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Anthony
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We are also a software company, all we supply is web based software. We come across the same perceived negatives on a daily basis, however we’re often able set things straight with the following responses:

– In our field, buying installable software outright is a significant investment ($10,000+) so paying a much smaller monthly fee is more attractive for many small businesses.

– The monthly fee doesn’t just cover the software, it also covers all of the hardware costs as clients do not need to invest in servers & other infrastructure – all they need is an internet connection.

– The monthly fee also covers all system maintenance & offsite backups, offering peace of mind.

– Unlike most installable software, software upgrades for web-based systems are provided at no additional cost. Many installable systems force you to upgrade each year, just look at the popular accounting packages.

– Owning your own software is not necessarily a good thing. Software upgrades happen regularly, meaning your version is soon out of date and incompatible with other systems. This also applies to any associated server harware you need to buy. With web-based, you are always on the latest & greatest.

– Like most web companies, our contracts state that all data stored on our servers is owned by the client. Should the contract be terminated for any reason, we must supply all of the data to the client. Furthermore, clients can export data from their web-based system to their own computer at any time.

Of course, as a web software company owner I’m a little biased! I too would like to hear from companies making decisions around this.

Cheers,
Anthony.