I’ve often talked about my personal desire for accounting software to emerge from it’s constrained place within either a desktop app or a SaaS dashboard and to be exposed where, and when, a user wants it to be.
Earlier this year I was very positive about Youcalc, in part because it gives businesses the ability to gain visibility over metrics across multiple systems, all viewable in one place (and for that matter, embeddable in multiple places).
Given my penchant for visibility then, it made me happy to read a week or so ago that Zoho (disclosure – Zoho is the exclusive sponsor of CloudAve, having said that these are my own views) has created a “Gadget” for it’s invoicing product (see CloudAve review here) that is able to be embedded wherever required – within Zoho’s own business dashboard, on iGoogle, within Facebook – in fact any site or page that is either OpenSocial compatible or that allows the embedding of an iframe.
It’s a simple thing but also deceptively powerful. Remember that software is a means to an end for small business – it’s the stuff which helps them (hopefully) do whatever it is they actually do – be it manufacturing, designing, selling whatever. As such the best thing software can do is enable users getting the information they need as and where they need it – quickly and easily thus letting them get on with whatever they actually do.
It’s precisely this flexibility that makes widgets like the Zoho invoice one so valuable. I look forward to the day when all my information: news, RSS, SaaS apps dashboard, internet banking and the like is all able to be displayed where and how I want it – bring it on!