SaaS Attitudes Survey

Friday, 6 February 2009

Yesterday Really Simple Systems published the results of its attitudes survey on SaaS applications, and the results make interesting reading. Firstly, it’s nice to see that most people (60%) are confident in using a hosted CRM application. Readers of this blog may think there is nothing new in that, but there is a often huge disconnect between what we in the IT industry accept as a given, and what the man in the street actually believes.

What also came out of the survey though, and took me by surprise, was how uncomfortable people were with hosted Accounts, Payroll and HR applications. Only 35% were confident with the idea of Accounting/ERP solutions, and only 42% with hosted Payroll. Is this because they have more concerns about data security/availability, or because hosted CRM vendors have achieved greater visibility than have other SaaS application vendors?

It is not because accountants are more conservative than sales people, we asked the same people their opinions on both, and most of the people surveyed were CEOs, senior commercial managers and IT people, not accountants. If I had a choice between losing my accounting system for a day, or the CRM system, I’d opt for losing accounting – without CRM we’d have a lot of people twiddling their thumbs and no sales activity, and that would be more painful that no accounting activity. We can always catch up with that later if needed, while customers and prospects won’t wait. And as for confidentiality, losing the sales pipeline could do us more damage than somebody seeing our accounts, which (in the UK) are semi-public anyway.

Perhaps in another year when the likes of Kashflow and Aqilla have blazed the trail, people will be as comfortable with hosted ERP as with CRM.