Thursday, May 31, 2012

Partner nCircle Expands PureCloud Integration

Today our partner nCircle made a Press Release that expands their PureCloud product to seamlessly integrate into the O4BO applications and data.  The new PureCloud API  makes it possible for Managed Security Service Partners (MSSPs) to seamlessly integrate PureCloud into their existing processes and management tools. nCircle PureCloud simplifies network security for smaller businesses through the combination of nCircle's proven, enterprise-class vulnerability scanning platform and a unique patent-pending scan technology. Together, these technologies deliver the most accurate, easy-to-use network security assessment tool available and now available to O4BO subscribers.

One of the most cited reasons that enterprises of all sizes shy away from Software as a Service is security, we see nCircle as a valuable partner in security for our subscribers to help reduce the fear about Software as a Service.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Investor Pitch with screen shots

I just uploaded a revised and refined Investor Pitch with screen shots to YouTube.  Click Here to see it.  Thanks to our advisers like Jordan Cooperman, Jeff Kaplan and Chris Meyers, we have made improvements in the pitch to be less techie and more oriented to the Investors.

The people at AnglePad and Venture Hacks also helped with their Tutorials on Startup funding and the perfect pitch.

Key elements.

  1. 13+ Million downloads of Open Source Software for ERP, CRM, BI/Analytics, and Portal
  2. only 10% of those ever go into production, leaving 11.7 Million in unsatisfied demand.
  3. The reasons for not going into production have bee listed as: Too Hard (especially for SMEs with no IT Staff), Too Costly (IT Staff, servers, etc.) and the off the shelf software just doesn't fit.
  4. O4BO addresses this market of 11.7 Million in unsatisfied demand by addressing the reasons all those that downloaded didn't go into production: 1) We solve "Too Hard" with Subscription service where you just sign up and start using; 2) We solve the "High Cost" by passing on the savings of Open Source software, true multi tenancy and IBM Smart Cloud to our subscribers; and 3) We solve the "Just Doesn't Fit" problem by offering professional services and per tenant customization tools so we can make it fit your needs.
If Business is defined as satisfying customer needs, then we are definitely in the right business to satisfy the needs of all those SMEs that need ERP, CRM, BI/Analytics and Portal demonstrated by 13 Million Downloads without having to install anything.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

SMEs should stick to their Core competency

The subject of Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) is discussed at "Knowing Your Core Competencies" on http://toolkit.sme.com.ph/

We at O4BO believe that many if not most SMEs will not have any IT staff nor the general IT skills needed to take advantage of Open Source Software.  It is not uncommon for someone even with IT Skills to download one of the Open Source Software (OSS) applications and spend four or more hours trying to just get it installed and running.  As we stated in a previous blog, some 90% of all OSS downloads result in abandoning the software.

There is a term called "right sourcing" as decribed at http://searchcio.techtarget.com/ is selecting the best way to procure a service and deciding whether a company is best served by performing a business requirement in-house (insourcing) or contracting it out to a third-part service provider (outsourcing).  Rightsourcing literally means "choosing the correct source."

Combining these two concepts will tend to say that unless a particular business requirement is part of your core competency, you should consider outsourcing it.  So unless you are a software company that is building and maintaining software as your core competency, you probably will be better off outsourcing the Open Source Software you need to someone like O4BO that's OUR Core Competency.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Millions of Clicks cannot be wrong, yet why 90% abandon OSS

In Steve Blank's Four Steps to the Epiphany he describes the Four Steps as Customer Discovery, Customer Validation, Customer Creation and Company Building.  In a recent article in Gigaom on startups, big execution & Steve Jobs, he says

Startups are not smaller versions of big companies, so don’t try to be like them
Startups are about searching for a business model, not executing a business plan

Here are some facts about what we see as O4BO Customers.

Millions of people have downloaded Open Source Software (OSS) for ERP, CRM, BI / Analytics and Portals.  The actual numbers total in the tens of millions, so at least adequate interest to warrant downloading some pretty big files and some very complex software to install and maintain.

Of those OSS Downloads it is estimated (no way to accurately track it) that as many as 90% do not go into production for the companies that downloaded them, aka "Abandonment."

Of those 90% it is also estimated that around 50% were abandoned because the software was too hard to install and maintain, especially for the non technical SME.  The rest have various reasons including:  Doesn't quite meet our needs; Too costly to run in house; No IT support; Too distracting from our Core Business, etc.

 We believe our customers will come from the 90% of the millions that downloaded OSS ERP, CRM, BI / Analytics or Portals but abandoned them for any of the reasons stated above.  

We address the biggest reason, that it is harder than expected by making it as easy as possible, just sign up and start using.  Nothing to install, we do the maintenance and we charge less than 50% of any SaaS provider with a proprietary solution and even less than just the cost of hosting it yourself.

We address the other reasons, too.  "Doesn't quite meet our needs" is addressed with low cost customization of your solution, and with our tools and partners we believe we can address this need head on in a cost effective way.  All the other reasons, listed or not will be addressed, that's our challenge as we search for the right business model to meet our discovered and validated customer's needs.
 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

40 Small Businesses and the Online Tools they can't live without

Starting with this article on under30ceo.com I quote "There are a million tools online and it can be tough to decide which ones are right for your business. Many times you will find 5 things that all look like they do the same thing. We decided we would ask small business owners what tools they used and could not live without for their small business"

We at O4BO agree and see the need to provide some clarity to our subscribers here in this Blog as well as on our site, in our Wiki and in our Newletter.  When we find an application that is well suited to our subscriber's needs we will point it out or even integrate it into our Suite of Applications.

In some cases we will highlight the application, its features and how our suite of applications compare.

The list in the article linked above is just such a resource.

 Of the 40 small businesses listed, by far the most popular online tools they can't live without are from Google.  Google Apps, Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Mail, etc.  If you subscribe to O4BO, you will have a set of Portlets for Google Apps that you can add to your private pages so they are right there with you.


There are a number of Accounting and Customer Relationship management programs listed most for a fee and of couse O4BO has a full Accounting, ERP, eCommerce, and CRM solution and we compete very well on a feature by feature basis as well as a cost basis to any listed.


I hope this article and our meager input has helped you.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Does My Company Need ERP?

Size doesn't matter.  Well just about any size company can benefit from having an ERP system.  A good ERP system that matches they way you want your business to run, will deliver greater productivity.  Although the companies that need it the most are the ones whose processes are fragmented at best, even well run businesses can benefit.  The business process mindset that comes with setting up an ERP system and using it is where the real benefit comes from.

Traditionally any MIS system is there for one purpose to accurately describe what is going on to the decision makers in time to change things before too much damage is done.  Without it, you may not find out about a problem until it is history after your accountant does the month end reports.  With it, you can see up to the minute transactions, delays, conflicts of information, missed forecasts and any number of other "pending disasters".

Common ERP features that contribute to this up to the minute visibility are:

  • Manufacturing – includes features for project and process management, engineering, scheduling, capacity management, engineering, material requirements planning, and quality management.
  • Supply Chain Management – includes capabilities to support order entry, purchasing and procurement, inventory control, planning, goods inspection, and claims processing.
  • Financial Management – includes functionality such as general ledger, cash management, accounts payable and receivable, and fixed asset management.
  • Project Management – includes features for costing, billing/invoicing, time and expense management, and activity monitoring.
  • Human Resource Management – includes capabilities to support hiring and staffing, payroll, training, time and attendance tracking, and benefits administration.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

O4BO vs. NetSuite

Comparing the Suite of applications O4BO offers to the NetSuite is a little apples and oranges.  So to cut through the fog a little, here are the similarities.

NetSuite and O4BO both offer a full suite of ERP, CRM and Reporting and Analytics.  You and your accountant are the only ones that can decide if the O4BO/OpenBravo, Pentaho and Sugar CRM suite compares feature by feature with Netsuite, I am quite sure that some will find some must have feature in one that isn't in the other.

NetSuite and O4BO both offer full Online Software as a Service capabilities, no software to install or maintain, bull backups and Cloud based operations for reliability and scalability.

Here are some of the differences:

O4BO will cost you less to start and less to grow.  Netsuite ERP will cost you hundreds of dollars per month, and even CRM starts at $99/mo  O4BO prices are going to be less than half that of NetSuite, much less in some cases with final prices yet to be determined.

While NetSuite offers customization to prevent "version lock-in" they don't come close to the customization and portability of O4BO.  Because O4BO is based on OpenSource, we can offer both complete customization as deep as you need, but complete portability.  If you ever want to move away from O4BO you can, and you can take your data and your customziations with you.

Some other differences:  The Liferay Portal gives you much greater flexibility and configurability both inside O4BO and with the outside world a true Portal supporting Hundreds of off the shelf Portlets.  O4BO also supports Mule ESB with preconfigured integration points with OpenBravo, Pentaho and JackRabbit for easy integration with your legacy data, applications and content.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Indiegogo Campaign

As a Small Business Owner, one of the things you are most likely to need is some funding for new projects, and one of the emerging trends is called "Crowd Funding" where you get a bunch of people to contribute to the project for perks that can be discounted products or other things from elaborate thank you cards to real merchandise.


Is one we are currently doing for O4BO. Come on in the water is fine, the deals are fine too.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Free Web Site!

When you subscribe to O4BO, you and your organization get two Liferay Content Managed Web Sites, for FREE.  That's right if you look at the Inroduction and Overview Video...
You will see that after you sign up you will get links to your Public and Private Sites.  The link to your Public Site can be used as your redirect from your own Domain, making it effectively your Public Web Site with a full content management system behind it, and all for free for subscribing to O4BO.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Paying Bills with Company Stock

http://tinyurl.com/6mx75r3 is a good article with good advice.  It may sound like a new thing, trust me it isn't new at all.  I remember way back when, I was working on a project, just about the only project for our company that was making any money and when the money got tight, some of the other employees took shares instead of pay.  They didn't offer that to me because my project was too important to the company, which was fine with me at the time.   Only problem a few short years later when there was a merger and IPO, those employees that took stock instead of pay became wealthy and because I didn't I missed out....hmmmm.

It is also a common practice for "Advisers" especially in startups to take "Convertible Notes" as compensation for their consulting advice. 

The article talks only about actual stock and not convertible notes or warrants.  I think this is a mistake, and although the article is correct in every way, it isn't complete.

For example giving stock and taxes.  He is right that giving stock as compensation is taxable and needs to be considered, giving convertible notes is not the same thing.  A Convertible Note is a promise to pay, like a loan repayment, not taxable until it is paid.  See a tax attorney and don't take my advice as legal counsel...;-)