There were a number of good things released recently in the SMB space including news from Zoho that it has made its Meetings tool Mac-friendly, while WorkSimple has released a free version of its social goals management app. Blue Tie through Breeze Social helps SMBs start effective social marketing campaigns, while HP offers enterprise print management to SMBs. Research also shows that SMBs are turning their back on the desktop.
Zoho Meeting is Mac-Friendly
With recent figures from Apple showing a massive growth in the amount of people using the Mac, it is probably not surprising that Zoho (news, site) has released a plugin that makes Zoho Meeting accessible to the Mac.
According to a recent Zoho blog post, Mac users can’t get enough of Meeting, an easy-to-use tool that enable users to conduct online meetings from their Mac desktop with a few clicks of the mouse, while the plugin itself can be added in a few minutes. It also enables users to share their screen or join meetings started in Windows, or for Windows users to share and join meetings with Mac users.
It comes with all the features that you would expect with a meeting tool, including instant chat, high quality audio and remote control. The starter pack is free, offering one host and one participant one hour for free -- although it doesn’t say how often you can do this -- while the Professional Editions, which are priced the same as the Windows Editions, start at US $12/month. Interested in more?
SMBs Abandoning Desktops?
If anecdotal evidence suggests that SMBs are at the vanguard of agile business development, new research from Portfolio.com, national business news site for SMBs, shows that they appear to be accelerating the shift away from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets.
The findings, part of a proprietary study that examines the makeup, attitudes and economic landscape of the SMB market, also show how SMB owners are significantly increasing their usage and reliance on technology, especially the Internet, as a critical business tool.
The findings show that 37% of SMB owners have used a smartphone or a PDA in the past year, an increase of 10% over 2010. When asked about iPads and apps, 9% responded that they have used an iPad, and 31% responded that they used apps for business.
In contrast, desktops, notebooks/netbooks and laptop usage among SMB owners have decreased compared to last year.
The study was conducted from November 2010 to January 2011, and interviewed more than 2,000 SMB owners with 1-499 employees. The results appear in the report SMB Insights 2011, the first part of which was published recently.
WorkSimple’s Social Goals Management
This week there has been quite a bit of movement in the social media SMB space. The first offering is from social goals management company WorkSimple (news, site), which has recently announced the public availability of Social Goals.
This enables SMBs to create a free, private social network to publish, share and track goals. With it, WorkSimple says, companies can collaborate using familiar social networking features from Facebook and Twitter, including profiles, goal status updates and real-time feeds.
While WorkSimple says this can be used in any size enterprise – and there’s nothing in it to suggest that it can’t -- Social Goals Management is free, making it particularly sweet for SMBs.
It also requires minimal training -- ten minutes in fact -- although if you are familiar with other social media networks, it can probably be used straight away.
WorkSimple Basic (Free) includes Social Goals, Teams, Goal Categories, Feedback, Recognition and Reporting, while the WorkSimple Team Edition is available for $5 per user, per month. The Team edition includes all Basic Features, plus Goal Reviews, Goal Scores and Enhanced Reporting. To get started, check it out here.
BlueTie, Breeze Social and Social Marketing
Over the past year, there has been a lot of talk about social media and its use in promoting business in the SMB space, but for those who have no idea how to start a social media campaign, what can be done?
This was the basic thinking behind the recent release of the Blue Tie-powered Breeze Social (news, site) that provides users with posting suggestions in whatever social media network they are using, based on company profile, industry space, competitors and geographical area.
According to Jeremy Hunter, president of Breeze Social’s parent company BlueTie, after researching the social media marketplace they noticed two striking deficiencies.
Some existing applications were built for enterprises, making them expensive, cumbersome and very difficult to navigate. The rest were built for consumers and were lacking functionality and the ability for a business to measure success."
There was no real solution for SMBs, he adds, and that’s where Breeze Social comes in. With it, users can manage their social media activity on all networks from one intuitive interface with message length and formatting for each network taking place in the background. Users craft their message and Breeze Social formats this message for each social network.
It also provides users with a Social Score based on their activity and the activity around them, as well as the scope of their business and industry. The website price is listed as US $ 14.95/month.
HP Extends SMB Presence
Finally this week, HP (news, site) continues to expand its presence in the SMB market by offering HP solutions previously only available to HP’s enterprise customer to SMBs through its channel partners. This announcement focuses on imaging and printing investments -- including streamlining paper-intense processes. New offerings include:
- Expanding HP solutions suitable for the enterprise but scaled for SMBs and delivered by channel solutions partners
- Introduction of strategic technology partners Hyland Software and Nuance as well as new workflow solutions for healthcare and financial services enterprise customers
- New and enhanced multifunction printers ideal for the office environment and featuring ePrint capabilities
HP is training partners to sell the combination of ePrint Enterprise and another offering called HP Access Control that will manage print output and new security measures covering user access to printed documents.
It’s a small enough announcement, but underlines HP’s strategic goal of pushing its market presence in the SMB space, which we’ve noted previously, is lucrative.