February 1, 2013 Electronic Invoicing in the “Clouds”
A friend and I were discussing iPayables and our electronic invoicing application, InvoiceWorks, and he was asking if it was in the “Cloud.” I feel that the term Cloud Invoicing refers to any electronic invoicing application that is a hosted solution and is accessed from the internet. This is not necessarily the true technical definition of the cloud, but it is what most non IT folks think.
So my colleague asked “Where is the cloud?” Now this is a little trickier. If your IT department is not hosting your specific data, it is in the cloud. It is being hosted by another company and you are retrieving it via the internet. It is a nebulous concept without a specific location, hence the term cloud. There is not a single cloud for cloud invoicing, just like there is not a single cloud in the sky. And more importantly, not all cloud invoicing is the same. They are all different to one degree or another. Of course this elicited the following, “Well then how is InvoiceWorks Cloud Invoicing different?” To this I answered the usual string of benefits such as common functionality like PO flip, notification escalation, ad hoc reporting capabilities, advanced duplicate detection, etc.
Then I decided to take it a step further. I decided to speak to the fact that our application is covered under US Patent #6,826,542. This is a patent that allows for the customization of an internet invoice. In general terms, it is the patent that allows one client to present their standard cloud invoice to their suppliers with their specific and customized fields and layout. Another client will present their cloud invoice, through the same InvoiceWorks application, with differing fields and layouts. This may seem like a simple thing, but we hold the patent, and have for a long time. We are not new to the Cloud Invoicing game; in fact, we were in the game before anyone was referring to it as cloud invoicing.
With all of that said, we chatted about security of data, how maintenance is handled and a few other tid bits of information. When I felt that he had heard all that he could handle, I finally told him to get his head out of the clouds, and get his electronic invoicing into the cloud with InvoiceWorks by iPayables.