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Don’t Live in Fear of Computer Gremlins – 10 Reasons to Host with a Service Rather Than Yourself

October 22nd, 2015

Computer-gremlin

There’s nothing scarier than having your computer crash. Whether it is the result of computer gremlins or your computer simply internally combusts, it’s never a good feeling to see that blue screen of death. And it’s even worse if you don’t have your files backed up in a secure and reliable location.

Don’t wait until you need a backup to worry about having a backup.

If you’re thinking, “I’m covered, I host my own files, and I think I have a backup.” You’re right — you MIGHT be covered in the event your computer melts down, but you’re short changing yourself in other ways.
 

Here’s 10 reasons to host with a service versus goin’ it alone.
 

1. Affordability. Hosting with a service reduces your IT costs. You don’t have to purchase any equipment or software, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle and expense of maintaining an internal server.
 

2. Flexibility. If you host your files, you can create a virtual workshop from anywhere and on any device. This means you can set up in your favorite coffee shop and sip on a pumpkin spice latte while you get to takin’ care of business.

But I can obtain flexibility and create a virtual desktop if I host it myself. True, and that leads us to reason Number 3…
 

3. Speed. PCI has multiple data centers across the continental United States, so your system will be close and fast. Hosting services offer faster bandwidth than typical in-house systems.
 

4. Security. PCI’s Hosting Service provides you with secured server facilities, and encrypts all of your files, so no one but you and “The Invisible Man” standing over your shoulder can see them.
 
Invisible_man
 
5. Expertise. As Platinum Partners, we can work hand in hand with FileMaker to resolve any server issues beyond the basics.
 

6. Value. When you or someone on your team needs help getting connected to your hosted solution, we are here to help. We provide the links to your system via email, and we’ll even step it up a notch and provide you with a no-cost, hands-on remote meeting directly with you or your users, if that’s what it takes to get you started or back on track.
 

7. Backups. We have a wide variety of backups available, including hourly progressives, daily, nightly, weekly, and even monthly. So “28 Days Later” you can request a copy of your files. In the event we experience some Hollywood disaster and are suddenly flooded, engulfed by “The Blob”, catch fire, or get crushed by The 50 Foot Woman, you’ll always have a backup of your data sitting in your Dropbox.

The_Blob_poster
 
8. Real-Time Monitoring. We provide constant monitoring of our servers and have live server status updates online.
 

9. After Hours Restarts. We do our best to keep server restarts to an absolute minimum. But if the situation is inevitable, we do everything humanly possible to do it at a time that is most convenient for you, which means we are restarting during the witching hour and mixin’ it up with the ghosts and goblins.

Slimer
 
10. Support. Last but not least, you will have access to professional and proven FileMaker experts to answer any of your questions and assist you with tech issues.
 
Okay, so we said we’d save you money, but how much?
 
Well, first off, all plans include a 30 day free trial, so you don’t have to worry about experiencing buyer’s remorse.

Second, plans start at $30 a month or $324 a year. You can check out pricing here and then call (760) 510-1200 for a free consultation and quote.

Contact sales@productivecomputing.com or give us a call at 760-510-1200.

What Is Customer Relationship Management?

January 31st, 2013

A large amount of any company’s efforts and budget go toward finding and retaining customers. What if database and programming technology combined with innovation could automate much of this work, reduce costs, and improve customer relations, all while improving overall efficiency and value to the customer? It can, in fact! Effective customer relationship management is vital to any business, and CRM software makes the entire process much more successful.

But what is customer relationship management? Below is a brief description of the customer relationship management model, how it works, what might keep it from working to its greatest potential, and some related trends that it has recently created in the marketplace.

What is it?

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a model for managing the interactions of a company with its customers, clients, and prospective sales contacts. It manages sales activity, customer support, technical support, and marketing by automating and synchronizing similar processes throughout a business. The goals of CRM are attracting and keeping customers, bringing former customers back into the fold, and streamlining activities to reduce the costs of marketing and customer service. The model is also used to simplify and organize internal company relationships.

Benefits of CRM

Although a CRM model is intended to save a business money, its primary goal is to improve efficiency and relationships with clients. The benefits of adopting a CRM model include the following:

  • Quality and efficiency
  • Lower overall costs
  • Higher productivity

A well-thought-out model will create a seamless interface and help a company realize its full potential, but businesses often experience some challenges getting into a streamlined CRM process. These initial hurdles are completely normal, and are overcome with some time and practice. Challenges can include a lack of training for employees, a lack of commitment or continuity from senior executives, and an overly complex or unwieldy interface. Certain areas of the model may be more difficult to manage and therefore can be ignored or underused by employees, which leads to fragmentation and inefficiency. If the interface is difficult to navigate, it presents obstacles for both employees and customers. Hiring talented technical staff to create an interface that is usable and can grow and flex with an increasingly complicated business model and data set, as well as securing a commitment from employees at all levels, are at the heart of a successful CRM model and a sustainable implementation.

Types of CRM

  • CRM automation uses a contact management system to track every stage of the sales process, requiring fewer representatives to initiate and maintain contact with potential and existing customers.
  • Marketing processes track and measure multichannel campaigns, including social media and direct email or mail, to generate leads. A model called prospect relationship management (PRM) tracks customer behavior and brings them to the first sale, cutting out active sales campaigns entirely.
  • Software for customer support, such as call center programs, also helps to reduce the work force required to manage existing customers. It is designed not only to assist clients with problems but also to identify and reward loyal customers.
  • CRM models have also been designed and implemented for the special requirements of small businesses, social media channels, and not-for-profit organizations.

Similar Trends

  • Cloud computing and “software as a service” (SaaS) allow customers to subscribe to a cloud and access software for a reasonable subscription fee.
  • Vendor relationship management (VRM) is a counterpart of CRM that allows customers to access vendors without forming long-term relationships with them.
  • Extended relationship management (XRM) is in part the practice of applying CRM disciplines and technologies to all levels of the enterprise and all associated constituents. This involves not only the associated customers, but other levels of partnership such as the government and the media.

CRM is changing the intricate relationships among companies, customers, vendors, and other business partners. Technology has made it possible to track consumer behavior precisely and make successful sales happen with virtually no exhaustive effort on the part of the company, allowing them to focus efforts on nurturing new and existing relationships, and placing efforts into other areas of company growth.