Guest post from Luc Vezina
Read any book or blog (including this one) that offers advice about working from home and you’ll find one of the first recommendations is the importance of controlling your costs. Whether you’re starting up your own home-based business or working out of your home for someone else, the less you spend on up-front on technology, the more money (and sanity) you have left for yourself.
One cost-effective strategy that can help you in that area is moving away from buying technology that requires software and/or hardware, and instead signing on for Web-based services. These services offer a “pay-as-you-go” model that eliminates the need for huge up-front capital expenditures, high maintenance costs, and ongoing support costs. All while assuring the technology you’re using has all the latest features and upgrades.
Here are three ways Web-based services can help you work better for less:
- No IT costs - When you buy a business application you have to install it onto a computer or server – either by yourself (if you’re tech-savvy) or more likely by bringing in an expert. Once the application is up and running, you’ll probably need an IT person to keep it running at peak efficiency. If there is a significant software upgrade there is another cost, and you again have to call on a technology expert. If you’re using a server and it goes bad there’s an additional cost to replace the hardware. Moving to the Web-based model greatly reduces your overall expenses. That big up-front cost for hardware and software is replaced by a small monthly fee. In most cases you can easily get the service running yourself.
- Free maintenance- The maintenance happens behind the scenes, saving time and money while assuring you’re benefiting from the software’s latest features. Should a technical issue arise, one call to the supplier’s tech support group generally solves the problem at no cost to you.
- Use them for nearly everything - This move to Web-based services isn’t just for “outlier” applications anymore. Core applications such as your office productivity suite are now moving away from the traditional hardware/software model to being Web-based. The reason is simple: since keeping applications running is the service provider’s primary business, they dedicate considerably more time and resources to that function than you can on your own, resulting in greater uptime. You can focus on your own business, and leave the tech stuff to the experts.
While home workers choose to go that route for a variety of reasons, no one does it so they can spend more time trying to keep their computers running. Web-based services give you a way to avoid all the geeky stuff – and save money in the bargain.
Luc Vezina is product marketing manager for MyFax, a provider of Internet faxing services for individual home users, small businesses, and large corporations. MyFax has won a number of awards in head-to-head competitions for ease of use, reliability, and best overall value. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.