Desktop on the Web

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With the introduction of web-based business applications, we find ourselves being able to conduct our business almost anywhere at anytime. With the ability to access software applications over our wireless Internet connections, we find ourselves less and less bound to our office desk.

Web applications are increasingly becoming popular across the business world. They are often lower in cost and can be accessed from virtually any Internet-accessible device without installing additional software. All the necessary code resides and runs on a remote server and can be accessed with a common Internet web browser. Since the newer cellular phones and PDA's support wireless Internet access, our business operations can now be truly "mobile."

Web-based applications enjoy a significant advantage over more costly desktop software. Being server based, they are not restricted to the normal desktop software model. They can operate as they were designed, regardless of the operating system on the user's device. They do not require unique software installed on user devices, and the server securely backs up the user's data. Other benefits include collaboration and data sharing between users in real-time, and application updates are installed to the server instantaneous with little or no impact to users.

In the past, businesses had to install a client program (software) directly on each computer, requiring costly licensing, upgrade and maintenance. If their computers had different operating systems, they had to have different versions of the software under license. If their PC crashed, their data was often lost for good. Also management of this complex computing infrastructure required hiring and maintaining a computer support group, another costly venture.

Today, with the movement toward web-based applications, companies have greater freedom in their computing infrastructure. Web-based applications are being used to access web mail, log on to discussion boards (blogging), and subscribe to a variety of business-related applications, such as online activity scheduling, Customer Relationship Management processing, online product sales, and similar high-end applications.

The more effective versions of these applications center around a very powerful database structure that is further supported by the latest interactive web technology - Web 2.0. This standard promises a new world of low-cost applications for the business world.

Web 2.0 supports all the new browser enhancements we are beginning to experience on Google Maps and other brilliantly designed websites. Web 2.0 applications include RSS feeds, weblogs, podcasts, wikis, online web casts, and a variety of other new and innovative products.

Older established software companies are hastening to make versions of their PC-distributed software available as web-based applications. Since most their products were originally designed to run as software installed on individual PC's, software suppliers are often finding it troublesome to make this transition.

Companies like Microsoft are beginning to realize that to ensure their future, they must redesign their products focusing on the small to medium-sized business model, not the large corporate organizations of the past. Slow to realize this, they are now facing intense competition from dynamic companies like Google and an array of smaller companies that are already providing specialized Internet-based business applications better tailored to this market segment, often at a more reasonable overall cost.

Earlier this month (March 2006) at a Microsoft-sponsored conference based in Dallas Texas, the company presented its intent to retool its Business Solutions division under a new trade name - Microsoft Dynamics. The change is targeted at the small and mid-sized business model with integrated software supporting web-based access. It pledged to offer more web-based products and modify their desktop products to work in a more collaborative manner with other online applications.

What they are finally realizing is that the young and smaller companies are starting to threaten their dominance by capturing a greater portion of the small business market. These smaller operations better understand the needs of the market and are quick to produce the online products the market desires.

Many new web-based offerings are directly competing with the Microsoft Product line. They include products like Writely (, an online word processor, and NumSum (, an online spreadsheet program. Other web-based offerings provide data and file sharing services that go beyond the current capabilities of the Microsoft products. Flickr ( allows users to store, search and share digital photos, and websites like ( and BackPack ( provide a means for users to store any type of digital media allowing dynamic collaboration with multiple users.

Other web-based applications offer high-end, multi-function products to the small to medium-sized business community. Synapse Corporate Solutions ( offers an impressive on-line Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application. This innovative software allows businesses to securely manage their client and personnel data, access email, trend customer behavior, distribute newsletters, schedule events, and includes a variety of other managerial and trending utilities. A unique and impressive option available to its users is the ability to have the package integrated with a business or Ecommerce website designed by their partner company, Arestia Design Studios (

As our broadband wireless capabilities expand we will find ourselves relying more on these web-based software products. How we conduct business can evolve in concert with the evolution of the Internet, not a bad prospect at all.

Soon we will be able to manage our operations from anywhere, using all the new devices we have at our disposal. Imagine be able to refresh your knowledge of a client by viewing client data on our PDA or phone prior to appointments, having dynamic access to your product inventory or other data while sitting in a meeting, or any number of other enhancements in how you do business.

There is a "New World" Out There, Not Just "Business as Normal" - Enjoy!

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