My latest article “Is your Financial Platform on every device” as it appeared on Kochie’s Business Builders

Whether it’s storage, communication, collaboration, or financial management, most modern business software should now work on any device.

Any new business technology product entering the market would be digging its own grave if it didn’t work across every device and operating system.

Many software vendors like to create a vision in your imagination that you will be sitting on a tropical island, sipping a cocktail, running your business from your phone. For any real small business owner, that’s unlikely to happen.

But there are very real benefits of having the systems that underpin your small business working on any device – from your smartphone to a tablet or laptop. I want to outline some of those real-world applications to help inform your decision-making while growing your small business.

Absolute mobility

More and more things can be done away from the computer these days. Yes, running your business tends to be more efficient with a keyboard, mouse, and sometimes multiple screens, at least for now! But there are real benefits in being able to access every system using the phone in your pocket, everywhere you go.

Just landed in a new city? Open your phone and immediately know how your business is going. Everything from task management to inventory control, data visualisation, finances, communications including email, and more, can work from your mobile device if you choose the right software.

It means, above all, that you can unchain yourself from your desk. If it works on any device you own, you can get out of the office and work from a café for an hour or two, or do some quick work from home when absolutely necessary.

We know small business entrepreneurs don’t simply clock off at 5pm and stop thinking about their operation. So whether you’re waiting for the bus, or simply have a spare moment in your daily routine, you’ve got an immediate snapshot of how every aspect of your business is running.

This mobility leads to a healthier lifestyle, and allows you to interact more closely with your customers.

Don’t worry about the IT

When new technologies come along, you don’t have to worry about whether your current systems will work on them. Whether it’s as simple as a different screen size, or as complex as a completely new way of interacting with hardware, if you choose business software that functions across different platforms, you know you will always be covered.

Regardless of whether you buy a new computer, the latest iPhone comes out, or you’re hoping to use a dusty desktop dug out from the back closet for a couple of weeks, you won’t have to change the tools that help you run your business.

It also means you can keep your staff happy, by allowing them to bring the phones, computers and tablets they already know and like, into the office. Instead of forcing your staff to use hardware that you choose, you can let them use their own, while still using the same software as everyone else.

It saves the business money and gives freedom of choice to your employees. It’s a great win-win from having your financial platform and other software available on any device.

Easy–to–use, beautiful software

Many modern software companies now focus more effort than ever on beautiful, easy–to–use tools and applications. It’s challenging to design for a wide variety of platforms and screen sizes.

But the companies that do, put great emphasis on high quality design and effortless user interaction. This not only means the software works well, it also means your employees are more likely to actually use it, which means your business will run better.

Get going quickly, and cheaply

Most importantly, online software that works anywhere is often cheaper and easier to set up and get going. You don’t have to engage in half–hour demos, or commit to a huge upfront cost before you even get to use the software.

Software designed for every device is provided as a service (‘software as a service’), which almost always means it has a low monthly or annual fee.

You’re not usually locked in to a contract, and you don’t have to deal with pesky salespeople, or at least until your business becomes much larger and more sophisticated.

The illusion of relaxing by the beach, running your business from your smartphone, might not be something any of us can really achieve, nor should we want to. But choosing software that at least makes this possible, is a very smart way to set your small business up for success.