One of the exciting parts about watching SaaS companies gain critical mass, is seeing the business that start up around them offering a related, but not core, piece of functionality.
It’s always a relatively risky place for a vendor to be – they’re reliant on the “parent app”, and the more successful their add-on feature becomes, the more likely the parent vendor is to just introduce the functionality themselves and therefore cut of the accessory app’s air supply – that said it’s still fun to watch!
The other day Duane Jackson from KashFlow pinged me and explained that user permissions is a feature that KashFlow is quite light weight – at the moment one can have multiple users logged in but their access is “all or nothing”. He explained that it’s a huge amount of work to set up and outside of their current focus (and, one assumes, sufficiently enough of an edge case as to not be seen as core functionality). He did tell me however that a third party had created an application that leveraged the openness and breadth of the KashFlow API to provide user permissions as an add-on.
For £2 per user per month businesses can sign up to KashGuard and set granular permission for different users – allowing, for example, an accounts clerk to create invoices but not create customers. The granularity of permission options is detailed in the image below;
Simon Swords, manager of Atlas Computer Systems who created KashGuard is looking at this application as the beginning of a series of add-on applications for KashFlow, ones which can leverage KashFlow’s existing customer base, offer them useful features, and dribble in some revenue in the process.
As I mentioned earlier – being this tied to one particular application is a little risky but given the size of the market for SaaS accounting applications, it makes more sense for vendors like KashFlow to broaden their customer base rather than trying to cannibalize their ecosystem partners. Watch this space…
This post seems to have caused something of a storm, to say the least. An AccMan post referencing it has generated a flood of comments, some positive, some negative. It was followed by another post discussing SaaS issues in general, and a retort on the KashFlow blog