There is a lot of buzz about Cloud Computing. I think we all understand that the “Cloud” is that little picture you always see representing the Internet, and that’s what the term refers to: the computing platform isn’t in your office, it’s “out there”, across the Internet. Just think of the Internet as a really long cable that connects your keyboard and monitor to the system that is really running the software.
When companies like Intuit talk about Cloud Computing and QuickBooks, it’s a little bit confusing, given that a large part of their QuickBooks market is still based on locally-installed desktop software. And, with the volume of 3rd party developers with widgets, gadgets, plugins, extensions, and integrations with desktop QuickBooks, the momentum of the desktop solution seems unstoppable. But there has been a catch to the old model of plugging into QuickBooks, and it’s catching on really well.
The creation of the IPP (Intuit Partner Platform) and changes to software integration platforms for QuickBooks introduced an entirely new range of capabilities for QuickBooks developers. Finally, persistent connections to Web-based and other applications may be crafted for QuickBooks desktop, allowing the locally-installed QuickBooks to “speak” over the network to other applications or platform services. This development opens up an entirely new model for extending QuickBooks functionality – extending to a Web application framework.
Businesses are able to take broad advantage of Web-based application services and the features they can deliver without compromise to their choice of accounting and financial management system. Extending access to operational, sales, service, and other users within the enterprise has become a simple and seamless operation. For example, a business that needs to extend QuickBooks Enterprise system to accommodate multiple inventory or warehouse locations can do so easily by simply plugging in a web-based warehouse management solution that has an integration with the QB desktop product. This solution could be a SaaS (software as a service) application which not only provides functionality for multiple warehouse management, but is designed as an anytime, anywhere application to allow those multiple locations to access the system when they need to.
By creating the means for businesses to use the Web to extend their QuickBooks software, Intuit has extended the useful life of the QuickBooks product. Functionality is no longer limited to what can be built and installed on the PC – the application is now able to be extended in numerous ways and on numerous platforms. Businesses are able to take advantage of the best software fit for their organizational operations – including leveraging the anytime, anywhere benefits of a Web-based application service – and still are able to utilize their QuickBooks.
Consider how beneficial it would be to businesses who elect to take advantage of the Web for them to be able to run their QuickBooks (feature-rich desktop QuickBooks) in an anytime, anywhere sort of environment, as well. From a QuickBooks hosting provider, businesses can get services for QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Enterprise – allowing organizations to have their QuickBooks financial applications managed, protected, secured, and made available to users all the time and from any location. The hosting service can also support integrations and extensions for QuickBooks – for both desktop and Web-based applications and services. And, with the commercial provider’s ability to provide authorized subscription licensing for both QuickBooks and Microsoft Office, a business can have a complete, outsourced IT solution and pay only monthly service fees to get it. No upfront expense of purchasing software. No installation or system management to worry about. The QuickBooks financials, as well as the solutions it connects to, are connected in the cloud.