Tech Round Up – Thursday – April 29, 2010

IT Spending Increases (Microsoft study)
Microsoft Study Shows SMB Technology Spending on the Rebound
microsoft.jpgThe second annual Microsoft SMB/Partner Insight Report predicts an increase in IT investments for a majority of small and midsize businesses in 2010.
REDMOND, Wash. — April 20, 2010 — Microsoft Corp. today released its second annual Microsoft SMB/Partner Insight Report, a study on small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and their technology priorities in the current economy. The study shows that although SMBs remain concerned about the business climate, most will increase technology spending in 2010, highlighting the role of IT as a strategic business tool in this crucial sector of the global economy. SMBs will invest in IT that directly benefits their bottom line — either by reducing operating costs, improving employee productivity, or acquiring and retaining customers.
In the study, based on a survey of Microsoft Small Business Specialist partners, 63 percent of respondents predicted their SMB customers will spend more on IT in 2010, up from just 25 percent in 2009, with overall SMB IT spending anticipated to rise by an average of 16 percent over 2009 levels. Results from more than 500 partners in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Brazil and India indicate that SMBs view virtualization, IT consolidation, software as a service, customer relationship management (CRM), and support of remote workers as their most important technology investments.

What is TCO and Why Should You Care?
What is Total Cost of Ownership?
In the IT world, total cost of ownership (TCO) is used to calculate the total cost of purchasing (or in the case of cloud computing, subscribing to) and operating a technology product or service over its useful life. TCO provides a construct to evaluate technology costs that may not be reflected or be apparent in the upfront pricing. For example, if you’re buying a new server, the server (including operating systems, database software and storage) usually accounts for roughly 15 to 25 percent of the overall, long-term costs to install, maintain, upgrade and support the server over time.
New Printer and Scanner from HP
hpweb_1-2_topnav_hp_logo.gifHP is rolling out new printers and its first mobile scanner targeted at the small business market, with new features intended to simplify the out-of-box experience and reduce customer costs, including the purchase price and power consumption.
With the paperless office on indefinite hold, HP is rolling out a plethora of printers for the channel, including a number of industry firsts and its inaugural mobile scanner.
Small business and medium businesses will shell out $81 billion on printing by 2013, says HP’s Susy Brooks, LaserJet product marketing manager, and the printer company is looking to extend its market dominance with SMB solutions that stand out from the crowd.
Will Windows Phone 7 Reboot Microsoft’s Mobile Strategy?
033110_windowsmobile.jpgFor Microsoft to regain its reputation as an innovator, it’s not enough for consumers to declare “I’m a PC,” as they have in the company’s high-profile ad series. They also need to get on board with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s attempt to reboot its mobile strategy and introduce an operating system that’s more consumer friendly. With its new offering, the one-time frontrunner is hoping to recapture momentum in a U.S. smartphone market dominated by Apple’s iPhone and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry, with Google’s Android platform quickly gaining buzz. Microsoft needs a bold move to regain lost ground, Wharton experts say, but it’s unclear if Windows Phone 7 is enough to make the software giant “phone fashionable” again.
Designed to integrate video, Xbox games, the Bing search engine and Zune music into one mobile device, the Windows Phone 7 platform was unveiled by Microsoft in February. Gadgets equipped with the system are expected to hit stores by the 2010 holiday season via manufacturers and wireless carriers, including AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, HTC, Samsung and others. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said on February 15 at the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, that the company’s latest effort is designed to stand out “in a crowded market filled with phones that look the same and do the same things.”
New Book Explains Why Small Business Owners Should Look Beyond Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
New book helps small businesses figure out how to make the most of social media Author Robbin Block writes “Social Persuasion: Making Sense of Social Media for Small Business”: a strategic and practical guide that shows how to use social media to promote and grow a business without wasting time playing online.
Publisher Block Media announces a new book that’s the first of its kind to specifically address the needs of small business owners and startups seeking advice about social media. Social Persuasion is a strategic and practical guide that clearly explains where the new medium fits in an overall marketing program.
To many business owners with limited resources, social media looks like the answer to their marketing prayers, but it can take a significant amount of time to get results. Most small businesses don’t have that luxury.
Dell’s New Smarrtphones and Tablets…coming soon
Metallic Black Logo.jpgI thought this week was going quiet down after the HTC DROID Incredible announcement, but then I just read about the seven new Dell devices over on Engadget.
The folks at Engadget were given details for one Windows Phone 7 smartphone, four Google Android smartphones, and two Android tablets that should be released from this summer to 2nd quarter of 2011.
I never thought Dell would jump into the smartphone game after all of the rumors over the years never produced a smartphone here in the US so I was quite surprised by the news of some pretty compelling devices.
Let’s take a look at these possible new devices.
Five Ways the New Google Docs Speeds Up Teamwork
Fast Company
docs_logo.gifGoogle Docs’ latest upgrade makes the strongest case yet to skip Microsoft Office and collaborate with your group in your browser–especially when you’re not in the same physical space. Here are five ways the new Google Docs helps your group get more done more efficiently, even when you’re not in the same room together.
Read more about Google’s Update on bMighty
horizblueline.JPGSMBs More Aggressive in Technology Adoption, CompTIA Study Finds
Thumbnail image for comptia-logo.pngAccording to CompTIA‘s Second Annual SMB Technology Adoption Trends study released this week, 71 percent of SMBs (with 10-499 employees) are willing to pay a premium for new IT solutions that have a proven return on investment. The study found that the areas SMBs are looking to invest in the next 12 months include virtualization, unified communications, managed services, open source applications and mobility upgrades.
Tech Support Causing “High Anguish and Anxiety”
CEB-logo.png“Computer Stress Syndrome” is the subject of a new study released by the CMO Council’s Customer Experience Board. According to the report, “Nearly two thirds (64 percent) of consumers say their computer has caused them anxiety due in large part to frequent slowdowns and lengthy boot-up times, and more than 40 percent who use an outside computer support service are not happy with it or feel it costs too much. Despite this widespread computer-related stress and frustration, 94 percent depend on their computer in their daily lives, and 78 percent consider themselves computer-savvy.”
The report identifies the top sources of frustration with tech support as long wait times, inability to actually FIX the problems, and cost of the service. 40 percent of respondents are experiencing days or MORE of downtime. This is a great opportunity for both vendors and outsourced tech support providers. The full report can be downloaded here.
Video: 6 Steps To Successful Business Video Production (Plus review of NERO Multi Media Suite 10)
nero_10.pngVideo is a very powerful way to reach to reach your customers, prospective customers, employees, partners and anyone you want to communicate with online.
The three challenges in creating video are:
* Shooting the video
* Editing the video
* Hosting the video
Shooting the video is relatively easy, you can use a Flip camera (which I’ve used for many years) or another type of camera (I just bought a Canon camera. I’m going to take it back to B&H Photo as I thought it was a high definition camera. But we’ll see, maybe for online video I don’t need HD) Read the rest of the article on
Zoho: Inside the ‘Wal-Mart’ of Small Biz Services. Humility, Customers. Loving Competitors (Video interview)
Walk into your local Wal-Mart and look around. If your family needs food, you can get it from Wal-Mart. If your car needs parts, you can get them from Wal-Mart. If you’re in need of medical services, you can get it. If you need clothes, you can get it. Need a new patio?
zoho.jpgZoho is like this for many small businesses.
Zoho is an online service that offers 22 hosted applications which enable businesses to do just about everything they need: Email, CRM, invoicing, presentation and more. Much more. Need to manage your staff? Check out Zoho HR.
The company, its CEO and management team, are quite amazing. Read the rest of the article on

Making Caller ID Profitable and Customer Focused: The Evolution of Hosted Phone Systems

ringio.JPGWe know that hosted telephone systems from companies such as M5 can do just about anything. However, these phone systems are often priced for mid to larger sized companies, not the typical $10 or so a month that smaller businesses are used to. Especially smaller businesses that rely in part on a mixture of personal cell phones and virtual (out of office) employees.
On the other side, are companies such as RingCentral, Grasshopper, Virtual PBX, eVoice, and myVoice which are low cost and feature rich and are great for smaller businesses, startups and businesses with employees all over the city or country.
On Monday, Ringio launched a new service, which offers a feature set unlike any other hosted phone system I’ve seen, for smaller businesses. Read the rest of the article on

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Laura plans and manages Smallbiztechnology's live and virtual events, including the five-city Small Business Technology Tour, now in its third year. She also produces events for clients through her event planning company, L2 Event Production. Her popular roundups of events and competitions for small businesses is published weekly on and Small Business Trends.