As a freelancer and small business owner (you’d probably be surprised at how often those two coincide), I’ve spent some time looking for ways to track how much I’m working and what I do with my days. For me, this has a couple purposes. If my hours are billable (they’re usually project-based, but once in a while I bill by the hour), I can keep track of how much money I’m owed. The second purpose is simple time management — it’s a lot easier to keep on task and on track if you know where your time is going.
I’ve recommended a couple different apps for the latter — my favourite is still iDoneThis — but I haven’t had a chance yet to talk about the former. With Ding, I’ve finally found an app that really hits the spot for tracking billable hours. Let’s talk about what makes Ding worthwhile for freelancers and why you might be interested in adopting it for your own small business.
Right at the end of 2011, when everyone was gearing up for New Year celebrations, I looked at Lightspeed, a Mac-based POS (point-of-sale) designed for large retail businesses. It’s a mighty impressive piece of software but at over a grand for a single user licence (they start at $1,098 each — and that’s without the POS hardware!), it’s certainly not a cheap piece of kit.
However, since then, some major transformations have gone on within Lightspeed Retail, the developers. A few days ago, they acquired MerchantOS (a former rival company) and merged the two products into a new one called LightSpeed Cloud. Unlike the former product, which was confined to a single Mac, the new version now allows users to access their retail data from whatever device they are using — a real boom for retail businesses who use devices such as tablets and mobile phones in their day-to-day life.
In this Quick Look, we’re highlighting ProtoShare. The developer describes ProtoShare 5 as an online website wireframe and application prototyping tool with a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface. It’s different from other tools because it combines the power of desktop speed with the flexibility of a SaaS app. Users can access ProtoShare from any Internet connection around the globe. Its collaboration engine also allows users to work together unlike any of its competitors.
Read on for more information and screenshots!
Should you start your new blog on Posterous, WordPress.com, or on your own hosting account with a self-hosted WordPress install? Should you use Typekit or Google Fonts to add fancy new fonts to your site, or should you get a web font from Font Squirrel and host it on your server? These are the decisions webapp users have to make daily. The cloud has given us a multitude of ways to access apps from anywhere, and it seems like there’s a new Software as a Service coming out every day.
To host or not to host. That is the question. Let’s dive in and see if we can answer it for ourselves: is it better to self-host your own webapps or use hosted webapps as a service?
A major USP of the cloud and SaaS apps is data security. Anyone with logical thinking would understand the benefits of having their data stored in a world class data center managed by experts and their data duplicated across multiple centres across the globe for redundancy.
There’s still one part of most cloud setups that makes it weak, the human connection. Human errors can override the checks and balances in place and threaten the safety of the data stored. We’ve witnessed quiet a few instances of this. Backupify helps you set up an extra layer of backup ensuring peace of mind.
Enterprises and Businesses are the cash cows that can make a software development company into an overnight success. Selling to them is an incredibly lucrative opportunity. There’s a catch though; you will have to work hard to convince them to make a switch from an archaic system they might be using in production.
Cloud computing and SaaS models unlock the potential of resources — both human and hardware. While some cloud solutions might end up costing a lot more than their self hosted competitors over time, a shrewd manager will know the savings are manifold too. Data portability and remote teams are among the first in the list.
With so many web apps to choose from in all aspects of running a business, moving all business functions to the cloud is a very real possibility.