As a technology company with a SaaS (Software as a Service) product (LivePlan), we tend to be early adopters when it comes to using new technologies.
We’re also a small business ourselves, so we’re careful about making sure we get the most value for our money.
We get asked now and then about what tools we use internally to run more efficiently. Here are just a few:
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
It’s extremely efficient for us to outsource our web hosting to a third party whose business model charges based on usage. While it’s not perfect (for examples, when AWS suffered an outage due to severe storms), its service is ‘game changing’ in terms of presenting a cost effective solution.
As a software development company running numerous blogs and sites around the world, it is important to have a robust bug tracking system in place. We use Fogbugz; it’s a great solution for tracking and prioritizing bugs that need to be fixed.
With an SaaS product it is important to consistently deliver value to users and avoid churn or attrition. Customer engagement is a key part of that process as you look to better understand customers ongoing needs and adapt accordingly. Totango is emerging as a leader in the customer engagement space.
Customer Service Email
We pride ourselves on offering great service and rely heavily on our own product, the SaaS based solution Email Center Pro. Email Center Pro is a low cost, hosted email management solution that helps us service our global customer base. When we realized its value, we decided to offer the service direct to customers. Given the growing need companies have in dealing effectively with email going to shared inboxes (like sales@, marketing@ etc) it is likely to be a solution growing in popularity in the months and years to come.
The cloud-based file sharing market is getting pretty competitive. However, Dropbox is one well known solution that offers a secure cloud based document storage solution and is well worth trying out. With complementary mobile apps, you can access your files anywhere.
Google Apps for Business
The Google Apps for Business suite which includes email, calendaring and online documents is a powerful offering with attractive entry level pricing.
We’re constantly looking to innovate and develop, which requires multiple projects running at any given time across multiple teams. We rely on Basecamp from 37 signals, an excellent way to manage projects in an efficient and transparent manner. We have also heard great things about TeamworkPM a similar project management solution.
We really like the free screen sharing option Join.me . It is simple to use, and a great way to share your desktop with someone based remotely.
Internet traffic is crucial for our business. It is important we keep on top of the latest search engine optimisation tools and techniques. We find SEO Moz is a great service in this space.
With staff based in the U.S., U.K. and Ireland, Skype is a great way to communicate, especially when you want to get multiple people on a call.
We have a Facebook Page which is a great resource for our users looking to connect and also looking for offers, additional content and inspiration.
As early adopters to social media, most of the staff operate personal Twitter accounts as well as a number of corporate ones (including our LivePlan profile). It offers us an outlet for sharing content as well as a low cost way to support our customers as well as to offer an additional touch point for people looking to find out more about our services.
Here at Palo Alto Software, we create a lot of valuable content for our web visitors as well as our customers. We use WordPress to power our blogs; it is a great choice for startups looking to communicate with their audience.
In summary, the above represents a small flavour of some of the solutions we use to manage our business. They are all SaaS based, offer great value and ultimately help us operate more effectively.
Do you have any favorite tools that you use? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.