How Does The Cloud Compare to Desktop Offerings

Earlier this month I was asked, “How Does the Cloud Compare to Desktop Offerings?”

Be careful what you ask me because your question may wind up in a video 🙂

I was asked this series of questions via e-mail earlier this month and I thought they were great questions. I also found it interesting that they were coming from a potential investor, which reminded me that while I live, eat and breathe this stuff every day and I may be tired of hearing about “the cloud” most of the rest of the world is still considering whether or not they should “buy in.” In this guys case that question comes very literally.

How does the cloud compare to the desktop offerings?

They don’t. The cloud offerings are just not there yet. There are lots of add-ons that claim to make these cloud apps work just as well as the desktop, but I don’t agree and it’s just not the same as having it all work from one place. This is what I am finding when I experience it for myself. I don’t want apps that integrate with QuickBooks. I want it all to work from the same place. I will tolerate a certain amount of apps, but there are some functions that I want to be inherent in my accounting software such as inventory, job costing, and progress billing and I don’t want work arounds.

Shafat Qazi is the CEO and founder of BQE software, the makers of BillQuick and other products. I recently interviewed him and asked him from the developer’s side, if it was just more difficult to develop software that runs in a browser compared with desktop software. I thought for sure he would say it was, but he didn’t. He explained that everyone is in such a rush get something developed for the cloud that they aren’t taking their time to make sure it’s done right.

Is the future the cloud?

No I think the future is mobile, but I also think mobile itself has a ways to go. I was recently discussing with Eric Greenspan that I hate the idea of having to use my mobile device to run a report. I hate having to navigate on such a small screen. I know many others feel that way too. I want to be able to click something on one screen and easily navigate to the other to copy and paste something. But there’s no ALT + TAB on mobile so I need to close one screen and open another and it’s never clear if that screen will still be where you left it when you get back. It’s also really hard to pinpoint a block of text on a mobile device. My fingers are too fat and it’s extremely frustrating. I often find myself deciding to just wait until I can get access to a mouse and a keyboard. It’s just easier.

So I think that the future is not the cloud, I think it’s mobile, but I think mobile has a long way to go for practical business use to be in full play.

How does Xero compare to QuickBooks Online?

My honest answer is that I love both products. I am not saying that to be political, I honestly feel that way. How do they COMPARE? I think they are different. I find myself recommending Xero to the super simple service based business out there. There is a tremendous market out there for it. My colleague, Blake Oliver of Cloud Sourced Accounting will confirm this!

When a client needs something that does a little more, like job costing (without a work around) or even light inventory tracking then it’s QuickBooks Online.

As far as the gap? I think these two products are going to be neck in neck for some time to come. Bottom line whoever gets inventory and complete job costing with progress invoicing as well as the entire manufacturing process right, first will win. And that may be no one, or it may be everyone. Time will tell.

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