Under the Radar: Managing your business online
Salesforce.com companion plug-ins, on-demand legal document management, and a new bookkeeping system from the person who blueprinted the original QuickBooks, all from Under the Radar.
Security, reliability, and stickiness were key talking points at an Under the Radar session showcasing online business collaboration tools. Presenters included Act-On Software, Magento, Mumboe, and NetBooks. While all presenters emphasized their company's ability to offer software as a service, Magento and NetBooks especially focused on tools for small business.
The Cisco-funded Act-On Software combines Salesforce.com's leads database with WebEx's large-scale conferencing to add invitation and follow-up services and pull data between the two. For example, Act-On runs as a tab within Salesfoce, WebEx, and Microsoft applications, and can show Salesforce data after a WebEx conference. Act-on will manage the invitation to promote a webinar, track attendance, and offer follow-up analysis on a given WebEx webinar.
Magento, an open source eCommerce application, lets clients build online stores to their specifications and even manage multiple stores and retail types from a single administrative interface. Magento also offers promotional tools in addition to SEO support and catalog management. What's different in the market is the open-source aspect, so far unique to Magento.
Magento plans to introduce several more product tiers, including enterprise products for small and medium businesses, professional services, and Magento on-demand, positioned as a software service. It will launch within the next 10 days for users in 20 languages.
Mumboe's on-demand software helps small and medium businesses create, store, manage, and track sensitive legal documents--leases, NDAs, contracts, and so on securely on Mumboe's site. Collaboration is the main feature here, allowing users to download templates, edit documents, and share. Mumboe, which launched on Monday, also integrates iCal feeds and Microsoft Outlook, harnessing its reminder notification system. A Microsoft Word plug-in is planned to release in two weeks.
Mumboe aims its light-to-midweight Web application at corporate consumers, and starts at the reasonable fee of $24 per user per month. CEO Bill Kane tackled the question of competitors as collaborators and complements, including Zoho and Microsoft Live services.
Founded by Ridgely Evers, the person who defined specifications for Intuit's QuickBooks, and a compelling speaker, NetBooks is positioned as a tool for the small business owner. The Web application draws marketing, sales, operations, and finance management tools into a single, simple system designed to be accessible to everyday users. Keeping the tools in the cloud lets users access data remotely.
Their plan of success going forward fiercely relies on big-name partnerships, which NetBooks expects to announce in the near future. Judges questioned the $200 pricing model and how NetBooks would compete with QuickBooks, which will not be integrated into the product.