Greg Broiles is correct in pointing out that I did leave out hardware costs from my ROI computation. I also left out the cost of Internet access, the availability of high speed Internet access, and a myriad of other factors that would go into an exhaustive ROI computation. Greg’s point is quite valid, any ROI analysis has to be done from a specific set of circumstances and will give different results for different inputs.
I think the software as a service (SaaS) model is the potential of being the next great thing after all it affords the vendor greater control over their intellectual property, eliminates the end user’s upfront software costs, and may reduce the end user’s hardware investment. For the model to work, the end user has to have reliable access to a high speed Internet connection. For those of us in rural areas, we are the Internet’s hinterland and Internet access often means dial-up, high speed translates to 9600 baud, and reliability is dependent on the vagaries of the gods and the local phone company (surveys show that only about 39% of rural households in my neck of the woods have access to broadband Internet service).
I think that both Rocket Matter and Clio have the potential to be great products. Of all the practice management products I’ve reviewed so far, I think that Rocket Matter offers the most user-friendly, KISS interface out there. If it were a standalone product, my decision as to which practice management system to use would be simple. The ugly reality is I’m a one computer, one lawyer practice with a dodgy internet connection and I’m not sure that SaaS is for me. Your mileage may vary.