Software-on-demand and small businesses

Frank has a post talking about why small businesses don't get the concept of "software on demand". My perspective is that small businesses don't want software on demand. One argument put forward by Frank is that small businesses have minimal IT staff therefore they should welcome a third-party company who is prepared to look after the IT issues of a new system for them. My experience has been small businesses owners feel that they want the same person who currently looks after their IT issues to deal with all of their IT issues. Otherwise, when problems occur, they get stuck in the middle of geek finger pointing and have no clue who to believe. It is also an issue about big fish and little fish. If a small business uses a part time consultant to provide IT support then when something goes wrong, the small company can expect the consultant to respond pretty quickly or risk loosing his customer. When a big hosting company has an outage, the small business is screwed. No amount of screaming will have any effect. I believe that when a small business owner hears about salesforce.com, what the owner hears is... "put all of my business critical sales information on the servers of some dot com survivor 2000 miles away, that I can only access via a web browser, if my internet connection is online and the browser is not rendered unusable by 50 popups per minute." and the next question is usually, "what's wrong with our server?"

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