ThoughtFarmer Releases Cloud Edition. Why Cloud, Why Now?

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CloudsI’m incredibly pleased to announce ThoughtFarmer Cloud Edition, a fully hosted version of our social intranet software. Along with Cloud Edition, we’re releasing version 4.5 of ThoughtFarmer — I’ll blog about that tomorrow.

Why Cloud, Why Now?

Up until now, we’ve specialized in on-site intranet deployments, for reasons that continue to be valid:

  • Many companies prefer to have their intranet on their internal network
  • There is no internet congestion on your internal network
  • Easy integration with existing Microsoft based technology stack
  • Single sign-on is a breeze, as is 2-way Active Directory synchronization

There is a strong demand for our Self-Hosted Edition and we’ll continue to offer it. But it’s no secret that many companies are moving their systems of engagement, like ThoughtFarmer, to the Cloud. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. In early 2011, ThoughtFarmer saw a significant increase in the number of medium- and large-sized companies who wanted to deploy a social intranet in the Cloud. It’s clear to us that 2011 is the year Cloud services will reach the tipping point. So the timing is ripe for our Cloud Edition.

The Cloud Can Suck

Cloud evangelists make it sound like all your IT headaches will disappear if you switch. That’s just not true. In January, we got burned when our cloud-based CRM provider was acquired. We loved our CRM, and I thought the acquisition would ensure the software would be around for the long-haul. Instead, the acquirer shut it down and announced a re-launch in Summer 2012 (with no means of migrating our data), leaving hundreds of customers scrambling.  Sure, they offered us the ability to download our data, but without the code to run it, it’s not much use.

The timing of this event coincided with our Cloud Edition planning. It left us thinking: what can we do to assure our clients that they will never, ever be left in the lurch?

Our Cloud Edition: Single-Tenanted and Guaranteed To Be There

The answer became clear: keep our Cloud service single-tenanted and back it up with a guarantee: if we stop offering it, you get a copy of ThoughtFarmer and your data, free. Period.

What does single-tenanted mean? It means that each ThoughtFarmer installation is stand-alone. Each client gets their own, dedicated instance of ThoughtFarmer, independent from all other clients.  Your ThoughtFarmer intranet can be upgraded separately from others, and you can choose to migrate to the self-hosted edition of ThoughtFarmer at a later date if your business requires it.

What does “Guaranteed To Be There” mean? It means that if we should ever stop offering our Cloud Edition, for any reason, you get your data and a copy of ThoughtFarmer Self-Hosted Edition, absolutely free. You can then take ThoughtFarmer and install it on any server, anywhere. You can never lose your intranet.

We debated internally whether or not it’s a bad thing, from a marketing perspective, to talk about “Guaranteed To Be There”. Talking about it requires that we broach a negative topic that no software company wants you to think about: “What if we disappear?” But it’s a question everyone should ask themselves about every major software purchase they make — a question I wish I had asked myself about our CRM software.

ThoughtFarmer is fast-growing, nicely profitable and owned by a stable, 16-year-old software development firm. What does our Guarantee accomplish? It means that we’ve virtually eliminated the biggest risk that many organizations foresee when moving software to the Cloud.

Cloud Edition is $10/user/month or less

So what’s the bottom line? The monthly cost for ThoughtFarmer Cloud Edition is $10 per user, dropping gradually to $4 per user for 1000+. See complete pricing. This includes everything you’d expect, like support, upgrades, and backups; and a few things you wouldn’t, like free administrator training and free intranet skinning to reflect your organization’s brand.

It’s making more sense than ever to move your software to the Cloud. Now, with ThoughtFarmer Cloud Edition, your social intranet can make the move too.

We’re in Boston this week at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference. If you’re in the area, please come by our booth at the Expo and say hi! Or join us for daily 7am runs from the Sheraton Boston.

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Join The Discussion

  1. Boris Mann

    Hi Chris. Congrats on this move – it will make adoption a lot easier for some companies.

    I actually think you should still investigate a multi-tenant version, mainly to bring the TF goodness to lower end clients with some different price points. Sort of a Light vs. Pro.

    I would dearly love to turn off some more Basecamp instances…

  2. Florian Hollender

    Hi Chris,
    very excited about the announcement, this will reduce the entry barriers a lot. More detail on the terms and conditions would be nice, though – installation fees, contract periods, storage quotas, update policies, etc…
    This should enable you to easily offer demo/sandbox accounts for people who want a first glimpse, right?

    Is the cloud version also able to connect with Sharepoint / ActiveDirectory, or will these features stay exclusive to the self-hosted version?

    Cheers and enjoy E2conf!

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