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Re: Software as a Service

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  • Ness Blackbird
    ... Yes, of course. But remember that we re talking about nonprofits here, and the great majority of nonprofits have no customers, inventory, or billing.
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 30, 2004
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      > Many business applications <snip>...
      > have been developed to address a specific business need, tracking
      > customers, tracking donations, tracking network inventory, billing for
      > services ... .

      Yes, of course. But remember that we're talking about nonprofits here,
      and the great majority of nonprofits have no customers, inventory, or
      billing. Nonprofits are in the business of providing a service without
      making a profit -- and then proving to their funders that the service
      provided with reasonable effectiveness and efficiency. Generally each
      nonprofit is providing a different combination of services, to various
      funders, each with its own reporting requirements, so the whole business
      has a tendency not fit within the ASP (Application Service Provider)
      model very well.

      Of course there are exceptions. Probably the major one is donations
      tracking: in many cases, the needs of nonprofits in this regard are
      "cookie-cutter" enough. The danger, of course, is that the list of
      donors will need to be available to another program -- volunteers, say.
      You can download the list from the ASP, but you can't link directly to

      > Here's my take on this:
      > While disadvantages of "software as a service" may often be ignored
      > you do get the best return on investment as long as you stay within
      > the core competency of the service.

      Yes, that's an essential issue: does the core competency of the service
      include your agency's specific needs? Of course, it benefits the service
      if you believe this...so the customer must be educated.

      As I mentioned in my previous post, there are other good reasons to use
      offline software, even when the online software is suitable.

      I will go out on a limb and say I believe that certain kinds of nonprofit
      needs, such as case management, can rarely if ever be effectively served
      by software as a service.

      On the other hand, there are many smaller needs for which this is
      probably excellent. As I mentioned, I'm working on a specific small
      project myself -- small theatres. It uses what I see as the key benefit
      of SAAS: it connects directly to the public -- in this case, to buy

      Ness Blackbird, President
      Willow Mountain Consulting, inc.
      503 281-0236

      *please sign the declaration of the peaceful nation at
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