Who Is The Best Cloud Vendor? Even Analysts Can’t Agree

cloud evaluationHow are customers supposed to evaluate the claims of cloud vendors if analysts don’t seem to be able to agree?

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Paid Business Process Review

This morning I spotted a press release announcing the 10th anniversary of Netsuite partner Lohmueller.

I swung by their site to  see how a veteran SaaS VAR has adapted to the process of selling a service which largely eliminates the break/fix type services that most consultants are now billing.

I like their website – mostly because it sets the expectations for any prospective customer about what the sales process will be like.

Getting past the “come show me a free demo” is the single most difficult task I’ve encountered – and one I believe is critical for VARS moving to a cloud based  offering.

These guys took “free demo” off the menu and have done a good job at setting the expectations of what their presumably fee based process entails.

Worth a look – scroll down to the bottom of their page to see how they tell prospective customers what their methodology is.

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Sage Partners Oasis Solutions and Accordant Join Netsuite Partner Program

According to a post on Bob Scott’s Insights – Sage partners Accordant and Oasis Solutions have both signed on with SaaS ERP provider Netsuite to resell and consult with their online product.

Bob’s site describes the two firms as:

Accordant, which was a Top Five Sage reseller for 2010 and 2011, has become the latest major Sage VAR to enlist to carry NetSuite. NetSuite also signed Louisville, Ky.-based Oasis Computer Solutions. Oasis has a more wide-ranging product line and handles Dynamics GP and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, along with Sage 100.

Bob Scotts Insights

SaaS Consulting: It’s Almost Like A Menu Thing

ZD Net has an interesting article on Netsuite’s latest channel offer. Essentially it looks like they’ve extended and improved their “you keep all the money for the first year” offer for VARS.

What I found most interesting was actually buried mid-way through the story — and it was this quote from Craig West:

My sense from participating in extensive threads on this topic is that the VAR channel remains wary of SaaS/cloud solution selling. It requires a fundamentally different mindset to selling on-premise solutions where the raft of available add on services is extensive. Craig agreed with my assessment that the vast majority don’t ‘get it’ or remain reluctant to give up their ancillary service support deals: “I think what’s more interesting is this burgeoning whole cloud consultancy thing where they are building whole portfolios that are not just ERP or CRM but collaboration, email, security and telephony. It’s almost like a menu thing.”

I’ve said for a while that SaaS is coming. I don’t know how quickly our customers will demand it. For now it seems mostly to be companies who fit the SaaS model (need strong accounting, revenue recognition, professional services) and have many remote locations where there is true cost savings in using SaaS versus having multiple remote offices wired to a central server. [Read more…]

The SaaS Business – A View From ITA Fall Collaborative 2010

The SaaS session at the Fall Collaborative for the IT Alliance in Salt Lake City Utah has just wrapped up.

Channel representatives from Netsuite (Craig West) , SAP (Geoffrey Ashley) and Intacct (Taylor Macdonald) made an impressive case for VARS to begin offering Software As A Service.

This was one of the most heavily attended sessions at the conference. It also provoked a good level of discussion and the presentations were top notch.

After the vendors were done three VARS (Christopher Goguen of RSM McGladrey, Robert Gaby of Arxis Technology Inc and Steve Jones of Explore Consulting) took the stage to answer questions and make a presentation about how their SaaS based practices. What follows are my notes – and initial impressions. [Read more…]

Are All Blogs Created The Same? Not If Publishers Are Hidden Behind Them

Late last night one of my 90 Minds group members posted a link to our internal Socialcast network regarding a new blog. He commented that a new web blog he found looked like an interesting source of information about Software As A Service (SaaS) or cloud computing.

First thing this morning I skipped over to take a look. Sure enough it seemed to be a relatively new blog cataloging news items in the SaaS industry.

The Internet is ripe with sites that spring up overnight with posts populated by RSS feeds from other blogs (aka SPLOGS or Spam Blogs). In general these SPLOGS seems to exist to try to game the system and earn both ad revenue and perhaps measure search visibility for a particular domain.

At first I suspected that’s what this site was. However after looking for a minute it didn’t seem to be your typical SPLOG. There were links to industry analyst blogs.  The articles seemed relatively current and topical.

The it hit me as I read the bottom of the blog. There was an entire row of posts sponsored by only one SaaS/Cloud publisher. I took a quick look at the Network Solutions Domain Name Lookup. Sure enough the site is hosted on the server of what seems to be the only sponsor. [Read more…]

Taylor Macdonald Joins SaaS Provider Intacct as VP Channels

Intacct, a market and technology leader in on-demand financial management and accounting applications for businesses and CPA firms, today announced that Taylor Macdonald joins the company as VP of Channels.

Taylor takes over the position from Jerry Jalaba who left Intacct in July 2009 after about a year in the position of VP Channel Sales.

Intacct is a Saas (Software As A Service) provider noted for their Salesforce.com integration capabilities, complete set of financial accounting modules and strong revenue recognition capabilities.

Most consultants first took notice of Intacct in April 2009 when Intacct, the AICPA and CPA2BIZ announced an alliance that resulted in their being named the preferred provider of financial applications. CPA2Biz was also named the preferred distributor of Intacct to the CPA profession. At the time the alliance covered over 350,000 individual CPAs and 45,000 firms governed by the AICPA.

Intacct described the relationship as ” The alliance will help CPA firms and small and mid-sized businesses adopt “cloud computing” to improve their financial performance, take better advantage of financial advice and make better and faster business decisions. Intacct and CPA2Biz will also co-develop a new version of Intacct’s on-demand financial management and accounting applications specifically for CPA firms and their clients that includes unique content from the AICPA“.

Because Intacct is privately held it’s difficult to get an exact measure of their partner channel – or their revenues. [Read more…]

NetSuite Strives For Verticals – Reports Another Loss and Average Annual Per Customer Revenue of $38,000


Netsuite reported earnings yesterday (read the entire Netsuite earnings call transcript here).

San Mateo, California-based NetSuite reported a quarterly net loss of $6.5 million, or 10 cents per share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $4.5 million, or 7 cents.

Revenue at NetSuite rose 4 percent to $43 million which largely met analyst expectations.

Some interesting items from the call. [Read more…]

Let’s get SaaSy – or maybe not

At the recent IT Alliance conference held in Palm Springs California there were quite a few sessions on Software As A Service (aka SaaS).

SaaS is loosely defined as running an application on a remote server that someone else managed. To access the application all that’s typically required is a web connected computer. Often the power of the computer is irrelevant since the processing power has been offloaded to the remote server.

The concept of offloading local processing and data storage isn’t new. Remember the days of mainframes and timesharing?

Part of the reason companies moved to desktop computers was speed. Just 30 years ago remote connections were slow and costly. Today those same connections approach local network speed and the cost has been minimized.

Now that connections are cheap — and the labor to maintain and constantly upgrade multiple desktop computers is expensive – the pendulum is swinging back toward remote computer processing or SaaS.

So the million dollar question most consultants are asking is where they fit within such a SaaS model. If the publisher is selling the application and collecting a monthly maintenance fee then where does the VAR fit in. What’s the model that allows the VAR to earn a fair recurring revenue stream from their installed client base.

Ask ten different people and you’ll get ten different answers. Read on for how I’d tackle SaaS. [Read more…]

When is 100% uptime not really 100%?

flat-tireIt seems likely that in coming months many businesses will embrace Software As A Service (SaaS). This is where an application (or applications) are accessed via Internet connections and their usage is rented instead of owned.

Many of us already do this with services like Google’s Gmail or Salesforce CRM. We don’t own the software or install it on our computer. Instead we rent the usage and access the program from any Internet connected computer.

Yes, this indeed does look a lot like a return to the old days of IBM Mainframes – except in the old days most of us didn’t put mainframe terminals in our homes so we could work or access the mainframe via an iPhone. [Read more…]