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Companies Turn to Web Software in Recession

by Admin 20. May 2009 15:05

As the recession continues on, many companies are looking for more beneficial ways to manage projects, employees and customers while saving some money at the same time. One way of doing this is through collaboration tools such as web based software. A new Forrester Research survery states that 70% of firms may adopt some form of collaboration tool in the next 12 months. Forrester analyst T.J Kiett says:

The tough economy is forcing companies to restrict travel while keeping distributed teams in touch. In addition, changes in the composition of the workforce mean enterprises must find ways to capture the knowledge of retiring Baby Boomers and provide Gen Yers with their favored tools to work efficiently.

Web management software, like OfficeClip, is a great solution to the current reductions in travel that businesses are doing, as it allows users to have access from anywhere and supports contractors and partners as well. Once businesses begin using collaborative web software, it will more than likely remain an integral part of their customer and employee management strategy even after the recession ends.

Online project management software such as timesheets, contact manager  and issue tracking can also be purchased on a pay-as-you-go basis for hosted versions. According to Meridith Levinson of CIO.com, these tools will not require companies to make a large inital investment so the risk and the cost are less than if they were installing the web software on their own servers. Both types, hosted and installed, are still much more cost effective than traditional software, as they are online and collaborative, providing great flexibility and ease of use.

We all hope the recession ends soon, but there are ways to improve your business without spending a fortune and collaborative web software is one of those ways!

Web-based Software - To Buy, Build or Rent?

by Admin 11. February 2009 18:02

In recent years there has been a clear trend of businesses opting for Pay-Per-Use compared to licensing or building their own software. At OfficeClip we started with providing both the options (buy or pay-per-use), and we have noticed that a certain category of businesses opt for buy and others go for pay-per-use. Based on our experience, I would like to share some patterns here.

Buy Software (or install locally)

We have seen that companies that are in the upper scale of small business (for example have 50+ employees), who have some IT staff weigh on buying a web-based software in house and install on their server.

  • ROI - Total cost of ownership can vary depending on how much time you want to keep the software. Sometimes the software may not need many upgrades so once purchased they can be used for a long time.
  • Limitations - Installable software sometimes does not have limits on the entities that can be created (for example, no limits on number of contacts that can be created in an installed contact manager) or the number of users that can use it.
  • Customizability - Installable software is more flexible to integrate with other systems in the organization. This is because the company has the program installed on their machine and does not have to go through the security introduced by the hosting company.
  • Backup and Maintenance - Many companies have their own full backup and incremental backup scripts. This allows them to treat all their products in a similar fashion thereby reducing administrative hassles.
  • Security - Even though browsers have SSL and hosting providers claim that they have many levels of security, etc., many companies do not feel too comfortable keeping their (or their customer's) information in places where they do not have full control. Remember a few months back Barack Obama's passport information was accessed by some employees of the government. We regularly hear about stolen SS# or credit card numbers from the secured enterprises.

Rent Option (use Hosted Version or SaaS)

Mostly opted by smaller businesses or business that are geographically dispersed or do not have a full IT department.

  • No Hassle Setup - Hosted software has gained momentum because it does not need setup and general maintenance. With the use of high speed networks, development of browser technology (like AJAX etc.), browser based software is getting closer in quality and performance to software installed on a user's computer.
  • No Initial Investments - Hosted software is generally sold on a per user, per month basis, so the initial investment is low. Also, many hosting providers do not require any contracts so small companies feel more secure.
  • Standardized Security - Web applications today offer security features like SSL, password protection, role based access etc. and it is getting better with time.
  • Enough Customization - Although the customization features of the hosted software are somewhat less, small businesses most of the time do not need such customization.

Build Option

This is the final option that many SMEs do not opt for unless they have very specific requirements. Even then there are many factors that lead small business to go this way:

  • Cost of Build: Today the cost of building software is much less compared to what it was even a few years ago. This is because many companies provide ready-made business components that can be easily integrated to make a complete solution. Also, many outsourcing outlets like elance, rentacoder etc. provide a marketplace where competent offshore developers are available at a fraction of price compared to the in-house developers or even compared to buying a ready-made solution.
  • Control on the feature set - In the build option there are no restrictions on what can be done. In other words it is like a meal prepared with your recipe just for you.

OfficeClip provides a balance between these choices by offering both Buy and Pay-Per-Use Option. It also provides source code so that companies can extend the software themselves.

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Small Business Tips

Controlling Costs in a Tight Economy: Hosted Web Software

by Admin 28. August 2008 16:08

As banks make it more difficult for small and medium sized businesses to take out loans, expenditures for improving internal business processes can rapidly shrink or disappear altogether in an economic slowdown. Customers reign in spending, businesses suffer and look for ways to streamline their business with cost-effective solutions, only to find that the bank will no longer give them the loan to make it happen...and so the cycle continues....

The New York Times notes that the witholding of credit comes as the economy tightens and joblessness grows, making it difficult for companies who would be able to grow to secure the funds to do so. By mid-June 2008, the credit that banks were giving was decreasing at the rapid rate of more than 6 percent. In dollar terms, that's about $150 billion dollars that companies at present (and very likely for awhile into the future) cannot get for their business needs. Imagine wanting to do internal restructuring to be more cost effective and needing to make a large expenditure for the softwares, etc. to accomplish it....and then not being able to get the money for the investment.

 
So one question certainly becomes..."What do in a tight economy when I want to improve my business?" The answer is to be creative. If improving customer relations, employee management and project management to reduce costs and increase flexibility are what you want to do, consider the benefits of hosted web software. Hosted web software is a way to do these things without using a large captial expenditure or taking out a loan from the bank for expanding your business and in times like the present, you may not be able to get the loans even if you want/need them.
 
According to Jeff Pyden of OmniVue Business Solutions, hosted online software has many benefits for companies who find themselves in these kinds of situations. First, hosted software is done on a pay-as-you-go basis and can be done monthly, yearly, etc. This allows you to easily add or remove users as your business changes and there are no upfront software costs, but there is always the ability to get premanent licenses later if you need them. In general, since no money has been spent on internal resources, there is less risk and more affordability and flexibility which can be ideal for the current economic situation.
 
Hosted web software, like OfficeClip, are internet based solutions, giving you the ability to access your data anywhere, anytime, anyplace with just a web browser. Data and applications such as Web Timesheet, Contact ManagerOnline Calendar and Document Sharing are managed easily and quickly, and the hosted version allows you to add or remove applications as your needs change. If you have financial concerns, are worried about the economy or simply want to try something new to improve important aspects of your business, hosted web software may be perfect for you.

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