While I fully understand the pros of a web-based “cloud” solution, I also consider the cons. These being: 1) if our internet connection goes down, so does our database, and 2) less data security as the database would be stored on someone else’s server. We could still copy data over to laptops for use away from the office – it just wouldn’t be updated/synced with the office database until return.
I really really really encourage you to examine the online CRM options, such as SugarCRM, and the ones listed in the Google Apps marketplace (which is where I look to find services who are keeping up with the Joneses).Online apps are, without question or doubt, The Future. I cannot state this strongly enough. The services being designed now make both life and business transactions so easy and flexible. Businesses who don’t buy into this future are wasting money and productive time — consider the cost, time, and often frustrating effort of designing a custom database from scratch, on an expensive platorm for which you have to buy a seat for each workstation. With the online apps, there’s nothing to install or update, and you can use it outside the office. User training is way faster. I started using an online invoicing solution called Freshbooks recently, which has changed my life; check out the list of online CRM add-ons that integrate with their service. I understand the reservations about internet going down and such, but that brings up the larger issue that, just by dint of email, if you have a single internet connection, and it craters, it’s likely to bring your business to a halt, or at least a stall, anyway. Which is why everyone should have at least one backup connection, preferably starting with an iPhone or Android phone. The second one could be something like a MiFi, although some of the Sprint phones let you turn them into a wifi hotspot for a few computers, which is awesome. You knew I was going to say the next thing, but the most amazing and satisfying alternative second internet connection is an iPad with 3G. I’m very excited about how iPad and Android tablets are going to change the landscape, and online, cloud-based, Software-as-Service solutions are big, snow-peaked mountains in that landscape.
3 thoughts on “Reservations about cloud services”
I’ve been using hosted apps for over a year now. The revolution hit me immediately. The financial impact even more,so.
Installed software is always 2-4 year old technology. By the time you buy it, the developers are working on the next thing. Customer service arent even users, they read from lessons learned. Mostly the cost of the service prevents users from calling wasting time searching for answers.
Hosted app customer service people are usually integrated with the development team. The software is usually updated 4-12x a year and you don’t even know it. Thank Rackspace for that! They made an asset out of great support. They also made server computing affordable. Located in San Antonio, TX they are largest hoster of business apps that matter.
So along came little fresh books, a Canadian group, that bought into the fanatical support, borrowed the Rackspace model and a revolution was born. Maybe it was another app that made the revolution, but I bet I’m in the same month.
Last year I spent $40,000 on computers and hardware, this year I’ll spend $2,000 completely upgrading my system to a wave of dynamically smarter tools. You do the math, but for that savings I’ll subscribe to DSL, TWC and ATT 3G and have all the redundancy you can need.
So what does the future hold, well follow this. My management sevices and invoicing are hosted, my active proprietary data is hosted, my email is hosted, and my accounting is hosted. All linked together to share vital parts of the whole process. Now my server capacity need and redundancy decreased by 75%…wow… and jungle disk backs up the proprietary sever data and hosts it. All that data integrated, reduced redundancy, and stored for my convenience. Heck, 60% of my employees are now hosted.
Naysayers, Go ahead, stay with the installed software, upgrade your quick books. I’ll find someone who will beat the pants off your business model in a second. I’ll probably find them on yelp, Facebook, linked in or twitter because there hosted apps help get their word out. For all the rest of you, start by checking this site out.
Testify, brother! This is the big mountain to climb in 2010.
Great stuff. BTW, we use SugarCRM at work. Impressive.