To appreciate the incredible value of QuickBooks integration you first learn a few computer industry LAWS. These concepts were termed laws because they seemed to clearly operate over long periods of time, though we keep hearing they are only temporary.
Moore's Law (1965). Before becoming President of Intel Moore noticed that computer memory had long been becoming far fasted and cheaper. At first this occurred every year and later every two years. He concluded it would continue for a long time. Industry observers later decided that it also applied to doubling computer speed, with related cost reductions. Recent computer developments say this Law will operate far beyond 2015.
Moore's Law, however is not based on a scientific formulas. Various types of chips progress at different rates at different times. Moore's Law is simply a way to approximate long term growth of computer power. Depending on how you interpret it, you can easily conclude it is wrong. However, that is not important relative to our need to regularly upgrade computers and programs to use the increased power frequently available.
Metcalfe's Law is even more powerful (1973, about when Metcalfe invented Ethernet). It says the value of networks increase exponentially with the number of network nodes. For example, a four user network is four times as valuable as a two user one (4 x 4 = 16, versus 2 x 2 = 4). A 12/17/01 InfoWorld article (page 8) says the corollary of the law for business determines business value by the number of interactions that take place across the sphere of the business environment. That is why a discussion of this was a big part of the 2002 Intuit Developer Conference. To become a developer and see this presentation free click here.
To understand Metcalfe, imagine you have one of the only two connected phones in the world. It obviously has little value. However, each time more phones get added every person with a phone can call every other person, with many calls at the same time. Then many of us save on transportation, doing business and enjoying ourselves far more.
Now apply this to computers. The many useful things you can do with them are not diminished when you connect to other computers. To the contrary, you can see and do far more when hooked up to increasingly large local and remote networks. Those who study this say there is no question that the value created rises exponentially. That is why many consider the hundreds of millions of users on the world wide web one of the most significant and valuable creations in the history of mankind. As it continues to very rapidly grow and get faster, the web gets incomparably more valuable each month, InfoWorld states the obvious, "In computers and business, the secret to success and value is volume."
The XML Revolution may more powerful than Metcalfe's Law. When we first wrote this (12/18/01) few programs managed interactions between extended sets of business processes. This was especially true for small businesses, which process about half of gross national product. They must effectively type out each word being communicated. We are automating typing, but can do much more if our computers use other computers to automatically fill all business and personal needs. A U.N. Committee estimates worldwide savings of about $2 trillion dollars a year from common electronic business forms and integrated programs.
XML is eXtensible Markup Language. It began as a way to make web pages. Extensible means it allows us to extend designed capabilities, while letting different computers work together. InfoWorld says (page 37), "Without a doubt, XML is fast becoming the lingua franca of business to business data exchange." Its entire issue shows that Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and BEA Systems are among those making XML a top priority. Other articles show this also applies to Intuit, Sun, leading CPAs, the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, major banks, credit rating firms, investment firms and collection agencies.
The Microsoft .NET version of XML has transparent links between many programs. It is probably the most important feature of XP. Microsoft even has .NET on the pocket PC. IBM is rewriting much of its software f it and native XML databases were six years old in December, 2001.
In December, 2001, Oracle's Small Business Suite (http://NetLedger.com/) was $99 a month. It has accounting, finance, payroll, sales force automation, customer support, employee management, expense reporting and a web store. It lets customers, employees and vendors to access company data on the web, with very strong security and backup. Users claim it provides average returns on investment of 1,753%. A new QuickBooks XML compatible interface should increase that. The President of NetLedger said Microsoft BizTalk servers can convert differences between the NL and QB XML dialects. This applies equally to Microsoft .Net XML and the Oasis international EDI specification being adopted this month.
I am not saying QB 2002 Pro and later will soon connect many companies to Oracle NetLedger. I am saying that the XML in the Oracle Suite and QB will soon be one of the most incomparably profitable ways for big and small businesses to work together. In the meantime, QB Pro will interact with a VERY fast increasing list of profitable programs.
In December 2002 http://www.marketplace.intuit.com/ has 160+ integrated products. http://blocktax.com/quickbooks-addons/quickbooks-add-ons.htm has 200+ integrated products and our new, but not yet complete website at http://www.quickbooks-add-ons.com/ has 1,000+. More important, Intuit continues to provide its software development kit, extensive documentation, support web forums and more FREE at http://www.developer.intuit.com/. Even small developers can afford the extra support, copies of QuickBooks and marketing to 3 million QB users that is included with the professional developer package costing $1,195 a year. This is why Intuit had 11,000 registered developer companies a year after users got the first QB XML version (QB 2002).