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Now accepting American Express

By popular request, we’ve recently added American Express to our existing credit card support for Visa and Mastercard. If you’re currently paying by MasterCard or Visa and would prefer to pay by American Express you can use the change payment card process in Capsule.

Amex launch

Zferral integrates with Capsule

The team at zferral have integrated their solution with Capsule. Simply put, zferral lets you create and manage an affiliate program to promote your products or services through your existing customers or other networks. This can be a very effective sales tool, particularly if you’ve got customers who are fans and can introduce you to new customers.

For more information on how affiliate marketing could help your business, check out zferrals’s website which explains the service and their integration with Capsule in more detail.

Zferral website

Javelin saving the UK millions during big snow

This blog post was written before Javelin was renamed to Capsule. See this post for more details.

Here in the UK we’ve had the worst snow in decades according to the minute by minute news reports. Apparently the place has been bought to a standstill. According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), lost employee productivity could cost the UK £600m per day.

The bad news for our Javelin users is there is no excuses for an extended holiday since Javelin can be accessed from anywhere you have an internet connection. As tweeted by one of our users, “Hmmmm, I think I’ll work from home today using #googleapps, Javelin CRM & Xero”.

So while it might be a stretch to say Javelin is making the whole of the UK more productive!, businesses using cloud applications like Javelin, Google Apps and Xero have a much better chance of remaining productive if staff can continue to access the systems they rely on. If you are considering home working for your staff, SaaSage who offer services for Javelin and other cloud apps have put together a list of considerations for home working.

For any businesses out there still using traditional software instead of cloud applications, here’s an incentive for you to convert to Javelin. This week only get 25% off your first 3 months by signing up with discount code BIGSNOW.

Demise of MS Money and the rise of web apps

This blog post was written before Javelin was renamed to Capsule. See this post for more details.

A decade or so ago when Microsoft was in its heyday, we bought software and installed it in our homes and offices because that’s the way it was. Fast- forward to 2009 and we know that consumers are embracing software and services that operate online. The recent announcement from Microsoft that they are discontinuing MS Money provides a good example of the way it was then and the way it is now.

Microsoft in their own words have admitted the market has changed:

With banks, brokerage firms and Web sites now providing a range of options for managing personal finances, the consumer need for Microsoft Money Plus has changed. After suspending annual updates of Money Plus in 2008, Microsoft is announcing today that we will no longer offer Microsoft Money Plus for purchase after June 30, 2009.

In the same way MS Encarta was made obsolete by Wikipedia, MS Money hasn’t kept up with our expectations for tracking personal finances. Online services like Mint, Wesabe and Quicken offer not only an easier way to get started, but also a whole new way of presenting and using your financial information. For example Mint can compare your spending with other users and highlight areas where you are paying over the odds. Because Mint is hooked up to your bank, it also keeps track of your transactions as they happen and alerts you to events such as your account running out of money. Neat stuff and much more useful than MS Money ever was stuck in the constraints of your PC.

Part of the reason Microsoft have discontinued Money is due to a cost cutting exercise. Fact is the cost of distributing and supporting installed software is expensive. With an online service there is only one installation to support, not millions. This results in lower costs or even free services for consumers.

While individuals have been busy trying out these new services, businesses have been slower to change. After all, which is easier - trying out Mint for your own use, or convincing your boss to use a new online accounting system to run the business? Small tech savy businesses are leading the way by mashing up their pick of online service such as twitter, CRM, accounting, wikis and email marketing. You can see an example of this in my post showing Javelin CRM integrated seamlessly with Xero and KashFlow. In the same way that personal apps like Mint have made MS Money obsolete, the writing is on the wall for traditional business apps stuck in PC’s such as Act!, Sage and even MS Word.

The value of integrated solutions for small business

This blog post was written before Javelin was renamed to Capsule. See this post for more details.

Javelin is days away from an upgrade where we are moving into a significantly new world for our Javelin users. We have integrated Javelin with two online accounting systems.

Why have we done this? One of the criticisms of CRM’s is the difficulty of maintaining accurate data. If you are not actively updating the information, no matter the quality of the CRM solution, it will fall into disrepair. Rubbish in, rubbish out.

I know this from personal experience. I am in a part-time buy-to-let partnership and we use an accounting package, a landlord system, and a bunch of excel spreadsheets. We have to key the bank details into the accounting system, we have to duplicate the contacts, and we have stopped using the landlord system for anything other than letters and the core contact details – even though the system offers much more.

The good news is that we have integrated the best CRM, Javelin, with the best accounting packages so you manage your data more easily. What a transformation from when these systems were disconnected. Accounting information is on the same page as all the other information about the customer – at a glance you can see the invoice status on the customer record, along with last contact dates, history of contacts and any pipeline business. So if you are chasing an outstanding invoice you can see the value of new business alongside the outstanding invoice before making the call to the customer. There are also some cool features like moving between systems being as simple as a click-of-a-button.

Personally, I hope other service providers will understand this need and start providing integrated solutions for their users. It is time for small business to get the benefits of SaaS well beyond discussions around a lower cost threshold and much reduced IT support. I am proud that we are leading the way in providing a service that is truly beneficial to you.

SaaS taking off in UK small businesses

This blog post was written before Javelin was renamed to Capsule. See this post for more details.

Xero rocket

Online accounting provider Xero announced yesterday they have signed up 1000 customers in the UK and 4000 globally, with much of this growth coming in the past 50 days. UK based Kashflow also recently announced reaching their 2500 customer milestone and postings from Duane Jackson their CEO, reveals the last 6 months have been particularly busy. Well done to both.

While the numbers are still relatively small compared with take-up of SaaS in the United States, they clearly demonstrate a change in attitude by UK small businesses. No doubt the accountancy partners of both Xero and Kashflow have been instrumental in this growth. After all, while a SaaS accounting package has many benefits to the customer such as reduced total cost of ownership, the accountant also benefits from easier access to the all important business data.

It looks like predictions that 2009 will see an explosion in SaaS are correct. This all bodes well for Javelin, our own web CRM designed for small businesses and launching soon.

The image is from Xero’s website.