There are many hosted application startups (and not so startup) with new services that on their own have varying degrees of functionality and overall ROI. Even some of the applications that are free (and many beta apps are free), such as Gmail, have limits to their return on the investment in the time you use them.
What makes individual applications powerful is when they can be combined with other applications to make them more powerful than they ever could be on their own.
Why are pirates hacking the iPhone and offering their own software (see the WSJ article about this)? The reason they are doing this is because while the iPhone is cool and cute, the software that powers it really makes it powerful.
For example, Outright.com developed by two former Intuit employees is an online book keeping program which helps you do a range of activities including: track business income, invoices and payments and much more,. It has recently partnered with Shoeboxed to allow receipts scanned and uploaded into Shoeboxed to flow seamlessly into Outright.com’s online bookkeeping software. This partnership is the first use of Shoeboxed’s new API.
With Shoeboxed’s mail-in scanning service, users can now send paper receipts in to Shoeboxed and have them scanned and data-entered into their online accounts. Now, those receipts can be automatically synchronized with Outright.com’s bookkeeping application. This streamlines the time-consuming tasks of organizing receipts and accurate bookkeeping for home-based and small businesses.
Make sense? The service or application itself is powerful, to one degree or another, but that power and USE FOR YOUR BUSINESS is only enhanced and increased when the applications can work together.
As you consider using new, hosted applications, or software from older companies consider what existing (or new) software it can work with to enhance the boost of productivity it has for your business.
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