Gave a talk this time last week at the The Onlincolnshire Digital Conference (#godigital2013) chatting about what sort of online services our customers start to use after they have FTTC installed. I was not the only one. Rob Wilmot of BCS Agency (some of you will remember him as founder of Freeserve) and Stephen Parry of LloydParry told us about the cloud services they used in running their businesses.
Something that Stephen said really stuck in my mind. He uses a SAAS product called FreshBooks for his accounting, invoicing and expense management. What’s more he uses it on the move and recounted a story of a visit to a client in Frankfurt. After having lunch with the client Stephen photographed the receipt and loaded it into his expenses folder using the FreshBooks iPhone app.
After finishing his day’s consultancy and heading back to the airport he invoiced the customer from his iPhone, including the cost of the lunch (no such thing as a free one). One assumes that the customer pays electronically by bank transfer. Wham bang job done.
This is the future. The old monthly bank run is an anachronism. it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. I can see that there is logic in not having too many invoicing runs and there is always going to be a need to manage the books monthly if only for the benefit of the taxman.
We talk about agile computing and a world with bandwidth on demand. Our world today is all about instant gratification and the whole concept of agility is extend into many aspects of everyday life. Witness self publishing and print on demand – killing off the old publishing business model. I’m sure there are many other examples of changing ways of working that trefor.net readers can quote.
Coming back to the Onlincolnshire Digital Conference this whole online world does absolutely depend on good quality communications. My experiences with a dead VDSL modem exposed this. Even though I had cellular backups for all my computing devices it still felt as if I was living in a 500kbps ADSL world.
At the conference Lincolnshire County Council announced that BT was the successful bidder for the BDUK NGA broadband contract (congratulations BT!). Worth noting that BT also bid successfully for some 2600MHz bandwidth in the recent Ofcom 4G auctions and that they are considering using this to reach areas of the country that are uneconomic to service by other means. It would make sense to me if they were to offer a 4G backup to their FTTX services right across the patch. It would be an added value, PAYG bandwidth on demand service that would underwrite our transition to a cloud based world.
That’s my consultancy piece over. Now where is that mobile invoicing app?