Archive for September, 2010
Technological advances have greatly increased the ease with which you can run and grow a small business. If only technology weren’t so complicated.
These days, it’s tough for any entrepreneur to make it—let alone succeed—without a heavy dose of tech. You need a well-designed and easy-to-use website (that’s a no-brainer), plus you might benefit greatly from software, Web applications and equipment that allow you to manage inventory, track customers’ purchases, process invoices, manage payroll and communicate with staff. Read more…
I’m very pleased to share that Intuit has announced the release of QuickBooks 2011! In QuickBooks 2011, Intuit zeroed in on helping you save time in the back office. We know you didn’t start your business to do your books, so we want QuickBooks to help you get back to doing what you love. Sporting features that give you faster access to insights and make everyday tasks more efficient. Read more…
Sage North America today announced the new Sage ACT! 2011 contact and customer manager featuring new smart task automation for frequent activities such as sales opportunity and contact follow up. Sage ACT! 2011 includes numerous ease of use improvements and full synchronization with Microsoft® Outlook® contacts and calendar items. Sage Business Info Services for ACT!, a list-building subscription service powered by Hoover’s, also debuts as the latest Sage Connected Services offering for small and midsized businesses. Read more…
The kids are back in school, reviewing old material and learning new content. It’s the perfect time to assess your own knowledge of Peachtree’s accounting tools. Are you wasting time trying to puzzle out features on your own? Read more…
Recent news article with cloud and SaaS ERP termsThe Economic Times posted an article, Ramco launches new software for cloud computing platform, where the term “cloud computing” was incorrectly equated to a pay-per-use model. The quote from the article is:
Cloud computing refers to a pay-per-use model, where applications and software are available over the internet and one pays as per the usage without owning them.This quote confuses cloud computing and how in enables but does not equal software as a service.
Cloud Computing Enables SaaSConfusion around cloud computing is understandable. Many marketers and sales folks have used the cloud as a way to freshen up their message. Frequently these messages confuse Cloud (a type of technology to run applications) with SaaS (a type of delivery mechanism for applications). As you can see from the diagram, you can have cloud without SaaS, SaaS without Cloud, or SaaS enabled by cloud. There are several different pricing models and deployment models for cloud technology. As pointed out in a Wikipedia cloud computing article, there is the idea of private clouds and public clouds.
- Public Clouds. Cloud technology deployed in a way where computing resources become available to anybody who wants to purchase resources on a self-service basis. Public clouds are key components of software as a service offerings.
- Private Clouds. Cloud technology deployed inside a company owned datacenter. This use of cloud technology is not necessarily used to deliver software as a service.
Over-Simplifying Cloud and SaaSIn paradise, cloud technology would be referred to as an infrastructure tool that can be used to reduce hardware and IT costs while SaaS would be referred to as a deployment and business model that provides customers with a new way to purchase software.
Cloud ERP versus SaaS ERP DiligenceWe will continue to look for press releases and articles that are not consistent with our understanding of Cloud Computing and Software as a Service. If you see any articles that fall into this category, please bring them to our attention!
Cloud Software Poll ResultsThe market is currently split on the need to adopt cloud technologies. Independent software vendors need to create applications that can run BOTH in the cloud and on-premise. Most importantly, vendors need to ensure that customers can switch between deployments without the hassle of doing a full system migration.
While some products are still delivered as software, most are software-as-a-service, cloud-based or, increasingly, mobile apps.This should come as no surprise because expense reporting is an ideal application for the cloud.
Expense Reports are an Ideal Cloud ERP ApplicationThe cloud supports expense reporting by providing access from anywhere. Access from anywhere allows on-the-fly entry to reduce the time between when expenses are incurred and when they are reported. Reporting accuracy improves significantly when the time to entry is reduced. The cloud supports expense reporting by providing scalable computing power. In large organizations, many people wait until the end of the week to enter time sheets and expense reports. By using a cloud application, the additional traffic and processing can be easily accommodated to avoid delays. The cloud enables centralized, real-time processing so accountants, budget personnel, and approvers to spot and correct problems quickly. In addition, policy and procedure changes can be instantly implemented when using a web-based cloud system.
Software Implementation StatisticsIn the article Expense Reporting Solutions Multiply: Cloud, ERP, Mobile, Procurement Suites Among Options, author Mary Ann McNulty also points out some interesting facts about the automated expense reporting industry:
- A Cost of Control 2010 survey of 550 financial directors and CFOs reports that 72 percent claimed to increase automation or plan to do so in the next 12 months.
- Aberdeen Group published a survey of 175 companies in February 2010 where 52 percent of enterprises were focused on increasing visibility of their T&E spending, 40 percent on improved compliance, 38 percent on reduced processing time and costs, and 36 percent on managing travel budget restrictions.
- The same Aberdeen study said that 20 percent of enterprise customers still process expenses manually, 30 percent are partially automated, 45 percent are fully automated, and 5 percent outsource their expense reporting. Although not part of this statistic, the percentage of manually processes expenses for mid-sized business is probably even higher.