If your company wants to tap into the very lucrative industry of software-as-a-service or SaaS, you’re likely in for a world filled with excitement and treats. After all, SaaS, despite being only a few years’ old, has been ripe for improvements and enhancements since its conception. This likely means your SaaS offering will have room in the growing marketplaces around the world – which in itself can be a problem. After all, if you have limited sources, what kind of SaaS should you obtain? How do you go about choosing your SaaS for your company? Choosing the wrong one might after all jeopardize the potential profitability of your company. These concerns are legitimate, and one this guide can help you with.
Choosing a vendor is an intricate part of the SaaS experience, especially for companies. In fact, data shows that 56-percent of companies actually use a wide range of SaaS vendors for their needs, with more than another 50-percent choosing vendors that can be integrated with other services.
If you’re looking towards publishing an SaaS offering, or if you’re looking at your options in choosing various SaaS products, then you’re better off knowing the best ways on choosing your SaaS offering. This article will be just the right guide for you. Here’s how you can choose the right SaaS offering for your current – or future – operations:
1.) What happens to data you accumulated if you stop using the vendor? One of the most important questions to ask when dealing with an SaaS vendor is what happens to your data, specifically if you sever ties with them. While it may not be the best idea to consider “divorcing” with your provider as earlier as now, it’s important to remember that there’s always the likelihood of your data being held “hostage” if you or the vendor decide to shut the deal. Of course, the best case scenario here is they’ll provide assistance in terms of exporting your data through an automated export function into a standardized format readable by other vendors. Data included in this case should be customization data, logs, user account information, and other relevant pieces of information.
2.) What actually happens in customer support? A lot of vendors sometimes say they have “excellent customer support,” but this isn’t always the case especially when you become a regular subscriber. Try making a trial account under a different name or affiliation, and not the one you’re currently in. This allows you to at least test the customer service for yourself and not risk tying yourself to service that’s there just because you’re part of a big paying company. Assess the quality of the kind of customer support you receive once you engage your vendor with the new trial account you’ve made.
3.) What kind of training assistance and migration options are there? One of the biggest challenges when it comes to deploying new software through a vendor is adjusting to the platform and training end users. Try to see if your SaaS vendor can assist with these challenges using various means such as consulting assistance, premade training tools, or even data migration tools. You may want to try to start negotiating for these as soon as you talk about things in your contracts, as this will likely help with you being able to train everyone that needs to be trained when it comes to using the service.
4.) What about parallel testing? When you consider an SaaS vendor, it might be relevant to see if you can migrate a small group of users to test the SaaS application versus the one it’s replacing. This allows you to check whether or not the kind of software you might use now is really the one you need. Get user feedback, assess customer support, and how relevant is the new SaaS to your business?
5.) What about maturity and functionality? Sure, an SaaS can be very handy and may have a lot of features, but how do you think these features can go about in the long run? Try to see whether or not the features the SaaS have may be of use to you and your company in the long run. Are you sure areas you need are actually catered to, and not just flashy interfaces and “features” that might not be really relevant to your needs?
6.) What about pricing, and integration? Money can be a dealbreaker for a lot of deals, and the same goes with SaaS. It’s important that you get to consider the SaaS offering’s pricing models and integration options before you close a deal with the provider. Are there any hidden charges, like fluctuating costs due to user counts, bandwidth, or transactions? How about integration with other software you have? Knowing these beforehand, and clarifying any questions you may have, are extremely important in making sure you get the kind of software you can fully take advantage of in the long run.
The Bottomline: Choose One You Can Grow With
Perhaps what we can take away from the above is that choosing your SaaS vendor may have a lot of factors involved, but perhaps the most important is for you to choose one you can grow with. Cliche and cheesy as it sounds, it’s important to choose a vendor you know you can develop a good business relationship with in order to make sure not only do they get to take advantage of your business’ growth, but you can also take advantage of the full scope of the vending service they provide. Being able to form a kind of partnership with your SaaS vendor allows you to be confident in using relevant updates (or even new SaaS software) with them, and even help your clients be assured that their data and your software are in good hands.
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