Get the complete information on QuickBooks hosting…. don’t believe everything you hear.

With the inception of the Authorized Commercial Hosting program for Intuit QuickBooks, a great deal of competitive messaging was introduced to the market.  Various hosts and providers are marketing for your business, and the same caveats that exist elsewhere in the market exist here in no lesser degree: let the buyer beware.  Due diligence is key to getting the service you really want, and you should listen carefully for the clues that may reveal the underlying truth about the service or provider you’re looking at.

At the Intuit ISP Summit, for example, there was a lot of information floating about regarding “the one and only host for QuickBooks Enterprise”.  Generally, this type of obfuscation by the provider’s marketing department wouldn’t bother me (I see it all the time), but in this case, it is not good information and leaves a lot of channel participants wondering what their realistic options are.  ISPs in particular need to understand their options for delivering QBES products, because that’s the lifeblood and revenue opportunity for the channel.  Selling the solution direct-to-market competes with the channel, and reduces options for implementation and long-term product support.  The hosting community can be a valuable partner in the business model, but it’s important to partner with a provider who understands your motivations and concerns, and who has aligned their service model to your greatest benefit.

My suggestion would be to vet out your potential providers, and ask them about their position or placement in the market and in the Intuit hosting program, as well as doing the necessary investigation into their delivery model, protections, and application and support offerings.  If they tell you that they’re the only ones who can do this… be wary.  You don’t want to start off an important business relationship based on half-truths.  It doesn’t bode well for the long-term.

Truth Number One:  NO Intuit-authorized provider has allowances or grants beyond any other.  This means that each and every hosting company authorized by Intuit as a Commercial Host for QuickBooks can lawfully offer:

  1. hosting for QuickBooks Pro and Premier Editions, supported versions only
  2. hosting for QuickBooks Enterprise Edition, supported versions only
  3. subscription rental (some call it lease) licensing for QuickBooks Pro and Premier editions

Truth Number Two:  Intuit’s website lists the authorized providers and the program general guidelines.

  1. The listing can be found at http://www.quickbooks.com/franchisesolutions  and then linking to the “Intuit Hosting Program” tab
  2. Authorized QuickBooks hosts, as listed by Intuit, are:

Truth Number Three: Intuit has selected a “private label or co-brand” partner to offer limited QBES hosting services under Intuit’s brand.

  1. The partner, Right Networks, offers QBES hosting direct to market as a service branded and priced by Intuit… many say in direct competition with the ISP network and reseller channels.
  2. Hosting of QuickBooks Enterprise editions is NOT limited to this provider.
    (view additional option for hosting QuickBooks Enterprise)
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5 thoughts on “Get the complete information on QuickBooks hosting…. don’t believe everything you hear.

  1. Thanks for the post, Bob, Lots of good information.
    I listened to your song….most of it.
    Stick to your day job
    Pat Cahill

  2. Thanks Joanie, for posting this.
    As you know, our company, Uni-Data & Communications, Inc. (http://www.unidatait.com) was there at the inception of the Authorized Host Program along with InsynQ and Right, and that was just a short while ago. Sure, we were disappointed to see the “pilot” for white labelled QBES Hosting go to another partner, leading our Hosting & Managed Services division, I coveted the endorsement that the program would bring, and put a lot of effort into delivering what I felt was a great proposal. When I was told we we’re only runners up, it hurt, but it didn’t surprise us- worse has happened, will again. After all, Right’s built connections with Intuit for what? Ten years? There was a comfort level there to which Uni-Data could not yet compare.

    Unlike our two colleagues in the Hosting Program launch, and even some others that joined us thereafter, Uni-Data was a relative new comer to QuickBooks and the Intuit product set. While our company’s support of cloud and virtual environments in the financial service industry extends back into PC pre-history (1989 we found one of those funny modems with the cradle for the phone receiver in the warehouse not long ago), and while we enjoy a great reputation amongst Fortune 100 banks and large enterprises here on the East Coast, we we’re unknowns to the folks at Intuit: they didn’t know that we were already on the VAR500; that we set internal SLA for all of our services and client interactions; that we achieve four-nines (99.99%) availability on all our Small Business offerings; that our data centers exceed SAS70 standards (built as they are to support DHS certified technology that we monitor for our clients). They’d yet to hear about our State of the Art Network Operations Center in Flushing, NY (that’s Queens, baby) staffed by Tier 2 technicians with an advanced remote remediation capability, and providing multiple language support, nor did they know that we deliver several different flavors of client requirement driven Cloud (Terminal Services, VMWare and most recently, Citrix) and if Intuit had heard this, there werent yet enough of their trusted advisors- the ISPs and ProAdvisors- that had tasted our wares for them to trust the QBES brand to us in such a dramatic fashion. So we double-downed. Got the word out.

    Less than a year later (and before the QBES hosting “pilot” is complete), weve attracted hundreds of new QBES hosting clients, thousands of clients for Pro and Premier and other software (we’re also Microsoft SPLA partners). What’s more, today you’ll find Uni-Data whereever small business accounting decisions are influenced: at the right trade shows, top ten in a host of appropriate keywords, all over social media: and we’re in and at those place in an extremely relevant manner-with all the best people and partners saying great things about their experience with Uni-Data’s service, the speed and reliability of our platform, and our support of ISPs and ProAdvisors looking to achieve the technology initiatives of their firms and their clients in efficient, rapidly-deployed and cost effective fashion. What’s more, we’ve gone to great lengths to convey to the ISP community that, should they get a shot at a client just beyond their capacity to service effectively, they can turn to Uni-Data to provide a nationwide implementation team, four hundred strong and replete with project management and team leaders capable of answering a four hour SLA anwhere in the contiguous 48.

    Hell, we’ve even got out own song: http://bit.ly/High-Up-In-The_Cloud.

    What’s more, we’re good people, and take care of ourselves and our partners: our corporate parent Unity International Group is employee owned, so everyone here cares how well we do and how we’re perceived. With 100% the union labor of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, UIG build airports, stadiums, mega datacenters, trading floors and massive solar farms, and then supports their critical infrastructure around the clock–with proprietary technology housed in the very same Uni-Data data centers from where we serve up QuickBooks, just a few rows down and two racks in. All told, Intuit can look to Uni-Data and UIG to enhance the prosperity of the whole of the ISP and ProAdvisor community, while advancing their brand into new and innovative solution sets for industries previously undreamt of in the misty morns of Mountain View.

    So I’m not going to swipe at Right Networks for boasting of an accomplishment as fine as securing the pilot: I intend to win the next one.

    Bob Babcock
    Director, Sales & Marketing
    Uni-Data & Communications, Inc.
    718 445 5600 x3180 Office
    bbabcock@unidatait.com
    http://www.unidatait.com

    • Hi Bob, and no problemo on trying to set the record straight. InsynQ, like Uni-Data, has a lot to boast about. From delivering the first ever online CRM practice center with Remedy Corp, to being Macola software’s first hosting partner, we’ve also done the “heavy lifting” it takes to make the model run. QuickBooks is just one of the things we host… but there’s an awful lot of QuickBooks out there, so it made sense to work with Intuit on the program. It’s just unfortunate that the community can’t “work and play well together” better. Seems like the market would benefit more from cooperation at some level amongst the providers. Surely Intuit must see that?

      • First, let me say that InsynQ’s credentials as a pioneer in this space are indisputable: long before we ever even turned an eye towards small business, you guys have been blazing the trail we all in turn have followed.

        I agree that there can be greater cohesion of the program, but as a VAR representing many other products, our experience with Intuit here at Uni-Data over the past four years has been remarkable. There are other vendors that I work with- bigger and smaller than Intuit, and that account for both greater and lesser portions of our resale, that don’t give half the attention that they’ve given this program over the few years it’s been an idea. To an extent it’s timing- when you started ten years ago, bandwidth, processor speed, server technology, etc made this a brillant idea for the future touted by all of the accounting technology visionaries like Doug Sleeter, Darren Root, Russell Flagg, Greg LaFollette, Penny Breslin, and that the cadre of QuickBooks and accounting practice experts (like Michele Long, Dawn Brolin, Stacy Kildal, Jim Filicetti) have been stitching 3rd party products together to achieve- and now that future is here, and Intuit recognizes that, so moves over the last few years to experiment and ready itself for the Cloud revolution.

        First, they put together the AppCenter, which created a standard for interfacing with QB: where before there were loose guidelines, the Appcenter provides a certification of standard integration that most often alleviates integration overhead, that had previously been accomplished on a company by company basis.

        This was a very good thing- for users, ProAdvisors and Hosts, especially. Yes, this has cost ISPs a bit of integration business and reseller fees on the 3rd party apps that are in the AppCenter, however, I believe the AppCenter will probably mean a net gain in business for ISPs, as it has helped us- providing a a ready-to-go solution to discuss with a client that meets a wide array of business process, and help assess particular requirements that they may have. I’d have them make drive selection an a priori requirement for inclusion in the roster of certified software, as C:\my docs or some other fixed locale often doesn’t work in a shared virtual environment, but for the most part the AppCenter has been aces.

        Then they moved to hosting. No matter your opinion on whether the initial process was fair or not, selecting ONE solution to drive direct sales to in the short term was a necessity to measure the opportunity from a marketing perspective, and definitely a requirement from a Sales standpoint as well: high school science teaches that any successful experiment requires a controling of environmental variables to measure results: here, rather than managing leads through a pick list and ten partners worth of reporting the parameters were to get one partner, sell into them under white label without undue training of the Direct Sales Team, test the results, formulate a plan. That complete, roll it out, hopefully to the rest of us or through a competitive bid process. Over the last few months, and at the Summit last week, I’ve been given every indication that Intuit plans to do just that, and to put significant emphasis on Hosting in the near term, and like all good New Yorkers, I’ve volunteered my feedback, sometimes vociferously. I’ve had my concerns spoken to by other members of their team, so I know they at least discuss what I say, and I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt while I work to demonstrate that there’s not just one show in town.

        Truth be told, I’m not that worried: mid-market customers that use QBES are generally sophisticated enough not to go with the first option presented to them, and we’ve picked up plenty of business as a result of Direct Sales’ introduction of the concept to the prospect. Barring an outright stripping of our rights to host the product, we should all do just fine. In any event, I take more pride in fishing for my meals than in eating from a trough.

        Bob Babcock
        Director, Sales & Marketing
        Uni-Data & Communications
        718.445.5600 x3180
        bbabcock@unidatait.com
        http://www.unidatait.com/QuickBooks_Hosting.html

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