The Software as a Service Party: Whose Club Should you Join?

Online services company Verio recently announced a suite of hosted applications (including CRM, security & Microsoft Exchange) through Verio Business Solutions. These solutions are some of the best solutions in their class and Verio makes it easier for its customers to purchase these solutions in one place.
The dilemma for small businesses? Should they purchase their service offerings from their web host (in this case Verio), telephone provider or other service provider? Or should they purchase services directly from the vendor or their local IT consultant?
Verio joins Long Jump also selling a range of hosted applications over the internet, including CRM and other tools, Google which has a growing plate of solutions, including hosted email and email security and other companies.
It’s getting harder and harder to know WHICH hosted application you should consider for your business and from WHICH vendor you should buy the application.
Verio is not offering solutions its customers can’t get anywhere else, but is offering a bundle of solutions in one place, which I presume, means one bill from Verio and not 3 – 5 different bills.

If you are already a Verio customer, I would suggest you check out these offerings, and evaluate them along with other offerings on a point by point basis. For example, if you want a managed security solution, which I highly suggest you consider, evaluate McAfee’s offering for its features, robustness and price.
But also look at other solutions from St. Bernard, Trend Micro, Symantecand other providers.
If you need CRM, Sugar CRM is a good option which Verio is offering, but you should also consider other options such as that provided by Infusion CRM, Entellium and other providers.
To make things even more confusing other entrants in the market include NetBooks which offer single-sign on and write-once solutions. This means that if you enter information about customers in your payroll solution, you don’t have to enter the information again in your CRM application. NetBooks offers a single core database of data to enable you to obtain INFORMATION and INSIGHT from your data.
Verio’s new offer includes

  • Microsoft Exchange (no need to host email on your own)
  • McAfee Total Protection for Small Business (someone else, McAfee will manage your entire security infrastructure)
  • Sugar CRM Professional (a leading CRM application suite)
  • PC data backup and finally Accrisoft Business Management and Productivity (online storefront application; customer billing and invoicing that includes Intuit QuickBooks Pro integration; email marketing and membership management)