This is one of the big headlines of 2009 - Hosted solutions with IRIS Practice Hosting. As revealed during the IRIS World roadshows in October, IRIS Hosting will include Microsoft Office and email software delivered via Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection, along with web-based IRIS applications including Open IRIS10. Available as a monthly subscription for £99 per user, the service will include security, maintenance, upgrades, backups and software licence management. But you will also have to pay for your IRIS software licences on top of that.
The topic cropped up on our thread about the £99 upgrade service available to client/server versions of the software installed at accountancy firms. With hosting, you don't have to go through the rigmarole of installing new versions yourself.
Here is a summary of some of the views expressed so far:
Tomski100 - "They state that there will be no need for expensive IT equipment and staff if you go down the hosting route, but just lifting Iris off our network onto a Windows 2008 Terminal Server on the net is not suddenly going mean that we no longer require servers and a network infrastructure. The costings don't add up for us, but that's not to say it's not for everyone. I think the smaller the practice then the more cost effective it will be.
(5 to 10 users it might be ideal, that's if your broadband is working)
Paul Scholes - "We are in the sub-5 user category and I'll certainly consider this as the server comes to the end of its life. Still think it is too much for most firms at the moment but given the use benefits (especially remote working) and NEVER having to worry about a SQL backup again It's the way to go... Roll on their hosting service (at a price I can afford)."
Tonyarm - "IRIS hosting sounds interesting for a small practice like ours. However, I wonder about the speed of the programme. We've just converted to SQL running from a new top spec server and SBS2008 and it is so slow. Much slower than before. What will it be like if the server is somewhere else?"
Cjtrevor - "If we hadn't just had to spend many many £'000s to get a new server to run SQL, for which we invested in SBS 2008, and replace all our Office 2000 licences with Office 2007, then I would have been very much interested in the Hosted service also. A great shame this didn't come first before the SQL upgrade requirement!"
There's a separate debate about whether this represents IRIS moving into Cloud Computing or not, but the real question is - how likely are you to use it? Is this the way forward for practice software and what might the benefits be for your firm?
Or does the current offering and pricing put you off? All comments welcomed - both for other AccountingWEB.co.uk members and IRIS managers, too, who will get some valuable customer feedback.
John Stokdyk, Technology editor