What will it take to get approved?

We cringe when we hear folks saying how much they love Software-as-a-Service (or hosted solutions) because it helps them avoid IT. While we understand business folks often feel IT is a hurdle to getting applications that support their work, we have architected specifically to answer business user needs, while also trying to satisfy IT and security requirements. We often don’t get to tell our story because business users won’t involve IT or business users don’t even engage with us because IT has previously said no to other solutions. We’d like to do a better job at presenting our case more clearly. To do that, we’d like to know:

  • What are the top three objections your IT and Security folks have? Or if you are IT/Security, what are your top three when business folks ask for your approval?
  • What information and in what form (reports, audits, etc.) would provide the information that you or your IT and Security teams need to approve a purchase like QuickBase?
  • What solution providers do the best job providing you with information and features that satisfies you and your IT and Security team when you are making a decision on a hosted versus installed solution?

What amazes me about this issue is that whenever we engage in specific conversations with IT and Security folks, we have great conversations about our information and features, and most often the QuickBase purchase is approved. So, where’s the disconnect between the hosted/Software-as-a-Service industry and the IT/security teams and how can we help bridge that gap?

  • JKL

    I can’t complain about my IT department b/c they adopted Quickbase and use it. I have a general idea where the disconnect occurs at other companies, however.

    If I am an applications developer who programs in PHP and MySQL or C# and SQL Server, I am not going to like services like Quickbase or AppExchage from Salesforce.com. Not b/c the service is bad, but that it makes me think I may become obsolete soon. If that is the case, am I going to recommend something like this? No, I am going to bad mouth it. I will point out everything it can’t do, whether it’s relevant to solving the given problem or not. I’ve seen so many IT professionals deliberately toss around the lingo to make problem seem more complicated and time consuming than it really is. Granted this is an example of a bad IT professional, but one that does exist at many companies.

    A good IT professional sees Quickbase as another tool in his/her arsenal. I am of the philosophy that many users (departmental power users?) want to be able to accomplish some technical feats on their own w/o always having to call the IT hotline. Quickbase lets them do that and I think that’s great. However, once they get a taste, they’ll want their app to do increasingly more complex things. Are they going to take the time to do that? Are they going to create cross-application links? Custom HTML/JS pages? Probably not. They will ask IT to assist in that, which makes sense. They (the users) will also probably have a better idea of what they want b/c they were able to “dig” into the system a bit.

    So to answer your question about the disconnect: I think IT departments need to be made aware that not all their users are stupid and that you can empower them with something like Quickbase. We are all on the same team here and should be working together to accomplish the same goal.

    [Reply]

  • JKL

    I can’t complain about my IT department b/c they adopted Quickbase and use it. I have a general idea where the disconnect occurs at other companies, however.

    If I am an applications developer who programs in PHP and MySQL or C# and SQL Server, I am not going to like services like Quickbase or AppExchage from Salesforce.com. Not b/c the service is bad, but that it makes me think I may become obsolete soon. If that is the case, am I going to recommend something like this? No, I am going to bad mouth it. I will point out everything it can’t do, whether it’s relevant to solving the given problem or not. I’ve seen so many IT professionals deliberately toss around the lingo to make problem seem more complicated and time consuming than it really is. Granted this is an example of a bad IT professional, but one that does exist at many companies.

    A good IT professional sees Quickbase as another tool in his/her arsenal. I am of the philosophy that many users (departmental power users?) want to be able to accomplish some technical feats on their own w/o always having to call the IT hotline. Quickbase lets them do that and I think that’s great. However, once they get a taste, they’ll want their app to do increasingly more complex things. Are they going to take the time to do that? Are they going to create cross-application links? Custom HTML/JS pages? Probably not. They will ask IT to assist in that, which makes sense. They (the users) will also probably have a better idea of what they want b/c they were able to “dig” into the system a bit.

    So to answer your question about the disconnect: I think IT departments need to be made aware that not all their users are stupid and that you can empower them with something like Quickbase. We are all on the same team here and should be working together to accomplish the same goal.

    [Reply]

  • David

    I actually disagree with the previous poster’s emphasis. He makes a good point, but there are real, relevant reasons for clients to resist hosted solutions, and they aren’t particularly easy problems to solve. The number one problem with hosted solutions: you can’t trust the host.

    Case in point: when google spreadsheets launched, I was thrilled. No, ecstatic. I am a software consultant, and throwing around excel files full of issue lists is a real pain since you almost always want to edit the one right in front of you and synchronization isn’t worth the effort. So an online spreadsheet seemed like just the thing, and it’s nice and fast in javascript.

    Then my boss asked: “is it safe?”
    Me: “well, anyone at Google can read the data we enter.”
    Boss: “that’s not good!”

    To quote from the quickbase website section on security:

    “”"What Makes QuickBase Confidential?
    Over the years, Intuit has adopted strict guidelines and practices so that your private information stays that way. Not even QuickBase personnel are allowed to access the information contained within your databases without your express permission.”"”

    No offense, but there is no way anyone can take that seriously. What standards? Who has oversight? How can a client store sensitive information on a system that has bugs (and all software has bugs) that can only be solved by someone who works for the host? The smart clients know this and simply won’t store sensitive information on hosted solutions. The stupid ones get dramatic and/or take a leap of faith.

    Clients, when confronted with this issue will probably deny it or downplay its significance. Claiming lack of trust in a business partner is almost always pointless.

    This limitation will not doom hosted solutions. In fact the pool of clients cut out because of this limitation may be low – less than 25% of all potential clients. However this limitation makes all clients uncomfortable.

    One solution: set up a system whereby users designate their servers as data hosts (there are issues but it can work).

    [Reply]

  • David

    I actually disagree with the previous poster’s emphasis. He makes a good point, but there are real, relevant reasons for clients to resist hosted solutions, and they aren’t particularly easy problems to solve. The number one problem with hosted solutions: you can’t trust the host.

    Case in point: when google spreadsheets launched, I was thrilled. No, ecstatic. I am a software consultant, and throwing around excel files full of issue lists is a real pain since you almost always want to edit the one right in front of you and synchronization isn’t worth the effort. So an online spreadsheet seemed like just the thing, and it’s nice and fast in javascript.

    Then my boss asked: “is it safe?”
    Me: “well, anyone at Google can read the data we enter.”
    Boss: “that’s not good!”

    To quote from the quickbase website section on security:

    “”"What Makes QuickBase Confidential?
    Over the years, Intuit has adopted strict guidelines and practices so that your private information stays that way. Not even QuickBase personnel are allowed to access the information contained within your databases without your express permission.”"”

    No offense, but there is no way anyone can take that seriously. What standards? Who has oversight? How can a client store sensitive information on a system that has bugs (and all software has bugs) that can only be solved by someone who works for the host? The smart clients know this and simply won’t store sensitive information on hosted solutions. The stupid ones get dramatic and/or take a leap of faith.

    Clients, when confronted with this issue will probably deny it or downplay its significance. Claiming lack of trust in a business partner is almost always pointless.

    This limitation will not doom hosted solutions. In fact the pool of clients cut out because of this limitation may be low – less than 25% of all potential clients. However this limitation makes all clients uncomfortable.

    One solution: set up a system whereby users designate their servers as data hosts (there are issues but it can work).

    [Reply]

  • Stan

    David makes a solid suggestion. I’m trying to widen use of quickbase but I’m now dealing with more sensitive information that IT will never allow to be hosted by a server we do not directly control. Please let me know when we can host on our own servers …

    [Reply]

  • Stan

    David makes a solid suggestion. I’m trying to widen use of quickbase but I’m now dealing with more sensitive information that IT will never allow to be hosted by a server we do not directly control. Please let me know when we can host on our own servers …

    [Reply]

  • Jana Eggers

    Stan,

    QuickBase is available in an installed version. However, it isn’t built for it. Specifically, QuickBase is not built to host hundreds or thousands, but millions. So, it isn’t built for a single “tenant”, which means hosting it takes a great deal of effort and expertise. After thoroughly investigating the two alternatives, all but three customers chose to have us host. This includes Fortune 10 companies who “do not allow ASPs”. We’ve done reviews with IT and security teams at most of our large customers, and they have had favorable results. What I recommend is that you engage with either our support team or your application specialist who helped you join, and get your IT team’s questions. Our answers to them will be solid.

    Thanks,
    Jana

    [Reply]

  • Jana Eggers

    Stan,

    QuickBase is available in an installed version. However, it isn’t built for it. Specifically, QuickBase is not built to host hundreds or thousands, but millions. So, it isn’t built for a single “tenant”, which means hosting it takes a great deal of effort and expertise. After thoroughly investigating the two alternatives, all but three customers chose to have us host. This includes Fortune 10 companies who “do not allow ASPs”. We’ve done reviews with IT and security teams at most of our large customers, and they have had favorable results. What I recommend is that you engage with either our support team or your application specialist who helped you join, and get your IT team’s questions. Our answers to them will be solid.

    Thanks,
    Jana

    [Reply]