Why A Good Cloud App Still Works Offline

The benefits of cloud access in a financial scenario are obvious, but what happens if you're working on the road? The answer is to ensure you can use the app even when disconnected, and that's an approach which has been firmly embraced by account software provider MYOB.

MYOB held an official launch today for AccountRight Live, the new cloud-based version of its widely-used accounting software. Following a pilot which began in July, the package will go on sale from November 8. Existing customers with the fully-supported desktop versions of the software will get free access; new customers can sign up from $23 a month.

What I found notable about the launch event was how much emphasis was placed on blending the cloud elements of the service (driven by Windows Azure) with the desktop. "The ability to work offline is absolutely critical," CEO Tim Reed noted.

Small business customers who have been in the habit of safeguarding their data apparently won't lost that mindset easily, even though the benefits of having data shared instantly with (for example) your accountant are obvious. So while the suite can work entirely online, you can also 'check out' individual files to work on them when disconnected, and then check them back in. The package also automatically backs up data to your local drive every 20 minutes.

This is a wise approach, but one that's often ignored or mangled by other cloud providers, even the largest. Google, for instance, has taken a messy approach to this, rolling out Gears and then killing it before gradually restoring offline options for some apps and enabling Google Drive synchronisation. Much better to build it in right from the start. . A related tactic is that the app is delivered through its own interface, rather than as a browser-based solution. "You've seen with tablets and phones that people want apps, they don't want websites," Gianpaolo Carraro, Microsoft director for developer and platform evangelism, noted during a panel discussion at the launch. "Combining the local power of the device but making it connected to the cloud infra in the back is a superior model."

As ever, there are few absolutes; browser-based apps aren't about to disappear, and improving mobile networks make cloud apps accessible 'live' in more and more locations. But it doesn't hurt to ensure that you can keep working when the network drops out


Comments

    Oh Gawd, MYOB, NO. Get Xero, seriously. This is just more MYOB nonsense where they pretend to even know what the 'Cloud' is. Whether your data itself is stored locally or in the cloud, at the en of the day you are still stuck using their clunky Desktop application you need to install. No Mobile/Tablet/Web from anywhere.

    Did you know that the MYOB company founder and CEO for over 20 years Craig Winkler stepped down from MYOB and joined Xero? Yeah. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

    Last edited 24/10/12 2:59 pm

    Xero all the way for me too. And I love the continuous improvements they make on it.

      lol, send and receive 5 invoices a month for $20. sounds great.

        Lol. agree pukoh. Yep but you only need 5 invoices a month as a treehouse architect - when you have a real business then you get MYOB

    Xero for me also

    AccountRight Live looks and feels fabulous - now literally thousands of SME's can now use their favourite accounting package anywhere, anytime at the press of a button without having to start again, learn new software and retrain staff. Well done team MYOB - Love your work!

    Finally - a viable solution that gives a business owner the security of an accounting package that they have come to rely on and trust. No re-training staff, no more moving data files around to give copies to bookkeepers and accountants, no more multiple versions of data and a 'bit n pieces' approach.
    One copy of the data, stored more securely that your average SME home or office PC, with real time access to live data for genuine, qualified feedback from trusted advisors about what's really happening with a business.
    MYOB have taken the time and effort to get this right, and I for one applaud the effort and dedication of the MYOB team in getting this fantastic product out to market. I'm very proud to have the opportunity to be associated with a great product, a great company and the start of an exciting journey for what is still to come. MYOB - As your 2012 Partner of the Year - LOVE YOUR WORK!

    The small business accounting software you know and love just keeps getting better and better. MYOB have researched, listened and invested significant development dollars into providing a solution that meets the needs of small business in Australia - from micro business using MYOB Live Accounts to those who need the more complex solution of MYOB AccountRight Live and its features such as time billing, complex inventory, job costing, multi user access and the ability to access financial information any time, anywhere without the need of add-on solutions all for a reasonable cost.

    No retraining, no loss of historical financial information, a raft of reports, customisation options with the same familiar interface - what a winner - MYOB - LOVE YOU WORK EVEN MORE!!!

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