Category Archives: Cloud Applications

4 things I love about Desk.com


4 reasons why I love Desk.comI’ve been on a bit of a service-related binge lately, studying for my Service Cloud exam and working with lots of clients on projects to help them better service their customer base.

When working with smaller companies, I’ve found myself spending more and more time talking about Desk.com. Here are the 4 things I really love:

1. Impressive out-of-the-box functionality

Desk.com provides quite impressive functionality, like case management (including Twitter), knowledge base, live chat and a mobile client.

With all this functionality I could easily see companies being able to establish a service presence in days rather than months.

2. Easy automation

This was one area that really impressed me.

The inbuilt rules engine is very similar to Salesforce’s own workflow and automation tools. This means that evolving business logic to provide better customer service is just as quick and easy as it is in Salesforce.

3. Gamification

Gamification is a hot topic right now (check out our blog posts on gamification!) – so I was pleasantly surprised to see it was built in to Desk.com.

I think gamification in the service space is great way to encourage the right behaviours when it comes to dealing with your customers.

4. Salesforce integration

A lot of the value of Desk.com comes from being able to piggyback off your Salesforce data. The Salesforce integration means there’s just once central customer database, saving organisations (and their information architects) hours and hours of time.

It also offers the opportunity to use a hybrid service model – for example, using Service Cloud for standard support, and Desk.com for premium support. And because of the Salesforce integration, there’s still just one customer database.

Tagged , ,

Offline Salesforce on an iPad: Tquila Anywhere


You know we love Salesforce – and we’re very proud to have pioneered the ability to work with Salesforce when you’re offline, on your iPad.

Ever wondered how easy it really is to use Tquila Anywhere? Check out our nifty new video and see for yourself!

Interested in seeing Tquila Anywhere in the flesh? Get in touch!

Tagged , , , , ,

(Re)Introducing FormStorm


FormStormWe’ve blogged about FormStorm before – but you’ve never really been formally introduced.

So before you get all up close and personal, please allow us to introduce you properly:

Meet FormStorm!

FormStorm is a flexible, user-friendly tool that makes it quick and easy to set up web forms to capture data.

FormStorm creates forms that replace traditional web-to-lead and web-to-case forms in a cost-effective, scalable way.

(Joining us @ Cloudforce London tomorrow? See a live demo at one of our booths – in the Platinum Partner area, and in Cloudstock.)

Need to keep costs down? FormStorm doesn’t require upfront investment – instead, it operates on a pay-per-use basis, so you’ll only pay for the data you collect.

How quick and easy is Formstorm? You can create and deploy a form in 3 easy steps:

  1. Create a form in the user-friendly interface.
  • Publish it to your website or Facebook.
  • Log in to Salesforce to view and use the data that’s been submitted!

Want to see how quick and easy FormStorm really is? See it for yourself:

Ready to get started? Sign up for the private Beta of FormStorm here

Tagged , , , ,

Salesforce.com gets some Klout, and could change marketing forever


K-k-k-klout!

With Spring 12 Social Contacts and Accounts will be enhanced by two new sources: YouTube, which is quite understandable after events like “United Breaks Guitars”, a viral video by singer David Carroll whose guitar was broken during a United Airlines flight from Halifax to Chicago. This video reached 11 million viewers on YouTube, and caused United a serious PR problem.

The most surprising extension is the introduction of a social reputation and influence rating service called Klout. The system is still a mystery to many, which is apparent as many people only have a passive (automatically generated) Klout profile, with no active connections to their social network profiles. Despite this, Klout is growing fast and may well become a key social indicator.

Why?

  1. Facebook. Klout recently started counting your Facebook activity which meant a massive spike in influence for many profiles.
  2. Google+. Again, Klout counts your activity and shares (+1) on Google+.
  3. Improved algorithm? Yes Klout did something with the algorithm (finally) and now it really starts to count results, most importantly in relevant topics.
  4. Improved performance. It finally loads much faster despite more and more people linking their profiles, not just on Google+ or Facebook, but also LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc.
  5. Importance. Last but not least, Klout score start to be really important and more visible with Red numbers displayed on social media tools. Within Salesforce.com you can find them not just for social contacts, but also inside Radian 6.

How Klout will change Salesforce?

It is very straight forward. Klout integration will be generally available in Spring 12, effectively bringing a 3rd party “rating” to your social contacts. For Sales Cloud and Service Cloud it means new way how to look at people you speaking too. You may determine faster how influential a person really is, and even in which topics.

Imagine you are a Customer Care Manager for large brand and you can now look at independent profile “ratings” of people your Reps are speaking to. This gives you a better understanding of your risk. Yes, I said risk! Klout may work for your customer services like ratings for banks. It gives you a rating of your assets (your customers and prospects), and it gives an additional “early warning” how influential person really is.

Do you remember Marc Benioff’s favourite Cloudforce story on how the hotels had no idea who he was? Well, if they could see his Klout score of 72 they might be more careful – considering how influential he is. Klout is about influence. Therefore if your score is very high, you might become an angel endorsing business and its services, or a nightmare with a brand reputation (like David Carroll has become for United Airlines).

And not just that…

In Spring 12 Klout will also be enhancing Accounts, Person Accounts and Leads! Showing you how influential they are in social media.

Therefore Klout integration with Salesforce together with new Marketing Cloud powered by Radian 6 (both available GA Spring 12), will convert Salesforce into the ultimate tool for 21st century digital marketing. Which in an era of more than a billion people using social media tools daily, will make huge difference!

Tagged , , , ,

Gmail to Salesforce Integration with Cirrus Insight


Q. Does Salesforce integrate with Gmail? (For answer please see end of article)

If you are a Salesforce Administrator for your company and your organisation uses Gmail you should be interested in this.  If you’re a Salesforce consultant then this is something you should know about, customers will ask for this.

Cirrus Insight (Beta)

Cirrus Insight provides Gmail to Salesforce integration by delivering a contextual sidebar beside your email for viewing Salesforce CRM details and for logging emails, tasks, leads and contacts.

How does Insight work?

Cirrus Insight is installed as browser extension available for Firefox and Chrome.  Once installed and viewing an email you will need to authenticate your Salesforce log in with the plug in.  Authentication is straightforward for the user and the communication is secure.  Your log in details are never passed to or stored by Cirrus you only permit the application access to your data.

What can Insight do?

Once setup opening an email from a Salesforce Contact will load that contacts details to the right of the email with a very Salesforce-esque feel letting you know where the information has come from.  If a Contact or Lead cannot be found in Salesforce you can create them directly from the email with a few clicks.

Example of Cirrus Insight

Example Screenshot of Cirrus Insight working within Gmail

The details displayed in the sidebar pulled from Salesforce include related Activities, Opportunities and Cases along with the option to log a new task or event.  All controls provide a surprisingly direct response, no loading between screens and no screen refreshes anywhere.  As well as the sidebar is a small orange button that allows the email to be logged as an activity against the Contact, if opportunities or cases are related to the contact then with just one more click your email is linked to the relevant record.

There are no sync options for sending all your mail to Salesforce but the one or two click method works well and means your personal emails from the husband/wife/partner/significant other don’t end up shared with your entire sales team.

One feature missing is Chatter.  The ability to view and interact with the records Chatter feed would really add value.  As the product is still in beta I will sit tight and cross my fingers and hope this will be coming in version 1.

How much does it cost?

This is where the questions will come.  Cirrus Insight is currently being offered for free, but only while the product is in beta.  Cirrus share on their website that their licencing model will be per user but no hint as to how much we will have to hand over per user.  The good news is that a free version will be offered with limited features this may be good enough for many.

Summary

Cirrus Insight provides a useful yet subtle method for opening your Inbox to Salesforce.  The design fits nicely together your mail, not intruding or slowing anything down.  After using the product lightly for a few days I found myself logging emails habitually and referencing the details pulled from Salesforce routinely.

Q. Does Salesforce integrate with Gmail? A. Yes.

Install Cirrus Insight here…

A CEO’s guide to the Austerity Years (Can #salesforce deliver IT savings?)


How SaaS can deliver IT cost savings

IT Savings? We can do it!

IT Savings? We can do it!

The world is shaking, again. The chilling shadow cast by 2008 is growing not shrinking . . . ‘Default’ has become almost as common a search phrase as ‘mp3’ and ‘porn’. We all know that we are no longer in a safe place. Yes, you hear this on the news, read it on the Internet, and see the angry crowds protesting on TV. Okay, you say, nothing new, nothing that I can do about it . . .

But what about your company, are you ensuring that it is prepared for a world of long-lasting austerity? (In ‘This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly’, by Reinhart and Rogoff (2009), the authors state that the aftermath of financial crises is “deep and prolonged”, with “profound declines in output and employment”. On average, they warn, a modern financial crisis has caused the unemployment rate to rise for more than four years and by 7 percentage points. (We’re now at almost four years and 5 percentage points, in the U.S.A.) The recovery, they state, “takes many years more”.)

Too many companies still behave, (apologies to my French readers), like French governments before WWII. Spending a lot of money building a massive IT fortress may look impressive but, in a real war, the result is that the defender is less mobile then their more flexible opponent. That there is a similarity between the leaders of pre-war France and those of current large companies may sound strange but, read on, it is well-worth your consideration.

Continue reading

Investing in on-premise software is like buying a horse.


Why on-premise software and a private cloud make no business sense.



The value and utility of each investment changes over time. Also the benefit of ownership varies as well. Many companies throw away a lot of good money when they invest – into the wrong things.

For sale! super fast horse - a cunning way to market!

FOR SALE! A cunning way to market!

Well, maybe, not wrong in general but wrong as an investment at that time.

Many companies thought they needed their own server and data centre in-house because they thought that these were good things to have. As any accountant will tell you, the value of an investment varies over time. SAP, for example, was a great investment by the end of the 20th century. There was nothing better. In the 21st century, however, such an investment is no longer as justifiable. Let me give you an example. Would you, as an 1861 entrepreneur, buy a fine matched pair of horses for your business?

True, a fine horse was, for many years (and even for centuries), a great investment. In the 18th century it would have been awesome to own a fine horse. You would have a fantastic means of personal transport and even a business tool which could be used for speedy travel, delivering goods, pulling heavy loads, and even for intercity commerce (Britain’s pioneering Stockton and Darlington Railway, which opened in 1825, was originally intended to use horse-drawn vehicles). Such an investment, in those days, would be a wise one because a fine horse could make you a lot of money. And more such horses would have meant – you could make even more money!

However, if you lived in the second half of the 19th century, there was already a fast-growing substitute– steam locomotive-powered railways.

Continue reading

+1 How to add a google plus one button to your website


Just a quick one today.

Likey likey +1

We are all pretty psyched about google+ right?

So it only makes sense that we want to add a google +  (+1) button to pages on our site.

These are basically the equiv of a Facebook like button

It couldn’t be easier!

TWO lines is all it takes

1. Add the following script in your page HEAD

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js”></script&gt;

2. Simply add (any one of) the following one liner wherever you want the button…  there are a few size options – if you look – you’ll guess 🙂

<g:plusone></g:plusone> <g:plusone size="small"></g:plusone> <g:plusone size="medium"></g:plusone>
<g:plusone size="tall"></g:plusone>

New Tquila.com LIVE on Siteforce


Tquila are pleased to announce our new website.

tquila.com

mmm siteforce goodness

Thank’s to the very good people of Salesforce, we’ve been fortunate to experiment with some very exciting pilot technology, SITEFORCE!

I’ll be writing an article showing a sample of building a site using this cool new application (cloud) – but in the meanwhile – please have a look.

oh – Do let us know if we’ve made any howlers…

Many thanks to the Siteforce team – thanks for another force.com killer product!

Cloud App of the Week: SlideRocket


Imagine Apple and Google had a baby, and that baby studied software development under Neo – later marrying Picaso. And then they had a baby who really, really liked presenting using slideshows and so built her own cloud-based application because no one else had. Well that’s what you get from SlideRocket.

Presentations never looked so good.

Elegance is not a word often associated with slide creation applications but in this case it is apt. Sure you can import your Powerpoint presentations, and of course all of your slides are accessible anywhere, from any computer 24-7. But did you expect:

  • Slide creation in any browser in the slickest interface I’ve seen in ages.
  • Slide templates that make Powerpoint presentations look like cave drawings.
  • Collaborative slide deck creation.
  • Sharing that ensures everyone “has” the most up-to-date version without requiring any extra software.
  • Real-time data integration such at Twitter feeds. Yes that’s right, real-time data scrolling in your slides.
  • In-app questionnaires and polls.
  • In-app analytics so that you can check details such as slide dwell time and who viewed the complete deck.
  • Viewable on any HTML5 compliant device.
Together these features make for a feature-rich, beautiful product that shifts the presentation paradigm from that of demonstration to one of interaction and engagement.
You can sign-up for a cut-down version here, or check out the demos here.
Tagged ,