There are many hosted application startups (and not so startup) with
new services that on their own have varying degrees of functionality
and overall ROI. Even some of the applications that are free (and many
beta apps are free), such as Gmail, have limits to their return on the
investment in the time you use them.
What makes individual applications powerful is when they can be
combined with other applications to make them more powerful than they
ever could be on their own.
Why are pirates hacking the iPhone and offering their own software (see the WSJ article about this)?
The reason they are doing this is because while the iPhone is cool and
cute, the software that powers it really makes it powerful.
For example, Outright.com
developed by two former Intuit employees is an online book keeping
program which helps you do a range of activities including: track
business income, invoices and payments and much more,. It has recently
partnered with Shoeboxed to
allow receipts scanned and uploaded into Shoeboxed to flow seamlessly
into Outright.com’s online bookkeeping software. This partnership is
the first use of Shoeboxed’s new API.
With Shoeboxed’s mail-in scanning service, users can now send paper
receipts in to Shoeboxed and have them scanned and data-entered into
their online accounts. Now, those receipts can be automatically
synchronized with Outright.com’s bookkeeping application. This
streamlines the time-consuming tasks of organizing receipts and
accurate bookkeeping for home-based and small businesses.
Make sense? The service or application itself is powerful, to one
degree or another, but that power and USE FOR YOUR BUSINESS is only
enhanced and increased when the applications can work together.
As you consider using new, hosted applications, or software from
older companies consider what existing (or new) software it can work
with to enhance the boost of productivity it has for your business.