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Is the Future of Self-Storage Software Online?

Markus Hecker Comments
Continued from page 1

There are different ways to design software for self-storage using the Web. Not all Web systems require a server at the central office. Web-based programs run on a Web server in secure data center. Web systems catalog data on the Web server, which means they require only a basic computer to operate, eliminating the need for a network and network maintenance.

When a database resides on a Web server, users do not need to receive upgrades via CD-ROM. Instead, the software company deploys automatic, live updates that bring every computer up to the latest version. Eliminating central servers and running automatic updates lowers the cost of software ownership. Plus, Web systems that keep a copy of all data on the Web server as well as users’ computers improve speed and reliability, which lets stores better handle large amounts of data and customer transactions.

Web databases can also tie into a store’s website, enabling online payments and even First Class and Certified Mail outsourcing. Managers no longer have to print letters, stuff envelopes or spend time driving to the post office. Owners who enroll in a printing service not only eliminate repetitive administrative tasks but also those costly, high-maintenance postage meters. Web systems can send letters, handle postage and offer tracking, including recipients’ signatures, more reliably than manual printing at stores.

The tighter integration of a Web system also enables owners to lower monthly credit card fees. First, programs can exchange more information with processors about cardholders. The more information about a cardholder you send to the processor, the lower your rates.

Next, more users rely on automatic billing by ACH or bank draft, not credit card processing. One-time or recurring ACH can cost a fraction of credit card fees. Stores can offer ACH payments to tenants at the office and website as an alternative or replacement for credit card payments. It’s not uncommon for operators to cut credit card fees by 20 percent per month.
Measuring Results

SQL databases form the backbone of most Web systems and offer powerful ways to create standard and custom reports. Report writers, exported into PDF, Excel or more fine-tuned systems for tracking, can help analyze strong areas and those ripe for change.

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