Gene Marks offers his list of worthwhile small business technologies in BusinessWeek‘s latest. As a reminder, he had a list of useless technologies and/or overrated small business technologies not that long ago, so this is a nice companion piece. Here are his 10:
- Remote Desktop Technology. That’s built into Windows these days — depending on your firewall. I also use gotomypc.com during some of my travels. My needs in this area were solved last year by taking on the Zimbra mail server, which gives me the same email view and calendar from any computer with a network connection.
- Desktop sharing software. As in WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Windows Meeting Space, etc.
- Free conference calling. Gene mentions freeconferencecall.com. I have no experience to add to this, but with phone calls getting cheaper all the time … and then there’s Skype, which I use off and on.
- Wireless connectivity. Gene is funny on this one: “I’m pretty sure there’s a tumor growing somewhere in my brain. And I’m expecting my grandchildren will be born with three heads. But who cares! The wireless world is here and I’m loving it! Those invisible cancerous waves floating around our atmosphere let me watch a training video while sipping a mocha at the local coffee shop. I can check e-mail and look up a customer’s order history while on the train. I’m quickly getting online at hotels, bookstores, and libraries.”
- Email marketing services. Really? Looks and feels like spam to me.
- Contact Management Software. Gene likes Outlook Business Contact Manager, built into Office 2007. “Small businesses (and many large ones) don’t need all the complexity of a CRM system. We just need a simple place to keep all of our business contacts, along with some notes, so that we can track who spoke to them last and what’s scheduled next.”
- Hosted phone services. Works well for very small offices, loners, individual practitioners. Gene mentions VirtualPBX and GotVmail.
- Messaging software. As in instant messaging. We have 40 people in our office, and we use Yahoo Messenger, and it works.
- SQL Server. Gene likes the Microsoft SQL server, particularly SQL Server Express, which is free. I know a lot of people who prefer the open source MySQL because it’s free and it’s been there longer.
- Google Applications. Yes, I use them too. Everybody I know uses them. Gene says: “And did I mention it’s free? Hang on. Maybe this Web 2.0 stuff isn’t so bad after all.”
Hi Katie, missed that Sunday invitation, but ooVoo looks good. I like the steady move towards more voice, an easier Internet. Thanks for the addition.
YES! Google Apps has made life pretty easy for my part time job. Like everything on the computer, at first it felt foreign searching around and getting used to the document setup by now I love it. And it also introduced me to Gtalk which is my favorite IM choice. I work on behalf of ooVoo which is a (free) video chat service. Its VoIP capabilities have great improved in a short years time and now allows free calls too. Its coolest components is the ability to send video messages through email or record video conferences. Something to think about trying out if you haven't dones so already. ooVoo is hosting a blogger video session on Sunday if you would like to check the services with others that are new too. Here's the info:http://www.myoovooday.com/signup.php. It would be great to see you on!