Rob Guth at The Wall Street Journal, in an article titled “Is It Time to Dump Your Desktop?” (requires paid subscription to view) talks about how web-based software is turning out to be a good alternative to many small & medium businesses. Analyzing the web-based software field, he quotes two of our users, Ted Hughes of SoluChem LLC of Austin, Texas and Tim Lauer, principal of Meriwether Lewis Elementary School, in Portland, Ore.
Ted Hughes spent about two months last year trying to use a Microsoft program called Access to create a database for his industrial-supply company, SoluChem LLC of Austin, Texas. But he found the complex program daunting to use. And he knew that when he was done with the database, he would face another challenge — figuring out how to let his suppliers and co-workers tap into the information over the Web.
Then Mr. Hughes discovered Zoho Creator. This free Web-based software handled the job — but without the bells and whistles of Access that had baffled him. And since the program stored his data on the Web, his colleagues could tap into it easily with a browser. “To me it was like a godsend,” says Mr. Hughes, operations manager at SoluChem. “It did everything I wanted without the learning process.”
Tim Lauer, principal of Meriwether Lewis Elementary School, in Portland, Ore., uses the Zoho suite. He uses Zoho Creator, for instance, to make a form on the Web to collect student information from his teachers. On the plus side, he says, Zoho is online and as such it allows him and his staff to share documents more easily. But the software’s Web interface is also a drawback, he says. There may be times, such as while traveling, that his staff wants to work on the spreadsheet but doesn’t have an Internet connection.
Thanks to Robert A. Guth for mentioning us & Ted and Tim for the references! Like Tim, there are many concerned about web-based software’s non-availability when there isn’t a net connection. But with the internet becoming omnipresent, this issue should go away. Also, there may (will?) be offline versions in future that one can use when there isn’t a net connection. And this will allow to sync up with the online version when a connection becomes available.
ps: Zoho got mentioned previously in WSJ in articles ‘The Evolving Art of Simplicity‘ & ‘The Installation Blues‘ (both may require paid subscription) by Jeremy Wagstaff. The NYT had mentioned Zoho in an article titled ‘Now, Free Ways to Do Desktop Work on the Web‘ by Damon Darlin.