Tom Glod wrote:

> The plan so far is to work with the IT dept (guy or gal) and help them
> to set up safely and securely based on their particular requirements.

No disrespect to IT staff keeping businesses running safely, but FWUW the main reason we ported one of our apps from native to web-only was to bypass IT departments.

Many of my friends work in IT so I appreciate what they're up against, but man oh man the lengthy conversation we'd have with IT managers. We worked really hard to make the app as self-contained and firewall-friendly as possible, and our setup was so simple the one-page Installation Guide really only needed to be one sentence ("Copy this folder to a shared drive"). But no IT person would believe how easy it was so we padded it with extra verbage and a diagram. And even then we got countless requests for meetings and conference calls, questions about DLL requirements we didn't have, firewall settings we don't need, and more.

Ultimately we found we were spending more time on the phone with IT than we were with customers.

Moving the product to the web bypassed that conversation entirely, allowing much simpler conversations about features with prospects and about value with managers. Never had another IT conference call again.

Not all products lend themselves to the web, of course. In our case the product was primarily content, with minimal interactivity, so it was a good fit. Good enough to eventually lead to acquisition of that company.

I'm familiar with your app so I don't expect the web will be as easy an option, if practical at all.

Just budget time for pre-sales support, and time spent on an Installation Guide for IT is probably time well spent (at least much better than not having a thorough one). Be willing to revise it regularly as you learn new concerns IT departments share.

> Never considered providing our own boxes..... but i might think about
> it now.
> There'd be an increased cost, but decreased costs elsewhere. Decisions
> Decisions.....
> thanks for suggestion.

Appliances are probably a lot less attractive for businesses large enough to have dedicated IT staff. But for many SMBs they may be quite useful.

The hardware needed for servers is usually much more modest than a client desktop needs, so hard cost is low (small form factor barebones can provide great value, not just in hardware cost but also in low energy consumption - lean green machines).

The bigger expense is setup and testing, but if you set up a custom ISO with everything you need pre-installed you can cut that time tremendously.

With remote admin you can keep it current and perform troubleshooting as needed, covered with a support subscription as a supplemental revenue stream.

And of course a "virtual appliance" may be even better: AWS or Google Cloud instance set up and ready to go with no on-prem requirements (read, "No chance the customer's intern will accidentally pull the plug, but with the tradeoffs inherent in relying on public cloud services").

 Richard Gaskin
 Fourth World Systems
 Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web

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