Not so long ago the only web-based software people used was their Internet banking and their email. For everything else there was a CD.You would stick it in your PC’s disk drive, listen to it whirl for a little while with your fingers crossed that it would work, run through the installation with your fingers still crossed that the two were compatible, and no sooner had you got it up and running than the first of the upgrade CDs would arrive in the post. And repeat…

Those days are so far behind us that some modern laptops no longer even have disk drives. Just get hooked up to the Internet and all you need is on there. Hell, who even needs a laptop, just use your tablet. Now everything from your accounting package to your project management software, your time-tracker, your diary and your to-do lists are accessed by logging into the relevant website in your browser. The future of software is on the web and here are the main reasons why you should ditch the expense and hassle of your own servers for the carefree world of web-based applications.

1. You have nothing to install

Software CDs are for resting your coffee cup on. Web-based systems are accessed in your browser. They’re like fancy websites where you log in and do work, as opposed to all those other websites where you read endless gossip and watch hours worth of funny, sixty-second video clips. When you sign up for Software as a Service (SaaS) you typically get a free trial period and you’re up in running in a minute or two – no hassle of setup, no cost for new hardware, and no need to call on your IT expert. Evaluate your trial at your leisure with no outlay other than a little familiarisation time.

2. Minimal setup and running costs

The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for any software system considers the direct and indirect costs involved in getting a solution up and running, and then maintaining it over its lifetime. Traditional in-house server-based systems can be very costly, and this has led to a perception that introducing a new system is a prohibitively expensive exercise which simply doesn’t make sense. In fact, if you consider web-based solutions the opposite is likely true. The clue is in the name – Software as a Service (SaaS). You don’t need to purchase your own server and software licences, and apart from the setup costs involved (not to mention renewal costs each year) you don’t have to wait for hardware to arrive and be configured so you can be operational in minutes. No on-site server means no need for a costly IT expert, internal or external, to maintain the server. If there are any issues with cloud-based software the support is generally covered in the subscription, and the issue is also most likely not even in your office so you’ll likely have to do nothing to rectify it, just let the software provider sort it out promptly. You effectively just pay as you go.

3. You can work anywhere, any time

When you’re using web software the world becomes your office. Gone are the days of being tied to your desk during work hours. So long as you’ve an Internet connection, which let’s face it is virtually everywhere, you’re able to manage your business and get work done. Read reports on the train, prepare statements at your kitchen table, or keep abreast of recent activity in the office while you lounge on an exotic beach. Whether it’s your laptop, your tablet or even your smartphone your entire business is always at your fingertips and you always have your finger on the pulse. Just remember to switch off some times too!

4. Your data is always backed up

Your data is the lifeblood of your business; without it everything breaks down and dies. Software-as-a-service providers treat your data with the same care and attention as they would treat their own. For example our RentPro servers are located in the world-class, highly secure, disaster-proofed Amazon Web Services data centres where everything is continuously backed up onsite and offsite. No more worries about forgotten backups, fear of flooding or fire, concerns about virus infection or dread of weekend break-ins. We have it all under control so that your business transcends your physical office, freeing you from having to think about infrastructure and IT security.

5. You are always using the latest version

Since your software system is installed on our central servers it is fully under your control and no longer dependent on you running complicated upgrades. Remember those? Something always went wrong during the upgrade and you’d spend an hour on the phone to a helpdesk trying to get everyone back in action again. We update our software continuously and each time you load a page in your browser you’re automatically right up to date. It’s more cost-efficient for us, and it’s simply no effort for you. That’s just the way it should be – you’re a property manager, you shouldn’t have to be an IT expert as well.

6. Your data is more secure than in your own office

We’ve all come to know and trust that little gold padlock in our browsers, indicating that all data being passed around is encrypted with bank-level security technology. With the news full of stories of security breaches and data theft, all responsible software providers should be ensuring that sensitive data is encrypted on the server itself so that even in the extremely unlikely event that a hacker gains access to the system the scrambled information is useless to them. Data centres are guarded with world-class security systems to prevent physical or electronic intrusion and they automatically back data up in multiple locations in case of disaster. Compare this with the risks your data faces in your own office and I’m sure you’ll sleep easier with the experts looking after it.

7. Everyone is accessing the same data in real time

In today’s networked world it’s quite common for people in the same organisation to be operating from different geographical locations, at home, in the office, on the move, or even abroad. With office-based servers it can be tricky to share documents and data efficiently and securely, and it can be hard to determine if you’ve definitely got the latest version of a document or are acting on the very latest financial information. With cloud-based systems everyone is accessing the same remote servers so the data is always coming from the same source and everyone is always totally up to date. When a tenant pops into your office to pay their rent or a buyer rings up to place an offer, each time you reload your browser from your holiday villa this will be reflected instantly. You’re bang up to date no matter where you are.

With no setup costs, no contracts and nothing to install, there’s really no good reason not to trial web-based software.

Sign up for Elevate’s 14-day free fully-functional trial and you can be up and running in 60 seconds. You’ve nothing to lose, and you might just be surprised!