As a pet business, should you choose installed software or cloud software for managing your business data? This single decision may significantly affect not only your profitability, but also your customer's experience and your personal enjoyment of your job. Choosing the right software for your business can lead to more clients, more efficient operations, and a laid back environment for you to enjoy your pet business more!
With installed software, your business data is limited to your computer or network.
Most pricing models at first glance appear like a one-time only purchase, which can be at a high upfront cost, but reasonable when taking into consideration long term use. It is important to keep in mind that you will also need to purchase an annual support contract and that as new versions of the software become available, the old versions will stop being supported by the manufacturer meaning you need to purchase the new version. When considering this option; think of it more as chunk payments instead of month-to-month.
You will have control over when to update your software. Most companies send out updates every few months, which you can download manually from their website during after work hours so as not to disrupt operations during the day.
Most technologists would agree that installed software is a dying industry. It is not cheaper, not faster, and not updated as often as cloud based software.
However, if a person does not have a reliable internet connection and does not see the value in having a tablet or smartphone with a data plan, installed software may make sense.
The first advantage cloud software has is mobility. Everything is online so you will be able to access your business data in real-time from any location. When you need to run errands, take a break, or go on a vacation with the family, you can still monitor your facility's activities.
Another advantage is compatibility. With cloud software, you will be able to view your business on multiple computers, tablets, and smartphones at the same time. You can use it on a PC and a MAC without having to purchase different versions -- as long as you have internet access, you can use your cloud based software. While your employees are managing a pet's profile from one device, the web browser on your device will be updated as well.
Pricing models are usually pay-as-you-go, month to month. This means that the software company must continue to earn your business month after month. This also makes the software less of a risky commitment because if you do not use or like your software then you can cancel at anytime.
Because cloud software companies take data integrity very seriously, sophisticated software will host data in a data center that is fully encrypted.
Cloud software companies will also automatically update the features and backup your data for you. There wouldn't be a need to restart your computer after updating.
Depending on the cloud-software provider you choose, your customers may also be able to book appointments with an online booking widget set up on your website. This gives you a 24/7 booking window, which is convenient for pet owners who only have time to set up appointments after working hours. Instead of automatically accepting each appointment, you also have the option to manually filter through the appointment requests before they are approved.
All in all, your software depends on how you want to run your business. Request a demo or walk-through of the software and explain your day-to-day tasks and services to the software companies you are considering. Like you, they are looking for customers with the right fit and whom are seeking services they can provide.
Compile a list of software features you absolutely need and ones you would be nice to have. This will give you a clearer vision of which software companies are worth the investment.