Monday, December 12, 2011

Google Docs for your iPad vs iCloud

I've led a few iPad training classes for the Toronto/Mississauga branch of a company with 75,000 users on Google Apps.  They've been lots of fun because gadget guys like me that love to figure out cool ways to get things done get paid to show our tricks.

A common question is how do I easily sync presentations, pictures, pdf's, and documents from my desktop to my iPad and back again with iTunes or iCloud?  Well, don't...  It's easier to use Google Docs to store all your files in the cloud so you don't have to remember to sync and fiddle with iTunes

When you open for example a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet on the iPad from your Google Docs the Google servers automatically image it and display it.  At the bottom you can tap on Download to open the file in your iPad's viewer instead.

Not sure how to access your Google Docs from your iPad?  Install the Google Search App and it provides you with convenient icons to access your Docs, Photos, etc.

With more downloads than Angry Birds, Keynote for the iPad is an extremely popular application.  If you need to import Powerpoint presentations into Keynote for offline presenting first upload them to Google Docs from your desktop and make sure you don't convert it to the Google Presentations format.  On your iPad from Safari (not from the Google Search Apps embedded browser) visit  Open the Powerpoint presentation from your Google Docs, scroll to the bottom and tap the Download link.  Now watch the top right for a black bar to appear with a button to open in Keynote.  If you miss it tap just below the standard Safari grey bar.  Click open in Keynote.  Viola, your presentation is now imported into Keynote and ready to go; no need to sync with iTunes or be anywhere near a computer.
Stating the obvious for regular Google Docs users now... but it's even better when you do everything in Google Documents, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Presentations format because team members can all collaborate on the document at the exact same time.  iPads can even edit Google Documents and Google Spreadsheets in real time.

If your team member made last minute revisions to the Google Presentation you don't need to even ask if you have the latest version.  Just open it from Google Docs on your iPad and start your presentation.

Certainly contact us at if your team could benefit from our iPad training.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We're blushing... Prescient Power shows off a Solve360 report we built in the forums

We've been building custom reports like this with Google Apps Script in Google Spreadsheets for customers since 2010.  This is the first time our work has shown up in the forums.  Thank you Carl for sharing this!

You can view the forum thread at  Scroll down to Nov. 20th, 2011

"wow - I guess Interlockit have some wizardry in their team!  Nice report - this is exactly what I need."

"These custom reports are a really nice touch. Well done to interlockit for demonstrating this capability."

"Just superb for management reporting and KPI tracking - forcing the “so what?“ question much more than you might expect."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lifehacker says "Gmail is the best email client around"

Lifehacker says "Gmail is the best email client around..." and provides some advanced tips in today's posting. Note Google Apps users should install "Google Apps desktop features" from Advanced Tools in your Google Apps Administrator Control Panel instead of the other notifier utilities mentioned for changing your default email client on Windows. Also SmartLabels we think overcomplicates things so not recommended. Otherwise lots of advanced tips to help make you a Gmail Ninja.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gmail app for iOS available in the App Store

We've been using this since it was originally released on Nov. 2nd. Definitely recommended for Google Apps users on iPhone or iPad. You get the familiar Gmail user interface both on-line and offline... and this was developed nearby by Canadian Google Engineers.

P.S. You can also see this post on Google+ 

Monday, November 14, 2011

More flexible mobile device management with Google Apps

Security and management of mobile devices has been holding back many corporate enterprises from embracing iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

Google just enhanced the ability to manage iOS and Android devices from Google Apps:

No servers required; just turn it on.

You can still use Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) for managing your Blackberry devices with Google Apps.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oracle acquires RightNow CRM: Cloud Platform or Cloudwashing?

This morning Oracle announced a deal to purchase RightNow for $1.5 billion.  Oracle's headline reads "Adds Leading Customer Service Cloud Offering to Oracle's Public Cloud."

In 2007 I had written RightNow CRM off as a non-cloud product while competing against them as a Sales Manager at NetSuite.

Unless a product is 100% web based like Google Apps or Norada Solve360 you still have all the costs and complexity of installing, upgrading, supporting, and fixing workstation based software.  Check out the RightNow CX "staff member" system requirements and recommendations to use complex technology like Citrix.  It has a Smart Client that needs 850 Mb of free hard disk space and only runs on the Windows 7 platform.  This means only 39% of the world's computers can fully use RightNow CRM.  True cloud products like Google Apps and Norada Solve360 CRM can be used by 99% of the world's computers.

What's strange is that Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle was an early investor in and is a majority shareholder in NetSuite.  Larry definitely knows what a 100% web based cloud solution looks like.

Enlighten me with comments please because I'm skeptical how this acquisition will help long term against true cloud computing CRM solutions like and Norada Solve360 that require nothing more than a web browser on 99% of the world's computers.

Certainly RightNow is more "Cloud" than the rest of Oracle's portfolio.  It is still a big step behind 100% web solutions that allow devices like notebooks, tablets, and smartphones to be portals to the data, which helps people be productive from anywhere, at any time.

True Cloud products allow businesses to spend more time with customers and less time on managing technology.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Customer Case Study: Google Apps integrated with Solve360 CRM moves people, literally

Here’s a story most business folks can relate to — established in 1959, Taylor Moving starts with 1 truck and a handful of employees.  Dad grows the business.  Sons take over, expanding to 100 staff and operate a network handling international employee moves.

Fast forward to the present and those sons find themselves asking “How can we stay competitive and keep growing the business?” Son Rick Taylor knew more of the same wasn’t going to cut it.  “Our coordinators, our sales team, they were spending far too much time doing internal stuff and not talking to clients.”

The solution started when they looked at their email which, despite being mission critical for dealing with overseas moves, was unreliable.  A friend introduced Taylor to Blair Collins, founder of, who was asked to help. “They were paying $1000 per month for IT support yet none of their email history was backed up because it was scattered across the hard drives of everyone's computers.”, noted Collins.  InterlockIT introduced Taylor to Google Apps and helped with the implementation.  With email issues now out of the way they now had the resources to look at how they organized their moves.

For years, Taylor Moving managed moves through a paper-based filing system and initially a document management system seemed like the answer.  The narrow access point of paper files was causing chaos and a lot of wasted time. “In the past, there would be a sales person at a coordinator’s desk eight times a day… they were always looking for information.”

But after a review, InterlockIT introduced Taylor to Solve360, which is a client management solution available in the Google Apps Marketplace. Solve360 focuses on helping businesses like Taylor manage their customers and their projects.  “We quickly realized that a fully integrated CRM solution like Solve360 with its included project management could do far more for their business“, said Collins.

Taylor was quickly impressed by Solve360’s flexibility.  Now any adjustments made to the move are now seen in real time, company-wide. Now everything is in one place, and easily accessed. “This is a big step up.”

Taylor and his team experience seamless integration between Solve360 and Google Apps.  In fact, Taylor himself barely acknowledges a separation between the two, viewing them as a single system. The Gmail contextual gadget for quick access to contacts/projects, the ability to easily capture emails, the simple linking to Google Docs, and the Google calendar integration are key features for them.  “Once you’ve got [Gmail], which I find to be a very user-friendly system, the changeover to Solve360 was far easier than I had expected. I expected a much harder learning curve.”

Streamlining the internal systems allowed Taylor and his team to turn outward and address what matters most to their business — the customer.  “In a service industry, you’re only productive if you’re talking with a client… if you’re doing background stuff, that’s offering no value back to your service.  So, what are the things you can do behind the scenes so that you’re spending the majority of time with your clients?... That’s why we brought the system on.” Solve360 allowed his team to focus on what would really drive business forward.

Growing his business with Google Apps and Solve360 “is something he’s looking forward to”, says Taylor.  “With software and servers you need to manage all the changes yourself to keep up.  Now [with Google Apps and Solve360] that’s done for us automatically so we can focus on serving our clients.”

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gartner Says Google Gmail has close to 50% of the market for enterprise cloud email.

Gartner Says Google Gmail has close to half of the market for enterprise cloud email.  The enterprise cloud email market is still in its infancy at 3 to 4 percent of the overall enterprise email market.

This estimate is extremely close to an independent estimate we had a peak at recently.  It confirms what we already know that Google Apps is the email platform of the future.  I agree that if you're a big bank like CIBC Gmail might not be ready for you yet but we know that all the major Canadian banks are watching it closely.

We focus on Small and Medium Businesses with the occasional Enterprise Google Apps implementation thrown into the mix.  It's so awesome to every day implement for our customers the email, calendaring, and document collaboration tools the big enterprises are wishing they had today.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Solve360 CRM and Google Apps for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

On August 25th and September 15th we hosted a webinar demonstrating how Solve360 CRM and Google Apps are ideally suited to and easily customized for Commercial Real Estate Brokers.  Our thanks to Sid Bhatt, a Solve360 and Google Apps user, plus President of Global Commercial Sales for making 9,000 CCIM members aware of the webinars.

The online registration form for the webinar is a great example of how easy it is to integrate a Google Apps Form into Solve360.  Can your current CRM system accept data from an online web form in real time and automatically assign a task for your staff to followup?

We had a large number of registrations for the webinars and it was a breeze to send personalized emails and reminders to the registrants using Solve360's built in email merge functions.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Office 365 vs Google Apps

We're implementing both Office 365 and Google Apps for customers and are often asked how do they compare?

A lot depends ultimately on your comfort level with change. Microsoft Office 365 has little impact on your current processes and usage of Outlook and nicely takes away the hassles of managing your own servers. However, if you're working on multiple platforms such as Linux and Mac then those users will have to live without features available only to the Windows based users.

Set aside trying to compare Microsoft Office Word, Excel versus Google Docs, Spreadsheets as they coexist very happily. Your power users will still want the advanced features of Excel and Word but users may find everything they need in Google Docs and organically adapt to its simplicity and collaboration tools that avoid the version nightmare often created by file attachments.
  • From a long term cost, simplicity, and reliability standpoint Google Apps wins.
  • From the minimizing the costs of change standpoint Microsoft Office 365 wins.
  • For Mobile devices Office 365 handles email, calendar, and contacts well across most platforms but Google Apps takes it a step further and provides simple document sharing and even document editing on iPads and Android devices.
  • From a rapid innovation, no upgrades/patches to manage, and easy to use collaboration standpoint Google Apps wins.
The Microsoft Cloud Office 365 solution depends heavily on client installed software such as Outlook and Lync for the full experience. Lync for example is ~65 Mb in size and provides the instant messaging, video, audio, and phone calls but doesn't work on the Mac or Linux platform. Google Apps provides a web browser based solution for this that works on most platforms and even mobile devices.

Office 365 is still an excellent step forward and ideal for eliminating some of the costs of managing servers.

As a solution provider focused exclusively on Cloud products we can discuss the pros and cons of each platform relative to your specific needs. We can provide a lengthy detailed document on the differences that can only come from the experience we have implementing both products, but what's most important is which product best aligns to your current needs and long term business goals.

Contact us at and we'll help you succeed with business technology in the Cloud.

Data Roaming Plans

Since we're constantly configuring our customer's mobile devices to work with Google Apps and Office 365 we're frequently asked for advice on what to do when travelling to the U.S. with your phone.

In February of last year I provided details on how to save money on roaming by swapping your Rogers SIM card for an AT&T SIM card.

MobileSyrup today published the latest data roaming rates from Rogers and it's still extremely expensive; making the hassles of unlocking your phone and swapping your SIM card still worthwhile.

I made 2 recent trips into the U.S. and spent $25 USD for a 500 Mb prepaid data plan on AT&T which would have cost $200 CAD from Rogers. Plus I paid $15 and switched on the $2 per day plan for unlimited voice and text compared to $40 for 40 minutes through Rogers. AT&T only charges you the $2 if you use the phone on that day and you can choose to pay $0.10 per minute instead.

I'm a pretty heavy user of data plans since I make my Android phone a portable Wi-Fi hotspot for my tablet and notebook so 100 Mb doesn't last long on the road.

Contact us at with any questions about your mobile device so we can keep you highly productive on the go.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blair Collins from will be presenting at the Entrepreneurial Masters Program

Blair Collins from will be presenting at the Entrepreneurial Masters Program at MIT in Boston on June 25th.  The topic is "What Cloud Computing, the next big trend, really means to your business."

The Entrepreneurial Masters Program brings together 65 remarkable entrepreneurs – each a company Founder or Co-Founder who leads a company that grosses more than US$1 million — for four days on a suburban campus of MIT.
For more details on the program visit

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Custom Reports in Solve360

As businesses grow, the challenge of understanding and managing relationships and opportunities can become a daunting task. Obtaining an uncompromised view of the "big picture" often ends up being more trouble than it's worth--especially for a growing business!

With the help of, custom reporting is a cinch. Using the powerful integration of the Solve360 API and Google Docs Scripts, can build real-time reporting and analytics specific to your business needs!

Contact today!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Congratulations to Norada Solve360 on "Google Apps Marketplace Staff Pick"

GoogleatWork is the official Twitter home of Google Enterprise plus Google Apps.  Solve360 received the Staff Pick this past Friday and is a "Featured App" on the Google Apps Marketplace home page.

At we've helped over 25 customers switch to Norada Solve360.  Their well deserved average rating on the Google Apps Marketplace is 5 stars on 106 customer reviews.

It's a ton of fun helping businesses with Solve360 because it has such a big impact on their operations and is nothing like anything they've seen before.

Congratulations to the entire team at Norada.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Smartphone Services

Future Shop has announced that starting today their ConnectPro team provides Smartphone Services.

The challenge is that you need to understand the nuances of the back end email systems like Google Apps to configure it right the first time.

We've setup hundreds of mobile phones for our customer's and the majority arrive from the store or cell phone carrier configured poorly.  Blackberry, iPhone, Android all can do Calendar and Contact sync over the cell network without having to "plug in".

Get the setup wrong and you can duplicate or corrupt your calendar and contacts easily.  Be cautious hiring your regular computer technician to implement Google Apps as we've cleaned up lots of messes lately.   Doing it right the first time costs less.

We can fully understand why lots of errors are made; on an iPhone you add your Google Apps account with the Microsoft Exchange icon so that it uses ActiveSync.  Not terribly intuitive since there's a Google Mail icon right below it...

Contact us at for a professional implementation of Google Apps and configuration of your mobile phone for email, calendar, and contacts.  We'll get your entire company and all your devices working in sync.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Google Apps Directory Sync Exclude Organization

With release 2.01 of Google Apps Directory Sync you can exclude organizations within your Google Apps domain from being sychronized.  This avoids having to individually exclude accounts like administrators or any other account that isn't in your LDAP or Active Directory.

However, there is zero documentation provided and we've found that only substring match will work.

Note also that there is an issue we confirmed with Google support that should be fixed in a future release where this exclusion rule will not work on any usernames that contain capital letters.  So if the username is instead of this exclusion rule won't work on that account.  We had to use the GAM command line tool to rename some accounts to work around this issue for a customer.

If you would like some assistance with Google Apps Directory Sync feel free to contact

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

2nd team member becomes a Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist

We now have 2 staff members who are officially Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialists.

Once again we have demonstrated our high level of expertise and focus on Google Apps deployments since 2009.

How many Certified Deployment Specialists does your IT provider have?

Monday, March 28, 2011 team member officially becomes a Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist

Adoption of Google Apps is accelerating around the world with over 3 million businesses that have gone Google.  The Google partner community has more than doubled in the last year to over 2,500 partners in over 70 countries.

As far as we can tell less than 150 people have passed the Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist exam. is pleased to be able to further differentiate ourselves in the Google Apps Marketplace. has successfully migrated over 2,500 users to Google Apps.  Deploying Google Apps is what we love to do!

Does your current provider have any Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialists on staff?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blackberry Protect and remote wipe of mobile phones

What would happen if you suddenly lost your phone?  Does your phone auto lock with a PIN?  Can you wipe the data?  Can you remotely locate it?

RIM has just released Blackberry Protect for free to all North American users via the Blackbery App World.  You can use Blackberry Protect to locate, remotely lock, or wipe data from your Blackberry device if it is lost or stolen.  We recommend this software to all blackberry customers that are not running Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES).

Android and Windows Mobile devices can use Lookout Mobile Security which provides similar features.

Your phone has highly valuable personal information.  Grab some piece of mind now by installing one of these utilities on your phone.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office

We mentioned back in March 2010 that Google had acquired DocVerse and have been eagerly awaiting the product release.  It's finally here and wow did Google deliver!  They brought simultaneous document editing to Office 2003, 2007, and 2010.  There is no need to purchase an Office 2010 upgrade and setup a Sharepoint server or Skydrive to gain the Microsoft equivalent of this feature.

What is simultaneous editing?  It means that multiple people can edit the exact same document at the exact same time and automatically see the other person's changes.  With simultaneous editing you can work on different slides of a single Powerpoint presentaton file at the same time or update meeting minutes in a single Microsoft Word file at the same time.

By the way, simultaneous editing has been available with native Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Presentations for years now.   It makes collaborating on documents and presentations a breeze.

I tested Google Cloud Connect by opening an existing Microsoft Word document in Office 2010 on one computer and synched it with Google Cloud Connect.  I then downloaded from Google Docs and opened it with another computer running Office 2007.  When I changed lines of text on either computer and clicked the save button, within seconds the other computer would refresh and show the same change.  Incredible functionality and I think that explains why it took almost 1 year from acquisition to release the product.

For more details and a video overview check out Google's official blog posting and Google Docs Help

Monday, February 14, 2011

Transition from to Norada Solve360

Announcing the official launching of our activity and opportunity migration tool!

We can migrate tasks, events, and activity records and emails from to Norada Solve360 starting at $495 USD. Mapping custom activity fields and migrating lead activity adds slightly to the cost. We provide fixed priced estimates after reviewing your and Solve360 account.

The history is pushed into a formatted note on the appropriate contact or company (Account) record.

Update: We can migrate open and closed opportunity records too!

Give us a call at (416) 840-6268 or visit us at

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why isn't your current IT consultant or reseller promoting the cloud?

Cloud Computing is a disruptive wave that provides cheaper, more convenient, and simpler business solutions that work.  So why isn't your current consultant or reseller recommending Cloud Computing solutions?

It's simple:
  1. Cloud software vendors sell direct to the customer and give little or zero margin to the reseller.
  2. Consultants compete globally in the cloud for engagements because cloud systems can be setup and managed from anywhere without complex remote access solutions.
  3. On-premise consultants know your existing network infrastructure and server configurations making customer's loyal to them for future work.  In the cloud you only need a web browser so the customer is more likely to choose the cloud software expert over their existing consultant.
  4. For every $1 customers spend on Microsoft enterprise licensing fees, they spend $8 with consultants and channel vendors customizing Microsoft's tools or integrating other products.  This ecosystem works well with an on-premise model that requires physical management and integration of systems.
Bottom line is that, until forced to change, existing consultants and resellers will continue to focus on what makes them the most money which is traditional on-premise systems.

The challenge for Cloud Computing focused vendors like us is to constantly find new customers because the  recurring consulting dollars for us are much smaller.  However, we're 100% committed to cloud solutions because fundamentally it is the best solution for the customer.

We love our work because we're blazing a new trail and every day making our customer's extraordinarily happy with moving their business to the cloud.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spam takes another hit: email authentication available to millions of Google Apps customers

Google has been an early and consistent supporter of email authentication technologies, which help ensure senders are who they say they are, and in turn help to curb spam. configures a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record as a standard component of our Google Apps implementations that prevents spammers from sending messages with forged From addresses from your company domain.

On January 6th, 2011 Google made available the ability for Google Apps customers to sign their outgoing messages with DKIM, so that your sent mail is less likely to get caught up in recipients' spam filters.  Think of it as a finger print on your outgoing email that a spammer can't duplicate.  We've tested it for a few weeks and definitely recommend setting this up on all Google Apps accounts.

Google Apps is the first major email platform to offer simple DKIM signing at no extra cost other than the labour to configure it.  Once again the power of the cloud has made it possible to bring this feature to millions of customers quickly and affordably.
It takes an team member about 30 minutes to configure DKIM on your DNS hosting control panel and on your Google Apps account.

If you are interested in having this feature enabled to ensure that more of your outgoing email reaches its destination  give us a call at (416) 840-6268.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rogers Blackberry with Google Sync and Blackberry Internet Service Synchronization

Watch out for an issue we just encountered today with Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) on Rogers with a Blackberry Bold running Blackberry OS 5.0:
  • if you change your price plan with Rogers it will reset your BIS settings and turn on Sync Contacts, and Sync Calendar via BIS automatically.  This will cause massive duplication of Google Calendar entries and corruption of address fields in Google Contacts if you also have Google Sync installed and running on your phone.  The difference between synching with BIS and Google Sync was discussed on a prior blog post here
  • We still recommend using the Google Sync because it works better and faster than the BIS sync
The solution is to sign out of Google Sync before making changes to your account.  The next day review your BIS setup via the Email setup icon on your phone and make sure the Synchronization of calendar and contacts is turned off.  Then restart/login to Google Sync again.

Update April 19, 2011: We're seeing this issue much more frequently now across Rogers, Telus, and Bell.  They are upgrading their backend BIS systems so suddently Contact and Calendar sync can get turned on with zero warning causing corruption of Calendar and Contacts.  We hope that the cell phone companies will work with RIM to warn users before making the surprise upgrade.  As a result of this we strictly turn on the BIS Contact and Calendar Sync if supported by the phone.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year's Predictions and Milestones Achieved has now migrated over 2000 users to Google Apps!

The majority of our larger customers have migrated from Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 but we've also helped organizations of all sizes move away from traditional ISP hosted POP3/IMAP email accounts with,,,,, and even from Hosted Microsoft Exchange at

One customer install really highlights an advantage of going all web browser based.  They had attempted to use a Hosted Microsoft Exchange Server solution for their employees spread around the world and in some countries where internet data lines are unreliable.  Going web browser based with Google Apps dramatically improved their ability to communicate and collaborate in real time across the company.  In particular they can finally communicate electronically with their employees in the Democratic Republic of Congo via Google Apps.

We're seing an increase in inquiries for Microsoft Online Services/BPOS deployments also.  Ultimately we deploy what the customer chooses but certainly discuss the pro's and con's of each option.  The head to head competition between Google and Microsoft is great for our customers in the end.

Our number one prediction for 2011 is that the pace of adoption of Cloud Computing solutions like Google Apps and Microsoft BPOS/Office 365 will continue to accelerate; and, as an early adopter that focuses exclusively on Cloud Solutions, will continue to both save our customers money over the long term but also provide them with a better way of running their business. - Moving Businesses to the Cloud