I’m going to get in trouble for writing this…
Here’s an idea. Don’t lay-off your employees in favour of SaaS. Keep them and go Open Source and support their training costs. This isn’t a shameless plug for the Obama/Harper economic stimulus plan.
Sure, good software is expensive, but it doesn’t always have to be. And that is the driving force behind the success of SaaS.
When you factor the cost of commercial software, especially good CRM software, what used to cost $3000 per year 10 years ago now averages about $1500/user/year. SaaS offers that same service at a fraction of the cost.
I remember the day when we laid off our Senior Exchange admin, in favor of using Jamcracker’s hosted Exchange solution. The logic was, why pay him $85-90K (plus office space & capital costs plus benefits totalling up to 40%) when you can get the same service for $40-50K per year? There are several variables, depending on the size of the company, number of mailboxes and storage space.
Today, I would use simply use Google Apps, of course.
So here’s a thought.
Don’t Lay-off Employees for SaaS – Go Open Source
Keep you employees, retrain them to configure and customize your open source software deployment! I know I’m targeting expensive ERP or CRM or Support Desk software, but you get the picture.
You must follow the same process as commercial software. That includes every process from evaluation to product selection.
An ITIL approach with consistent change management must be in place. It’s too easy for the “tech guys” cowboys to fix code on the fly. You have to schedule a downtime or outage. You have to treat this the same as any of your commercial production servers.
You also should have proper development servers in place to emulate your production environment. You should be able to rollback to the previous configuration. Hey, the software is free, right?
VMWare or other virtualization software makes this possible at a fraction of the cost. And space.
Open Source Service Desk Ticket System
For an Open Source Enterprise Grade Ticket System, the two front runners are OTRS or Request Tracker.
Florian Treml started a project to connect SugarCRM with OTRS. If you use OTRS and SugarCRM you will be able to sync OTRS Tickets with Sugar Cases using Zuckersync4otrs.
When Free isn’t Free
Open source is free, But what about support? Like comfort food, people want a comfort zone. An 800 number. Calling the Calvary. Someone to call when the chips are down. And that’s where the extra cost comes in. Red Hat Linux and SugarCRM are good examples.
Of course there’s the fallacy about Open Source software being more prone to hackers because they know the source code. Uh, last time I checked, every second Tuesday of the month I am forced (or highly advised) to update my Windows desktop and Server OS.
Do you want to see my invoices for my Microsoft software products? It’s not free.
Open Source CRM and ERP packages
For Open Source CRM packages, Sugarcrm and vTiger immediately come to mind with Concursive and Splendidcrm right behind them.
For Open Source ERP, there’s Compiere, xTuple PostBooks Edition, Openbravo ERP, OpenERP, Opentaps and ERP5 Community.
I hope the above commentary will give HR and Senior executives a second look before sending out pink slips.