Why should I pay for software?

I guess I have come full circle.
               Yesterday, we were frustrated with the roundabout un-useful ways of QuickBooks, and after many unresolved customer support calls later, we realized that we were riding on the wrong product. Am more convinced than ever that the ‘gyan’ Tally has built about the indian business and statutory environment is simply impossible to ignore and absolutely ridiculous to re-invent it. Tally, simply has no competition.
               With this realization, came the horrifying fact that I have to spend money (some 20K) to get a simple single user version of Tally! What? With all my cash flow issues, why would I shell out 20K for something that only maintains books?
Two weeks back…
               As a ‘honest’ Indian, I went ahead and downloaded Tally ERP 9 from the net, switched to Educational Mode and started my Accountant on it. ‘I will buy a license once am convinced that we can do what we need!’, I told my friend. Deep inside, I knew I was never wanting to pay for it!
               Two days down, Tally stood up to whatever we wanted to do, when we realized – We cannot make entries on any date apart from last day or the first two days of the month! Thats only Educational Mode, right! Smart, hmmm!
               Now we are down to talking to Tally dealers to buy a license.
               But deep inside, am still not convinced about paying money for software, as I would for something tangible, like, say a chair, or an Air Conditioner.
               If you didnt know me personally, you wouldnt see the irony. Am a tech guy writing software for the last 18 years. In the last few months, we have been trying to market our construction ERP and CRM (profitbuild.in) in the Chennai market, and am personally frustrated about the haggling about the price. Customers simply think software is easily available – Thanks to vendors who pirate software and provide it as a value-add when you buy hardware. Thanks to the tons of nieces and nephews who are software engineers in the big IT sector who claim they can develop the same thing for half-the-price. Never mind that they dont have time to even talk to their family during the weekday.
               Given the above frustration, when it comes to a time when I have to pay for software, am thinking just like a typical indian businessman.
               This to me is a deep psychological problem that needs to be solved – on a large scale – as a country as a whole. In my opinion the following are some of the ‘excuses’ for this phenomenon:

1. Can I get a cracked/pirated version?

2. Software is easy to create – I can get a college guy to write that code for me!

3. All software is now open source – I will get an equivalent software for free!

4. Software doesnt cost money to make a copy – This guy is making 100% profit – So I can get it for free if I haggle enough

5. Am a small company – I can manage it in my head

6. My employees are not computer-savvy – They wont type in the data

7. You will learn my business tricks and implement your product – YOU have to pay ME money for this knowledge

8. If the software is from a good company like Apple or Microsoft – It will be good. This is an unknown company – I will repent buying it from them – IOW – Can I trust this company?

9. If I buy a SaaS product, I dont own the product – what do I get for the money I pay

10. My data is on the cloud – how do I know it is safe?

11. The Products themselves are not compelling enough – it is a digitization product – doesnt solve real pains of my business like improving cash flows or increasing sales convincingly enough

12. Should I pay for all my 10 users? Cant I buy a 1 user license, and have all 10 login using the same id?!

               Comrade – No laughing matter this – each one is a repeat painful conversation I have had with Indian consumers in the past few months. Now, which one do you think is the silliest?!
The author is the founder and CEO of Techartus Solutions (www.techartus.com) that helps businesses improve with cost-effective software solutions. Consultation is free, and you can reach him at 98407 62326 or madanus at gmail.com
PS: We will buy a Tally license, Mr. Goenka – Thank you for the great product 🙂

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