Located and managed application services are not really new technologies – they are very similar to the service bureau computing types of years past, in which green-screen dumb terminals had been connected via cellular phone lines to big host systems located “somewhere else”. These days, remote desktop engineering and high-speed Web connectivity are combined permitting hosted services to supply the performance as well as functionality, and nearly just as much flexibility, as localized computing.
With Intuit’s announcement of an authorized QuickBooks Internet hosting program early this year came increasing levels of market awareness with the potential benefits of the centralized, hosted QuickBooks style. While some providers were offering hosted QuickBooks software for some time, the program produced by Intuit has encouraged others to partake of into the style. Unfortunately, some wanting to partake of the model have proven to be providers with no experience in providing managed application providers. Others, who might have experience in web host QuickBooks, saw barriers for the program and decided not to participate. This puts their clients at risk with a solution which is unsupported from the software license or maybe developer.
How does a profitable business select a hosting company for their crucial business financial applications and data when you’ll find so many companies saying they can do this? Here are some basic criteria that should be met by virtually any provider, and then it boils down to the facts.
Following is some general guidance we could provide on OR NET (application service provider) or maybe hosting provider selection. This list doesn’t cover everything, as there can be other important tasks your unique situation needs to address.
Would the hosting provider be sanctioned by Intuit to be a commercial host regarding QuickBooks?
If you’re going to use QuickBooks software within a hosted environment, you should make sure your provider is usually authorized by Intuit to supply the service. Opinions vary on this subject, but the important points are the details:
Intuit requires of which commercial hosts certify while using MSPA (Managed Vendor Alliance) prior in order to engage with Intuit. This accreditation validates certain tasks of the provider shipping and delivery, so at least there’s a basic assurance how the provider has hidden elements to offer a hosted application answer. Intuit then takes it further by requiring how the host agree to fulfill certain basic requirements with regard to infrastructure redundancy as well as data management.
Further, the ability to ensure customers of the valid utilization of their software licensing, and to not invalidate their ability to get support for your software, is a really legitimate basis regarding requiring Intuit authorization.
How will the company package and fee services?
Ask what the fundamental subscription covers, and how many other things might you be charged for achievable service (setup costs, annual software enhancements or updates, etc). Would be the service shared/public fog up or private?
Some providers offer solely shared (public cloud) providers, where all servers possess the same software about them, and subscribers usually are balanced among these kinds of servers. When this can be the case, it can be difficult or impossible to include certain applications for the hosting service. Further, it generally implies that, when software changes are introduced, those updates span to any or all servers in the series, for good or bad.
The biggest benefit of such a delivery is enhanced fault-tolerance – because if one server fails, you can connect to another one and proceed to work with no less than disruption. The drawbacks are generally the lack of flexibility in adding applications, integrations, and ad-hoc providers.
While most suppliers offer some degree of shared service, they may also offer custom (private cloud) services where the business can elect to possess a variety of software applications hosted and managed by the provider.
The custom shipping and delivery model requires more from the service provider, with regard to experience and knowledge with software installation and management, as well as capacity planning. The thought of getting your individual “virtual server” might appear compelling, because the company sells some great benefits of having almost any applications you desire.
The downside is that many providers do not supply the consulting and planning which should accompany such a head unit, and allow the client to get into trouble with incompatible applications or overburdening the machine with too numerous applications or too much data.
If the provider offers custom made service, then they very likely provide hosting for greater than a single application. Again, experience is critical when working with a provider who will deliver multiple applications or potentially complex integrations.
You should be certain your provider has experience in working with different solutions as nicely as software suppliers.
What are your options for adding applications or services later on? Can you have other applications managed besides QuickBooks?
Is the technology accustomed to hosting QuickBooks market standard, or is it based on a thing proprietary or distinctive? What is the underlying technology as used by the provider into their QuickBooks hosting program? On the list of major points involving outsourcing the IT service is to not keep worrying about the intimate information on the technology. It’s not wise to fully divorce yourself in the issue because it may matter greatly in order to expand or support your implementation.
While the platform technology would possibly not seem like it makes a difference now (it’s the provider’s responsibility, certainly not yours, right?), it may make a huge difference later. When it comes to dealing with many different applications, implementing that software in an environment that it might be supported in is very important.
If the technologies or delivery setting is proprietary, tips on how to know that the program will run properly – now and down the road, and can you make sure of getting a good level of support for one’s software in of which environment?
Proven, industry standard engineering is always your best bet to assure compatibility with recent and future items and to enable your software provider to back up your solution. This might, over time, prove to be among the most critical aspects of selecting a provider, particularly if you plan to use greater than a single software item.
What would be the method of program delivery?
First, what’s the technology utilized – Remote Desktop or RDP, Citrix, Journey EOP, Thinworx, Ericom… there are many of choices available. Different technologies offer cool features, and you need to explore this area to ensure that the delivery, as well as functionality, meets your family needs and those of these users.
Also, ask in the event the provider utilizes a new secure portal regarding website login, and if it might be co-branded or non-public label branded. Other questions may include whether or not the delivery supports using multiple monitors; if the application presented to be a full remote PC service or launched via an icon for the user PC. Can you gain access to the file, the process directly, and can you upload and download files whenever you wish to? How does making work?
All of the questions relate to the presentation of the approval (QuickBooks or others) and may impact working routines and user behavior.
This was a guest article by Denor Linen. Denor is an IT analyst working with SageNext Infotech. SageNext is a leading QuickBooks hosting provider also dealing in all tax and accounting application hosting services.