From the Desk of…
MARIO NOWOGRODZKI, CPA/CITP
Founder and Principal
A few years ago, a good friend and industry colleague spurred controversy – and unease – in the small business accounting community by pronouncing “QuickBooks consulting is dead.” This article is not intended to be as dire as that statement. In this article, we delve into the feasibility and future of the traditional QuickBooks hosting environment. QuickBooks hosting is defined by Intuit as the ability to have your QuickBooks Desktop software installed in a remote hosting facility and access that software over the internet via a secure connection.
The end (as in objective or purpose) of QuickBooks hosting is the freedom of running QuickBooks Desktop software with anytime, anywhere access, allowing business owners and accountants to spend less time managing technology and more time to conduct business. When running QuickBooks in a hosted environment, users are not anchored to a desk and data is stored in the cloud, making access easy and convenient from multiple locations, so that everyone on a team works with the same information at the same time, no matter where they are and whether they use a Windows computer, Mac, or tablet. QuickBooks thus delivered is Intuit’s current, full desktop software, rather than the limited feature set of the Software-as-a-Service QuickBooks Online. The benefits of such delivery are many and the model enjoys a dedicated and growing audience.
All this said, over the past year, clients of several of the shared-resource hosts have been adversely affected – down for sometimes long periods and with varying degrees of impact on the security of data and compliance with accounting industry standards – all owing to the shared nature of the infrastructure. So, it is the core of the concept of QuickBooks hosting that is at question: until today, a remote hosting delivery implies a shared network infrastructure. That could mean anything from pooled rack space and computer processing to communal data storage and firewall security. Good news is that these business disruptions are largely avoidable: today’s technology allows businesses to enjoy the same benefits of an on-premise network infrastructure in a cloud environment – with greater flexibility. I am speaking of running your applications and data on Microsoft Azure, which entails no sharing of processing power, no sharing of storage devices with other clients, and very importantly, no sharing of network security with anyone else. Bottom line, the concept of the shared environment is at the end of its road.
Thus, the end (as in demise or finish) of QuickBooks hosting is here. The traditional shared-hosted environment is a thing of the past, having served its purpose until the advent of today’s cloud technology. Now, the running of QuickBooks and related applications on Azure is the most adaptable platform for small and midsized organizations, enabling them complete control of their environment. On Azure, businesses enjoy a private network, with their own dedicated storage options. No sharing of any resources, period. Companies can accelerate the speed of doing business anywhere, anytime, unconstrained by service providers.
To contrast the degrees of flexibility, when building a traditional, on-premise network, you are committed to the equipment purchased. If needs increase, you are essentially stuck with the processing power, memory, or storage already installed. Yes, you can upgrade and add resources to a limited degree, but these increase cost through acquisition and implementation. Should needs diminish, the situation is worse; dialing-back utilization actually decreases ROI, as you can not shed resources when you are not using them, such as in off hours or those when fewer employees are on the system.
In a traditional hosting model as described near the beginning of this article, you are allocated units of computing, storage, and security resources, and have no control except to add or subtract users.
Enter Microsoft Azure: in this fully adaptable environment, the number and speed of processors, amount of memory and storage, and several other computing resources, actually scale on-demand. Companies pay for what they use, period. You can schedule a server to be off and on a schedule. For example, if you know there will be no one using resources from midnight to 6am, schedule the resources to be off between those hours and you end up paying less than what would cost to rent or own otherwise. Yes, it can be set up to be that granular. There is no way to have that kind of adaptability on a typical QuickBooks hosted environment. That is the principal advantage of Azure. Running QuickBooks on Azure helps businesses focus their IT staff on value-add customer experiences while streamlining infrastructure and delivering cost savings – on their path to digital transformation. Businesses worldwide are increasingly looking to Microsoft Azure as the preferred location for deploying and consuming software. As small to mid-sized enterprises become more comfortable with hybrid and cloud-only deployments, the depth and breadth of accounting and operations workloads provide compelling scenarios. Now you can run QuickBooks Desktop and related add-ons to help you move faster, do more, and save money while utilizing the power of the cloud in the way that best suits the needs of your organization.
Whether you call it nube or chmura or anan, welcome to the new cloud! (have fun on Google Translate with each of those!)
Mendelson Consulting helps businesses define and implement Cloud strategies and solutions. For more information, Click Here.