I come from a family of perfectionists\u2014people for whom no level of quality is ever quite high enough. Every project is bound to demonstrate some flaw (even a tiny defect that no one else would ever notice) that will drive the maker crazy until the end of time. It\u2019s just the way we\u2019re wired about some things.\nBut for me, that trait doesn\u2019t apply to the software I use. Now I\u2019m not talking bugs; I have no tolerance for bugs. I\u2019m talking features. Give me stable, reliable software that installs easily and does 90 percent of what I need in a simple, elegant manner, and I\u2019ll take that immediately over something that will deliver everything I could possibly want but only at extraordinary effort or cost. \nI didn\u2019t used to think that way. And I confess, sometimes I\u2019m still tempted by the 100 percent equation. I recently tried to install a version of Gentoo Linux on a server, lured by the promise of ending up with a distribution tailored to my exact\nrequirements\u2014nothing more; nothing less. Two days and half a dozen failed boots later, I tossed my Gentoo disc in the trash and downloaded ProMepis.\nDoes ProMepis let me choose, tweak and optimize every little detail of my installation? No. But it installed in 20 minutes and came preconfigured with the Web server and database I needed. (If you\u2019re a Gentoo fan, don\u2019t flame me. I\nknow it\u2019s a great distribution for a lot of folks\u2014just not for me.)\nCorporations are beginning to take the 90 percent rule to heart, too, often as a result of deciding to dump massive roll-in-the-cots-and-build-a-new-wing monolithic software implementations in favor of hosted options. Software as service providers such as Salesforce.com, Rearden Commerce, and JRG Systems will gladly give you 90 percent of what you need\u2014from CRM to travel planning to supply chain management\u2014quickly, relatively easily and nexpensively\u2014if only you\u2019re willing to pry your claws off that dream of a 100 percent solution. (Rearden has bigger plans, of course, but I\u2019ll let this Infoworld article tell you all about them.) \nThe software as service guys aren\u2019t apologetic about what they offer, either (although Salesforce.com\u2019s sforce customization initiative comes dangerously close to a mea culpa in my opinion--but they wouldn\u2019t have offered it if customers weren\u2019t\ncreating the demand.) Their strategy is all about leveraging a 90 percent\nsolution across as many customers as possible. Custom code just gets in the way of profits\u2014the exact opposite of what your average monolithic software company is thinking, where the base code is often seen as the toehold that leads to the lifelong engagement. \nThe big problem for these providers until recently has been mindset\u2014software as a service just sounds dangerous to a lot of companies that have built themselves on foundations of millions of lines of customized code wrapped around software from a handful of vendors. But even some of those companies are beginning to loosen the straps that have tied them down for so long\u2014and those that aren\u2019t will soon find themselves falling well behind the curve as their competition discovers that 90 percent now means a more agile, aggressive enterprise that doesn\u2019t waste endless energy in trying to attain IT perfection.\nAnd heck, 90 percent now means more resources available to address a few of those high-value, high-cost percentage points that the generic solutions won\u2019t provide.\nReally, even the Swiss figured it out. Sometimes you need a Patek Philippe; sometimes you just need a Swatch.