Workbooks News

May 14,2015 by Samuel Jefferies

We are pleased to announce an update to Workbooks that adds many new features including a new Wizard to help you make all the right changes to records when a Person moves from one Employer to another, and the ability to restrict the values on a picklist to just those relevant for the record you have open.

Note: The Workbooks service will be intermittently unavailable between 08:00 am - 09:00 am UK time on Saturday 16 May 2015. If you log into your database on Saturday, you may get a message informing you that your database is being upgraded. Your database should be available for use within approximately 30 minutes of receiving the message.

Change Employer Wizard

When you change (or delete) the Employer field from a person record, Workbooks will launch a short wizard to help you make all the right changes to the CRM system.  It will ask you when they left their previous employer, will create the 'previously employed by' relationship and also prompt you to archive their previous work email address and contact details.  This wizard will make it easier for you to deal with people who have left, rather than just putting (LEFT) after their surname!

External Links

You will now be able to use a unique URL in notification and scheduled emails as well as in email templates and reports which, when clicked, will allow the recipient to link directly to the relevant record within Workbooks (assuming they have an enabled login), thus saving time looking for the right record.

You will also be able to copy the URL link into an email or other communication to send to a user that has a valid login to the same database.  When you first login after the new release, you’ll see a request to allow Web Notifications on your screen.  You can Dismiss this request but you’ll see the message again at every login until you either Accept or Deny/Block the request.  We encourage users to accept Web Notifications so that Workbooks can offer a better interface when loading External Links.  If you change your mind later, you can change the setting in your browser’s configuration area.

Constrained DLIs

We have extended the capabilities of Dynamic Linked Item (DLI) custom fields so you can constrain the picklist of results using a value from a form field.   This is very useful to reduce the number of search results returned by a DLI report to only include entries that are relevant.  For example if you want a DLI on an organisation record for the finance contact, you will be able to constrain the report to only include people that are 'Employed' by the organisation by passing the organisation field into the report as a constraint. 

Configuration, export and print activity audit

We have extended the audit functionality so that changes to the configuration of Workbooks are also audited.  This means you can see who added a custom field and when.  In addition, auditing functionality has been extended so that it’s now possible to see audit records showing who has exported or printed data.

Import Template Generator

Using the Importing tool you can now generate import templates to make it easier to load your data into Workbooks.  The import template generator will create a CSV file with the correct column headings into which you can populate your data.  The templates will create columns for all the standard fields and any custom fields you might have created.  You can even generate import templates based on page layouts, which will only include the fields that are relevant for a specific page layout. 

Enhancements to Advanced Security functionality

Recalculate Permissions

If you’re using the Advanced Security functionality and change the sharing rulesets that you want to apply to records, it is now possible for you to update all the relevant records so that they adopt the new sharing rulesets, making controlling the security of your data much quicker and easier.

Resetting Permissions on Queue assignment

Now when setting up a Queue you can decide whether or not adding a record to that Queue resets the Permissions that apply.  This functionality will enhance the control of visibility of records within a workflow.

Matching on blanks in import

When importing data, looking for matching records based on blank values can slow the import down considerably.  Our import wizard no longer defaults to matching blank values, although a user can make a conscious decision to enable it if required.  By not looking up blank values for matching purposes your imports will run much more quickly.

Reporting on relationships

It is now possible to build a report that includes one column listing all the relationships that between Organisations on your database, rather than having to create different columns for each relationship type.

Custom Fields on Notes and Emails

Custom Fields can now be added to Note records or Emails, which can be positioned on the Main area of the form or within the Additional Fields area.

API data is reportable

To make integration work more maintainable, API data is now reportable.  This also opens up possibilities to use API data to build Dynamic Linked Items and Dynamic Picklists.

May 12,2015 by

Reading, England, (12th May 2015) - Byte Night is the IT industry’s annual sleep out in support of Action for Children. Each year, hundreds of individuals and teams from across the technology and business community spend a night exposed to the elements in a bid to raise sponsorship and awareness of Action for Children’s work to help prevent youth homelessness.

A team of Workbooks staff will sleep outdoors for a night at the Thames Valley Byte Night event, taking place on the 2nd of October this year, in aid of homeless children in the UK.

John Cheney, CEO at Workbooks commented: “We have had a sleeper team for the past 2 years and it combines good corporate social responsibility and internal moral and team building with a little fun, all in aid of a well deserving need.  Imagine your own kids in the future left in this unfortunate situation, sleeping rough and living hand to mouth,  through unfortunate circumstance that befalls them, something that seems unfathomable, but that could happen to anyone. We encourage others in the sector to do the same, giving a little back for all the good we enjoy in the IT sector. A mix of well-known and lesser known companies around the UK are taking part and it’s easy to do and gets strong customer support. We are pleased and proud to be taking part for a 3rd consecutive year.”

The Workbooks team slept out in 2013 & 2014 and raised several thousand pounds each year for the charity, led by several Workbooks Directors. Anyone wishing to support Workbooks efforts and offer sponsorship should visit:

About Byte Night

Byte Night is the technology industry’s annual ‘sleep out’ in support of Action for Children. Each year hundreds of individuals and teams from across the IT and business community spend a night exposed to the elements in a bid to raise sponsorship and awareness of Action for Children’s work, who focus heavily on supporting homeless young people. It all began 16 years ago when 30 individuals from the IT industry slept out and raised £35,000. Since then the event has grown to over 1000 sleepers taking part each year, raising an amazing £5.2 million since it began. The Thames Valley Byte Night will be taking place on Friday 4th October in Forbury Gardens, Reading and Byte Night is looking for volunteers not only to give up their time and their bed for the night to raise money, but to get a feel for what some people have to go through every day.

About Workbooks delivers world-class CRM and business applications to the mid-market, at an affordable price and with functionality that transforms business.

Unlike traditional CRM solutions, extends beyond sales, marketing and customer support to include order management, order fulfilment, invoicing and supplier management. This business functionality is delivered out-of-the-box at a price which is typically 50-70% less than enterprise solutions such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and NetSuite.

For more information, visit

May 05,2015 by

Reports and dashboards give you a powerful insight into past and current performance. In today’s environment it is critical to be proactive. You can use your dashboards and reports to be reactive and act on trends straight away.

From a customer service perspective it is vital to check the average time to close cases to meet SLA’s and improve customer satisfaction. You can use your dashboard to gain visibility into how your organisation is handling support. You get an overview of the current issues, determine their risk and focus on the key areas that require your attention in order to meet your goals.

You want to be able to see real time data on the status of your customer helpdesk cases, see how your agents are performing and improve performance over time. It’s easy to set up dashboards and reports that give you full visibility over your service organisation without having to use IT resource.

Reports can cover a multitude of performance metrics, including:

  • Number of cases opened this week.
  • Number of cases awaiting a first response.
  • Number of cases closed this week.

Performance can also be monitored by individual agent and by customer.

How does agent performance compare?

Drilling down through the top level information to understand performance differences can be very informative – lower apparent performance figures may be because an agent has been out of the office for a day; or because he is very experienced and hence routinely allocated the most complex and time consuming cases.

How does customer performance compare?

Are some customers more demanding than others – and if so, why? A ‘top five customers’ list – by number of cases raised – each month, can be interesting:

  • Are new customers making the most calls?
  • Do customers need more training?
  • Is there an on-going product/service problem?

You can use the dashboard to get an overview or you can drill down into the underlying report to get a more detailed view of a record. You can create reports that show all of the cases that your agents have open and you can customise these by grouping rows or columns, add filters, summary views and highlighting to format the data exactly how you need it. As these reports are fully integrated you can simply click on a case or customer to look further into that record.  You can add the most important reports to your homepage so you can see it as soon as you log in and you can share these reports automatically by email whenever you like.

Download our Putting the Customer at the Heart of Customer Service eBook to find out more. 

Apr 28,2015 by

At Workbooks, we believe that sharing knowledge is crucial to success, and we want you to enjoy using our software to enable you to complete your day-to-day role with ease. Workbooks Wisdom is here to save the day bringing you monthly tips and tricks to enable you to do just that. See below for April's tips.

  • Workbooks Outlook Connector – It is important that any communication you have with Organisations is stored and accessible to colleagues to help with day-to-day communication and to help remain professional to your customers at all times. The Workbooks Outlook Connector synchronises many different record types so that all meetings, contacts and communications are kept together. Click here.
  • Beta Programs for additional functionality – We are currently running various beta programs: Google Calendar Synchronisation – creating meetings in Workbooks that appear in Google calendar; testing our mobile client; and the Workbooks to Exchange Synchronisation Service – allowing Workbooks to share information directly with Microsoft’s Exchange Server. If you are interested in taking part please email us.
  • New Workbooks Release 4.5 – The next release is scheduled for early May. For a full list of features please check our Roadmap. Here are some of the most exciting:
  1. Constrained DLIs – Dynamic Linked Item picklists can now be limited by previous selections, for instance, upon selecting an employer the primary contact picklist can update to only show people working for that employer.
  2. Change Employer Wizard – Upon the change or deletion of the employer field on a person record a wizard will open asking the relevant questions then automatically make the correct changes to update and archive employer information, retaining all historic correspondence.
  3. Workbooks Hyperlinks – A hyperlink can be sent to a colleague, for instance via email or instant messaging, this will open Workbooks and take the user straight to the specific record, removing the need to copy, paste and search.

Remember, you can find more useful information about all of the Workbooks features on our Knowledge Base.

Apr 23,2015 by

Reading, England, (23rd April 2015) – today announced a partnership with made4cloud in Australia to resell Workbooks CRM as part of its portfolio of business software and consulting services.

made4cloud is a technology company specialising in cloud-based software solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).

Jim Egan, Sales and Marketing Director of made4cloud, says: “We are excited to be able to partner with a progressive and successful company such as  The Workbooks CRM offering fits well with our vision of what is required from software solutions designed for use in today’s business environment and into the future.  There has been a major shift in expectations by organisations over the past few years on how resources – both technical and financial – are allocated to information technology.  Using the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, Workbooks CRM is well placed to provide relevant services to many types of organisations well into the future.”

Mr Egan continued, “It has never been more important for businesses to be able to measure, understand and improve their sales and marketing activities and on-going customer engagement.  Workbooks CRM allows organisations to achieve this plus it easily integrates with other software that may be in use.  The ease of use of Workbooks CRM was an important factor in made4cloud’s decision to partner with”

John Cheney, CEO of commented: “We are really pleased to be partnering with made4cloud in Australia. Our suite of products enable our customers to grow sales, provide better quality of service, reduce operational costs and track key business. We look forward to extending delivering this functionality with made4cloud.”

made4cloud’s primary focus over the next 6 months will be to increase the customer base in Australia before expanding their efforts into New Zealand and other Asia-Pacific countries.

About delivers world-class CRM and business applications to the mid-market, at an affordable price and with functionality that transforms business. Unlike traditional CRM solutions, extends beyond sales, marketing and customer support to include order management, order fulfilment, invoicing and supplier management. This business functionality is delivered out-of-the-box at a price which is typically 50-70% less than enterprise solutions such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and Netsuite. 

For more information visit

About made4cloud

made4cloud is a technology company specialising in cloud-based software solutions.  Our aim is to help organisations maximise the benefits from technology solutions.  We take pride in our ability to understand requirements and translate them into solutions that provide real benefits to organisations.  made4cloud supplies software solutions as well as associated IT services such as implementation, software development, training and general technology consulting.

For more information visit Follow on Twitter: @made4cloud.

Workbooks Contact:

Cheryl Nichols
Senior Marketing Executive
0118 3030 100

made4cloud contact:

Jim Egan
Sales and Marketing Director
+61 418 812 885

Apr 13,2015 by

Ranking Based on 480+ in-depth reviews and user ratings of 12 software products

Reading, England, (13th April 2015) – is pleased to announce that Workbooks CRM has been named as a Top Rated CRM platform by users on TrustRadius, the leading peer review site for business software.

The 2015 Buyer’s Guide to CRM Software offers practical guidance to help you find the best CRM software for your situation. It is based on authenticated insights from real software users and offers an in-depth exploration of the overall CRM market and product profiles of leading vendors.

John Cheney, CEO, commented: We are pleased to be named a top rated platform in the Small Business CRM Software TrustMap. Workbooks CRM is again recognised to be delivering a quality, robust cloud service to customers and one that leads against other CRM vendors where we are often radically more cost effective. We have delivered a consistently high availability to customers since inception and continue to be chosen over big name brands for our quality of service, breadth of function and affordability.

Our consistent winning of awards across the globe helps validate to customers that we are the right choice to shortlist when comparing CRM systems and we are proud that our customers score our support and their likelihood to renew and recommend so highly.”

“ is highly rated for being intuitive, customizable, and affordable,” said Megan Headley, Research Director at TrustRadius and author of the guide. “It's a good fit for small businesses looking for a solution their employees will actually use.”

You can download a free copy of the guide here:


About Workbooks

Workbooks delivers award-winning CRM and business applications to the mid-market, at an affordable price and with functionality that transforms business.

Unlike traditional CRM solutions, extends beyond sales, marketing and customer support to include order management, order fulfilment, invoicing and supplier management. This business functionality is delivered out-of-the-box at a price that is typically 50-70% less than enterprise solutions such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and NetSuite.  For more information, visit

Workbooks Contact:

Cheryl Nichols
Senior Marketing Executive
0118 3030 100

The TrustMap™ is a visual depiction of the best software products as rated by users on TrustRadius within each market segment. TrustRadius does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in its TrustMaps and does not advise software users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings

Apr 08,2015 by

Reading, England, (8th April 2015) – is pleased to announce that our CRM system has been recognised as a top CRM product for the 3rd year running at the Network Computing Awards 2015.

The Network Computing Awards, which have been running since 2007, were set up to recognise the IT solutions and companies that are helping organisations to function better by getting the most out of their networks and systems.

John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks, commented: “Following from winning CRM Product of the Year 2014 and 2013 we are proud to have been recognised as a top CRM Product for 2015. I believe that this reflects our continued commitment to deliver first-class software and high customer satisfaction. We’ve enjoyed a lot of very positive feedback from our customers recently, especially in the latest crowd sourced G2Crowd Report on CRM in which we were rated number one for customer satisfaction in the CRM category.”


About Workbooks

Workbooks delivers award-winning CRM and business applications to the mid-market, at an affordable price and with functionality that transforms business.

Unlike traditional CRM solutions, extends beyond sales, marketing and customer support to include order management, order fulfilment, invoicing and supplier management. This business functionality is delivered out-of-the-box at a price that is typically 50-70% less than enterprise solutions such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and NetSuite.  For more information, visit


About The Network Computing Awards

The Network Computing Awards were set up to recognise the solutions and the companies that have been most impressive in helping organisations function better through getting the most out of their networks. The effectiveness of an organisation depends to a large degree on the performance of its network. How fast does it run? How much downtime does it experience? How well does it cope with running an increasing number of applications and storing an increasing amount of data? How secure is it? It’s fair to say that managing a network is a challenging job. Run by Network Computing Magazine, the awards are customer voted and recognise the best each year from the industry.


Workbooks Contact:

Cheryl Nichols
Senior Marketing Executive
0118 3030 100

Mar 31,2015 by Samuel Jefferies

What is cloud computing header image

The Cloud is here, no question about it

Everyday we’re coming across more and more businesses moving online and switching to Cloud Technologies. From Google Docs to Amazons Web Services the Cloud is here to stay.

But what does this actually mean for businesses?

Will the way you run your business change and how can you adopt these new technologies to drive increased profits?

To answer these questions we’ve gathered three independent cloud experts who together have worked with hundreds of small to medium sized businesses advising on Cloud Technologies.

Table of contents

1. What is Cloud Computing? 2. Examples of Cloud Computing 3. What's the actual advantages of Cloud Computing for businesses?
4. Should we be concerned with Cloud Security? 5. Cloud Computing - What does the future hold? 6. Contributors biographies
7. References

1. What is Cloud Computing?

Esteban KolskyEsteban Kolsky is the founder of ThinkJar LLC an organisation set-up to help organisations approach Cloud based technologies such as Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) & Customer Experience (CX) Solutions.

Esteban - Let’s start with the basics, just what is Cloud Computing?

"The concept behind cloud computing originated in the 1930s from experiments carried out by the US military in how to implement distributed systems for faster execution of tasks.

It was not until the 1950s that we have the first mentions of cloud computing (back then the references were made to distributed computing or network computing).

Through the past few decades, cloud computing became better developed and defined. Today we call cloud a distributed model of computing that leverages an open and extensible network to allocate processing power from many different independent computers to accomplish a single task faster and simpler." 1.

Thanks Esteban, so in summary: 'Cloud Computing is a network of connected devices (such as servers, laptops and mobile phones) which are all accessible to each other allowing flexibility and cost savings due to economies of scale and accessbility.'

2. Examples of Cloud Computing

Dropbox logo

Dropbox - Cloud pioneer

Dropbox have physical servers which have been made open to anyone who registers with the service. Once registered you can store & download files directly to/from the Dropbox servers.

Since Dropbox have made their service accessible via a website and App users are able to access the service remotely and conveniently.

In all likelihood you’re already used to working with Cloud technologies such as Gmail, Youtube & Dropbox.

All these website leverage Cloud computing to deliver their service, without the Cloud these services simply wouldn't exist.

What we are beginning to see now is the rise of traditional services shifting to the Cloud such as OS maps being replaced by Google Maps, address books and spreadsheets being made obsolete by cloud based CRM systems.

So, what does this actually mean for the small business?

3. What's the advantages of Cloud Computing for businesses?

Ian Moyse sits on the board of Eurocloud UK and was named by TalkinCloud as one of the global top 200 cloud channel experts.

To answer this question we turned to Ian Moyse.

Ian - How can businesses actually benefit from using cloud based technologies?

"Cloud brings great benefit to the average size business, allowing the smaller business owner more choice and the ability to afford solutions that previously were only within the budgets of larger enterprise clients.

Cloud platforms and services also afford many smaller companies to compete more effectively with larger competitors and to enjoy growth against legacy competitors who are not nimble enough to change systems and approaches to benefit from today’s more effective and flexible cloud platforms.

Cloud adoption in the smaller business has continued to grow to the point that in 2014 surveys showed 61-68% of small companies had adopted cloud in some way with 43% claiming they 'wish they had done so sooner'! 2.

Areas that a small business can benefit from cloud based systems include:

1. Resilience of systems

The level of availability and security provided by experts running it in their datacentres for you is far greater than having localised boxes where you have to worry about your hardware, system patches and application upgrades. Additionally if anything does go wrong you have to deal with it in a timely fashion.

Do you have the resources to deliver 24*7 maintenance and pay for unexpected maintenance/fix costs or even want to worry about this?

Surveys in 2014 cited 96% of SMB's on cloud worry less about outages and 75% have seen improved service availability. 3.

2. Easy and consistent backup of data

We probably all agree and know that important data should be backed up at least daily, and ideally off site to multiple locations.

Who really does this in practice? Particulary in a smaller business where the resources to enable this are sparse if at all existent? Using a cloud system, backups are done for you and taken off your hands and you gain the benefit of best practice without the pain and costs associated.

Cloud computing diagram3. Mobile any device access

In today's world users expect to have easy access to business information and applications on the move accessbile from any device and any lack of this is seen as a hindrance.

Certainly as the Millennial generation join your business this generations benefit to your business will be limited and hindered if you cannot deliver this easy open access.

Cloud systems handle this for you, where using traditional IT approaches has been clunky if not complex to deliver securely and easily.

4. Flexibility

IT should enable your business and users to be more effective, to better serve customers, to be better informed and make smarter decisions and to be able to do more in an efficient manner. To enable this you need to focus on the business aspects and not technical aspects of IT that usually bog you down.

Cloud takes the technical side away and serves it up for you to focus on the business efficiencies you gain. It also makes change and growth easier and more flexible as well as affordable. Often smaller firms have found that the costs of change or IT have prohibited them from doing things in the way they would ideally choose.

5. Easy and affordable maintenance

IT has become over the years a costly part of a business. Not just in acquisition, but in maintenance of systems, security and upgrades. Upgrading hardware, operating systems and software and managing the dependencies between them (e.g. the latest software upgrade)  can be hard work for a small business.

So much of the world runs on old unsupported versions of Windows and remains on insecure unpatched systems much of the time. A cloud world moves all this of this to the cloud provider who take responsibility and cost for this and roll it into your service costs.

They can deliver more consistency far easier and cost effectively as they are doing it once or limited times for all their customer base instead of each customer trying to do it in isolation.

Surveys in 2014 cited 51% of SMB's using cloud are spending less time managing IT and 50% required the same or fewer internal IT resources despite growth. 4.

The smaller business has the opportunity today to benefit greatly from the computing advancements that cloud offers and should consider a cloud solution in every IT refresh, update or new system evaluation as a viable and in fact often preferred option.

Take the emotives, the 'we have always done it that way' and any resistance from IT people out of the equation and see change as a positive enabler for your business."

Thanks Ian, Frank - We understand you've worked with many businesses as a Cloud expert. What benefits can Cloud Computing bring to employees themselves?

6. Remote working flexibility

Frank Bennett

Frank Bennett is an author and commentator on Cloud Computing and wearable tech enthusiast. He is on the Board of EuroCloud UK and advises businesses adopting cloud on both the supply and buy side.

"In 2014 UK legislation was introduced for employees to request flexible working arrangements. The cloud is helping employers accommodate these requests particularly when an employee’s work has a dependency on access to IT systems.

Where those IT systems (e.g. email, CRM, Accounting) are cloud based it is easy and affordable to grant flexible working arrangements and the employee to remain productive. This is also helping SMEs to attract employees and employee retention.

Most people think of cloud as a technology phenomenon whereas it is creating many new opportunities to reframe how we organise our work (anytime, anywhere) and deal with the awkward pursuit of work life balance.

The cloud is a connector and the office is no longer the only place to get things done. A poll carried out in 2014 by O2 Business made the rather startling claim that 46% of workers think coffee shops are a more productive workplace than the office.8 Perhaps the coffee shop serves better coffee but as they are all now equipped with Wi-Fi that productivity is captured with the cloud."

By now you’ll have a good feel for what Cloud Computing is and how it can benefit you. But should you have security concerns?

With private data being hosted externally and easily accessible worldwide should you be concerned over security? 

In order to answer this question we turned to Frank Jennings.

Should we be concerned with Cloud Security?

Frank Jennings

Frank Jennings is a lawyer specialising in cloud & data security and regularly advises cloud providers and customers on data security issues.

Frank - With more businesses adopting cloud technologies and rising data protection laws, should SME’s be concerned over cloud security?

"Businesses should take proactive steps to protect their data. Not surprisingly, data security (“Is my data safe?”) and data sovereignty / residency (“Where is my data?”) are key concerns raised by businesses contemplating a move to cloud in every survey I’ve seen over the last 5 years.

1. Is your data less secure in the cloud?

In fact, data security is just as important in an on-premise environment. Some businesses have told me they believe their data would not be secure in the cloud as cloud is inherently insecure.

This fatuous belief is also held in reverse: that data is automatically secure just by storing it on-premise. While it is true that centralising customer data in a data centre might make it a more obvious target for hackers – providers invest heavily in security measures and spread the cost across all their customers.

Unless data is similarly protected on-premise, the business will be hoping nobody finds their data; and security through obscurity is hardly an effective strategy.

2. Data center security

Clearly, you should undertake diligence on your prospective cloud provider and its data centre. For example, what Tier is the data centre? Does the provider have any recognised accreditations such as ISO27001 or 27018? Is it affiliated or accredited by recognised trade bodies such as the Cloud Industry Forum or the Cloud Security Alliance?

Cloud Security

You should also ask where the data centre is, not necessarily with a view to preventing transfer of data outside the UK but because it is sensible to know from a compliance point of view. Don’t base your move to cloud on trying to evade the NSA, as there is an equivalent body in every country.

If it is based in the USA, you should ask not just if they are Safe Harbor registered but also for proof of how they will actually protect your data.

You should also identify who will get access to the data, not just at the provider’s end, but within your business. After all, you can put in place secure technology, but it can all be undone by a disgruntled or ignorant employee.

Public VS Private VS Hybrid Cloud Security

Not surprisingly, as a cloud lawyer, I advise my clients to read the contract terms. Public cloud contracts are generally not negotiable and they contain numerous provisions disclaiming the provider’s risk, including for loss or corruption of data.

Public cloud has many advantages of course, but the terms are heavily biased in the provider’s favour so you need to go into it fully aware of what you’re buying.

On the other hand, private or hybrid cloud can be tailored to your needs and you can negotiate the contract but smaller providers might be outsourcing data storage to a third party. If your data is being held by a third party, unless you have a direct contract with them, you will have no direct control over your data. You need to ensure you can get back your data later.

Cloud can offer many advantages to a small business but it is important to evaluate what you are buying to make sure it will deliver the security standards you require."

Cloud Computing - What does the future hold?

Google Trends for Network Computing VS Cloud

What is cloud computing

Google searches suggest a huge decline in network computing when compared against 'public', 'private' and 'hybrid' cloud searches.

We can confidently predict a continued increase in Cloud Technologies with more and more traditional businesses evolving to take advantage of cloud based technologies.

Further predictions:

Increased investment

Forrester (analyst group) predict that the world cloud computing market will grow from £23.5bn in 2011 to £100bn by 2020. 5.

David Merrill

'As a result, by 2020, if you were to ask a CIO to draw a map of their infrastructure, they would not be able to, says David Merrill, chief economist of Hitachi Data Systems.'7.

"He will be able to say 'here are my partner providers'," he comments, but he will not be able to draw a diagram of his infrastructure.” 6.

Software and Infrastructure

A sharp rise in Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is predicted, enabling businesses to scale their hardware & software quickly and conveniently allowing a sidestep from physically storing and maintaining large cumbersome servers as well as a reduction in initial software license charges.

Further reduced costs

With the rise of ARM processors (50 billion produced in 2014, 10 billion in 2013) a reduction of heat, costs and power use has become available, combining that with an increasingly competitive cloud market, cloud providers are beginning to pass on cost savings to customers. 9.

We hope you now see the future of cloud technologies is bright - With more and more SME’s taking advantage of these solutions to reduce costs, increase profits and expansion we’re excited to be riding this fundamental shift in how businesses are operating.

Contributors biographies

Esteban Kolsky

Esteban Kolsky

Esteban Kolsky is the founder of ThinkJar LLC an organisation set-up to help organisations approach Cloud based technologies such as Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) & Customer Experience (CX) Solutions.

Ian Moyse

Ian Moyse

Ian Moyse sits on the board of Eurocloud UK and the Governance Board of the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) and was named by by TalkinCloud as one of the global top 200 cloud channel experts in 2011. He is listed on the MSPMentor top 250 list for 2011 & 2014 which tracks the world's top managed services experts and was listed in the top 25 of the worldwide SMB Nation 150 Channel Influences list in both 2012 and 2013.

Frank Bennett

Frank Bennett

Frank Bennett is an author and commentator on Cloud Computing and wearable tech enthusiast. He is on the Board of EuroCloud UK and advises businesses adopting cloud on both the supply and buy side. He blogs regularly at

Frank Jennings

Frank Jennings

Cloud Lawyer & Commercial Contracts - Wallace LLP

Frank Jennings is a lawyer specialising in cloud & technology, data security, intellectual property and commercial contracts.

His clients come to him not just for his specialist legal advice but also rely on him for his “can do” mentality and his pragmatic approach to solving problems and managing risk. Frank regularly advises cloud providers and cloud customers on a range of issues including identifying and managing risk, robust contracts and data security issues.

Frank chairs the Cloud Industry Forum’s code governance board, is on Twitter at @thecloudlawyer, blogs at and is ranked #1 for cloud law by the independent legal directories.

Sam Jefferies

Sam Jefferies

Sam Jefferies is the Digital Marketing executive for Workbooks CRM. Workbooks provides CRM Software aimed at small to medium sized businesses. To find out more sign up for our 30 day free trial.


1. Esteban Kolsky, 2012. Defining a Pure, Open Cloud. [Online] Available at: [31/03/2015]

2, 3, 4. PC World, 2014. SMB Cloud adoption trends in 2014. [Online] Available at: [31/03/2015]

5, 6, 7. Jack Clark, 2012. Cloud computing: 10 ways it will change by 2020. [Online] Available at: [31/03/2015]

8. O2 Business, 2014. Brit workers spend 131 million hours a week working flexibly. [Online] Available at: [07/04/2015]

9. ARM, 2015. Architecture for the Digital World. [Online] Available at: [31/03/2015]

Mar 31,2015 by

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can be a big success factor for consumer-facing companies. But in order to get the most out of a CRM, you need to make sure your employees—especially your sales teams—are using it.

The CRM market has certainly grown in recent years, and is valued at over $18 billion by research firm Gartner. But implementing a CRM system or migrating to a new one is never something you should take for granted. Despite the success of the overall market, CRM initiatives have suffered from failure rates of up to 63 percent. These “fail stats” are admittedly sometimes prone to exaggeration, but their mere existence indicates an alarming weakness in what is still a flawed process. 

Reasons for Failure

There are a number of ways a CRM initiative can fail to gain traction among a sales team, the most obvious of which is simply choosing the wrong product in the first place. Maybe it lacks the right features for supporting your sales workflow. Maybe it has too many features, causing reps to find it complicated or frustrating. Maybe it doesn’t integrate with some of the productivity apps already in use, like file sharing or email.

A CRM can also be a dud if there are no measures in place for tracking usage and return on investment, or if it doesn’t receive support and enforcement from key leaders. No buy-in, no pay out.

Ways to Boost Adoption

CRM adoption isn’t about forcing software down people’s throats; it’s about showing them the value it adds to the sales process and equipping them for successful use. Here are four strategies for doing just that:

  • Pick the Right CRM Software: This one is a no-brainer, but it’s also one of the easiest places to make mistakes. The procurement process should be driven by experts and stakeholders to ensure an informed, balanced decision. The large majority of business software purchases involve at least three decision-makers. The product that’s best for your company’s needs will largely be determined by features, integrations, scalability, price point, and any industry-specific needs you might have.
  • Upper-Management Buy-in: When most software buyers think about increasing adoption, they think about finding ways to make sales reps use the dang software. But end-users aren’t the only target audience for CRM projects. It’s equally important to get upper management (CIO, Director of Marketing, CFO, etc.) on board. Leadership plays a pivotal role in “selling” CRM to the rest of the company and enforcing standards for use. If you’re implementing an enterprise-scale solution, you might even consider appointing a dedicated CRM project manager.
  • Employee Buy-in: Intrinsic motivation is almost always more effective than extrinsic motivation. Instead of pressing a new CRM onto your reps from the top down, get them to make a personal investment in the initiative. One way to do this is simply by getting their input before you commit to a particular product. What do they like or not like about the current system? What features would be most valuable to them. After installing the software, encourage adoption by providing rewards or recognition to top performers, or reps who enter the most data, close the most sales using the new system, or other metrics.
  • Provide Pre-emptive and Ongoing Training: For the average sales rep, the prospect of learning a new system can be intimidating. The old system might have had its problems, but they had it down. Part of the training process will involve showing users how the new system is more intuitive (hopefully) than the old, what advantages it has, and how to navigate through menus and dashboards. Some vendors even offer their own training tools online, through video tutorials, webinars, and troubleshooting guides. Beyond initial training, make sure sales teams have access to ongoing support tools, updates, and best practice information. If you’re implementing an enterprise system that causes a drastic change in workflows, you might try breaking implementation into multiple phases to allow a more gradual acclimation. 

When adoption doesn’t stick, a lot of business leaders tend to blame their sales reps or the software itself, but these are only two components in a larger shift that should take place. The rest of the picture—in fact, the bulk of it—is about building an infrastructure of training and reinforcement, from top to bottom, from before you select a product to long after you sign the contract. Sure, the system you buy makes a difference, but the success or failure of a CRM adoption depends, more than anything, on the workplace culture that surrounds it.


Aleks Peterson

Technology Analyst

Technology Advice

Connect on LinkedIn

Mar 24,2015 by

There is often a misalignment of sales and marketing in many organisations. This can result in tension between the teams which can impact the ROI of your lead generation activities.

Combining marketing automation and CRM can aid with bridging the gap between your sales and marketing departments but there are a number of other considerations you need to make to ensure they are on the same page.

1. Defining & Identifying

Sales and marketing can be working towards the same goals e.g. lead conversion, but often have different ideas of the definitions of those goals. If you were to ask a sales rep for their definition of a qualified lead it may be very different from what a marketing rep may suggest. These definition differences can lead to tension, especially when there is pressure for marketing to deliver more leads and sales to convert at a higher rate.

Agreeing common definitions will enable sales and marketing to be on the same page. You can start by focusing on defining elements that relate to your sales funnel e.g. what does a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) mean? What qualifies a lead as an MQL or SQL? It is important to identify the sales criteria of a perfect lead.  This makes it easier to identify which leads should be developed and in turn increase the amount of leads moving through your sales funnel.  

2. Metrics

If your sales and marketing teams are misaligned they may be working on different metrics e.g. a focus on quantity rather than quality. Sales may have a bad quarter as they have not met their conversion target but marketing may have had a good quarter as they have produced a high number of leads. But if these leads were not the right quality then they were no use to sales. Since both sales and marketing benefit from closed deals it is important that they work to a common goal.

Mutually, both teams need to agree the metrics that they will be measured against. A win for sales should be a win for marketing.  For example, it may be better to target your marketing team on the leads they have generated that have actually converted into the pipeline. This will ensure your marketing team have more incentive to pass over quality leads rather than quantity.

Communication between your teams may be the first step to aligning your sales and marketing departments but technology can also play a big part in easing this tension. Technology is driving sales and marketing departments together.  If you have a good communication strategy between the two departments you can integrate marketing automation and CRM to boost your revenue machine. Creating a standard for lead qualification, lead nurturing and accurate reporting is a vital step in sales and marketing alignment.

3. Lead Qualification

The administrative burden of updating a CRM can often overshadow its value. Updating notes and qualifying leads can be a time consuming task for both sales and marketing reps. Marketing automation systems can streamline these processes by taking over a lot of these administrative manual tasks automatically. Integrating marketing automation and CRM can take over filling out details of company information, recent activity and lead interests etc. Not only does this automation save time allowing sales to focus on closing deals, but it also allows sales to get a holistic view of a prospect so they can tailor their approach when following up.  

Marketing automation collects all of the interactions with a lead and automatically qualifies your leads against the lead definitions that were agreed mutually between your sales and marketing teams.  Lead scoring and grading eliminates any disagreements in lead quality. It also allows your teams to focus on the higher quality leads and nurture leads that are less qualified to help them move through the sales funnel.

4. Lead Nurturing

You can easily miss out by not nurturing the leads that are not ‘sales ready’ yet. They are often passed over to sales in the same way that ‘sales ready’ leads are. This frustrates sales reps and inevitably these leads are often neglected in favour of the higher quality leads. However, with marketing automation you can create a lead nurturing program that will help with moving these leads through the buying cycle until they are ‘sales ready’. This frees up sales to focus on the hotter leads that will result in a higher conversion rate. Non-‘sales ready’ leads can be added to drip campaigns where they will automatically be sent relevant information that is useful to them at their particular stage of the buying cycle.

5. Reporting

Integrating marketing automation and CRM aligns your sales and marketing teams. They can work together from the same definitions, towards common goals and common metrics. The two tools sync in both directions. The closed loop reporting you get from integration allows you to get a holistic view of the whole sales cycle, it also increases accountability for both sales and marketing.

You can track closed deals all the way back to where the lead originated from allowing you to replicate success and improve your marketing strategy.  Marketing will now be able to see how their campaigns and lead generation activities have resulted in revenue.

aligning sales and marketing ebook image

Find out how you can align your marketing and sales teams with Marketing Automation & CRM. Download our eBook now. 

Download Now