Does anyone know of any good reason why iris annual charges are nearly double those of its competitors - for starter package anyway?
There is no doubt that Iris is a very good package (we used SAGE previously) and in the early days they were very responsive to feedback and conscious of price. IRIS has grown in recent years and perhaps have lost their initial focus.
A good example is their pricing structure for their IRIS accounting package, marketed to rival SAGE L50. When we looked into moving accross we were advised that the conversion cost per client was going to be prohibitive, certainly not something we could charge to clients, especially when rival packages offer this conversion process for free. IRIS's reasoning was that it was becuase the operating system behind the package required specialist conversion... surely this moves the package into the Pegasus, Sage L200 market. Shows rather a lack of understanding of the market place.
Hopefully "pressure groups" like this will make IRIS realise we do talk to each other and we do have a voice.
Thanks for kicking things off Peter - here's my perspective on this issue.
Historically, IRIS has alwas been a "premium" supplier and though its approach to sales and support is changing, I think they still maintain a pretty large sales and support team - which tends to be reflected in the company's ongoing cost structure. Having successfully won a large number of users with that business model, I'm sure IRIS is in no hurry to alter the equation.
Over the past couple of years, we've probably fielded more gripes from IRIS users than any other vendor, but often they take the tone of disappointed resignation that all three of you have struck here. IRIS isn't the same company as it used to be and now grapples with so much more than accountancy practice and tax software. So it's understandable that a lot of its traditional customers (and commentators in that market for that matter) are disappointed that the focus has switched from the core market on which the group was built.
That said, the point of this discussion group isn't simply to gripe about IRIS... Any developer worth their salt pays very careful attention to what users say about it, so you should aim to use your collective power for constructive purposes too. Where best do you think IRIS could improve its customer service or core applications?
I'm sure if you started running an unofficial wishlist here that it would have quite a positive affect on the IRIS development team - they'd probably welcome that sort of feedback from frontline users. And if they continue to charge a premium for their back up support, perhaps you could tell them how best to deliver it or what types of support work best for you (or perhaps an optional Sagecover-stlye approach that at least gives users some choice in how much they pay every year).
Finally, I'll certainly be keeping an eye on conversations here - if major points come up in the discussion, I'll bring them to IRIS's attention and see if I can get them to respond directly to you here.___________________________John Stokdyk, Technology editor
Although I have been an iris user for years (and therefore have no idea of the competition) it would take a lot more than "halving the costs" to persuade me to move. So I pay a premium price but, because of the use to which I put the software and the generally good response I get to support & suggestion issues, I believe I am, in fact, getting a premium product/service.
This is a personal view but I feel the level of gripes reported reflects both the high number of Iris users (ie their share of the market) and that many accountants are not fulfilled unless there is someone or something to moan about (ie HMRC, Companies House or Iris).
I know, I know, this is an awful generalisation but one founded on countless discussions with other accountants. My experience of dealing with Iris and other providers is that you get a far more sympathic hearing and constructive response if your compalint is couched in terms of feedback & suggestion rather than gripe.
Not true and not helpful.
There is much to complain about. That doesn't mean that we like it that way; au contraire.
We pay £000's for IRIS and therefore we expect a premium product and good customer service. We do not appreciate being told that an issue is our fault / the way we are set up / you are the only customer with that particular problem, when other IRIS users are having the same issues.
Its called customer service.
So do we. And we usually get it.
However, when there was a "fatal error" trying to submit somebody's CT600 onlie, they were not able to help and blamed HMRC . So I wrote to the Revenue; I'll leave the rest to your imagination.
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