How I Leveraged Technology to Grow My Business

By James Cotton, founder and director of CMO COMPLIANCE

Running a technology company almost implies that technology runs your company. In many cases, I have discovered that this is far from true, and indeed, sometimes even with the best of intentions, it can be a battle. I try to keep our office paperless, because it ensures that all information can be extracted readily; however, it is not always so easy to find the perfect technology solution to help grow your business.

Here’s a recent example: accounting and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Whilst there are many well-marketed accounting and CRM software products available—such as NetSuite and Salesforce.com—we have had issues implementing such technologies. We recently reviewed a lot of accounting software packages, both offline and online versions. In theory, the thought of a Web-hosted accounting package is almost nirvana; you can access company financials anytime and anywhere, whether it’s to simply create an invoice or run complex reports. I imagine a lot of entrepreneurs also have this state of mind. After all, a lot of us have small offices scattered around the world, and it can be a challenge to keep track of activities remotely.

Hence, we spent a lot of time reviewing the hosted software available, but when it came to the crunch, the software ran so much slower than our traditional desktop accounting software. It was simply too frustrating from a data entry perspective. I thought that the Internet had sped up to a sufficient degree to ensure that such software was not prohibitively slow; however, it seems that once the Internet gets faster, we stuff more information into it, so applications hosted on the Web do not really increase in speed! We almost ended up back at square one. We are now using a multi-user version of QuickBooks, where we have the application running locally on desktops, but the database is hosted on one of our servers. So we get the best of both worlds— the speed of the desktop application and the remote access provided for by the hosted applications.

We continue to evolve and ensure that we are leveraging technology to grow our business. I can now issue invoices from the beach. I just need a BlackBerry version of QuickBooks so I can then issue them from my waterproof BlackBerry whilst surfing!

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