How risky is free software?

Here’s the dirty little secret about B2B software: 

It’s not about the money. 

It’s about the risk. 

I tell my customers that if they can find a free generic horizontal piece of software that provides them value without risk, then by all means, use it. 

Then I ask them to consider questions like these:

- Is the website up? 

- Is the fulfillment system up? 

- Is the phone system up? 

- Did we get that order? 

- Did that order ship? 

- Did the customer pay? 

- Did the bank get the money? 

- Did the material get received? 

- Did we make payroll? 

- Did we get the best price? 

- Where are our revenues below plan? 

- Where are our margins below plan? 

- What are our numbers for the day? Week? Month? Quarter? 

Then the killer question: “If we don’t know the answer to any of the above because of our free software then who are you going to call?” 

If you have a good answer to that question, then you may want to consider a free software alternative. Otherwise, paying for legitimate software and support is simply the price of doing business. The risk to your business and its stakeholders is simply not worth the couple of bucks saved on free software.