What has been the most important function of the Internet as a business tool?

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Email is the most important business function provided by the Internet. While we take email for granted, recall that a mere 10 years ago, it was a rarity for folks to have email addresses on their business cards. The acceptance of PDF, .doc and .xls formats allow businesses to communicate instantaneously with their staff, customers and vendors, allowing for much more efficient and effective throughput in getting work completed. The flip side of this phenomenon is the client who emails in his last piece of tax data on the due date, and expects his return PDF'd back by the end of the day. And the biggest problem is: we do it. Mark Zivin, CPA, MBA

BPS

Chicago

Partner Insights

By far the most important function of the Internet is communications and customer service. Whether it be email, messenger, Webinars or remote support, the speed in which we are able to address the needs of our customers, prospects and vendors is incredible. We are able to do sales presentations at the drop of a hat, sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles away. We can send screen prints of errors, remotely connect into our customers' PCs and do this all within moments of being notified of errors. We chat online with our other offices and our customers, send POs and receive them via email and receive educational training from our vendors without leaving the office.

Peter Kaufman

ADSS Global

Miami

The most important function of the Internet as a business tool is its use for finding and evaluating business solutions as well as providing technical support for our customers. We can search for software solutions on the Web, download the code and begin evaluating in minutes. Support for customers used to mean a trip to their site to perform certain services. Now we simply connect to their server or workstation via the Web and provide those same services without ever leaving our office.

Steve Lublin, CPA

InterDyn CFO Consulting

Orlando, Fla.

For SVA and many of our clients, it has been collecting and delivering business-critical information on a timely basis. This includes collecting time/expense/materials from employees and delivering back personal/corporate performance information.

John A. Baltes

SVA Consulting

Madison, Wis.

The Internet has radically changed customer support for the better. We can reach a customer's system instantaneously and diagnose and fix any software problems. Customers are pleased with the rapid results; we are pleased by the ability to supply that response. We can be much more productive by eliminating a trip to a customer's location. The Internet has also greatly improved research and the ability to find solutions to our customers' problems. The ability of search engines to return rapid responses to many questions allows us to help our customers.

John Kane

Albany Business Systems

Chatsworth, Calif.

For us in the accounting VAR business, the Internet has been huge as a support tool.

We're now able, from the comfort of our leather chairs, to reach out and touch clients in currently 18 states via 'Remote Desktop Services' and VNC programs, providing real-time support faster, at reduced cost and less hassle to the clients and us as VARs.

Kevin E. Stroud

NexLan

Danville, Ill.

In our business the answer is accessibility. The Internet gives businesses the ability to access any information from anywhere (including PDAs), at any time. They can access information on competitors, access your eBusiness Store, access research and development sites, access communications. VARs that offer support as well as wares have the ability to access clients' live data in a support environment, alleviating the cost of paying for on-site visits. The Internet has all but eliminated the geographic restraints on businesses in providing services to clients.

Patrick J. Anson

SWK Technologies

Syracuse, N.Y.

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