Cloud based applications are software offered to users by Cloud providers in the form of Software-as-a Service (SaaS). A user pays the use of the software but does not have to download anything, make any upgrades, or maintain any servers.
How have cloud applications helped small to medium size businesses?
- 71% can access any app from anywhere
- 60% software will always be up to date
- 50% have reduced costs
- 43% have become more flexible
- 38% have improved on project management
Click here to view more facts about cloud based applications.
Get more insight on three popular cloud apps. Stimulus Technologies has outlined a short summary with pros and cons on QuickBooks Online, Dropbox and Sales Force.
1. QuickBooks Online
Intuit’s cloud based application, QuickBooks Online, is an efficient platform for managing small business finances and client information. With three plans available, click here to view plans, this online version has the fundamentals covered allowing you to track income and expenses, send unlimited estimates and invoices, download bank and credit card transactions, print checks and record transactions, import data from Excel or QuickBooks desktop, back up your data online automatically, invite your accountant to access your data and more.
- Intuit takes security seriously. All physical facilities, networks and server are highly secured and encrypted. Even Intuit’s employees have limited access to client’s information.
- You can access your financial data from your cellphone, tablet, laptop and/or desktop. As well as enter expenses from your cellphone as you go.
- Large community based forum for QuickBooks users and support requests answered within 24 hours during business days.
- Get paid faster, if you use the payments feature you can add a “Pay Now” link to your invoice and receive payments via credit card or bank transfer directly to your account.
- If you need to track inventory, prepare 1099s, create budgets, allow employees to enter time, you will need the QuickBooks Plus version for $39.95 per month.
- Because the cloud based application and desktop program are maintained by different product teams, the online user’s interface is different which can take some adjustment.
- Internet connection is needed to access QuickBooks Online and not all features are available on mobile devices.
Dropbox is a file sharing cloud based application that allows you to sync files between your computer, tablet and phone, as well as share files with other users. Dropbox offers free accounts with 2GB of storage, and you can get 100GB for $10 per month or $99 per year. If you need more storage, you can buy up to 500GB for $499 per year. Click here to view options.
- When you install Dropbox, a Public folder is automatically created allowing you to share the files by right clicking and copying the public link. You can then send that link to any friends or colleagues and they will be able to see the file without needing to have Dropbox account.
- You can also create folders to be accessed by specific users, they will need a Dropbox account and the files within your shared folder will automatically be synced to their devices.
- Another nice feature is receiving an email confirmation when the other party has accessed the file or folder you shared with them.
- All files are stored with some of the best encryption programs available through a host of different servers
- Unlike its competitors, Dropbox doesn’t have a collaborative editing tool. If two people are working on the same file at the same time, the user who saves the file first will be the copy that Dropbox syncs between all shared parties. Once the second user saves the file, it will be saved as a conflicted copy and will need to be merged manually, if needed.
3. Sales Force
Sales Force is a Customer Relationship Management cloud based application that allows users and teams to collaborate on sales opportunities, track leads information, display pipelines, print marketing reports and much more. Sales Force offers five separate editions of its Sales Cloud product. The Contact Manager Edition costs $5 per user per month, and it can integrate with Outlook and Google Apps and offers document sharing and mobile access. Group Edition costs $25 per user per month; it allows you to track sales opportunities, print basic reporting and the ability to capture leads from your website and tracks Google AdWords performance. Click here to view the editions.
- Robust, easy to use and customizable dashboard showing a vivid colorful picture of marketing, sales, support or any modules of data you choose.
- Sales Cloud includes Chatter, a company social network that allows you to collaborate with colleagues on sales opportunities, marketing ideas and have access to comments from your mobile device.
- Track email communication pertaining to a sales opportunity in one platform.
- Pricing can get very expensive.
- Cost effective plans can lack basic functions that other CRM services include for free.
Did you read our information about Office 365? Visit our February newsletter.