There's no denying that many small businesses are turning into true believers when it comes to Web-based applications (aka, on-demand, software-as-a-service, ASP-delivered software and hosted applications).
While myriad hosted products exist offering everything from collaboration to accounting, if you wanted a turn-key suite to run all aspects of your business, NetSuite has been your only choice. However, there's a new player in the on-demand game.
Everest Software, a company that has offered its software only as on-premise software suite, today announced that its Everest Advanced product is now available as a hosted application. The product's integrated accounting, purchasing, payroll, customer relationship management, inventory management, sales automation and e-commerce application is aimed at small businesses with between five and 75 employees. Customers typically are in the wholesale, distribution, retail or e-tail business.
"Hosted applications have mostly consisted of point solutions such as Salesforce.com and Yahoo Stores and a lot rely on third parties to stitch [different applications] together," said Ali Jani, chief technology officer. He added that NetSuite has been the only product to offer a fully integrated option.
Jani said that the Everest on-Demand is suited for customers who want a low initial investment, pay-as-you-go pricing, remote access and simplified management. The Web-based version also allows small businesses to be up and running within weeks, he said. Small business that initially deploy Everest in the new on-demand model, but later want to bring control in house, can transition to Everest's on-premise model without the need to endure the inconvenience, cost and time associated with implementing a new software system, according to the company.
|With the introduction of Everest On-Demand, NetSuite has competition in the hosted application suite market.|
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If you initially implement Everest On-Premises but later hire remote employees and open new locations, for example, you can convert to the on-demand delivery model. "You can switch from model to model and take your data with you," Jani said.
The company said it will offer the hosted product in two versions. If you're looking for the most economical approach, you can opt for the Shared On-demand service. In that model, your data is on the same server as other Everest customers. This architecture is also referred to as multi-tenant and is how many on-demand applications operate.
The other, more expensive option, is the Dedicated On-Demand service. That version is designed to ensure consistent, reliable performance that won't be impacted by other customers.
The dedicated version is also built to ensure better data availability and access, higher transaction volumes, less downtime, and a simpler conversion should you opt to move to the on-premise version of Everest Advanced. The Dedicated Server version costs $500 a month for a five-seat server. The shared service version is $300 a month for two users. Additional users are $50 per month. Customer support, which is required, cost $200 a month for unlimited calls.
Jani said that Everest will offer its on-demand service payable in quarterly payments. Jani said that unlike some other hosted applications, Everest doesn't require that customers pay for a full year in advance. Customers aren't locked in should they decide after three months to bring the application in house.
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