically requires redeployment and planning when upgrading. SaaS packages are upgraded seamlessly and require no effort on the client's side constantly improving the application experience.

Outsource your non-core applications not your IT staff!- By shifting the support effort to the SaaS provider your IT staff can focus on your core IT applications and help you move your business forward adding value and helping your business grow.

So what is the catch!

SaaS is a strategic choice and should be evaluated accordingly.

No customisation - SaaS is not a suitable alternative to applications that require a high degree of customisation. The control and decisions on new features sit with the provider who in turn will asses if a new feature suggested will appeal to the wider client base and therefore is worth the investment.

System availability vs. mission critical software– The provider is responsible for the system availability and is bound to your organisation with a Service Level Agreement (SLA). While an SLA might have a reasonable clause to have the system up and running within hours this may be too long for some business critical systems.

Data security and backup concerns - Some information may be too confidential or critical to trust an external provider to securely store and protect. Also your organisation will need to trust the provider to backup your data effectively and regularly. The obvious choice, if this is a concern, is to verify that the provider's security and operational standards are recognised.

Is it cheaper? – Your organisation will need to assess whether paying a one off cost for a software package is cheaper than paying a monthly or yearly subscription for x number of years. The cost/benefit analysis of the pay-as-you-grow software seems to benefit more the small and medium enterprises where as larger organisations didn't seem to achieve the same return on investment (ROI).

What is your experience with SaaS software? Have you experienced other benefits or drawbacks? We would love to hear from you.


 


 

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Friday, 17 July 2009

I want to become an IT outsourcing supplier, how do I get started?

Becoming an IT supplier is tough in today’s market. Competition is high and it takes much time, determination and effort to establish your business and once you are established you need to continue to retain and expand your client base.

Here are some of the tips that we thought we'd share with you from our own experience here at iWebManage. Please feel free to add your own comments.

For the IT service provider it is becoming harder to make their company or services stand out from the rest. While competition is great for the end consumer, it can also be very difficult to choose a partner for their business IT needs.

For the business decision maker, getting access to a directory of rated suppliers is a step in the right direction to help them along the way of choosing a partner for their IT needs. For the IT supplier it a good place to gain exposure and win new business.

This is why it is good to start building your company's profile and promote your services using more than one channel.

Marketing channels


Your website:

The first channel should always be your own website. We don't really mean that you should have a very snazzy website with little content or substance. We are actually saying communicate your offerings clearly and make statements about why your service is better than the competition.

Your own blog:

Blogs are very important in terms of driving traffic to your website. Not only they give a more insight into your company's expertise and ability. But also blogs are typically continuously being updated and this means search engines like Google, MSN, Yahoo and others will index them more often and consider the content more recent and will display it relatively higher in the results list.

Case studies:

Getting the first contract for your business is the first hurdle. The first contract/customer will have been a result of some business networking, marketing and other activities. Build on that success and continue to update your profile with new case studies of successful customer stories.

Social media:

Twitter, facebook and LinkedIn are the some of the more prominent channels to spread the word about your business. Use them effectively and carefully. I say carefully because communicating the wrong message could be more damaging that useful to your business. Always have a planned outcome when using these channels.

Use outsourcing directories:

Outsourcing directories are now becoming more and more familiar with small and medium size businesses. get your company registered and start building your profile and rating. The benefits of using these directories is that you can:

- Increase your sales with no investment in marketing.
- Offer your services on a global level.
- Make your organisation standout from others in the marketplace.
- Compare your performance in terms of wining contracts to other suppliers.
- Access a pool of service providers that you can partner with to deliver projects you may otherwise not be able to deliver using resources available to you.

There are plenty of directories out there and iWebManage is just one of them. Get your company registered on as many as you can to get exposure. However do not forget to keep your skills and profile up to date.

This list is by no means exhaustive so please feel free to add to it and share your own thoughts with us.

Regards,
The iWebManage team

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Thursday, 16 April 2009

I have a business idea but how should I go about finding the right IT partner?

New business ideas often require customised IT systems for the service or product offered. Using an online marketplace makes IT suppliers easily accessible to U.K. businesses. However it’s important to choose wisely as a good business idea can then suddenly be at risk of bad execution!

Know your business requirements: It is absolutely crucial that your business requirements are clearly defined and communicated and realistically prioritised. More often it’s the lack of good requirements capture that leads to problems in an IT project.

Know your suppliers: Your IT service provider is your partner so choose them carefully. Research their background to make sure they have relevant skills and experience. It’s always good to ask for references from similar size businesses.

Negotiate, and then negotiate some more: Always make sure that you sign a contract with your supplier. It should include exactly what is being delivered, when and how much for.

Ask the experts: The likelihood of knowing an IT expert in your personal or professional network is high. Ask them for advice and guidance. There are also impartial consultancy services like iWebManage.com that can help with this.

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Monday, 16 March 2009

When outsourcing your next IT project

Hello!

We want to share some of our top tips for preparing to work with IT suppliers.

Tip 1: Don’t be a Sloppy Joe

It’s one thing knowing what you want, but communicating it to a supplier is another. Make sure you spend time writing your requirements down in your project specification and putting a business priority against them. This will help suppliers clearly and easily understand what you want to achieve with your project.

Just remember MoSCoW:

M - MUST have this.
S - SHOULD have this if at all possible.
C - COULD have this if it does not affect anything else.
W - WON'T have this time but WOULD like in the future.

Tip 2: Expectations are also requirements

You should also let your Supplier know if you have any expectations of how the project is delivered. For example, what experience and/or qualifications developers are required to have?


Tip 3: Tried and tested...by you!

All requirements in a project need to be tested and validated. They can then be ticked off the list and delivered. You should be actively involved in testing the product and not leave it up to the supplier alone. How each requirement is tested and when should be defined upfront. This will reduce the risk of disputes on delivery of the finished product.

Tip 4: Your data is an asset - keep it protected

Stay in control of how your data is accessed and where it is stored to keep it secure. It’s a good idea to encrypt sensitive data being transmitted between you and the supplier. Also, putting access controls in place to ensure that outsiders only access the data they need within the business’s network.
If the above makes sense but need somewhere to start then iWebManage provide a contract template which you can download off the website to use with your chosen supplier.

Be on the lookout for more top tips coming your way...

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Thursday, 29 January 2009

Hi and welcome to iWebManage!



Ok! So you've hit the site, had a little look around and now you've found your way to the ramblings of a member of the team! Not another start-up I hear you say...

As we reach out to you we want to know your thoughts about our site and the service we are providing, though for every gripe you have to mention one good thing too! The website is in beta mode so there isn't a better time for us to make tweaks and make it work for you.

We at iWebManage are really excited about our official launch and the service we can offer to our clients. We haven't had much time for reflection of late, as it’s been full steam ahead since the word got out but we're hoping to address any issues through our blog.

The team is busy helping out on several projects at the moment and we hope to have a happy client testimonial on the site for you soon, so that you get an idea of what we are trying to achieve. We want our clients to concentrate on their core business without the additional stress of how they are going to achieve their technical goals. Leave that to us!

One of the tasks we have is finding the right calibre of supplier that we would want to partner with our clients in helping them to achieve their goals. If you are a freelance IT consultant with IT wizardry up your sleeve and have examples of what you can do, get in touch!


leena@iwebmanage.com

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Friday, 23 January 2009

iWebManage.com is Live



Hello

Over the past months we have been working hard to create iWebManage.com.

Our website is now officially live.

Small to Medium sized Businesses can use iWebManage to put to tender IT projects and locate IT resources.
iWebManage is currently offering free Business Analysis and an Escrow service to ensure projects are delivered to the highest standard.

IT tenders can vary from a simple logo or website design to high end business software systems, delivered cost effectively by a growing UK and global supplier network.

IT Suppliers and Freelancers, on the other hand, can use iWebManage.com to list their services and bid on projects to undertake from our marketplace.

In addition to the marketplace, we host a range of collaboration tools so that our clients can easily and cost effectively manage the delivery of their projects.

To find out more about our services use any of the quick links below.


Quick Links...


iWebManage.com

for Businesses

for IT Suppliers

How it works demo


Please forward this information if you think any of your friends and contacts would also benefit from iWebManage.com.

Kind regards,

The iWebManage Team


View our Privacy Policy.



iWebManage Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company number: 5857813.

Registered office: 36 Mace House, London, W5 3SE, United Kingdom

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