Category: Startups & MVP’s

Before you build your product, think how will you sell it.

A lot of client with great ideas come to us and talk to us about building their product. Of course some of these ideas are very good. However, they never think of engaging into the thought process on how would they position it and sell it. It is utmost important to think and know how you are going to position and sell even before you start building your product. Your marketing has to be figured out before you have a working software.

5 Things to Know While Writing Content for Your Business Website

It is important to have a web presence. But just having a website for the heck of it wont do any good. It is important you have good quality content on your website and your website needs to talk to the the people you want as your clients.

Do the Website Content YOURSELF

No one understands what your business stands for better than you do. Write the content yourself. Think of every line you write as if you are having a conversation with your client. Try to answer all the questions that you have been asked thus far or the ones you think your clients would benefit from – tersely.

Don’t put Images that Do Not TALK

Having a beautiful picture on the website has no meaning unless it is conveying any information. I am not asking you to make ugly looking websites like craigs list. Feel free to use good colors, great fonts, gradient background, but think twice if you are only putting it to make it look good. You might be able to come up with a more meaningful image in that case instead of putting up a blonde there or change the layout of the page to look good. Also lesser the images, better is the performance of your web page.

Identify your Audience

If you are into services business like we are, you surely can serve a huge huge variety of industries or verticals. It is incorrect to build the website for every one and keeping it open. Instead only pick a handful of them (less than 4) whom you can serve and build your website for them. You will only increase the number of people who gets in touch with you and the quality of those leads would be very good as well.

No One Likes Literature

Most commonly people will come to your website looking for something. It could be through google organic search or your ad words or any other means. When they land on your home page, you have got only 3 seconds to engage the user. On the 4th second, the user is going to click the back button of the browser to sniff through his search results. So no literature writeup is going to be read. You want an heading that will give the user and understanding of what you do. On our website, we say it out bold “We are web developers specializing in Ruby on Rails”. Prefer bullet points instead of long text paragraphs. Keep the language super simple. Make it entertaining for the user instead of being stone faced. Make it human.

Be AUTHENTIC & Be YOURSELF

Do not boast on things that are not true. Do not say you are the best when you are not. Instead try to use “not being best in the industry” as a positive pitch to attract clients who do not want to work with the best. When you think creatively, you will be able to find reasons on why do you not want to work with the best in the industry.

Feel free to contact us if you want to talk about this topic and you are trying to do your website content. We wont charge for it as we do not specialize in it and that is not our business either. But it might be an opportunity to get to know each other and make friends.

Why should you NOT work with the “BEST” in the industry?

Every one wants to say “We are the Best at what we do” in the industry and “We are the thought leaders” of the industry. Superlative words like “BEST” is overused. Psychologically it has no impact on the reader. In fact if it has any, it is negative. It makes the reader suspicious.

If you are evaluating working with some one or some company that claims to be the BEST, you could safely turn them down. 9 out of 10 times it will be a good decision. When some one claims to be the BEST, there are only two possibilities in that can happen. Either they are lying or they are actually “The Best” in the industry. Of course you do not want to work with liars. Do you? So turning them down does not require any justification.

But what if they are not lying and they are actually Best at what they do, you still do not want to work with them and below are few reasons:

Best is Expensive

I recently connected with one of the best UX company & the best content strategy company for two different projects substantially large. I had a budget of 50K USD in mind, but their minimum starts with 250K and 100K respectively. For small companies, these amounts do not even form their annual revenue in sales.

You will ALWAYS be Their Small Account

Even if you manage to meet their minimum requirements, You are always treated as a small account and they will not be as flexible as you would want a vendor to be when you are paying them so highly. You wont get the attention you deserve.

They are NOT Dying to Earn Your Testimonial

Imagine the work you would deliver to a client whose testimonial is worth on your website. You would surely run a few extra miles to impress him. However, in you choose to work with the BEST, your testimonial might not even get on their website as it would look awkward to see yours listed with their Fortune 500 ones.

You will have to Listen ALL THE TIME, They WON’T

Since they are the best, you will not be able to raise a voice to be creative and do things differently. Infact they will tell you what should you be doing all the time. If you are lucky you are allowed to “whisper” a few times in the conversation.

You will Never Work with Their BEST

Its obvious they will have their best talent reserved for bigger clients than yourself. Hence they will only engage mid level or junior talent for your project. Guess what? Now you are no longer working with the “BEST in the industry”. Oh but look, your billing rate does not reflect that change.

They just want to Quickly get Done with You

If you are really very unlucky, they will have bagged a big fortune 500 account just after they started working with you. Now, they want to focus every one on that account, and your small project is becoming a hurdle and they sure know that you are soon not going to be able to afford them.

Remote Possibility for a Strategic Partnership – Its a One-Time Deal

They are not going to be your friends. They wont refer you to any one or get you connected with anyone as you are not yet the right fit in their network. It is important that a vendor relationship works out beyond wrapping up a deal for identifying new clients and mere networking.

So What Should You Do?

Birds of a feather MUST flock together. If you pick a company or person at the same level or one level below you, then

  1. now suddenly you are one of their big clients and they will put in their best to keep you with them.
  2. your testimonial matters and they are going to run a few extra miles to make you happy.
  3. they will try to be as creative, different and good as they can to build their portfolio.
  4. you will be working with their best talent. They want you to stay.
  5. you can bargain and work with a reasonable price.
  6. chances of strategic partnerships are much higher.

This blog is my personal experience having worked with some of the real thought leaders in the industry and also hiring the best talent in my past life.

I must talk about one exception here though that I had experienced. I would say that Bentley Motors deserves to refer themselves superlatively. When I went to visit their Chicago Downtown showroom, I told them upfront that I was not even thinking of buying anything, just looking at their beauties. The sales person welcomed me saying, come on in and dream it so that you will want one in the future and we will be able to serve you. Now these are 1 of those 10 exceptional vendors that you would want to work with as they truly care about what people say about their company.

Let me know if there are more reasons that I could add to the blog. I will update the blog and give you a back link from the blog itself to help your SEO efforts.

Start-ups: Focus on Core Activities Part (3/3)

In this final part of our series we will look at the outsourcing patterns of start-ups in the U.S. and how this has become embedded as part of their business model to boost productivity and cut costs.

Start-ups: Focus on Core Activities

There is a general tendency to think of outsourcing in terms of large companies with a sprawling network of operations. But start-ups also take recourse to aggressively outsourcing activities which are not core to their operations..

“Many of the outsourcing opportunities today are offered by inter-based start-ups..,” says Dr Bensimon of Logtel..

“In a cozy economy these (start-ups) wouldn’t have had the same chance to survive – since the necessity to save on costs wouldn’t be so essential,” he adds.

Outsourcing is no longer seen as a negative term,” says Nati Katz. “It is the mainstream business trend that allows them to operate efficiently under constrained budgets.”

Start-ups look to outsource any core-supporting activity on a variety of areas such as website design, IT, printing, writing, communication services – even having virtual assistants.

“What is left with the start-up is the core business value or skill that is unique to the business and cannot be done through an outsourced service,” Katz added.

Outsource and Survive

Outsourcing is chiefly seen as a way to farm out non-core operations leaving the founders of the company free to pursue their creative ideas and focus on their core competence of creating products and services for their target customer.

SmallBiz Outsource offers outsourcing services for accounting tasks and book-keeping. “The very need of a service like ours stems from the fact that the economy is currently very low,’ its chief Evan Scharf says.

During a downturn the accounting department is one of the first to get downsized – but start-ups usually find it problematic to maintain their books in order. “That’s why with outsourced accounting services they make sure all the books are accurately maintained and managed,” Scharf says.

“The costs are marginal to having a full-time or even part-time staffer and they pay according to the scope of the work needed,” he explained. “I tell my prospective clients – don’t let day-to-day tasks stand in the way of your core business.”

Both start-ups as well as established companies alike need to keep their value-added portion to themselves. “All the rest can be outsourced as long as the service provider is reliable, professional and can process the work to the closest degree of a full-time employee,” says Polnauer of Leibish & Co.

Cost Benefits

The cost trade-off is the foremost driver to outsourcing – the direct costs involved in doing a job from within as opposed to externally. “Outsourcing offers the benefit of savings in employee-related extra costs, insurance and benefits, better time management, which results in a more efficient bottom-line and savings in inventory or machinery,” said Katz.

Bensimon has an interesting angle on this. “With an employee I am most likely to include a variety of daily goals which include the specific task at hand whereas with outsourcing, there is the one specific task that I am expecting to be delivered in X time with Y costs. Very transparent, very clear and very simple.”

Scharf feels that outsourcing produces better results in terms of timely delivery and costs savings while the same job, done in-house, would be slower and delivery may not always be to the satisfaction of the employer.

“As an outsourcing company, I show direct cost savings, much more accurate and timely work delivery, accessibility and a straightforward attitude,” he says.

Leibish’s Polnauer sounds a note of caution to the entire outsourcing debate: “Sometime you save costs in the short run, but end up paying a lot for mistakes, inaccuracies or severe damage made by a negligent external worker – who dealt with your task while dealing with a dozen other customer tasks.”

This makes it important to choose the right partner for outsourcing.

The Low-Cost Debate

Most start-ups would feel comfortable outsourcing some of their functions to companies which have geographical proximity and on which they can keep an eye on.

“I doubt you would outsource your very core business – overseas,” says Nati Katz. “There is still some value to being geographically accessible when it comes to certain tasks.”

Where to outsource would, of necessity, be decided on a case-to-case basis.

Apart from costs, competition is another reason why companies outsource. “Competition does not boil down just to cost. There is a variety of factors and considerations,” Polnauer pointed out.

“Whatever a business does, the last thing it wants to do is compete merely on the price. There should be factors such as time of delivery, quality of work, customer satisfaction, repeat business, and a lot more than goes beyond price,” he added.

Outsources – which are themselves start-ups – show a lot of flexibility when it comes to pricing their services.

“They understand the constraints and so speak the `same language’ as their customer start-up companies,” said Katz.

Flexibility includes post-dated payments, post-work payment agreements, extended and added services for the same price. The work comes down to an agreed amount per hour or universal amount per task successfully completed.

They may not enter into long-term contracts because then it would alter the paradigms of the relationship. As Katz says, “All sides would get too cozy and comfortable – and before you now it the results would be too mediocre to justify ongoing relationships.”

A similar view is echoed by Logtel’s Bensimon who finds that it is counter-productive to get into long-terms outsourcing agreements. Short-term tasks give the best results and the best price.

Some services such as accounting, phone services and office-related tasks have to be long term. “There is a mutual value in processing short-term work,” says Scharf, who says he is able to assess and reassess the value of the customer and the business figures per hour spent working on the tasks. “In a long term relationship, I cannot renegotiate terms and work load may diminish the value.”

In the final analysis the downturn is now a fact on the ground and companies have to learn to live with it. Start-ups, which are launching now or in the recent past, have learnt to model their structure in sync with the current trends.

For those who rely on the internet, while there is a lot of space to explore in terms of how business is done, many operations methods may well not return to the traditional platforms but rather grow in new directions such as internet-based services, cloud platforms and outsourced services.

Start-ups: Brave New Ideas in a Changing World (2/3)

In our previous story we saw how the current climate of economic uncertainty is crimping entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. in terms of availability of funding – but people are still innovating and coming up with fresh, new ideas to keep the engine of economy churning.

Last month, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart lamented, in a speech, that job creation in the U.S. was suffering, partly due to the decline in new business formation.

“The start-up sector is important, and it is spluttering,” he said. “We need more activity in this area of the economy.”

There may be fewer start-ups coming up than previously but the ones who are getting off the ground are those with courage and the thinking necessary to survive in the temperamental world that we now inhabit.

“From my point of view, working with start-ups, I find them much more open to new ideas and methods of business development that does not require the resources that we’ve known a decade ago, says Nati Katz of NK Worldwide.

There are more start-ups with five individuals working from a garage or even a cafe with their laptops, says Logtel’s Bensimon. There is a pervading spirit of `trying ‘out’ new areas by those who have lost jobs due to downsizing or bankruptcy filings.

“NOTHING TO LOSE AND EVERYTHING TO GAIN”

The spreading gloom notwithstanding, across the globe, the risk appetite for launching new ventures is still great.

“There is a sense of `nothing to lose and everything to gain,” says Nati Katz. “It’s not just a cynical saying that stems from being unemployed or underemployed – but a practical opportunity.”

Having lived with the downturn since 2008, people have got used to the idea that there will not be an immediate change in the job markets. So there is a hungry quest for new opportunities to make money and explore new markets.

“New business areas now include mobile technology, social networking, new marketing and advertising platforms..”, says Katz.

Using the internet as a platform for delivery of services and products has made doing business easier and not as challenging as before.

Yossi Polnauer, the chief of Leibish & Co – which holds the largest online inventory of fancy, coloured diamonds – says, “In the past few years we have shifted the weight of our activity towards the online arena. From our point of view, start-ups rely greatly on internet-based services and platforms to run the day-to-day business tasks.”

Start-ups: In the Grip of a Slowdown (1/3)

The pace of entrepreneurial activity is a key indicator of business optimism in a country and nowhere more so than in the U.S., which prides itself as a country where anyone can turn an idea into a money-making venture. The current economic slowdown which has gripped the nation, starting with the mortgage crisis back in 2008 has had its inevitable impact on entrepreneurs and the number of individual businesses which are being launched.

Here in a 3-part series, we look at what the uncertain economic environment is doing to the world of start-ups (especially those offering their services over the internet) and how they have incorporated outsourcing into their business model.

Start-ups: In the Grip of a Slowdown

The U.S. economy grew at 2% in the third quarter of 2011, better than the 1.3% growth seen in the second quarter but still below investor expectations. The downturn into which the world’s largest economy has been in, is expected to continue for some more time and the heat of this slow-down is being felt by start-ups – a barometer of entrepreneurial activity in the U.S.

Last month, Federal Reserve Bank of America’s President Dennis Lockhart, in a speech, asserted that the number of start-ups being incubated were lower than in previous years. With bank funding drying up as a consequence of the difficult credit climate, start-ups, which were important generators of jobs for the U.S. Economy, would have to look at alternate sources of finance for their ventures such as personal savings and private equity among others.

Citing data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, Lockhart said that the number of new establishments decreased from a peak of about 870,000 a year in 2006 to 700,000 in 2009 and was 720,000 in 2010.

“Today we believe there are actually less start-ups than the potential – all because of the down economy,” says Dr. Jacques Bensimon, Chief Executive and Founder of Logtel, a company based in Israel offering training services for the telecoms market.

“Entrepreneurs are hesitant to start new companies and existing start-ups are hesitant to hire,” he says. Due to the depressed economic climate companies are hesitant to move rapidly, he added.

However, the flip-side of the slowdown is that entrepreneurs with innovative ideas are willing to take more risks and the harsh economic climate is leading to an explosive opportunity for niche markets, services and products.

Analysts say that in a downturn entrepreneurs, who want to launch their own start-ups especially in the technology space, would have to be canny and provide services and products which are not only recession-proof but offer quantifiable benefits to customers in terms of boosting productivity, reducing costs and adding value.

Chief Executive of Infosys – India’s No.2 outsourcer – S.D. Shibulal said recently at a conference, “Technology and business trends are changing at a breathtaking pace. The only way for enterprises to stay relevant in this environment of great uncertainty and great change is to focus on the customer and accelerate growth.”

This is especially true for start-ups who are attempting to sniff out opportunities in the current crisis and plug the gaps in the system.

Reaching Out for Credit

Since the genesis of the current economic crisis gripping the world lies in the financial and banking system , accessing funds is the number one priority and concern for start-ups, which are struggling to raise funds. Banks have become wary of lending to fledgling companies while investors in the form of venture capitalists and angel investors are exercising caution before committing funds to any enterprise. Remember, that the capital markets have yet to recover from the banking crisis of 2008.

Nati Katz, CEO and founder of NK Worldwide concurs. “The slowdown in the world affects start-up companies mainly through financials. Investors are more cautious prior to making capital commitment. In addition start-ups are also facing serious scarcity in credit offerings from banks.” NK is a U.S.-based public relations firm working with technology companies and hi-tech start-ups.

U.S.-based banks, struggling to survive after years of profligacy and mounting debts are trying to cut down on risky loans. An entrepreneur would have to have a credible and virtually fool-proof business model to induce lenders to part with money.

“Funding is almost impossible to get right now ,” says Evan Scharf, the CEO of SmallBiz Outsource, a start-up company providing outsourcing services in the U.S.

With traditional financial markets turning volatile and unattractive, investors are seeking new avenues such as private equity investments and bridge loans for start-ups but even this is difficult, he added.

“On the other hand, if you hit the jackpot idea and are surfing the right wave, you will find investors who are vying for the right opportunity to lay their gold nests,” he said.

Starting a business

1. Do a Startup for its Entertainment Value

Starting Business - Idyllic Software
Do a startup for your happiness and enjoyment and for the sheer desires of having great stories to tell your grand children. Make it fun, not serious. Enjoy it. Do not worry failure or crib on lost opportunities that would have poured in if you were not starting up.

Make sure you KNOW that there is nothing to loose. Once you know this, you are all ready to CREATE what you believe in.

2. TURNOVER, not CASH, is KING

Longer you sustain in the business, better are the chances that you will be in the business. More clients you have more are the chances of sustenance. Get clients to pay your bills with some profits & run the show.  Think profits not yet.

3. Be Lazy

Work ON your business not IN your business. Attempting to code that small project yourself and increasing your profit by 70% is a SIN. Delegate it to some one or outsource if you can, and now use the time to figure out WHAT NEXT?

4. TEAM is the only Asset you are Building

Trust them. Value them. They will work wonders you would have not even imagined. Be ethical, stick to your words and most importantly, GROW them.

5. Take Pride in your Work

It is important to be proud of your work so make sure your work is good. Be fair to your clients & keep showing off your work to your friends and family. Dont forget to ask for a testimonial just when the client is happy.

6. Celebrate EVERYTHING

Got a new client or delivered a nice project, go celebrate with your team. Take along your client too if you can.

7. FEEL PROUD – Do not Quantify Everything

It is important to feel proud about your company. Now that you have a little greens in your bank, you want you want your company to look elite, don’t you? Go brand yourself with some nice designs & logos. Spend some part of the money on that new SEO strategy company. Don’t fear making bold statements, its OK to create some turbulence.

We would be more than happy to learn from your experiences so please feel free to share your thoughts on this blog. Also if you would like to discuss starting one up, feel free to connect with us and we could get to know each other.

HAPPY BOOTSTRAPPING!!!

Choosing the right CMS

There are lots of blogs on making comparisons about the best CMS(Content Management System) those are been available in the market and they seem to miss the important reasons why someone might choose one CMS over other.This Blog does not intend on making such comparisons, but aims on providing certain reasons that would help you to choose the CMS software that best suits your need.As the options for content management systems are huge, it’s always better to narrow down search with the business requirements you have.With the choice ranging from free to open source or opting for propriety or commercial CMS the range is tremendous.
Below is the list of some CMS

WordPress

WordPress – For a small with no design or development resources and just want to distribute content wordpress seems to be a great choice.Its a great choice if you want to do a social network integration or for publishing linear content and with a newest technology integrations.With other platforms wordpress has the easy maintenance, installation and gives a simple content management and gives a far easier functionality addition.With WordPress run some of the largest blogs and maybe company would make it general use CMS.This is supported by the developer community.option to pay for support is also available.

Programming Language – PHP and Mysql.

Support for multiple language – Although WordPress displays in U.S. English by default, the software has the built-in capability to be used in any language. The WordPress community has already translated WordPress into many languages, and there are Themes, translation files, and support available in many other languages.

SEO – Especially from a marketing and business perspective, the SEO friendliness of WordPress is a big plus. Its URLs are made by the administrator/content writer.Gives a out of box capability to have an upper hand in being found in the search engines.

Pricing – Free

Extensibility – Has the widest range of plugins that extends the functionality and features that one can imagine.Extending standard functionality requires custom modules and some times difficult to add lots of dynamic content to pages.

Some WordPress plugins –

  • SEO
  • Sitemap Generator
  • Ad Networks

URL: http://wordpress.com

SUPPORT FORUM: http://en.forums.wordpress.com

Drupal

Drupal provides some sophisticated and incredible features and functionality with some good developer community.With the base offerings of limited UGC options drupal provides some great private|public memberships integration.it suffers a problem with user experience for the content manager.With a clunky and inconsistent Interfaces that continue in the development and the design portions of the process also.the modules in drupal widely use different syntaxes to implement and output a messy html which would be very hard to customize without editing the module code itself, which gives a module which cannot be easily upgraded.For achieving a great control on functionality and output, the big enterprise sites are not depending on the modules that are been produced by the community.With lots of inconsistencies and output ugliness Drupal still have one of the big developer base.To setup and run a complex site using the available themes and modules is easy but the problem arises when design and functionality have to be fine tuned.

Programming Language – PHP and Mysql.

Support for multiple language – The content can be translated to two or more languages and the visitor can be able to choose any of them.When enabled, the Locale core module allows you to present your Drupal site in a language other than the default English. You can use it to set up a multilingual web site or to replace the elements of the interface text with text which has been customized for your site.

Content Management – It allows unlimited category levels, tagging and categorization. You can also create multiple types of content, each with different features.

Advanced url control – Drupal gives you precise control over URL structure. Each item of content in Drupal (called a node) can be given a custom URL (called a URL alias).

Custom Content Types and Views — You can use the Content Construction Kit (CCK) and Views Modules to create new content types and create advanced custom views for them without writing any code.

SEO – The out-of-the-box URLs work well and can be improved with one easy addon: Pathauto. The code is generally lightweight and well-optimised.

Multisites Management – Yes, provides a multisites management out of the box.

Extensibility – Support lot of modules or plugins to alter and extend Drupal’s core capabilities and add new features or customize Drupal’s behavior and appearance.Also one install can give you multiple sites (i.e., subdomains) so there’s an impressive extensibility surrounding it.

Pricing – Free

URL: http://drupal.org

SUPPORT FORUM: http://drupal.org/forum

ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine has also come a long way.With a slightly more sophisticated system for the UGC expressionengine also gives a better Private| Public membership management.This also provides with a high support and upgradation for the Addons.How the Html is rendered is never been dictated by the addons which gives a lot more flexibility with the output because of which lot of enterprise sites use off the shelf addons for achieving the advanced functionality. This comes with a excellent content management interface which is evolving fast.Its one of the best feature is that it gives you some good sophisticated input methods for a different variety of data types and also gives you a good level of control over the input screens presentation.It doesn’t have a very good implementation of the LDAP authentication as there are some of the enterprise level features that havn’t matured compared to other CMS.There is a liking for expressionengine by designers who want line by line control and also want to be very controlling of there HTML.Thats the reason why you won’t find a lot of predesigned templates here and you have to develop your own designs for the templates.The forum support is maturing slowly in comparison to the system and its better using a third party solution for this.Support staff is really quick with the responses on your questions.

Programming Language – PHP and Mysql.

Supports multiple languages. With the following advantages

    • No PHP needed
    • No need to keep track of which segment holds the language variable
    • Elegant URL structure

Easily Extensible – With PHP knowledge you can fairly easily jump in and extend ExpressionEngine through extensions, plugins and modules. In the new version of EE all add-ons will be written using the PHP framework codeigniter.

Easy to deploy – With PHP and MySQL it easy to deploy and to test the server support we can use server wizard and install wizard to install expression engine.

Built-in Caching and Optimization – allows you to cache individual templates, queries and optimize the site down to to the EE tag level.

Pricing – The price is reasonable, although there are some hidden expenses for added features.

URL: http://expressionengine.com

SUPPORT FORUM: http://expressionengine.com/forums

Joomla

Joomla is best used by larger organizations or businesses, or by websites that are based upon a community environment. Essentially, if the website is bound to be popular and pull in some very heavy traffic, and needs room for growth, then Joomla is probably a good idea.

Programming Language – PHP, Supports Mysql.

Support for multiple language – It does not provide by default.Joomfish allows for sites in multiple languages but isn’t as powerful as the commercial Nooku.Joomla includes various language packs and translations for the user interface already. The combination of one specific language pack and the content in the same language allows you to build a website in any language you like.

Search Engine Optimization– Reasonable out of the box, but lacks the ability to really control URLs or metadata. Various SEO extensions are needed for those who really care about SEO.- the codebase layout is still steam age, on a mix of divs and tables, although luckily this does not have a severe impact on SEO.

Extensions – Joomla offers a whole range of extensions if you are looking for additional features for your website. Extensions may consist of components, modules, or plugins and consist of both free and paid options. Some common extensions include tools for building an online community, for adding a forum or chat facility, and eCommerce functions such as shopping carts and payment facilities.

High traffic, high page numbers and stability are important features that joomla manages and with load-balancing arrangements you can just keep scaling up.

Ecommerce support – Joomla’s ecommerce support is great in comparison with other cms’s because of excellent choice of ecommerce plugins including a full-on ecommerce CMS version, Virtuemart.

Templates – Templating may not seem important, until we install and maintain many different types of CMS. It becomes a major issue then. Joomla can’t be beaten as it probably has the best system in CMS, and also the most templates available – uncountable thousands of them.

Content Management – Follows only three levels of content – Section >> Category >> Content is available. That’s it. No cross-categorization and for flexibility we van use the Content Construction Kit extension.

Caching – Includes caching by default to improve site performance.

Multisites Management – its very weak with joomla. There are some multisite options but they’re either unstable or very expensive.

URL: http://www.joomla.org

SUPPORT FORUM: http://forum.joomla.org

Django

Django is beautiful and while it’s more of a framework- it has lots of CMS functionality. If you have an experienced team and you are planning on scaling the site to heavy traffic with highly unique functionality, Django can do whatever you envision. In the process it will be your teams responsibility to develop more of the functionality from scratch than the other CMS’s you list. Django has a sophisticated templating system that uses inheritance to save time in the template development process. Django, like Drupal and WordPress is free and supported by its community.

Automatic admin interfaces save the tedious work of creating interfaces for people to add and update content. Django does that automatically, and it’s production-ready.

Programming Language – Python, Supports – MySQL, PostgreSQL , Oracle Database,and Sqlite.

SEO – Django makes it easy to design human-readable, SEO-friendly URLs with maximum flexibility.

Seperates Code and design – Provides a powerful, designer-friendly template system allows us to separate design, content and Python code.

URL: https://www.django-cms.org

Alfresco

Programming Language – Java,Supports – MySQL, PostgreSQL (Community Edition), Oracle Database, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server. Doesn’t support Mysql.

Support for multiple language – Yes it supports multiple languages.

Extendability– Supports plugins to extend the functionality.

Security – Supports Pluggable authentication solution with NTLM, Ldap, Kerberos, Cas.

URL: http://www.alfresco.com

SUPPORT FORUM: https://forums.alfresco.com/en

Common for all above

Maintenance is the easiest for wordpress with its one-click updates but for others will require more than the one-click solution. Python can do some interesting auto-updating for Django, but it has tobe assessed against upon what is been needed. Installation complexity and tech maintenance depends on your total stack of the CMS core + theme(s) + plugins and their ability to fully integrate with platform features.

Search Engine Optimization is possible for all of the above but it also depends upon how your templates are coded, your content and the structure of the site as a whole.

Integrating 3rd party services – All of these can integrate with 3rd party services, without knowing specifics.

Reporting – the best solution for reporting considering all of these above cms’s would be using external analytics tools.

There are certain enterprise level CMS like Vignet or SiteCore those have a upper hand with there advanced marketing features that integrate the CRM solutions and can customize the content with respect to the sales goals and information.

Conclusion

Its important that the new system meets your current and projected needs and identifying your business goals and requirement forms the top most priority for the project to be successful.All of the above defined CMS are good with there strengths and weaknesses and there are lot more CMS available to us with different features and ideas in the market and it wont be right on our part to restrict ourselves to any one.

Finicky about outsourcing development?

The thought of outsourcing work often brings along a feeling of numbness. The reason for this is that the adaptive unconscious mind, capable of analyzing data very speedily and without the conscious mind knowing about it, comes in action and quickly runs through a series of questions like below:

  • Would the quality of service be as good as promised during the sales and marketing cycle?
  • Would the remote team work as passionately as we do onsite with out team?
  • Would the engagement sustain long enough or would we be dumped in face of another better opportunity for the remote team?
  • Would our IP and data be protected and guarded with life as we do it here?
  • Would there be enough transparency?
  • Would the cultures match?
  • and many more…

All of these questions are valid and the answer to it is completely dependent on the remote team you choose for your work. You cannot risk the decision based on your conversations with the sales representative. Once engaged, you will be working with a completely different set of people and the sales representative or the account manager, as they like to be called, are only going to drop you a few emails and phone calls, checking to ensure things are going on well. If you analyze those calls well, the call is made to find out if there is more business opportunity that they can talk about with you.

However the benefits of outsourcing cannot not be ignored either to stay competitive. Though cost effectiveness is one of the big benefits, it should not be the sole driving factor for your off shoring initiatives. Ideally you should be interested in doubling your work day productivity which will help you achieve your milestones faster.

So how do you go about identifying the right remote team? There are no definite steps to it that I know of. However the way we did this earlier was to outsource something non-essential or something that is in your “Someday” list as rightly put up by David Allen in his book “Getting things done“. If you do not have anything in your Someday list, think harder and you will be able to identify a few things. For example, adding a blogging capability to your site would not hurt much while would also add a small value.

Start with sending out small work to a couple of teams you enjoyed speaking with and whom you have a good hunch for. Engage on a flat monthly fee as compared to pay by the hour. It works better as it eliminates the time-sheet micro management which is a questioning activity all together and is unhealthy to build a trust based relationship. Also it allows the remote team to put in more hours when required without having get onto a call with you for discussing the extra hours. This kind of engagement also helps in the time line estimations as the team then can use smaller buffers as there is no monetary risks or incentives associated with it.

Once you start working with them, rate the team on below

  • Communication – How good are they in understanding the problem statement and the goal of the deliverable.
  • Dedicated team – Are you working with the same team members always or does it change too often.
  • Quality of questions – Are they asking smart questions? Are they asking the right questions?
  • Candid “I do not know” – Are they honest in accepting things they do not know or have not done earlier? Or are they eager to get the new project you are talking about which is different from what they are currently working on.
  • Ethical Litmus test – Put them E-Litmus test when you can to find out the reaction. No reaction is bad, but you want to simply know your team better.
  • Product mentality– It is important that the team members have a product mentality and not service mind set. Are they making suggestions on new features that could be added? Are they validating the features you are asking them to build?
  • Productivity auto pilot – Is the team productive while you are not able to work with them for a period of time or are distracted by something else more important or do you have to be on top of them to ensure productivity. Of course the former is what you are looking for.
  • Speed – Are they able to increase your work day productivity by at least 1.5 times.

Doing this exercise will give you a fair idea of the team and also make you more comfortable sending some work outside of your office premises. Hope this article helps and would love to hear your feedback on anything I missed.

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