Thursday, September 25, 2014

Skyline by Uni-Data - Why We 'Cloud Hopped'

We use a variety of cloud hosting solutions for our clients, but I had a hard time selecting one that was a great fit for our office as an accounting firm. We loved our old hoster (at first), but it turned in to the one transaction that I would glare at on my bank statement each month.

The decision to make the change was a fluke - my business debit card was replaced and I was changing the card number with my vendors as the notices of cancellation were coming in. When I received the email from the old hoster, I took it as a forced opportunity to find someone else.

I had a variety of problems that needed a better solution...

User Experience
You may already know that I am absolutely in love with all things Citrix... Skyline by UniData uses the XenApp platform, which is user friendly and fast. The platform shows you all of your versions of QuickBooks and allows you to view your Q Drive with your files, all from one central location. LOVELY!

Multiple Versions of QuickBooks Software
Skyline allows me to have all six versions of QuickBooks that I need to host - 3 years each of Premier Accountant and Enterprise Accountant. All of the icons that I need are available at my fingertips as soon as I log in. YAY!

Accountants Copy
This is the biggest obstacle that I encountered with my previous hoster, which was a total deal killer and cut in to the value and purpose of hosting my QuickBooks files. If a client sent me an Accountants Copy Transfer file, I would have to convert the file locally then upload it to the platform. This defeated the value of the cloud, as I had to be on a computer with the software that I was trying to avoid hosting locally. Skyline by Uni-Data is program driven instead of file driven, so I can just save the transfer file to the Q Drive and convert it in the cloud. SWEET!

Customer Service
I will be the first to tell you that I am semi-demanding with my vendors... If you make a product and advertise its purpose, I get irritated when it doesn't live up to it's name. I have heard this time and again about my industry - that accounting folk don't like to be 'sold' - but when you do sell us you better follow through! I'm sure many of you calculate out the cost of an obstacle once its complete, figuring out how much time and money you just lost while solving a preventable issue. The nice thing about the support at Skyline was that when I did have a problem and was too busy to do a remote session, they figured it out on their end and just kept emailing me to have me do my side. A rep stayed until 8:30 pm to make sure that my problem was fixed! AWESOME SAUCE.

Ho. Lee. Cow. I was sold with the user interface features of Skyline, but when the price came in so much lower than the 'other guys', I was absolutely amazed. You want to give me a better product, with better service, for a better price? SOLD! 

And to top it all off, my dear friend and lovely peer Joanie Mann of Cooper Mann Consulting Group is now working with Uni-Data, which gets them another gold start sticker in my book. Go check them out, you'll be glad you did!

See you at QuickBooks Connect in San Jose!