Running business applications online was once considered a fad, but has now become a mainstream approach to implementing technology. Businesses large and small are finding that turning technology investments into a predictable expense allows them to focus on their business operations and not the IT budget. For some, the ability to bring remote locations or mobile team members closer to the systems that support the business is the biggest benefit. For others, the security of having business continuity and disaster recovery built into the system is the key. Regardless of the motivating factors, business owners are finding that online application services can make a positive impact to their bottom line.
The market has clearly identified online technologies and application services as something beneficial. This is demonstrated by the rapid adoption and growth of business solutions that leverage the Internet as network. Further, online applications and services are being used as a way to augment systems that were once exclusively LAN or PC based. An example of this is the extension of Intuit's QuickBooks products to incorporate online payroll services and online payment processing solutions.
With the move to online application services being one of the biggest shifts in technology seen in years, it only makes sense that the applications that have become "standards" in business shift to an online model, as well. The opportunity is great, but the responsibility is greater.Many software companies are facing a number of problems with respect to the unauthorized hosting of their desktop applications. Because of the technology employed for desktop application hosting is very costly, many service providers feel compelled to "leverage" application licensing and other system features to increase their value proposition and in order to compete. Customers who utilize these unauthorized application services are putting their businesses at potential risk. This risk may come in the form of substandard services resulting in lost or corrupted data; risk may come in the form of unauthorized access to confidential business or personal information due to poor system security; risk may come in the form of exposure due to the unauthorized use of software licenses.
While the market has clearly demonstrated the value and benefit of application hosting services, the lack of protections, consistency and support make it a venture fraught with peril for many. The volume of "grey market" activity and instances of license piracy have undoubtedly increased dramatically, as the cost of service delivery is high and the margins for the service provider are narrow. Manipulating the cost of service by leveraging the application licensing is sometimes the only way some service providers can create profitability in their offerings. But with the prior lack of oversight in terms of service pricing, licensing, quality assurance, or service orientation, it had become the "wild west" for service providers, and the perceived value of the service declined while the number of and variety of deliveries increased.
The answer to the problem, or at least as it exists around the Intuit QuickBooks products, is in the ability for Intuit-Authorized QuickBooks hosting providers to offer subscription access to QuickBooks Pro and Premier licenses when they are hosted. Customers no longer need worry about purchasing their QuickBooks software before engaging with the hosting company, and can avoid the annual cost of upgrading their application software. With the QuickBooks license delivered under a subscription program, customers are able to work with the most current version of the software, and know that their systems are protected and their data is secure. Intuit-authorized QuickBooks Hosting providers can supply, manage, and maintain hosted QuickBooks implementations for businesses of virtually any size and type - all with an Intuit-supported license.