SaaS & Big Cos: Go Hard or Go Home
2011 has seen the big boys of the UK accounting software world, Sage and Intuit, finally enter the SaaS marketplace.
After their first abortion of an attempt, Sage went back to the drawing board and delivered a technically sound product.
Six months after Intuit was initially touting an upcoming SaaS app to it’s partners, they finally got a (paid-for!) beta version out which – almost another 6 months later – they have now put on general release.
Push It Real Good?
Sage One is so functionally crippled that it’s of little use to anyone. Maybe as a completely free tool and an upgrade path it would gain some traction, but not at it’s current pricing.
Lots of people say of Sage “They are a marketing company, not a software company”.
What marketing have you seen for Sage One since it’s initial launch? I get most of the marketing emails Sage send out and I’m yet to see anything promoting Sage One.
As for Intuits QuickBooks Online, try their “is it right for me?” tool that asks you a series of questions.
The ONLY way to get it to recommend their SaaS application is if you say you’re using a Mac, otherwise it recommends a desktop app.
If you do go ahead and try it anyway, expect to be disappointed. Here’s one of many similar 140 characters reviews from Twitter:
Terribly limiting. Minimal reports, opening/closing screens is cumbersome. Navigation is clumsy. Only plus-remote access.
Intuit have been equally reluctant to give their new baby any marketing attention. A very shy debutant, as Adrian Pearson called it.
Go Hard or Go Home
The lack of decent functionality and marketing effort says to me that neither of these companies are going hard on their SaaS strategy.
It’s as if they’ve done something because they felt they had to, but did it reluctantly.
You can see their quandary. It’s widely accepted that the SaaS model cannibalises the traditional revenue models these companies work to.
But making a half-baked attempt at SaaS isn’t going to inoculate them against what’s to come. If anything it’ll accelerate the rate that customers and would-be customers choose alternatives like KashFlow:
Despite the lack of marketing effort, they’re making some people aware of online software as an option. And by dipping their toes in the pool they’re giving it their blessing as a viable and legitimate way of providing software.
But by being unable to provide a decent product, they’re just generating interest for companies that can.
That’s fine with me!