Is Your Business Head in the Cloud?
When marketers talk about web-based software and “the cloud” or “software-as-a-service” (SaaS), they always seem to bang on about two main things.
Cost: It’s far cheaper than desktop software and uses a pay-as-you-go model
Quick Setup: You don’t have to mess around installing stuff, you’re up and running straight away.
Whilst both of these points are valid, there are so many more benefits to using online software that don’t get mentioned often enough.
Let’s have a look at some of them:
With software on your desktop, it’s only running when you use it. As soon as you click that red X, it’s dead. It doesn’t exist and it can’t do anything until the next time you double click its icon. Web-based software is always on.
Why should you care that it’s on if you’re not using it? Well, lots of reasons actually.
Firstly, it means it’s able to receive information. So via APIs and other technical jiggery pokery it can receive data from other systems such as your phone, a website, PayPal or an ecommerce system. It can keep itself up-to-date without you having to lift a finger.
It can do stuff. You might be down the pub downing tequila shots but your software has just noticed it’s the 1st of the month and you’ve got customers to invoice. So it automatically raises invoices and emails them to your clients. It can even take payment automatically and update the invoice to say it’s paid. Or perhaps an invoice is overdue? It can email your customer and chase them for payment. You’re going to need the money now that you’ve moved on to the cocktails
Access From Anywhere
With Sage or other traditional software services you can only access it when you’re at your computer. With KashFlow and other online applications you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection. So you could be catching up on your accounts whilst on the train or raising an invoice before you leave your client site.
Can you imagine only being able to access your emails from one computer in one location? Why should you accounts be any different?
Free and Hassle-Free Upgrades
Proper web-based software is really just one program with lots of people using it. So when the company upgrades the software to add new features or fix a bug it happens instantly for everyone at the same time. You don’t need to worry about downloading files and working out how to run them or worry about losing data. It just happens.
Search for KashFlow on Twitter and as well as obscene tweets about the US rapper with the same name you’ll also see people raving about the great levels of customer support we provide.
Let me pick on Sage again. You buy their software and pay a big chunk of cash. They’ve got your money and they don’t care about you until you’re ready to buy something else. For us, and every other online software company, it’s very different. You only pay us a small monthly fee so if you were to cancel after just a couple of months then we’ve probably lost money by dealing with you (we’ve got marketing costs too you know!). That’s why we bend over backwards to help you whenever you have any questions – regardless of whether it’s 11pm on a Wednesday or 8am on a Sunday.
There are many more benefits to online software than just the above, but hopefully this has shown you that it’s not just about cost. No wonder freelancers all over the world are flocking to web-based software and abandoning downloads and CDs.