Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say packaged software is “dead” and that suddenly all software will be purchased and downloaded from the Web. However, it’s clear that packaged software has been in the throes of death for a long time. But it won’t be a quick and painless death. It will be years before packaged software goes away, if it ever does completely. (What about the software that comes loaded on your computer from the retailer? Don’t see that going away anytime soon.)
The convenience of being able to purchase a software application on the Web and download it immediately can’t be beat. But it also raises another thorny little issue: what happens when you switch computers?
Typically you’re given an activation key and required to register your copy of the software. But those activation codes are hard to keep track of. What do you do if you get a new computer and need that activation key, but can’t locate the original version? It’s not in the software provider’s interests to help you re-discover your key (I know — I’ve had to ask a couple of times and each time the answer was “we can’t help you”). It’s especially an issue for small businesses of under 10 employees — typically they have no in-house tech support and usually are DIYers for computers issues.
Some small business owners I know have been using RoboForm to store the increasing number of passwords that you need for online applications. It also has a RoboForm2Go license where you store all the information on a USB drive and carry the USB drive with you. That way it stays independent of any particular computer.
Not only can a solution like RoboForm help you store passwords but it can keep track of all those software activation codes and other details you may need if one computer goes kaput or is inaccessible. When you have to do it yourself in a small business, a solution like RoboForum is an important detail.