Experiences and practicalities of SaaS and Cloud Computing from an ardent supporter and user.
The Cloud - what you get for your money
I have spent the last few days in Copenhagen where I have been visiting the team at E-conomic to discuss their planned updates and ongoing ideas.
What struck me as I entered their modern, crisp, and ergonomic offices was the number of people beavering away at various aspects of the E-conomic system. In addition to a dedicated support team, there are teams of developers working on upgrading and constantly improving the system.
Additionally, I was surprised to see that as one walks through the offices, there are a multitude of noticeboards with development information and issues - all in English. I actually felt embarrassed when one or two of the team apologised for not using the correct English word - as my Danish is non existent this really put me in my place!
Of course the number of people working away behind the scenes is not peculiar to E-conomic. The same was true when I visited Kashflow 's offices recently and will of course apply to many other Cloud application providers. But I don't think that most Cloud sceptics fully realise this. The Saas profile is try, buy and if you don't want to continue for any reason, stop. No long term commitment and onerous payment plans. In many cases you get the opportunity to trial the application for no charge for a period of time. For your no obligation monthly payment you get a committed team of people beavering away to constantly upgrade and improve your user experience with application improvements and enhancements appearing when you next login.
Contrast this with the standard on premise solution (and no, I am not just referring to our friends in Newcastle). I have recently had to purchase some tax compliance software for the professional side of my operations (please..someone develop a Cloud based tax offering soon). As well as paying a licence fee based on the number of users - committed for a year by an upfront payment and monthly standing order, I also have to pay an ongoing "membership" fee - what is that all about. Once paid my CD arrives by mail and I have to proceed with the installation on the various computers in my organisation.
Compare and contrast - I am not saying that the teams behind the tax software are any less committed or
dedicated, but you don't half pay through the nose for the privilege and any updates or improvements have to wait
until they can be rolled out by post to the various users.
I keep saying that the choice to use the Cloud is a no brainer - I am constantly reminded of how much of a no
brainer it is.
Oh, and another thing about the E-conomic offices - they have a great canteen. Lunch was delicious!