Business Enabling Tools

December is the time when you say “this year is over already!” and then make plans for your New Year resolutions. I have made 3 very important resolutions for the New Year and am waiting patiently for January 1. I can’t start working on them today. They just have to be started on January 1st you know. I am like that only.

Looking back on the year, that’s over already, I feel happy that I have managed to do a lot of new things at the place I work. In fact, the general mood of the eCommerce Industry in India is upbeat. There is a whole legion of small to medium business online that are using “Business Enabling Tools” to keep pace with their growth. What is more interesting is most of these New Business Enablers are either free or at a very low-cost for basic business operations to function.

Take websites. You can build a great website with simple CMSes like WordPress or Joomla. Take CRM. Salesforce and Zoho have made making the sales processes like lead management and pipeline management easy. There is a whole gamut of services from HR tool to invoicing systems that are available with plain vanilla CRM. Google Analytics is the web analytics tool of choice for most websites and has enough insights to make data eaters drool. Products like “BugZilla” help keep track of all software bug reports and product feature roadmaps, this again is totally free. Google apps and Chat makes it easy for our teams across India chat and interact online.

Another interesting application is Live Chat. It’s enlightening to read visitors comments, and queries. Chatting feels like I am strolling in our shop and talking to visitors who come to our website, asking them if they need help with something. That’s not all. Comm100 allows you to add automatic email ticketing system, knowledge base and Forum functionality too. You know, those quick support tickets that you get saying we are looking at your query? They are one-click-integration with your email. Most features are free with an option to upgrade for detailed reports and advanced tools. We are now building our Knowledge Base section, a Forum section all built on Comm100.

Open Office is another story too, and so is social media. Customer surveys, polls, online magazine publishing – there are tools for all that.

It is interesting to see that there is a whole middle of the pyramid, of small to medium enterprises that are online and mobile. They are being built on varied business components, all online on the cloud. These Business Enablers are so ubiquitous that I believe they are no longer enablers.

I believe the new enablers are not these tools anymore but people who can wield these tools. By wield I don’t mean how-to-use these tools; that’s easy. By wield I mean, leverage. The real enablers are people who know how to leverage these tools and push the enterprises forward.

I am fanatical about Email Marketing, but feel that not many know how to leverage this seriously low-cost, but far-reaching tool.

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