This week in the SMB space we see HP continuing its overtures to the SMB market, which it started earlier this year. While it has already spent time and money targeting larger SMBs, this time it’s going for the micro market. Meanwhile Salesforce.com offers Jigsaw now and mobile Chatter later.

HP Delivers "Just Right IT"  for SMBs

Earlier this year HP launched an all out offensive to capture the SMB market, which included a significant expansion of its SMB Elite program. To all intents and purposes this was targeted at SMBs at the Medium end of the spectrum rather those at the Small (very) end.

This week it has just announced that it is now targeting this market segment and is offering micro and very small businesses all the IT they need as long as they get it from HP (news, site).

It is doing this through its new "Just Right IT" portfolio, which includes new server, printer and PC products designed and priced "just right" so that even the smallest pocket can afford them.

The list of areas that HP is addressing in this initiative is huge and covers all possible micro businesses that might be looking at ways to upgrade their IT capabilities.

One of the principal offerings is the Proliant MicroServer, designed as a central data storage server but with a PC price tag. Other areas include:

  • Business management software
  • Data protection and accessibility availability
  • Entire simplified communication packages

And if you haven’t got the money, well HP will still be happy to oblige. It's leasing and life cycle asset management services division will also give SMBs a range of total financing solutions designed to enable SMBs buy anything and everything.

Salesforce Gives SMBs Real-Time Data Updates

During the week you probably saw that Salesforce.com will be bringing Chatter to mobile devices sometime later on in the year and early next year. However, before that happens, for SMBs using Salesforce it will be integrating a new solution from a recent acquisition that will make Chatter even more attractive to mobile users.

The new crowd-sourced business data service -- Jigsaw for Salesforce CRM -- will give users real-time updates to contact and company information through Chatter meaning that when the Chatter mobile service is available users should be able to get real-time company information updates on the road.

Built leveraging native salesforce.com (news, site) technologies, the information will be presented on a new user interface and will include analytics as well as updates.

It works by automatically identifying changes to contact and company data in Salesforce CRM, updates and reconciles the records and then publishes the changes in Chatter in real-time.

With more than 22 million business contacts and 4 million company profiles in Jigsaw, Salesforce is also promoting the service as a way to find new sales leads. Jigsaw for Salesforce CRM is on general release with prices starting at US$ 29 per user per month.

Is ERP the Key to Success?

And if you’ve ever wondered what makes successful SMBs successful, then market researchers Aberdeen Group (news, site) thinks it has the answer. Quite simple, it says, it’s all in your ERP (enterprise resource planning).

According to the newly released report, ERP in SME: Fuelling Growth and Profits, top performing SMEs (companies with annual revenues of $500 million or less) are 50% more likely to have real-time visibility on the status of all processes from start to end.

Cindy Jutras, who looks after ERP for Aberdeen, says that not only does ERP provide the infrastructure to create a system of recording business transactions upon which a business is based, but it also serves as a source of cost savings by streamlining and accelerating processes and enabling SMBs to compete on the same stage as larger companies.

But it’s not just all words, she says, and the report shows that enterprises with ERP implementations can cut operating costs by 22%, administrative costs by 20% and inventory by 17%.

It also improves complete and on-time shipments by 19% and internal schedule compliance by 17%. Nice thought that you can do that. If you want to get a complimentary copy of the report you can get it here.

PNMsoft Integrates UC and BPM

Meanwhile, in the UK, PNMsoft has just announced the integration of unified communications and business process management (BPM) with a solution called SEQUENCE CEBP. The new software is based on PNMsoft’s BPM platform SEQUENCE and provides a number of technologies designed to help business collaboration.

For one, it provides business managers with dashboards to view the performance of a business process in real time. The performance monitoring and subsequent simulation modeling enables companies work out their most effective strategies for business.

Using interactive forms with integration into existing systems, it minimizes entry errors by simplifying everyday decision-making tasks.

What all this means is that companies can develop customer support processes using a flowchart-based designer that takes into account process steps and rules that set out the communication methods needed in those processes.

Each process can be individually designed, created and deployed automatically in a web environment using a set of wizards that pull all the processes together that involve people, communications and systems.

SEQUENCE CEBP’s objective is to support collaboration strategies with technology that interacts effectively between business processes and communications.

Zoho Upgrades Spreadsheet App

And finally, from Zoho (news, site) another Zoho Docs app, this one boosting its Web-based spreadsheet allowing users to import up to 10Mb files and work on a wider range of browsers.

As a result, Sheet, Zoho's spreadsheet app can create 256 columns and 65,536 rows per sheet. To handle this larger amount of information, loading times have been improved and operational performance such as scrolling speed and calculations have been improved so you can work with documents at desktop speeds.

Along with Excel macro support, it has added a Ctrl+F triggered Find function to help users locate text inside those bigger spreadsheets. New Undo/Redo enhancements allow multiple users to work across sheets and are maintained on a per-user basis.

Users can now set styles and formats at the column, row and sheet levels while better detection of column headings and sorting eliminates easy-to-make mistakes. As with all Zoho Docs apps, multiple users can work on sheets and collaborate.