These Cloud Services are CTO Favorites

Editor’s note: This post by Larry Cynkin was first published at his GreenBar site. Larry is a highly respected CTO delivering consulting services to startups and writes with the credibility that comes from real experience.  -bg

In a previous post I looked at how the adoption of not only cloud-based software platforms but ancillary cloud-based services has really taken off, supported by a robust ecosystem of third-party SAAS tools for project management, testing, QA, monitoring, analytics, collaboration, etc.  In the past it was common for software teams to develop some of these services, such as testing and monitoring, in-house.  Others services, such as project management tools, might have been purchased on physical media (first floppies, then CDs, later DVDs) and laboriously installed on individual computers — often in far greater numbers than officially licensed).

Still other services, such as distributed collaboration tools, simply didn’t exist before.

In today’s cloud ecosystem, these readily-accessible tools are available in ever-increasing numbers.  If you know what you’re looking for, you can Google something like “agile project management software” to find product information and reviews.  But sometimes it’s nice to hear about what’s new or popular a little more serendipitously.

​CTO Favorites and Contenders

​During previous research I conducted a survey of fellow CTOs to quantify their use of cloud services.  As a byproduct of that exercise I received several CTO suggestions for favorite service which I’ve shared here,
​along with notable category competitors also worth considering:


​Online Surveys
CTO-Approved:

  • Typeform, “Free & Beautifully Human Online Forms”

Worthy Contenders:

  • SurveyMonkey, “The World’s Most Popular Free Online Survey Tool”
  • Google Forms, “Create and analyze surveys, for free”

Time Tracking
CTO-Approved:

  • Paydirt, “Time Tracking and Invoicing for freelancers, consultants and small teams”

Worthy Contenders:

  • Harvest, “Simple Online Time Tracking Software”
  • Toggl, “Time Tracker & Employee Timesheet Software”

Screen Sharing
CTO-Approved:

  • Screenhero, “Screen sharing for collaboration in teams” (now part of Slack and no longer available stand-alone)

Worthy Contenders:

  • Appear.in, “One click video conversations”
  • join.me, “Free Screen Sharing, Online Meetings & Web Conferencing”
  • zoom.us, “Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars, Screen Sharing”
  • Google Hangouts (I guess I have to include this one)

Distributed Agile Standups
CTO-Approved:

  • TeamSnippets, “Automated Status Update Collection and Reporting over Email”

Worthy Contenders:

User Session Playback
CTO-Approved:

  • FullStory, “Pixel-Perfect Session Replay”

​Worthy Contenders

  • Crazy Egg, “A/B Testing & Heatmaps”
  • Hotjar, “Heatmaps, Visitor Recordings, Conversion Funnels, Form Analytics, Feedback Polls and Surveys in One Platform”
  • Clicktale, “Digital Customer Experience & Website Analytics”

Visual Regression Testing
CTO-Approved:

Worthy Contenders:

  • Percy, “Continuous visual reviews for web apps”
  • Backtrac, “Automated Visual Regression Testing Tool”


…Which are your favorites?

More Reading:

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Thank You, FAANGs, for Your Gift to Software Development (All but One of You)

Version 1 Software: Don’t Go Chasing Waterfall

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… Delivery of Your Outsourced Software

Funny But Sad: Survey shows most people know nothing about technology

Zoom: Leader in video-first unified communications

What do you think?

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