What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. There are countless online productivity applications that can add enormous value to any individual or business owner. Some of the benefits of cloud computing is cost, access to data from any computer connected to the Internet, and collaboration with teams or colleagues for business or personal projects.

Some voice concerns about online privacy and protection of personal data but it can be argued that data stored on a local computer is far less secure than cloud based solutions, because of the state of the art technology employed by providers of such services.

Probably the most attractive aspect of such services is that many are free, or free initially with options to upgrade to paid services that usually offer enhanced features and/or functionality. In most cases there are no contracts to which a user is locked into; the services are provided on a pay-as-you-go basis and you are free to stop using the product or service at any time.

Cloud computing is all about increasing productivity; working smarter; and having access to important data when you need it most.

Here are some of the CRM (Customer Relationship Management Systems) we have experience with:

Highrise *

Highrise is the perfect place to track contacts and communication so that your team can view the status of any deal or relationship. Make notes on a meeting, share important emails during negotiation, or share tasks related to any contact or project. You can also mark information private to yourself or select team members, so that you share what you want, when you want. Highrise offers a free version. You can upgrade at any time. Highrise is a great package but beware .. it does not cater for repeat tasks.

Capsule CRM *

Capsule CRM is a cheap, easy to use CRM application that is surprisingly effective. You can start with the free version and upgrade at any time.

Insightly *

Insightly is a hybrid task manager, customer relationship manager, and a project manager. It is a surprisingly powerful application and very cost effective. Insightly offers a free version and you can upgrade at any time depending on how much online document storage you require.

Salesforce (Contact Manager recommended for freelance homeworkers)

Salesforce is the #1 solution that takes sales force automation to new heights, with an array of cloud-based tools that gives your team the power to score more wins, increase productivity, and keep the pipeline filled with solid leads. Salesforce also includes a scaled down version called Contact Manager for those who want to use the platform for task and customer management on a smaller scale and with less complexity, and a small budget.

Here are some of the Project Management tools we have experience with:

Basecamp

Basecamp is a popular project management application but it can be more expensive. You can try it free for 60 days.

Insightly *

Insightly is a hybrid task manager, customer relationship manager, and a project manager. It is a surprisingly powerful application and very cost effective. Insightly offers a free version and you can upgrade at any time depending on how much online document storage you require.

Zoho Projects

Zoho projects is powerful and cost effective and integrates with a range of other Zoho products such as Zoho Invoice.

Here are some Task Management tools we have experience with:

Producteev *

Producteev is very good at what it does and may be all you need to manage your projects and tasks.

ToDoist*

An outstanding task manager that is flexible, versatile, and free (with a paid upgrade that provides additional features). It can also be used as a project manager.

Toodledo

Toodledo is great for task management if you don’t have a need to access customer data.

Trello

Trello adopts an entirely different approach to task and project management. It is surprisingly powerful, flexible and adaptable. It is free with an option to upgrade to a paid version

* Denotes products we recommended. This is based entirely on our personal experience in using the products. Test a few products before you commit. Most are free to start with. If you would like to discuss any of these applications with us, contact us for advice.


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