Mobilizing QuickBooks Desktops: Hosted QuickBooks for Remote and Mobile Access
There was a time not too long ago when the “thought leaders” in information technology said that the desktop is dead, and all software will be accessed via the web. (Note: I put “thought leaders” in quotes because industry thought leaders are often those with the greatest media influence. After all, you can’t lead them if you can’t reach them, right?). The whole no software thing is a dramatic oversimplification of what is happening with computer software, but one thing is kind of coming true: nobody wants to be tied to their desktop. It’s not that the desktop is dead… it’s just not all there is. For users of the desktop editions of Intuit QuickBooks software, the question really isn’t whether they intend to give up their familiar and trusted software to use a different, online solution. The question is how to use the QuickBooks desktop software they want in the cloud so they can use it on desktops that aren’t the primary desktop computer, or on mobile devices.
Computing technology has finally reached a level of accessibility that was previously only imagined in science fiction stories. Communicating instantaneously with anyone anywhere around the world; accessing extensive (limitless?) libraries of information, art and music with a simple handheld device – these are the things that people do every day without a second thought. Business users may even be able to access their business documents, email, contacts and appointments etc. from mobile devices, enabling a productive and functional mobile workforce.
Yet the desktop remains as the primary workhorse for most business users. This is where the productivity applications live, where large spreadsheets and full-screen applications are run, and where keyboarders and production data entry users operate. Tablets, touchscreens and mobile devices just don’t provide the same capabilities unless you tether them to full size monitors and keyboards. Even then they may not because they might not run the same OS as the desktop. The point is that the desktop hasn’t gone away and isn’t likely to any time soon. Users may use more mobile apps and devices, but this isn’t diminishing use on the desktop as much as it augmenting it. This is what fuels the interest in application hosting and virtual desktop computing models – the desire to mobilize desktop and network applications and working environments.
Hosting applications and data gives businesses the flexibility of working in desktop applications and accessing data just as if they were in the office, yet users may be located anywhere there is Internet connectivity. When the applications and the associated data are managed in the datacenter, businesses are able to centralize their information assets and manage them more effectively than if the data were distributed among multiple computers. While most sync and share solutions require files to be downloaded to local computers in order to open and edit, a hosted application service with virtual desktops and file sharing provides a security model which keeps business data secure yet available for user access without compromising security by downloading information to the user device.
A hosted solution approach can make license utilization more efficient and compliance easier to maintain, too. By enabling access to applications on a centralized platform and eliminating the installation and maintenance of software on individual computers, businesses reduce the reliance on local IT personnel to install and update applications and user accounts, and improve their ability to control application assignments and usage.
Hosting helps businesses take advantage of technology that would otherwise be unaffordable, and delivers the mobility and centralized management required to boost productivity and contain costs. There is a high cost to managing a business network, and creating secure mobile access to that network can represent an exponential increase in IT spending (just to initially set up, not to mention ongoing costs for security management, monitoring and support). Rather than taking on the entire burden of service management and delivery directly, businesses electing to work with hosting providers find that they are able to focus more on business operation, strategy and growth – and spend less time worrying about the IT supporting them. Costs are reduced, workers are empowered, and capabilities are increased while knowledge and process investments are preserved. When it comes to mobilizing business applications like QuickBooks desktop editions, it all starts with a hosted approach.