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The switch to Mobile has already happened

posted 17 Jun 2013, 04:02 by Bill Russell   [ updated 18 Jun 2013, 03:35 ]

One of the intriguing recent trends in IT is the rapid shift to mobile devices.  While this has been gradually happening for over 6 years, the acceleration in the last 12-months has been surprising and a quick look as some of the numbers is revealing.

In many ways Apple lead the switch to mobile with the introduction of the iPhone in June 2007 and the iPad in April 2010 - yes only 3 years ago. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad he coined the phrase the post-pc era. Meaning that the iPad heralded a new era and it looks like he was right.  What has surprised many commentators is the recent rapid drop in PC sales.  Sales dropped for the first time ever in Q4 2012 by 0.5%, then tanked in Q1 2013 with a massive 14% drop.  As this fall coincided with the release of Windows 8, many put the blame at Microsoft's feet, but I feel that is too easy an answer and it is really technology and economic factors, combining with consumer market demand for simpler access to information, that has caused this major shift. For some brands such as Dell and HP the drop has been more dramatic with HP worst hit with a 24% drop in sales.  Lenovo had flat sales, but were the least effected.

While Apple and Samsung had made great gains in the mobile consumer space, Windows still reigns in business IT.  However, this position is seriously threatened with cloud services starting to provide what was once core windows services, such as email, calender and office suite services.  These all can now be sourced as cloud apps with significant savings in licencing and capital costs and all you need is a web browser to access.  Companies such as NZ Post and Fairfax media have shifted their entire organisations to Google Apps and have seen significant cost savings - NZ Post claim $2,000,000 savings.

Looking at PC versus smart phone and tablet worldwide sales numbers, puts this shift  sharply in perspective. 

Smart phones and tablets have to be considered as micro-computers.  They rival desktop PCs from just a few years ago in power. So if we  consider them as part of the total computing devices market, we see that PCs have had a significant drop from 33% of the market in 2012 to just 22% in 2013. This is due to the combined effect of a sharp drop in PC shipments and a significant rise in Smart Phone and Tablet sales.

Considering that Windows computers had a 95% grip on the computing market, when the iPhone was released just 6 years ago, this is an incredible shift. The concern for Microsoft is their rapidly shrinking share of a rapidly growing market. 

So what are Microsoft doing? Windows 8 is an ambitious attempt by Microsoft to get on board with this trend and have one platform for phone, tablet, Xbox and PC. It is a good attempt, but burdens a tablet with the overhead of a desktop operating system. A 32GB Windows 8 Pro tablet uses more than 20GB for the operating system leaving very little storage for apps, photos, music etc, and compares poorly with a 16GB iPad or Android tablet, that has more storage free for the users content. As a consequence uptake of Windows 8 had been much less than expected.

So how can your business use this new technology to improve your processes at a reduced cost?  

One way is to use tablets with 3G or 4G capability to quickly and inexpensively put information in the hands of employees where they work.  Tablets can be location-aware, so job scheduling, tracking, inspections and other tasks can take advantage of GPS to record, when and where jobs take place.  The in-built cameras can record job status, touch can capture signatures, sketches and other notes and internet access can synchronise data with servers and deliver e-invoices to the client in real-time via email. The ability of tablets to transform, simplify and  make business processes immediate is just starting to be tapped. 

There are an emerging range of cloud based services, that create smart data capture forms at very reasonable subscription costs. Choosing the best devices and apps for your business is difficult. iPads offer the easiest method of entry and apps to collect data start from less than $3.00.  So for under $500 an employee can start to collect job data in real time. CloudG6 can help you to define a mobile strategy for your business and identify solutions that will improve productivity and save you money.  We can make this happen in just a few days, not weeks or months.

Contact us now. Contact CloudG6

Google Apps for Business

posted 16 Jun 2013, 17:14 by Bill Russell   [ updated 16 Jun 2013, 17:17 ]


Google has changed the charges for Google Apps, so that all users now have to pay US$5.00 per user per month.  But this is exceptional value for enterprise grade IT services.


CloudG6 can assist you to setup Google Apps for your business, provide training for your staff and assist you to give your business a modern IT structure, that provides you with data security, mobile access anywhere and a range of tailored services to automate your business processes from websites to stock control and accounting.

Over 4 Million Businesses using Google Apps

posted 20 Jul 2011, 04:29 by Bill Russell   [ updated 6 Nov 2011, 00:45 ]

Over 4 Million businesses now use Google Apps.  One of the most recent companies to switch from using Microsoft Products to Google Apps is NZ Post.  This move is set to save NZ Post over $2,000,000 annually.

 
also this article for the reasons behind the move

The Times They Are a-Changin'

posted 30 May 2011, 19:26 by Bill Russell   [ updated 5 Jul 2011, 13:18 ]

The words of Bob Dylan could not be more appropriate
at the moment with many Google tools being at the forefront of changes in how businesses are managing their IT requirements and business processes.

The dominance of Microsoft in the corporate world is wavering with customers tiring of software upgrades and Windows updates.  Google's Chrome OS promises much for the future, but there is much we can do right now to replace legacy systems with cloud based apps.  Software as a Service (SAAS) has come of age and Google leads the way in offering low cost, effective systems that will replace the expensive server based tools of the past. The pay_as_you_go model used by SAAS makes more sense than the capital intensive legacy software systems of the past. Would you rather spend $5 per month and get constant transparent upgrades or $500 and have to pay again in 3 years? (Office Professional 2007 to Office Professional 2010)

The Google App Marketplace offers web-based applications that work seamlessly with Google Apps.  CloudG6 works to simplify the trial and error process of selecting the best applications for your business.  We research and trial many of the apps on offer to advise you on the best fit for your business.  The ability to fit into your business processes is paramount, so careful selection and testing during deployment is essential.

Xero is gaining a great reputation as the easiest accounting software to use.  Its a web app, but currently does not have full Google Apps integration, however there are solutions.  Like Capsule, which is a simple, flexible CRM for small businesses and sales teams. Capsule makes it easy to keep track of your customers and other contacts, your sales opportunities and follow-ups, and it integrates with Xero to give a complete history of invoices and payment status for customers.

There are new applications becoming available every day.  CloudG6 now have a page dedicated to marketplace apps, which we will continually refine our short list of the best apps available that integrate with Google Apps. Solutions are now available for Sales, Marketing, Project Management, Accounting, Inventory and Purchasing, Hospitality, Retail, E-commerce ..... well just about any business could reduce their costs, improve productivity and security by considering cloud based solutions.

Change to Google Apps user limit

posted 24 May 2011, 17:34 by Bill Russell   [ updated 24 May 2011, 17:49 ]

Starting on May 10, new organizations (excluding schools and non-profits) with more than 10 users will need to sign up for the paid service, Google Apps for Business

While this is a regrettable change, many small and micro-businesses will still be able to take advantage of the benefits a free account offers.  Ten email accounts is enough for many small businesses and the intelligent use of aliases, will allow generic email addresses like info@ and sales@ to be used to limit the total number of accounts to less than 10.  Even if you just need one email address and a simple website then CloudG6 and Google Apps is a good option for you.

If more than 10 email addresses are required then the Business account does offer valuable features designed for businesses – customer support, more generous storage limits, a 99.9% SLA, and more. Pricing is U$50 per account per year, but this can now be billed at US$5 per month per user, so you only pay for what you use and can expand and contract the number of users as required.  While not free any longer, Google Apps for Business still is very good value compared to hosted options available in the market.

Over 3 million businesses are now using Google Apps including some big businesses, such as Heinz, Jaguar and Land Rover and the City of Los Angeles.

Google releases Chromebooks

posted 24 May 2011, 15:01 by Bill Russell

Google recently announced that they had finalised development of their ChromeOS, an operating system that relied on all documents and applications being on the web, with no file storage in the computer.  The first devices will be released on June 15th by Acer and Samsung.

This signals a major change in the direction of personal computers, from their origins as isolated desktop systems in 1984 to fully connected mobile devices today.  Chromebooks are the first computers built from the ground up to recognise this new reality. More at http://www.google.com/chromebook/#features

Here at CloudG6 we recognise the importance of this development, but also see some practical issues that limit their current usefulness.  Chromebooks rely on "always on internet", which simply does not happen yet.  Off-line support for Google Apps is coming (northern summer) but its not here yet. Once this enhancement is available, then you will be able to consider devices like Chromebooks.

The CloudG6 package recognises that you don't have always on internet and may not want that.  Our bundle of tools allow for creation of documents off-line and have tools such as DropBox or Syncplicity to allow for files to be backup up online and/or synchronized to your Google Docs files.  We can customise a solution for the way you want to work while improving document security and access.

CloudG6 available for Clubs

posted 18 Apr 2011, 00:22 by Bill Russell   [ updated 1 May 2011, 21:40 ]

A special package is now available for clubs to assist overworked volunteers to easily manage a website and email lists.

The CloudG6 Club package can be customised to suit your clubs needs.  Usually these are:-
  • Email List Management.
  • Club Website and/or Facebook page.
  • Membership and subscription management.
  • On-line Event Entry.
Interested?  take a look at out Clubs page

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