Getting out of IT Jail
I have a friend in the accounting/technology industry that spends way too much time on his business in-house IT. He’s always futzing around with servers and workstations, fixing corrupted data files or PCs that won’t launch applications, and setting up remote access so he can work at home (which he never actually does because he’s at the office fixing IT issues). More often than not, when I try to get time to chat with the guy, his response is “I’ll have to call you later; I’m in IT jail”. As a side note, my friend is Doug Sleeter, a recognized leader in the world of small business accounting and among QuickBooks accountants, consultants and advisors.
My friend works a lot with different solutions and technologies designed to make it easier and more effective to get accounting and business information collected, processed, stored, and reported. He reviews tons of different solutions each year, and looks for those he believes can truly make a positive impact in the life of a business owner. My friend also, as he puts it, “eats his own dog food”, meaning that he actually puts into place many of the solutions which he finds to be beneficial so that he can experience their benefit in his own business. His proven experiences then translate to support for the solution in the market. People need to know that a solution will actually do what it is supposed to do, and many wait for someone else (someone they trust) to go first so they can use the customer feedback to help them make a decision.
My friend clearly recognized the growing value of cloud solutions and how implementing cloud-based services to solve specific business problems might be a more effective and affordable way to address growing business needs than with traditional ERP models or installed software approaches. Using different tools that work together (his term for this is “chunkify” 🙂 ), even very small businesses could now affordably address the various operational and financial information management needs which exist at some level in all businesses. Following along with his previous commitment to use and not just talk about these things, he began the process of selection and implementation of various cloud-based applications, tools and integrations for his desktop QuickBooks software.
No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy. thesis on Military Strategy, German Field Marshal Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke
It was going great. Application services subscribed to were working as expected, and all sorts of information was fairly seamlessly flowing to and from QuickBooks. And then, it happened – his bookkeeper moved away and wasn’t able to work in the office where the accounting software and data were housed. Take a deep breath. Okay, so back to the remote access thing, and more IT jail.
He worked diligently to create remote access for the now-remote bookkeeper, and remote desktop service worked OK, but it was “a pain to keep working, and it never could give the type of performance we were trying to give her”. Go figure, the one piece of the puzzle left in the office was the one making everything else more difficult and costly. He was in IT jail once again.
The final step was to get the QuickBooks software and company data out of the local network and in a safe and secure and fully-managed environment. Particularly since QuickBooks is (in this case) the centerpiece of the business accounting system, it became essential to place it in an environment where it would be maintained, monitored, and protected by people who specialize in that sort of thing. My friend, like most business owners, just didn’t have the time and resources to have the level of IT and management that an outsourced commercial service provider could offer.
See The Sleeter Group’s QuickBooks and Beyond article Still Addicted to Desktop Software? Get it Hosted in the Cloud
Intuit even recognized that businesses needed a better way to run and manage their QuickBooks desktop software, so they created an accredited hosting program to allow service providers to offer application hosting and license management services to QuickBooks users. My friend now uses one of these providers to host his QuickBooks and other desktop applications. He still has all the integrations and features he had before, but isn’t required to spend time and productivity fixing hardware issues or software installation problems. His software is installed, maintained, and actively supported by IT professionals who are focusing on nothing more than keeping his systems up and running.
In his own words, “the hosting move offloaded us from having to mess with providing access, and at the same time it improved performance and delegated the IT management”.
For a time my friend and his business went without a high level of IT management and support, but now he completely recognizes that he needs it and is finding it to be well worth the cost. Now he’s got his own “get out of jail” card.
In case you didn’t know it, both Intuit and Sage have programs for service providers, providing authorization to host and deliver small business financial software products to direct customers.
If you need assistance deciding how to get your applications and business online, or selecting and implementing with a service provider, we can help.