Going to The Cloud and Solving the Microsoft Outlook Addiction
Mint Social is going through the challenge of moving to ‘the cloud’ and we just finished implementing email, contact, calendar and customer management tools that also run on mobile and tablet devices.
Easy? It can be.
Moving to ‘the cloud’ makes sense if you want to become a virtual business.
Chances are you are already using the cloud for some things. Your mobile device most likely syncs to your computer for your email, contacts and calendar. For most of us, however, we do not have our documents, email folders and other essential business information in one central hub (‘the cloud’), that we can access from any devices, along with the programs that make them work. The cloud simply takes all data and all the programs to run your business and makes it accessible from any device, anywhere, anytime.
This is a good overview video on cloud computing by Salesforce.com. Mint Social runs another cloud solution called Infusionsoft for our sales, marketing and customer management needs. Both of these CRM-type tools are essential for becoming more virtual and scalable as a business.
The enviable and ultra-desirable 4 Hour Work Week business model (thanks Tim Ferris) is all about running your business from anywhere in the world so you can put in those 4 hours a week of work.
For me, the hardest part of transitioning to ‘The Cloud’ was losing my Microsoft Outlook addiction. If you or your business are thinking of transitioning to Google Apps and you use Outlook, there is a great Outlook/Google Apps synch tool for emails and folders, calendar and contacts (task, not so much).
What is very cool is having seamless access to your data from either Google Apps or Outlook. You can run multiple calendars and email accounts that all sync to the Cloud. I separate my emails by account based on function; business, personal and social networking, each with their own calendar and contacts. With Google Apps and my Android phone and tablet, I can turn on and off portions of these accounts through the synch process, by the device.
Another calendar sync tool we use for collaboration is Calendly.com that now makes sharing calendars with your team, prospects and customers for scheduling appointments and Webinars very easy.
If you want to understand how ‘The Cloud’ can make your business more virtual, focus on implementing web-based and mobile-friendly tools. This is a case where slow and steady implementation may help you win you the race.
Our favorite Cloud tools: Box.net, Infusionsoft.com, Google Apps, Tungle, LastPass, WordPress, Mint Social Media Marketing Dashboard and Mint Social Local Search Marketing Dashboard (launching this month).
With over 20 years of experience in the digital media world, Matthew has worked for and with Fortune 500 businesses and has built companies from the start-up stage to exit strategy. He recently helped develop a data insight engine to bridge the gap between search, social, and mobile marketing to maximize the visibility, relevancy, and predictive success of online businesses. Matthew is the founder of MINT Social, an award-winning digital marketing company that accelerates online marketing results to help businesses get found and thrive online. Matthew has developed an educational curriculum for Universities on social media for businesses, is a founding board member of the Arizona Innovation Marketing Association (AZIMA), a board member of HeroZona Foundation and on the advisory board (Vinnies) for St. Vincent de Paul - Phoenix. Matthew is a mentor with ASU Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, a speaker on social media and digital marketing, and is a subject matter expert with many online portals.