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The Cloud and the Business Desktop

The Cloud and the Business Desktop (with QuickBooks)

Cloud computing is here – no longer is it considered to be temporary or just a fad.  Even though there are many businesses in the country without access to high quality high-speed Internet connectivity, the levels of investment and revenue surrounding cloud and mobile computing solutions and technologies has proven that mobility and managed service matter to those who are connected. What’s interesting is that the popularity of the cloud and the emergence of cloud-based applications and services haven’t really put much of a dent in the need for the desktop, which remains as the business workhorse and – connected or not – represents the foundation for business productivity and getting work done.

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Some years ago, business applications began to emerge in SaaS (software-as-a-service) format, meaning a customer could simply subscribe to an application on the web rather than purchasing and installing software.  This option clearly resounded with many business customers and ushered in an era of online application services oriented specifically toward mobile users. Yet the desktop remains as the place where online solutions meet productivity (export any online data to an Excel spreadsheet recently?) and where accounting and finance connect with the rest of the operation.

Believing too much of the marketing-speak around cloud computing, many business users believe that they can only remotely access business software solutions if they are “cloud” and subscription model applications, and that the desktop products they know and have invested in cannot be available to them in a fully managed online model.  In fact, a large number of the business owners I speak with that actually use hosted desktop services somehow believe that the software they are using is something special and different from that which would be installed to their PCs. The fact is that the software is not different, regardless of what they may think. More often than not, the hosted applications are EXACTLY what the customer had previously installed (or would have installed) to their own computers had they not been working with a hosting provider.  Whether they are hosted or not… the desktop products generally function with all the features and capability designed into them because they are hosted on platforms they were designed to run on (like Microsoft Windows, for example).

Customers of the QuickBooks hosting companies often refer to their systems as “QuickBooks cloud, but not the online one”, not really understanding that it is simply the full desktop application that is being hosted for them.

Regardless of how many online application services emerge, and even if (IF) web-based versions of our favorite word processing and spreadsheet software become as useful as the installed kind, there will still be a need for the desktop if for no other reason than to make it easier to use and work with a variety of solutions at the same time.  Perhaps this is why remote desktop computing and hosted application services are becoming increasingly popular approaches to cloud and managed computing services.  The user benefits from having the feature-rich applications they need and a single place to access them and make them work together (the desktop value proposition), yet is able to have remote and mobile access, comprehensive system management and maintenance, data protection, helpdesk support and affordable monthly payments (the cloud value proposition).  In many ways, application hosting models represent the best of both worlds for the business.

JJoanie Mann Bunny Feet

Make Sense?

Consider how beneficial it would be to businesses who want the advantage of remote desktop and mobile access to applications to be able to run their QuickBooks (feature-rich desktop QuickBooks) and/or other business applications in an anytime, anywhere sort of environment. Businesses can obtain hosting 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. Some hosting services may also support integrations and extensions for QuickBooks – for both desktop and Web-based applications and services. When the host can provide authorized subscription licensing for Microsoft Office, a business can have a complete, outsourced IT solution and pay only monthly service fees to get it. No installation or system management to worry about: the QuickBooks financials, the productivity, the operational systems and plugged-in applications can all be hosted in the cloud.

Run Your [New, Small, Growing] Business from Anywhere

The office for a small business used to be where all the work got done.  The hub of activity and productivity for a small business, the office was where you could connect with team members and co-workers and generally keep on the same page with what was going on in the business.  Customer orders are taken, those orders are fulfilled, and bills are paid – all from the small business office.  Yet today’s small business isn’t tied to the office location any longer.fishingpoles

Mobility and the cloud now provide businesses with mobile office options that allow users to get their jobs done no matter where they happen to be.  Business moves at a fast pace, and mobility and remote access solutions help companies be more nimble.  Collaborating while on the go and exchanging ideas and concepts quickly helps businesses be more agile and better-able to meet changing customer needs.  Successful small business owners leverage mobility and action to beat the competition.

The cloud and Internet-based computing lets small businesses access and benefit from IT solutions that were previously only available to enterprise organizations.  Better IT means being more competitive, giving smaller businesses a leg up and positioning them among even the largest of competitors. For the business owner, the freedom of being able to manage the entire business from anywhere delivers a freedom and flexibility previously unimagined.

Here are some ways hosted and cloud-based IT can help small businesses overcome everyday business challenges:

Reduce or Eliminate the Need for a Physical Office

Starting a business is tough, and many small business owners decide to use their own homes as a business location rather than forking over a bunch of lease money to a commercial realtor.  Using hosting application services and cloud technologies can help keep team members and co-workers working together, no matter where they are located.  Many businesses are able to get off the ground and operating successfully without ever having an established office.

Work when it Works for You

Remote desktops and hosted applications deliver functionality to users no matter where or when they need to work.  With ready access to everything needed to get the job done, workers are able to be productive even when they’re not at a desk (or even a computer!).  Smartphone and tablet apps can make working from a mobile device highly effective, extending productivity and capability to workers whenever and wherever it is required.

Keep Everyone on the Same Page

When systems are centrally located and accessed, it is easy to keep everyone on the same version, the same edition, and the same page.  No matter where users are located, documents and application data are kept in sync, ensuring that everyone is working on the most current information available.  Mobile access to applications and data keeps information from being distributed to various devices, making revision control easier and providing better protection for valuable business information.

Mobile computing and the cloud make it easy for small businesses to have better IT that enhances productivity and supports growth.  Reducing capital costs and exchanging large technology investments with affordable monthly subscription service gives small businesses the boost they need to implement the solutions and services which will develop and improve collaboration, streamline workflows, and reduce overhead costs while enabling a fast-paced and agile business ready to meet any challenge.

jmbunnyfeetMake Sense?

J

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