This week, mediafeedia introduced a social media management tool exclusively for Facebook and free at least initially, IDC predicts a massive jump in IT spending by SMBs, Kerio releases v7.2 of its collaboration tool and Pardot upgrades its cloud-based marketing automation platform.

Mediafeedia’s Facebook Management Tool

Starting with social media this week, mediafeedia (news, site) has announced the first social media management tool exclusively for Facebook.

Designed to support companies on Facebook, users can have access to the digital tool at no charge and use its dashboard to manage and publish content on their Facebook pages in a timely, streamlined manner.

Given the number of SMBs that are using Facebook as one of the main marketing tools and the fact that this new release is free, looks like everyone here is a winner.

Using the web-based interface, mediafeedia does not require downloads to operate. Users simply create a mediafeedia account and import Facebook business pages that they currently administer.

These pages will be added to the user's mediafeedia dashboard and synchronized with Facebook. Using mediafeedia's proprietary technology, the dashboard features a selection of free, custom management functionalities for businesses on Facebook, including the ability to:

  • Manage multiple Facebook fan pages from one dashboard
  • Receive email notifications about comments on fan pages and respond via email
  • Post real-time Facebook status updates that include text, images, links and link attachments
  • Schedule future wall posts for specific dates and times
  • View and edit scheduled messages in a central location

There’s a lot more too. However, mediafeedia is not finished. It has also announced that it will release mediafeediaPRO soon, offering enhanced features for Facebook power users, including a special dashboard for managing multiple Facebook pages, status updates, scheduling and administrator collaboration.

Currently in beta, mediafeedia has raised more than $1 million in angel investment to date and is currently in discussions with investors regarding its next round of funding. If you want to sign up for free, you just need to go to the website.

SMB Spending to Grow

Confirming what we already saw during the week in a Forrester (news, site) reports on IT spending, it seems the urge to splurge is not confined to large enterprises, but is also present in the SMB space too.

In IDC’s (news, site) recently released U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Business 2011-2015 Forecast, it says that, despite persisting economic challenges, SMB IT spending growth has returned more rapidly than expected since the recession officially ended in 2009.

Access to credit is still limited and firms remain reluctant to add new employees, but emerging technologies are disrupting established patterns of IT acquisition for the nearly 8 million SMBs in the US.

Other findings include:

  • US SMBs will spend more than $125 billion on advanced technology in 2011, an increase from approximately $120 billion in 2010. These two years of spending growth represent a substantial rebound from 2009, when SMB IT spending declined by 4.2%.
  • Smaller firms were more affected by the economic downturn, while upper midsize firms will have the highest rate of spending growth in 2011.
  • Notebook PCs will continue to be the form factor of choice and will represent a larger share of total PC shipments into the SMB market. By 2015, the number of SMBs with notebooks will approach 4.7 million.
  • The number of SMBs with local area networks will exceed 4.5 million in 2015, as even smaller businesses look to connect their users' PCs.

This is a paid-for report, so if you’re interested check it out here.

Kerio Releases v7.2

In the collaboration space this week, Kerio (news, site) has announced the release of Kerio Connect 7.2, the latest release of its messaging and collaboration platform, providing email, contacts and calendar management through desktop email clients, Web browsers and smartphones.

Built exclusively for SMBs with up to 500 employees, Kerio Connect 7.2 is an alternative to Microsoft Exchange with a wide choice of supported OS platforms, low hardware requirements and easy configuration.

Kerio Connect 7.2 introduces a new version of the CalDAV protocol, which allows for the server to control calendar synchronization between various CalDAV clients such as iCal on the Mac and Calendar on the iPhone.

Additionally, within the calendar scheduling functionality, users can use advanced features such as creating exceptions to recurring events, even between users who have different calendaring applications.

With Web access to administration, email can be configured and users can be added and deleted remotely. When users are deleted, they are removed from all groups. Administrators also have the ability to prevent users from changing passwords for enhanced control.

In addition, Kerio Connect 7.2 provides email security and runs on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux, as well as being available as a virtual appliance on the VMware and Parallels platforms.

Pardot Upgrades Cloud Marketing Automation

Finally, if you missed it during the week, Pardot (news, site), providers of cloud marketing automation software for SMBs, announced the latest release of its cloud-based marketing automation platform.

The Spring 2011 update focuses on offering more flexibility and holistic integration for customer relationship management to make SMB marketers more efficient.

Pardot's latest release strives to streamline SMB marketing and sales processes and provide an integrated view on prospect activity between marketing automation and CRM to provide better user insight at a price that works for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Pardot already allowed integration with major systems such as NetSuite, Microsoft, Salesforce and SugarCRM. Interested in more?