This article is about the pros and cons of PC based Shop Management Software, and PC based.
In fact, this article is more of a promotion of cloud based automotive shop management software. If you are looking for specific comparisons between competing products, You may want to take a look at www.capterra.com or www.automotivemanagementnetwork.com. These are the only 2 sites I have found with any real comparisons. The first is strictly a review. The second is a shop management site / forum. The second may be a bit more valuable as these post come from actual users of the products.
Web based or PC based, what is the difference?
PC based software is the software that you have to install into your computer. Web based or Web Apps. as they are called, require no installation. Services like Google, Yahoo, or Outlook email are Web Apps. There is no software to install. You just go to the website, create an account, and you are up and running.
PC based software is dying.
Everything is moving to the “Cloud”. When people refer to “The Cloud”, the Web Apps. listed above are just what they are talking about. All the work is done on a server on a remote location and only the content you need is sent to your computer. The makers of Automotive Shop Management Software seem to be a little late to the party, but I believe it is only a matter of time before they catch up.
A little about me.
I am a Automotive repair shop owner in Rockville, MD. Computers, networking, web design, and programming have been my hobby for many years. Several years ago as cloud Apps. were starting to take off, I thought about all the benefits a cloud based App would benefit my shop and believed it would offer other shops many benefits that the current PC based programs could not. So I decided to build one. Even though I had a lot of experience with computers and software, It took me a while before I got to the level that I could put SMOTGO together. After several years, SMOTGO launched in February of 2013 and has proven pretty popular with many shops. So, this article may be a little less of a comparison and more of an article about the value of a Web App. over a PC based program.
Let’s start with setup. How long did it take the last time you installed a program on your PC? How many times have you installed software on you PC and it did not work correctly? With a Web App., all you usually have to so is create a user name and password. You may even have to click on a link sent to you in an email to confirm your identity. Sounds a lot easier then a full installation.
With a Web App., you can work from anywhere you can access the internet with a browser. You are not tied to your shop or that one PC. You can check your schedule from home in the morning before you head into the shop. At night you can come home, have dinner, hang out with the family, then finish up some estimates, invoices, or check inventory from home. You are not limited to the number of devices you access the App. with, so everyone in the shop can access the App at the same time.
Access to your data and security of your information.
Our site allows you to export all your data at any time. As far as security goes, if your computer is hook up to the internet, your data is probably more at risk than on a server in the cloud. The reality is that once information is on a computer, it is never 100% secure. If you pay attention to the news, companies are getting hacked everyday. Big companies, security companies, banks, etc. Just saw in the news today that a credit card processor lost 45 million dollars when someone gained access to their data. I ‘m guessing that these company spend hundreds of millions of dollars to secure their information. Having said that, we do take measures to keep the information secure. The server is currently located in a Godaddy data center. We use an encrypted SSL connection, firewall, security updates, ect. How often do you check the firewall on your PC or install the latest updates?
Data back ups.
When was the last time you backed up your computer, program, or data? If you are unlike most and actually make regular back ups, how much time do you spend doing that and have you ever tried restoring the data to see if it works? We back up our users data every 30 minutes.
Ever find a bug, or undocumented feature in your software? How long did you have to wait for the next update to be released? If a bug is detected on an Web App, it can be fixed very quickly. A lot of time within hours. With a Web App., new features can be added at anytime. You don’t have to wait for the next update to get the latest features, and you don’t have to wait for the update after that for the developers to fix the bugs in that release.
I hear questions like what if the servers go down & what if I lose my internet connection. I believe it is far more likely for your PC to crash an experience data loss then the servers that are in a data center with 24 hour monitoring. As far as the connection, when was the last time you lost your internet connection for an extended period of time? The internet has become pretty reliable.
If your computer fails with a Web App., all you have to do is use another one.
Being a web based App., it is easy to integrate email and texting to communicate with customers. It also allows for sharing of documents and files with your customers, and allowing them to make online appointment requests.
You can leave your questions or comments below.