Quick, to the Cloud! The days of paper filing cabinets, libraries of receipts, and dot-matrix printers spitting out lines of double-sided paper are far behind us. Although some businesses, particularly small-volume retail sales still manage to hold on to the ancient dot-matrix printers hard-wired into rudimentary point-of-sale systems for ease of printing customer receipts, much of this dated technology has gone by the wayside.
The majority of businesses today utilize digital methods of record-keeping and tracking… there is just simply very little reason not to. The convenience of integrated systems mixed with user friendliness and dollars saved by not keeping storage units full of paper records have propelled large and small businesses into the digital age.
To digitize a business, the typical method is to buy a licensed copy of a digital program your business needs — whether it be a retail sales application, a digital record organizer, or a medical services ledger. If you own a business, chances are, there is a digital program made specifically for what you are looking for. For small businesses, these COS (Commercial, Off-The-Shelf) products are ideal. In some cases, such as perhaps those of larger, more complex business models requiring a very specific product, there are many Software and Business Process Re-engineering companies out there who work around a pre-existing basic shell of a software, and design a bespoke product specific and ideal to the business. This usually involves a contract, and a sizeable investment.
Both variants require installation, support and hosting… someone has to make sure the software is functioning at roll-out, is functioning after roll-out and that there is enough storage available to handle the volume of digital information that this program is to handle.
Today, internet connection is more reliable than ever… it is available practically everywhere at broadband, break-neck speeds. With such a wide availability of the internet, many software services are becoming internet-based. Software as a Service, or SaaS, is the latest step away from filing cabinets in licensing and delivering software. Instead of selling the software itself, the software is centrally-hosted, usually by the developer, and licensed via online access to the client.
This process is part of the technological movement known as Cloud Computing… and it is impressively more efficient than its counterpart. Outsourcing the digital service, maintenance, training and implementation to an SaaS provider is significantly less expensive than servicing the software individually. Technology is changing too quickly for most businesses to keep up… having access to a constantly-improving, constantly-upgraded and reliably-hosted software is a major, and welcome breakthrough in the world of digital business management.