May 11, 2009, 6:55 PM — I may be a big fan of Software as a Service offerings for small businesses, but that doesn't mean some of you resist jumping into the world of SaaS. One of the reasons people resist is because each hosted application has its own data management process, making it tough to get data from one application into another application. The job gets twice as tough when both applications are online. So kudos to The Small Business Web for mashing-up several SaaS applications and making them ready to work together from day one.
Five companies, each offering a non-competing SaaS product that small businesses need, now work together. The gang of five include bookkeeping (Outright), invoicing and time tracking (FreshBooks), e-mail marketing (MailChimp), social Customer Relationship Management (BatchBook), and receipt and business card scanning and retrieval (Shoeboxed).
Between these five offerings, any small knowledge worker business should in good shape. If you're trying to schedule six plumbers running around town in trucks, you'll probably need more. But even if you can't use all five programs together, knowing you have a way to grow and share your data should be good news.
If you're wary of SaaS vendors, this should help at least a little. If you think trusting some accounting or invoicing program somewhere “out there” is just gol'darned crazy, this might help you. But with that attitude, you'll need to get some help of some kind before long.
In true Web fashion, the companies realized they were already providing some hooks and links between themselves based on customer requests. Leveraging those requests to build interaction into the system from the beginning made sense.
If the customer is always right, then The Small Business Web should fill a growing niche. They've already had three other companies join the gang since the announcement in April. Check them out and see if joining the party makes sense for your business.