Last week I reviewed Twinfield. I think it's an excellent tool for the professional wanting to mine new revenue streams along with achieving improved customer intimacy. I know David Terrar - the MD - is looking for market traction and I wish him well. I look forward to readers telling me whether their assessment comes close (or miles away!) to/from mine.
I think it's helpful to share why I believe he's on to a winner that could displace Sage in certain markets.
Sage's business model relies on making repeated single sales and raking in a single, annual maintenance fee. Over time they hope to migrate you to more sophisticated products. But there's more to it than that. The estimated cost of running a product over a decade is 7.5 times the original software costs. That means you (and your clients) are always paying not 3 x (software + 20% annual charge x 10). When that doesn't work, Sage acquires market share and then bleeds it to death through smart marketing. Occasionally, it will do some re-engineering and re-badging. To date, it has been successful and I wish Sage well in holding the premier global brand for SMEs..
In Twinfield's model, you pay for what and how you use on a monthly basis. Figures range form as little as £3 per month to £52 per month, depending on the role. That's smart pricing. With Sage, you pay the same regardless of whether you hammer the software to death or use it once in a flood. The cost of ownership for the hosted solution is therefore relatively low, predictable and role based. That's also fair on the user. So you, as a professional have a better chance of selling the proposition to your clients. (There's two campaigns here...)
If you're a Sage dealer, you are left to fend the problems and if you can't help then Sage steps in. There is no collective consciousness about issues though many arise and become part of reported issues - often in a disorganized and distorted way.
In the hosted model, there's one butt to kick. Everyone knows who it is and they will demand exemplary service. When they don't get it, they'll kick the crap out of Twinfield. So the company has to deliver a better proposition. At present, it looks like it has that capability. But it's early in the game so I won't predict that outcome!
Sage cannot morph itself effectively onto the service model in time to fend off a concerted attack by Twinfield. Sage will scream 'nonsense' and assume its brand will carry it through. News boys. Wrong. The brand isn't enough when it comes to service. Users and professionals have been screaming about this for years. The difference today is there's an alternative.
I expect and anticipate that Sage will counter attack. They have to . For which I had better be ready. In any next phase, I expect Sage to take some ground. But I'm not worried. I still think SaaS is a powerful and effective proposition.
Disclosure: I have no commercial relationship with Twinfield, its authors, D2C or David Terrar - yet.