One of the huge advantages of web based applications is that developers can create software that is very little to market and distribute to customers. Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine, at last week's GrowSmartBiz conference spoke about this.
Furthermore, traditional software vendors such as Intuit, FileMaker Pro, Microsoft, and dozens of other small business focused companies are leveraging their internal and independent developers to continue to create added value for their products through applications that can be downloaded through the internet and accessed online or installed as an add-on to the software.
Intuit's released QuickBooks 2010 last week and although it's been around quite a long time, it continues to get better, be more relevant for small businesses and add enhancements that are critically important.
New in QuickBooks 2010 is Intuit's App Center, which are web based applications available directly from QuickBooks 2010.
Intuit's press release reads applications offer free trials, and many work directly with QuickBooks data, extending the value of the information and eliminating the need for double data entry.
There continue to be hundreds of software applications that integrate or add-on to QuickBooks, that are not so called "apps" (defined as web based applications). These addons can also be a rich source of boosted productivity and features for enabling you to do more with QuickBooks than what you could normally do with it out of the box!
For QuickBooks and other software, this is only an evolutionary and very small step, as I believe the integration between the software and hosted application could be tighter in many cases.
For example, the email marketing integration between Vertical Response and QuickBooks is actually just making it easy for you to export your contacts to Vertical Response. It would be great to have the integration available right from within QuickBooks and tightly integrated.
It's hard to be innovative with a product that improves each year and has so many features. But one improvement, of several, that you'll find in QuickBooks is an easier way to update several vendors, employees or customers. For example, Users can save time by editing multiple long lists of items, customers, or vendors, rather than edit each item individually.
They can also copy and paste data into QuickBooks directly from Excel with a simple key stroke, eliminating the unnecessary steps of inputting the data directly.
If you're tired of going to the bank, or just want to cut out one more "to do list" in your busy day, you can use a new (premium) feature from Intuit Payment Services to scan or key in checks directly into QuickBooks for deposit by your bank.
What does all this mean to you?
If you rely on QuickBooks for the day to day management of your business I highly encourage you to upgrade. If you use QuickBooks but just use it mainly to manage your cash flow, sit down with a local QuickBooks Pro advisor so they can show you what more you can do with it.
If you are using a competing product and don't like it - definitely try a free demo of QuickBooks 2010. You have nothing to lose - and in this case - what you don't know could very well hurt you.
Ramon Ray is the editor and tech evangelist for Smallbiztechnology.com