I love money cards because they let us re-evaluate the value of s and s. The worst a is worth is a , so we'll use that as a baseline (it's worth more in reality). Also remember, that installing a card takes a . Format [x/c], where x = clicks spent and c = profit compared to using x clicks to click for . At the end is a capita-per-click percentage score.
Smartware Distributor: Turn 1 [2/-2], Turn 4 [3/0], Turn 7 [4/+2], Turn 10 [4/+5]* --125%--
Data Folding: Turn 1 [1/-4], Turn 4 [1/-1], Turn 7 [1/+2], Turn 10 [1/+5] --500%--
Armitage Codebusting: Turn 1 [4/+1], Turn 2 [7/+4] --57%--
Sure Gamble: Turn 1 [1/+3] --300%--
Day Job: Turn 1 [4/+6] --150%--
Liberated Account Turn 1 [4/+2], Turn 2 [5/+5] --100%--
Kati Jones (3-turn cycle): Turn 1 [2/-4], Turn 3 [4/0], Turn 6 [7/+3], Turn 9 [10/+6] --60%--
Kati Jones (5-turn cycle): Turn 1 [2/-4], Turn 5 [6/+4], Turn 10 [11/+11] --100%--
*Assumes that Smartware isn't being used a fourth time
This data shows us that as far as capita-per-click efficiency, Smartware is actually on the higher end of things, so if you want to drop a couple early and dedicatedly click them up each turn, it's not the worst plan ever. Their biggest issue is flexibility and acceleration. If you only have 1 to spare before the end of the game, then a simple Sure Gamble or a Stimhack is going to be better for you. If you have a couple turns left, the flexibility of Armitage or Lib Account are better suited for your needs. In the case of one full turn of downtime, Day Job's the winner. Kati has a little of both, giving you a bit of flexibility as well as long-term investment. If long-term investment is the only thing you need, then you can look into cards like Smartware, Data Folding, or even Rezeki. At this point, I don't think it's a matter of "is Smartware good?" so much as it's "does Smartware fit into the economic tempo your deck needs?" Obviously, Data Folding saves you 3 by turn 10 and nets you the same amount of money, but can you deal with the drought created by the first 5 turns? Smartware offsets that drought period by giving you a much easier point of entry--0 and 2.
That all being said, I think this card can be pushed even further by including it in an Aesop's Pawnshop deck, allowing you to sell it off for a sweet 3 advance without the use of a click when you no longer want it.