Friday, May 16, 2008

When SaaS SuckS

As you might know, I am a big fan of SaaS (software as a service). I believe the entire world will move towards this model, with most of the applications used directly from a hosted site.

The first one to go is usually email. The second is the sales force automation tool. In the case of Funambol, both are outsourced. We use a hosted Zimbra for email and Sugar On Demand for sales force.

The issue with SaaS is that you do not control your data. You give your data to someone else and you pray they do not screw up with that. Companies that become successful have a 99.99999% clean record on this, or they go out of business very fast. Unfortunately for me, I hit one of those.

I use Outlook on my PC and the Zimbra Outlook plugin (definitely not the best piece of software Zimbra did, but that is another story). My PIM data gets pushed to myFUNAMBOL from Outlook and from there to the device I am using at the moment (currently, an iPhone and a Windows Mobile, but I am moving to BlackBerry soon... Stay tuned). Everything works great and I am a happy camper.

I have only one issue. When I am done with reading an email that it does not need to be stored in a particular subfolder, I hit the Delete button. One click, the email disappears and gets stored in my Trash. Once in a while (do not tell me it does not happen to you) I find out that one of the emails I deleted included actually something interesting. Not a problem, because I can search for them.

Unfortunately, our SaaS provider for Zimbra - a company called SonomaIT - believes my data is theirs. That they own my data, just because they host it. Therefore, once in a while they clean up MY trash. With no warning, my trash gets emptied and some important emails disappear. This drives me nuts: it is MY data, not YOURS. DO NOT TOUCH MY DATA!!!!

Now, I know what you are thinking: "if you really care about those emails, why don't you put it in a separate folder?".

Why? It is my data. I can put it anywhere I want... And it takes a millisecond to hit the delete button and a few of those to move an email with the mouse to a TrashThatDoesNotGetDeleted folder. The most precious thing I have is time. My data is my data. My time is my time. Do not mess with it.

That said, although some of the SaaS providers might be clueless, I still believe in this model. Clearly, I would have fired my IT Manager, if the system was in house. Now he has an excuse because the system is not in house. And I have a contract with a third party that I need to sue for Illegal Trash Cleanup. Life is tough...

But SaaS is still the way to go. Maybe not with SonomaIT.