Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Heat but no light, SaaS security questions.

August 22, 2009

Things have got excitable if not exciting in the world of SaaS finance applications recently.

It would be easy to join in with some cheap shots at Duane Jackson, who after all has previously used security issues with Sage’s entry level Sage Live product to generate free publicity.  Wouldn’t be fair though. 

First the issue reported by Dennis Howlett is actually very different, as it is really a feature choice (and yes I do know that security is a fundamental aspect of a software application’s architecture) not a flaw as such. 

Secondly the guys at Accounting Web  have apparently checked (haven’t they noticed the sun has been out this week) how much has been written about it and, at more then 12 000 words, too much has already been said about an issue which just isn’t core to the customers that Kashflow target.

SaaS does raise questions.  Security is one of them.  It is appropriate to ask who can access your data, but actually it’s far more pertinent to ask whether secure (as in continuing) access to your own data given all likely futures for your SaaS supplier.  Sorry, aside over.

The real issue though, is that (some of) the SaaS boys (and yes it does seem to be gender specific!), are more interested in the whys and wherefores of SaaS in the abstract than what it actually does for the customer. 

Kashflow is the result of a whole series of compromises.  Duane Jackson’s fortunes will wax or wane according to how well those compromises match his target audience needs (and the success or otherwise of his trumpet blowing).  That’s as it should be.  Dennis Howlett’s invective is entertaining, but ultimately empty.

I could go further.  Risk and security are not cost free.  It’s easy to promote a stance that more security and less risk is better, but it’s far more complex than that.  Who in business wants to be frightened and risk adverse?

Sage 50 2010.

July 28, 2009

Sage plan to release the next version of Sage 50 on 3 August 2009.  It will be called Sage 50 2010.

Full details aren’t available yet, but teaser information from Sage throws some light on the question of whether to upgrade.

Sage 50 (and it’s predecessors) have always tended towards steady rather than step changes, and it appears that Sage 50 2010 will conform to this pattern.  Sage highlight three areas of change, none of them radical:

  • Improved user experience (better processes, navigation and easier access to data)
  • A data import wizard
  • “Pay now” buttons on invoices, supported by SagePay, their service for collecting online credit card payments

Secondary areas for change include:

  • Support for legislation changes, particularly EC Sales List
  • Improved video tutorials
  • Barcode generation
  • Cash register

In summary, only a few users will regard Sage 50 2010 as a “must buy now” upgrade, but it is another steady step forward.  This then points to when.  The short answer for most people is not until at least September.  The cautious answer is not until the first service pack is released, which is likely to be later in the autumn.

One outstanding question is whether Sage 50 2010 marks the change to a commonly used database, rather than the current proprietary database.  There has been an expectation for some time that Sage will switch to MySQL.  This arguably won’t matter immediately to most users, but should improve access to information and in due course give performance and confidence benefits.  Certainly we’d expect it to allow us to offer better Sage support