As their web site introduces “Online booking provider Appointedd was born when founder Leah Hutcheon saw a gap in the market during her time as a busy magazine editor. Growing used to doing everything online, it struck her that the only thing she couldn’t seem to do was book her hairdresser appointments. That was when the idea came about for a tool that would give small service businesses a simple way to get online and gain a competitive edge.”
Appointedd is a SaaS provider (Software as a Service) meaning you don’t have to buy and install software, instead you set it up instantly and pay monthly.
Features include appointment and team scheduling, calendar synch and payments, and there is a mobile app so you can use all these on the move.
Cloud vs SaaS
For small businesses seeking to understand this technology, it’s helpful to distinguish between Cloud computing and SaaS. Although the industry groups them under one umbrella, they are quite different tools for different user groups.
Cloud typically refers to the infrastructure aspects of computing, in short the online, virtualized equivalent of the servers and operating systems, what is defined as ‘IaaS’ – Infrastructure as a Service. They are grouped together as they are all some form of ‘As a Service’ offering, and SaaS refers to the higher level of the software that runs on this infrastructure.
How different customers use them and why is the most useful distinction. IaaS is ideal for companies who are building and running their own software, meaning they typically employ developer teams and want to empower them to work faster and more effectively. Although tech startups are also small businesses, they are often defined through the fact ‘technology is the product’.
For example companies like Skyscanner their web site is their business, same for Appointedd, and so IaaS is the ideal tool set for speeding their product innovation. In contrast more traditional businesses, especially as you consider the ‘micro’ segment such as self-employed plumbers or accountants for example, don’t undertake any development and instead need tools that better support and enable how they run their companies, especially when it empowers them to better participate in the digital world.
Plug and Play Digital Business
This participation can be achieved through a form of non-technical ‘development’, where you create a customized digital business model through a lego brick assembly like process.
Through ‘widgets’ and other web-to-web integrations, it’s very easy these days to connect together the services offered from across multiple SaaS providers.
For example if you have created your web site using popular builder tools like WordPress or Weebly, then there are relevant integrations available so that you can insert your Appointedd booking features directly into your web site, without any new coding required.
A simple but critical feature to highlight that Appointedd offers is a ‘microsite’. This simply means a web site, one typically auto-generated for one specific purpose; in this case a booking site.
This would be ideal for trades that are very booking-centric, for example a self-employed hair stylist, but again simply don’t have the time or budget to build a full web site. This kills two birds with one stone.
A defining context is the fact that the Microsoft digital economy research identified that within the lagging trend of Scottish small businesses not investing in technology like Cloud, it’s still the case that:
“28% still don’t even have a web site”
Appointedd is therefore an example of the type of service that can address these needs, a quick, easy and very affordable way of getting their presence online, and via a functional tool they will immediately find practically useful. And of course as a Scottish startup themselves, encouraging the nation’s SMEs to use them produces an accelerating benefit for the economy.