The buzz over Software as a Service (SaaS) continues to grow. Many SaaS-based providers are positioning their products as the only option for organizations looking to make a smart business software purchase.
Certainly, SaaS products are not without merit. However, it is important to be subjective when advising clients on their software options. In speaking with partners, vendors and clients, I have found there is some diligent research that should be done prior to going all-in on a SaaS model.
Take the New Products for a Spin
Many organizations see an immediate benefit with SaaS when using it for small user groups or pilot projects. This is especially true when the internal business processes are not well defined and allows the team to use the product with minimal configuration changes. This frees up the IT group as they will not have to spend time preparing the test system or figuring out complicated applications.
Business Process Automation Kept Simple
Your company may have very simple business processes that do not require complex solutions. A generic, no-frills SaaS application can bring more efficiency to the organization at a good price.
Some people may look at this as designing your business rules around the software functionality, which is like the tail wagging the dog. However, if your organization is able to operate in this fashion while still offering good customer service, SaaS could be a viable solution.
Unique Businesses Need Unique Solutions
When companies require significant customization to their SaaS solution, it is not uncommon for the implementation costs to reach or even surpass those of traditional software. And don’t forget that any changes made to the configuration of the SaaS software are owned by the SaaS provider, and those changes could one day be added to a future release…a release that your competitor could purchase and take advantage of.
Your Business…Your Software
In this article, we have discussed the benefits and challenges, of a SaaS solution. The best advice we can offer is to do your own research on SaaS offerings to see for yourself how it could fit with your company’s unique requirements.
Make sure to ask the tough questions and discover the right answers, not just the answers that make your team feel comfortable. It is crucial to understand what makes your organization’s business engine rim and find out the best way to take advantage of that horsepower.