LiveOffice Interesting Trade-offs

LiveOffice, a hosted email archiving service, has an interesting trade-off between functionality and user friendliness.

The service is typically used by organizations with 100 to 1,000 employees. So it doesn't have all the bells and whistles that a large organization needs. For example:

  • Search is mainly oriented to keywords, and standard email metadata such as TO and FROM addresses and dates. There's no concept search.
  • The granularity of access controls is limited.
  • All tags are informally defined on the fly by users.

The lack of these bells and whistles translates to a service that is much more user- and administrator-friendly than it would otherwise be.

...David Ferris

One Comment

  1. Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:28 AM | Permalink

    Thanks David!

    I always found the ad is running in magazines to be the best description of how SaaS vendors should think about product development. shows a napkin that has a big circle drawn on it with “All CRM functionality” written inside and a smaller intersecting circle with “All CRM functionality you actually use” which is what they then focus on.

    SaaS is about building software where the features actually get used by everyone rather than having a bunch of features that most people don’t use and which clutter up and confuse the experience for everyone else.

    Obviously for large, complex companies, that may not be enough, but for the typical business or organization, it’s all about the 80/20 rule.


  2. Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:36 AM | Permalink

    Not quite sure that was what Pareto had in mind.

    Anyway, isn’t it often the case that “my” 20% isn’t the same as “your” 20%?

  3. Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:51 AM | Permalink

    It’s tough to get the functionality-vs-ease-of-use balance right.

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