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Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. His business interests include a diverse range of industries from manufacturing to property to technology. As a technology commentator he has a broad presence both in the traditional media and extensively online. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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5 responses to “It’s a Numbers Game – On SaaS Uptake”

  1. DuaneJackson

    I don’t share your surprise that so many customers come from existing desktop based apps (mainly Sage, QB and MYOB for us).

    You’d find that most of these people have been “struggling” with Sage, etc (some times for years) rather than “using” them.

    They take a look at products like Xero in NZ or KashFlow in UK because they’re told they’re easy to use.

    We get lots of emails from people that are relieved to have found an accounting app that takes away the pain. I’m sure Xero gets the same.

  2. Michael Bryant

    It’s no surprise at all that small business owners are walking away from desktop applications.

    Sage – too expensive – £1300 for a 2-user system of Line 50 Pro is pretty hilarious. Maybe Instant Accounts+ would do the job for me but I can’t find a comparative feature table anyhere and Sage’s promise to email one was not fulfilled. In the end I got bored and started looking elsewhere.

    Intuit – removed foreign currency support from Quickbooks when it implemented the 2008 version. In any case, that version attractd contemptuous customer feedback which Intuit, bizarrely, publishes on its own website. The 2009 version of the software has been on the market in the US for some time but has not not been released in the UK. When, and if, it is it won’t support foreign currency. Intuit told me yesterday that foreign curreny support will not happen in 2009. Meanwhile they have withdrawn support from the 2002 and 2006 versions whilst urging foreign currency users to continue using 2006 until further notice selling it for more than £200 per licence to those users in the know who insist on it. How you can get away with selling software at a premium price even after you’ve announced it is no longer supported is beyond me. Could they be walking away from the UK market? Or perhaps all their developers are working on SaaS. They certainly treat their UK customers with contempt (I am one).

    Microsoft – no one trusts MS to support its product long term in the UK. All that coding for VAT is a bit hard and the market is pretty small compared to the US. There have already been rumours of a planned withdrawal. Actually, no one trusts MS at all to produce a stable product that won’t crash every 10 minutes.

    All of which leaves a few very small players and the SaaS providers.

  3. Michael Bryant

    Actually, I take back what I said about Microsoft, having just bought Microsoft Accounting Professional 2009. Early days yet but so far it is by far the most stable MS product I have ever used (and I’ve been using them for a long time). It’s also the most comprehensive package I have found for SMEs and the most cost effective. So far it beats Quickbooks hands down. In the end I rejected SAAS mainly on cost grounds – the difference is huge.

  4. Michael Bryant

    No I don’t! Microsoft have just withdrawn support for MOA from the UK market. No new releases ever, no notice. If I ever look as though I am going buy Microsoft software again can someone please restrain me.

    Michael Bryant