Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  25 Mar 2010

INFOTECH: SMEs Are Slowly Warming to Web-Based Business


Recent Gauteng Business News

The increasing reliance on systems by businesses of all sizes is driving fundamental change in the way accounting software is being provided to the SME sector. No traditional software application is immune to web-based competition, so it stands to reason that web application technologies and business practices is an area that local vendors and customers are starting to adopt.

Opportunities for both web and non-web based solutions continue to abound in South Africa and we’re in a good position to embrace our emerging markets, in which the SME sector continues to show strong signs of growth.

Vendors have seen a gradual move in the industry over the past few years. Customers are starting to consider the adoption of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models wherein web-based applications are explored as an alternative to traditional desktop applications. For the small business owner, perhaps one of the most challenging aspects is simply deciding which application is most appropriate for their business, as well as sourcing reputable options.

In the past, SaaS offerings were limited to applications such as ERP, CRM, and the like. Today companies, of all sizes, are also looking at online infrastructure services - applications such as backup and storage. Online backup can help small businesses deal with the challenge of exponentially growing data volumes. It presents a new opportunity for small businesses by giving them all the benefits of enterprise-class backup without the associated management complexity and cost. Better yet, as more mature backup vendors start to offer their software through an online delivery model, small businesses can be sure their data is safely in the hands of proven experts.

The challenge, however, for local businesses interested in web-based accounting solutions is the country’s bandwidth challenges. Also, SMEs in particular are simply not comfortable giving their sensitive accounting data to others to manage.

I would advise that business owners carefully investigate the issue of security if they’re exploring the benefits of web-based accounting for their business. Leading web-based vendors realise that this is a critical issue, and they have taken significant measures to ensure the security of their customers’ data files.

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