Gartner has heard from several sources that SaaS-based contract management application provider Mumboe told their customers last week that they have 2 weeks to pick up their data before their cloud is permanently grounded. Law Technology News confirmed this on Oct 31, and evidence of a small feeding frenzy, at least 4 competing vendors have announced Mumboe migration services.
I suppose some customers will be grateful that they have been given an entire 14 days to pickup their PDFs and download a CSV text file of their contracting activities. Its easy to imagine a smallish procurement shop in which the only person to have been sent a warning was on a 2-week vacation, and won’t get around to reading about it until it is several days too late to download their only copy of several years worth of past and current purchasing data, so its nice to hope that Mumboe actually will burn and mail DVDs to their customers.
Some customers will feel pressure to take immediate advantage of offers from solvent competitors to migrate, and some will hope that they still have enough technically-savvy employees of their own to parse their data and stuff it into a new in-house database. Others will just stare at an unstructured pile of formerly structured data and will wonder just how they allowed themselves to become dependent upon a service that could disappear on such short notice. Perhaps some customers won’t get the word in time, or they’ll do something clumsy, and lose their only copy of important contract and procurement records.
In the boom and bust environment enabled by the low overhead of cloud-based SaaS, Cloud Rushes and Cloud Runs are inevitable. Fearing a sudden outward stampede of worried customers, SaaS providers are likely to maintain a smiling web presence right up to the bitter end. Although their web site contains no obvious signs of startup rundown, clues include a Twitter feed that hasn’t been updated since Sept 11, a content-free FB presence, a corporate blog that hasn’t had an entry for 2 months, and a sure sign of corporate apathy, 4 months without a press release. When a vendor goes under, don’t expect any significant amount of advance notice, and do not expect that any contractual commitments can be honored by a firm that has run out of money and staff.
If the bankrupt vendor’s app is running on one of your computers, you have plenty of time to figure out how to conduct a graceful transition. If you use a cloud-based service for important tasks or data, you MUST have a contingency plan in place. NEVER use a SaaS application without first considering whether you can afford its sudden disappearance. If your data is valuable to you, then figure out how you will get sufficient access to your data if the vendor is no longer able to provide it to you.
At Gartner, we’ve been suggesting for quite some time that procurement organizations need to develop new skills not only for the procurement of SaaS applications, but also for the ongoing monitoring of provider viability. This should be an example that resonates with the procurement community.
Nov 3: update
The Mumboe home page was finally changed last night:
Most of the links were removed from the home page, and a number of Mumboe pages, such as the press releases, are no longer available. In an ideal world, the status page would provide existing customers with information about where their data was, the plans for returning it and any data destruction plans. As of this morning, the following stale status is still online:
Nov 28 update:
At this point, www.mumboe.com is a dead link, and their twitter feed has gone away.