There is no question, keeping solid records as a farrier is essential. Today, there are several options from pen and pad to computer. John Fligg, CEO of Ambrit Software, warns that the promise that comes with heavily marketed technology may not always deliver on the promised potential. His first warning is to avoid keeping records in multiple places, especially with handheld devices.

“A mobile phone can only handle limited information, whereas a dedicated record keeping system can deliver all the functionality to be of real value for today’s business,” he says.

Fligg believes too many people are drawn to the latest buzz.

“Today, for some reason, everyone thinks that the iPad is the solution,” he finds. “However, in reality, whether we like it or not, the iPad has limitations, and many serious developers are not willing to write apps that have to be “passed” and licensed by Apple.

“It is widely recognized that Windows 7 supports professional business software and again there are plenty of Windows 7 slate devices on the market. These have far more flexibility than the iPad in terms of the software that can run on them.

“When inquiring of our clients we have found that there is a variety of hardware being used to keep their records ranging from the desktop PC to the Tablet, Slate or Netbook. Quite often the trucks are fitted out to carry these devices securely with a permanent power supply.

"I think that someone summed it up perfectly for us recently by saying, 'If we went into the doctor’s office and found them keeping records on their mobile phone we would be horrified.”

His advice: Think about why you are keeping records.

“Are you doing it just for contact details or is there more that record keeping can provide?” he asks. Surely, not only do you want the contact details, but presumably you need to keep horse history and be able to bill clients. You also want a scheduling capacity and if you are really serious about your business, you will want to know how the business is performing financially.”

A handheld device such as a mobile phone lacks the capacity on its own, and there are no iPad apps that can tackle these tasks and in my opinion there never will be. For those who want to maintain digital records, the laptop, desktop or any “slate” device running Windows 7 still remains the only all-in-one option.

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