One of the most disruptive trends in modern software development is the rise of the“freemium” software model. Companies offer their software free of charge, usually with limited features, and unlock the full program once the licensing fee has been paid.
When it comes to Web-based timesheet software, is it worth it to take advantage of these programs? Do you get what you pay for (or don’t pay for in this case) in this category?
The benefit of freemium software is that the end-user has the opportunity to evaluate the software free of charge. This is often referred to as an “Experience Good”. Writing a guest post for TechCrunch, Uzi Shmilovici, CEO and founder of Future Simple, said: “Most Internet products or services fall into the definition of an Experience Good: a product that needs a period of use before the customer can determine the value they can derive from it.”
With this model, customers are able to use software free of any restrictions, aside from possibly a limit to the number of users or the time period in which the product is tested. This gives them the ability to fully explore the software, see the advantages of a dedicated timesheet package and determine how a software solution will fit within their existing workflow.
There are some disadvantages to this approach, as well.
For example, when performing a normal installation for a paying customer, our team here at Journyx works hard to help customize the installation for their specific needs. As with any complex software, there are a myriad of features and configuration options, not all of which may be needed. When we consult with a customer, we make sure the necessary features are activated, while the unnecessary ones are not.
Without this assistance, there’s a good chance that potential customers will misconfigure some of the settings resulting in a less-than-ideal setup. Under these circumstances, software may not offer the value that it otherwise would.
What alternatives are there for companies looking for a completely free solution, without worrying about limitations or misconfiguration?
One possibility, especially for smaller companies, is Excel spreadsheets. There are many examples of timesheet setups in Excel available on the Internet. These may be a viable option for companies with limited personnel, resources and number of employees.
For larger companies, who nonetheless want to keep their expenses minimal, open source software may also be a viable option; the different applications that are available can range in complexity and features. Depending on an organization’s needs, there may be a package that suits them perfectly.
So what option is best for your company? As with most things in life, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
For the most basic requirements, spreadsheets may be all your company needs. For more moderate demands, open source software may hold the answer.
For more robust requirements, however, many companies find that a commercial option, complete with setup and ongoing support, is the best choice. With this option, your company will have an optimized solution, and one that provides the best value.