Saas downside: the real problem

by admin on March 19, 2009

in Cloud Computing/SaaS,General

lessaccountingIn my last post I gently ribbed a colleague suggesting he’d asked the wrong question about saas.  This is the real problem. Despite all the frequent updates, invention, new business models and the like, software sometimes doesn’t do what people want it to. Or it does too much. Or it has something missing that people DO want.

Like any other product, development has to continue and users are no less hard on newcomers than they are on old timers. This in turn is amplified by the kind of transparency we see on support services. Check this stream from GetSatisfaction talking about LessAccounting.

Depending on your point of view, the issues presented go from the trivial to frustrating to darned annoying. Exactly as they do for anyone who uses software.

But even this has an upside. If you look through the issues, you’ll see the development team is highly responsive. It’s brave of them to be as open because this provides another measure by which a software business can be assessed.

Professionals are naturally risk averse and take the view that new software is bound to be bug ridden and therefore of dubious quality. Given that saas accounting is a nascent industry, that’s to be expected. Having the luxury of an established on-premise industry against which to compare makes life doubly tough for the saas players.

Another way to look at saas is to assess how well the vendor performs in the problem resolution stakes. Services like GetSatisfaction make this easy if fraught with risk for the vendor. What happens for instance if a user comes up against a deal killer? It was one of the early recommendations I made to FreeAgent Central during the time when I was working actively with the company. Here’s their GetSatisfaction page.

Now go compare what you see in those links to what you can find about say…Sage support.

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Emily Coltman March 19, 2009 at 2:19 pm
allan branch April 3, 2009 at 1:09 am

I don't think having unhappy users is really bad, you can't make everyone happy all the time, it's how you handle them after they're annoyed that counts. We're a small company trying to make a few thousand business owners' lives easier with simple accounting. The huge benefit to SaaS is you'll have more small companies like ours building simple niche products that'll bring together people with a common goal. Dennis this was a great read, keep it up.

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