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Do you use Online software in your business
YES I DO. Go to Members page and share some info about yourself and I will be happy to share my experiences using online technology.
I have just got back from holidays with my family, I hope you also had a great festive period and are enjoying 2009, I will update my profile with more information and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the topic.
We are developing online software for aircraft maintenance records geared towards leasing companies.
SaaS makes sense for many reasons:
No Oracle or SAP deployment negotiations and costs which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
No SAP or Oracle 'consultants' cost to manage the software once deployed. No in house IT department. Independent IT services (on call) will start to take the place of IT departments, thus creating more jobs in a leaner and meaner economic environment.
No extreme training costs, training curve, Most SaaS is straightforward and easy to use. No huge manuals and cheat sheets for employees. No employee frustration.
SaaS, you pay for what you need.
Mobility!!!! People can work at home or Starbucks.
In many cases, storage can be done on the users servers instead of cloud data centers so the user retains 'control' over the security of the content.
With cost cutting measures in place at every business level, SaaS and other online services make sense
The next generation is actually called "cloud" computing... And all software can and will be powered by the internet. You won't have to own any servers or install any software physically.
Google "on-demand" apps or saas to get an insight.
Online software makes a lot of sense for a small business. The biggest hurdle I've seen is for the small business to invest in getting internet connection at the location of business. With some of the businesses that we work with, many uses the on-line application that are marketing specific. It's inevitable that your employees will have some downtime so it's great to put them to work to run some marketing campaigns or follow-up on on-line inquiries. Another on-line service that I see are populare are accounting-related such as Quickbook online. The biggest factor for choosing online service, up-front investment cost. If they don't like it, they can terminate it. You don't get stuck with a piece of expensive useless software.
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The concern that I have with a online server is the internet connection. Maybe I am a worry wart, but having only one way of getting the information to my shop scares me. My DSL line goes spotty when we have quite a bit of rain and then I have to wait for the water in the line to dry out before my connection becomes good again.
I am in a suburb of St Louis and the lines were put in during the 1950's and still have paper insulation. We do not have metro wi-fi here so DSL line is the only way that I can get it .
This is why I have not changed to a internet based system. I can see the benefits by far, like being able to input and check on orders from out of town or be able to wrok from home.
ATT says they will be putting fiber optic lines in soon. However, when I ask, no one can define the word "soon".
You are SO right to wait until your infrastructure catches up. Nothing worse than no access. Smart smart move on your part. However you need to have a plan in place, start looking at the SaaS options and when your infrastructure is in place you can move quickly to implemenet any changes.
Hi Jim, I'm also in St. Louis and may have a "solution" for you if you're still interested. Verizon Wireless aircards are as fast or faster than DSL and versatile enough to use outside the office in a laptop. Some of my customers even use a primary router - a backup if you will - using an aircard which makes for a solid backup and persistent connection. (my day job is in wireless).
If you are interested in using an online server, but concerned about the spotty connection, consider getting an aircard.
You are on the right path for thinking about using web base solution instead of client server software. The online solutions are moving foward very rapidly, especially open source software applications. Factors to consider when choosing online or hosted applications are customer support, server operating system (example - windows vs. Unix), web interface (example - php vs. aspx) package capacity, functionality and features and if it can integrate with other 3rd party applications, for instance import/export into an accounting system, CRM, Database etc.
Cost: It's always cost efficient using online applications. Low overhead, most have centralized maintenance, no licensing issues, some have good tutorials.
Today's average DSL/Cable connectivity will give you a decent performance for any hosted/online software application.
Wow.., what a great conversation. We recently moved to a managed service, StreetSmart Office, the company is www.infostreet.com, and is miles better then open source that my IT guy talked me into. We had spent 4 months customizing Jomla (I think it's called) to create a simple task/workflow system for our jewelry design company.
So far I like using an Internet software.., although moving our data did take longer then expected. This is where I agree with others about customer support. You HAVE to find a company in the US. One that has solid support.., and are willing to customize their sytem to address a specific workflow for the industry you're in. Otherwise your employees will always complain.
Great topic... keep it going.
My first day in this forum, I was looking around, saw this discussion
I use this,
there's a FREE, fully functional single user version
It's really easy to implement and use
Small business ERP, sort of a cut down version of Netsuite but a third of the price and support is free and quite good.
Like Siondo it works very well ;-)
Happy to help you here
I use a custom software solution that visualizes drug use in America by maintaing a database of reported drug uses and making snapshots of the database on a map that shows each county of the United States. The database reports real-time drug use statistics in 3,140 U.S counties. The software I use was developed to remotely update up to ~16000 images.
i actively use Google docs in my work.
There are lots of online doftwares are available for the business.But most of the com[anies and i prefer netsuite for my business.
How many of the solutions listed as SaaS are OpenSource or are Proprietary? With propretary software, you are using it only the way they offer it to you, "off the rack' so to speak. with OpenSource You can customize it, have it 'tailor made' to fit your needs specifically.
Also to consider, Internet bandwidth is not 'unlimited' the more web based SaaS sites pop up, overall performance will eventually decrease.
Who is to say which of the unscrupulous providers will be combing through client data to sell information because the data is on the providers server and not on the customers?
By the way, interent content is provided by way of hardware servers. It is not a magic app that has no connection to physical hardware. ANY app that can be run over the internet, can also be run from your own, secured, private server for your business, school or non-profit group. You provide the hardware and OpenSource can provide the software for little to no cost on top of it. No license fees, no monthly costs for access.
Once the server is running, it's up and available to you and your staff and customers at your discretion and under your control. Not someone else's.
The best part is, if you are a small business, a school or a non-profit group and you are not sure how to set up a server or maintain it, you can get help with that for free at BEL Project.
Software as a Service - Is it right for my business?
The shift towards *"Software as a Service (SaaS)*" paradigm is accelerating in the industry due to several factors; Not just the cost of having to build and maintain the Technology Infrastructure is significantly lower but more importantly businesses can build what they need on-demand and faster that makes them highly agile and responsive to the market demands.
Today the Infrastructure as well as security have come along way and are quite matured. Fortune 500 firms such as Start bucks and Morgan Stanley run their CRM applications on the cloud using saleforce.com. Microsoft offers Business productivity on-line suite starting at $15 per user / month that provide a bundle of messaging, collaboration & communications software.
You can visit my blog for a list of popular SaaS providers and their offerings at http://seepath.blogspot.com/
Netsuite's online business software is one integrated suite that includes accounting,CRM,ERP,e-commerce and web development.I usually prefer this software for my business.
For more information on this please, visit http://www.suitecommerce.com/ .
Yes I use Google Apps and love it.
$50 per user per year. I get email, calendar, IM, Google Docs, Google Sites, and Video (which is like my company's own private youtube.)
I actually do IT Consulting and I am a Google Apps Authorized reselller, so if anyone is intereted in Google Apps let me know, checkout my website for contact details.
I also have a webinar comming up where I will be introducing this very concept and Google Apps, I submitted a post to the Business Classifiedes section, but it appears it must be approved before being posted so try checking there in a few days, or contact me for info.
But yeah online software can be a great assest. Particularly when it comes to something like email that would otherwise force you to have your own server, which requires updates, maintenance and can really get expensive fast.
I'm going to piggyback on WannaDevelops post. There is this trend in the industry of "cloud-computing." I do use Google Docs for business and personal. I do wonder though if I should be keeping a backup file in case some sort of disaster occurs.
What does everyone use to backup their files? Has anyone heard of Carbonite or LogMeIn?
I have used Mozy.com for my key data and have never had any problems. They have a free version that allows you to backup 2GB. They also have a rolling 30 day window where they will keep all the different versions of your files so if you need to restore a version from a week prior you can easily do it. Great piece of mind.
The thing to keep in mind about online backups is that they are geared to backing up your data rather than clone/image your disk drive due to the amount of data you need to transfer. If you want to do disk image backups you will want to backup to a local storage server and then back that up offsite periodically.
Another thing to keep in mind about online backups is that if you have a lot of data to restore it can take a long time depending on your Internet connection.
Can anyone suggest any time and billing web apps that are affordable and do CRM and project management?
The right solution for customer-driven projects really depends on your specific needs. What type of business are you in?
Here are some areas to detail your requirements.
Project Management - project and activity definition, project status and tracking, scheduling,
Project Accounting - time & expense entry, billing, revenue recognition, integration with general ledger
Other - collaboraton, customization and reporting.
Here are some examples - BillQuick ( www.bqe.com ), www.journeyx.com and www.openair.com
On the CRM side it really depends on your needs. Do you need help with sales, customer service or marketing?