Stories by David Taber

  • 12 tips to avoid gridlock in the Cloud

    In Star Wars, Coruscant is an entire planet that's a city. And in the movie, traffic flows in three dimensions as everyone flies around - without any accidents. As it's science fiction, there aren't even any traffic jams.

  • Why mobile CRM apps are slow to take off?

    The last five years have seen a revolution in mobile computing. The old-guard mobile phones and PC tablets have been put on the junk-heap, while devices running iOS and the Android OS have taken over the mobile world. With 4G, dual-core processors, huge amounts of RAM and gorgeous screens, you'd think that these devices would be perfect for running CRM apps. But that wave hasn't really happened yet.

  • Is your Cloud support agile? Take our quiz

    Cloud projects are a nearly perfect fit for agile project development techniques. Even if your finance guys insist upon fixed price and fixed schedule, the tendency in the Cloud is iterative development and scrum teams.

  • Is your CRM business process really a workflow?

    CRM systems offer workflows, approval processes, and other business process enforcement features. But it's not always clear which feature you should use, and overly strict enforcement mechanisms cause big user satisfaction problems.

  • Evaluating Cloud vendors: The ecosystem matters

    It's axiomatic that in software of any complexity, the ecosystem of plug-in products, tools, compatible APIs, and developer community can become really important. In certain software product categories, the importance of the ecosystem can swamp any feature advantage that an upstart product may have, leading to what economists call a natural monopoly.

  • The trouble with coding across the clouds: Part 1

    Most cloud applications have development (or at least scripting) capabilities that allow for deep customization plus some level of database access and computational capabilities. But even the best of the cloud applications must put in limiters for their platform/development environments: an app isn't a general purpose run-time or generic object container. For example, the development language must be made safe for a multi-tenant deployment, and must be well-behaved so that user code can't take down the virtual machine, database, or overall application. Further, some kinds of language constructs must be limited to prevent resource hogging and deadlocks. (Indeed, if you think about the billion lines of user code that Salesforce.com has running in their cloud, keeping quick responsiveness and good uptime stats is a non-trivial task.)

  • Cloud Computing: Advice for App Control Freaks

    In the good old days that weren't so good, we suffered from DLL hell: the need to find and certify libraries that we didn't write but did depend on. Cloud computing presents an analogous challenge with services we want to use, but don't really control. You might not see it the short run, but if you plan to have clouds applications operational over years, this can present a very real issue.

  • Avoid 3 Cloud app development sand-traps

    Somebody once said that cloud apps are just like enterprise software, only more so. OK, nobody ever said that. Actually, most everyone says they're much easier and faster than traditional software projects. And done right, cloud projects can be. Because done right, they are smaller, simpler, and more separable than tightly-coupled software projects were.

  • Your CEO called about CRM: Now what?

    The CEO has called and asked for some training on the CRM system. A great opportunity...but there are a hundred things you could train him on. Where do you start, and where do you place your bets?

  • Cloud meets CRM: How to track who's who

    In the early days of CRM, it was simple: people were people and companies were companies. Adding a new person to the CRM database was pretty unambiguous, whether they came in through direct entry or via integration across the clouds.

  • Cloud-based CRM: Beware bad data and silly object models

    Over the course of too many years, I've said that you can't make a user interface that's too easy for users. But cloud-based software vendors have essentially done just that. System setup is now deceptively simple, and too many sales pitches tell stories of how users can set up a cloud-based system themselves.