For the people below 25 it might be hard to realize that mobiles and internet have not been around forever. There was a day when meeting up with friends required precise planning and catching up meant repeating stories over and over.
It’s hard to imagine that the first mobile phone was introduced in 1973 and that 17 years later, in 1990, 12.4 million people worldwide had mobiles. In those days mobiles where reserved for business people. The phone had become a status symbol on its own. 4.6 billion people worldwide now own one, the mobile turning into as essential a piece of electronic equipment as the television, penetrating all economic levels, even in developing countries.
Many applications, by mobile standards, are still on a more 1990’s level. Let’s take two; Business Intelligence (BI) and Software as a Service (SaaS). While these applications are commonplace, they do offer a popularity contrast with the current mobile phone. They’re more like the once successful carphone – cool and convenient, but only if you’re rich and spend 4 hours a day in your car.
BI solutions are still mainly used by large organizations that can afford the amounts involved in buying and implementing on premise software. The smaller SMB companies are left out. Typically outsourcing their finance and payroll to an accountant, they have to make do with a few reports once a month. We can debate what BI is at length, but to me, it’s knowing what’s going on in your company at any given moment.
At present, SaaS applications are widely profiled as offering a higher level of service, free from maintenance or updates and accessible from anywhere. In fact, these things were already reachable with other solutions – only with more expense and greater difficulty. The real revolution will come with new networking potential. Really connecting everything to everything real-time will create genuine synergy and exciting new possibilities.
Exact is currently investing heavily in SaaS in the form of Exact Online. Exact Online Payroll will be released in the Netherlands in June 2010, Exact being the first SaaS developer to combine a financial and a payroll application on the same platform.
Moreover, this application focuses on the smaller companies in the SMB in collaboration with their accountants. This allows these companies real-time information on their business while still receiving professional payroll and financial service. Whether you call it BI or not, it’s offering the entrepreneur real empowerment. In the near future employees will be added to the chain, many more players following and thus expanding the network. Exact will certainly continue to work hard to make these technologies as important as mobiles are today. So don’t get hung up on your current application – the world is likely to change faster than you know!
Product Line Manager