MS Surface RT – A Project Manager’s Test

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Project Management with RT

As a project manager whose customers rely on MS Office, I am a heavy user of those programs. I lug my Windows 7 laptop between work and home quite often, and I am not a fan of dealing with that when I’m buying my morning coffee or anything that requires two hands. When I learned that I can have a lightweight Windows 8 device I was very receptive to trying it out. Unfortunately, it would be Surface RT and not Surface Pro.

The Surface Pro is $799 and allows you to install programs that run on Windows 8. The Surface RT goes for $349 and runs MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Even without running other programs, I thought the Surface RT might be enough for a test drive to check what it can deliver compared with a clunky  laptop or a simple iPad.

The first impression, of course, is what is on the outside. The device is a meticulous piece of hardware, with the exception of hard edges, which make the surface somewhat hard to hold. The iPad looks more modern, but on the Surface screen my fingerprints seem less visible. The power cord looks strange at first, but very soon it is not noticeable.

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Our Review of the MS Surface RT – A Good Value Tablet?

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I just got my hands on the Microsoft Surface RT. This device has been on the market for approximately ten months. Let’s find out if it’s is still worth buying.

The Hardware

First thing I notice when is that the device feels solid because of its magnesium chassis. However, because of its size and material, it weighs 680g, which is on the heavy side for modern tablets.

The screen is a 10.6-inch 1366×768 ClearType HD Display which translates into 155dpi. Even though Microsoft points out that their ClearType technology improves the visual sharpness of text, this is only true if you are comparing it to a display with similar resolution. If you are comparing to competitive displays with double or even triple the pixel density, it really falls short.

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Who Invited IT? Why Sales Automation Shouldn’t Be a Technology Decision.

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For decades, projects that involve some kind of computer technology and information systems of any nature have inexorably fallen into the realm of the information technology department in order to be analyzed and approved or rejected.

When business areas begin to evaluate a new application for use, the first question asked — is IT involved? Perhaps the better question would be, does IT need to be involved? Today, an accurate answer should often be no. It is time to renegotiate the relationship between business areas and IT departments whose protocols still seem to be stuck in the last millennium when the ubiquitous internet, the Cloud, and mobile devices and apps were all still the future.

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Sales Tech Talk: MS Surface Gets the Treatment

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As you may know, here at SalesWays, we’re putting the focus on salespeople when it comes to looking at tech tools, and after our last Sales Tech Talk review on the Samsung Note 8.0 we’re excited to get our hands on the next tech gadget.

Next up for review is the Microsoft Surface RT. Though it’s not the first time we’ve written about this tablet, (our tech-aholic Keith Thompson reviewed it earlier this year), our team will take turns reviewing this mobile device and will report back to you on its effectiveness for sales professional, along with our overall impressions of the device.

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Why Would You Let CRM Adoption Be Optional?

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The initial idea for this post was to try to explain the “great divide”—the perceived barrier that exists between salespeople and sales management concerning the value of CRM. Analysts say that the historical morphing of contact management into CRM was driven by salespeople. I think that’s true—salespeople crave information on their customers, especially if the information is current and correct. Now things are different—sales departments are getting a reputation for being the major antagonists against CRM.

One word quickly rose to the surface of the pile when I researched the “great divide”—that word is adoption. The term adoption is used to describe the success or failure of a CRM initiative. CRM is getting a bad rap for low adoption—the system is put in place, and people don’t use it. A quick Google search on “CRM adoption” will show you just how prevalent this problem is.

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When Is a Phone Not a Phone?

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Galaxy NX

When it’s a camera? When it’s a computer?

Samsung, the Korean electronics giant, seems to be going through an identity crisis in search for the answer to this question. Recently they released two new products that are causing people to reflect on the question, “who did they have in mind when they designed this?”

The first product is a decent looking camera that from the front shows its family heritage, the NX system that competes in the mirrorless, interchangeable lens, camera market along side the likes of Panasonic, Olympus, and now Canon and Nikon. The other new product is an updated version of the Galaxy camera that I first wrote about here. So what’s going on?

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First Impressions of Samsung Galaxy S4 – The Home Screen & Keyboard

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Samsung S4 - First Impression

I spent the weekend toying with my new Samsung Galaxy S4, and I have it fairly configured and ready to go. My initial experiences match almost exactly what I expected – more powerful, much more configurable, but with a few core usability issues. It can be quite disruptive to have a phone that you have to learn all over again, especially when habits have formed. For power business users, it starts with configuring the device and adapting to the new keyboard.

Before I get into details, it’s important for non-Android users to know that each Android Device Manufacturer has their own custom user interface, or ‘skin’. For example, Samsung has TouchWiz, while HTC has Sense UI. Further, each device has its own apps for calendaring, photo editing, voice control, on-screen keyboard, etc. So my thoughts on some of the interface elements of the Samsung Galaxy S4 may not apply to other Android devices. Further, Google recently announced they are shipping the S4 and HTC phones with the original Android software (no custom interface elements). I know – it’s confusing.

Common to (almost?) all new Android devices, there are “home screens” – a configurable set of screens for apps and widgets. These home screens are a significant upgrade over the iPhone because of those widgets.

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A Sustained Growth Model Through Re-defining CRM

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Re-Defining CRM

About twenty years ago, in a movement that arose from pressure by technology companies pressure, the CRM acronym – Customer Relationship Management – began to appear as a management strategy. This strategy became associated with a consolidation of applications whose concepts had already existed for some time: marketing automation, sales automation and service automation.

In most organizations, marketing, sales, and service areas are still specialty compartments, the applications, although integrated, are still seen as separate pieces of the same puzzle. It is possible that, for this reason, CRM has still not yet taken its place as a management strategy and growth model and continues to be operated in specialty areas such as specific departments or directories, instead of permeating the entire company’s value chain, from engagement to customers’ portfolio profitability.

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I Admit I Was an Apple Fanboy, but it’s time to go on an Android Adventure

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Apple vs Samsung

Let’s Compare Android to Apple for Business & Sales People

I’ve been sitting in the batter’s box for a couple of weeks while my colleague played with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.   Now I’m at the plate, ready to review the Galaxy Note, along with turning off the iPad.  However, I’m not going to stop there – I’m also switching from the iPhone 5 to the Samsung S4.

This is a big change.  Well, I think it is.  You see, the iPhone and iPad are not the only Apple products in my life – I’m on the complete Apple stack.  There is my Macbook Pro.  iCloud.  Apple TV.  Airport Extreme.  I am (was?) an Apple Zealot, a card carrying Apple fanboy.

Innovation at Apple – Where is It?

For nearly four years, living totally on the Apple stack was great.  It was integrated.  But now I’m having some doubts.  The last major innovation from Apple was in 2010, with the iPhone 4.  The iPhone 4s was a faster version, and the iPhone 5 was a faster, bigger version.   So neither really count as innovation.  There have been incremental improvements elsewhere – the new Macbook Air for example.  But nothing truly groundbreaking – no iTV or iWatch.  Some may suggest Siri, but it was an acquisition and isn’t quite ready for primetime yet.

Android – “My Opinion has Changed”™

Personally I haven’t been a big fan of Android until recently.  I found the user interface clunky, and didn’t have that luxury feeling that iOS had.  This all changed with the latest devices over the past year.  In particular, I finally had a chance to pick up and play with the Samsung S4.  When I put it down and picked back up the iPhone 5, the iPhone suddenly felt small and old.   The Samsung was light.  The screen was beautiful.  And it was fast.

The Tipping Point for Change

So why now?  Well, as I mentioned, I have my responsibilities for Sales Tech Talk, and that is to review the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.  And then I dropped my iPhone – and shattered the screen.  So here I am, completely unprepared to switch.  But it’s like a bandaid right?

Sales Tech Talk – Samsung Galaxy Note 8 First Review

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ASPEC on Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Finally, the day has come — our first review of Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. After two weeks of using the Samsung’s newest tablet, I’ll be the first to give my impression of this device. Others will follow as we examine it as a tool for the professional sales person.

Let me start with the hardware:

  • It comes with an 8 inch TFT screen with 1280 x 800 resolution. The screen is bright and nice, but nothing extraordinary.
  • The body is made with plastic which feels a little low rent for its price. And I wish it has a soft rubber feel at the back like the Nexus 7 instead of a slippery plastic.
  • At 8mm thick and 210.8mm x 135.9mm in size, and 340g, you could hold it with one hand easily.
  • A 5MP rear camera and a 1.3 MP front-facing camera are somewhat standard for a tablet.
  • It’s powered by Exynos quad-core running at 1.6GHz with 2GB of RAM, giving a pretty smooth experience even you are running multiple apps.
  • And it comes with a micro SD card slot where you can put in up to 64GB of additional memory. If you are a big fan of videos and music, it is definitely a plus.

However, the most distinctive difference from other tablets is the S-Pen stylus. It is unlike any other stylus and offers an incredible 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. If you are an artist or like to draw, you can really do some amazing stuff with it.

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