Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions deliver web-based applications over the internet. In an increasingly digital world, these types of applications continue to evolve exponentially making it one of the most widely used technologies for modern business. So why are SaaS solutions so valuable and how do you select the right SaaS partner among a growing landscape of competing providers?
How well does it integrate with your existing solutions?
One of the main benefits of SaaS solutions is their ability to integrate alongside and ideally inside, the very applications your business is already using on a daily basis. Whether it’s your email client, CRM, ERP or other business systems, seamless integration, native to your existing solutions are key. This eliminates the need for users to navigate in and out of a multitude of applications that only slow productivity and further complicate your ability to customize and scale. These days, most business platforms offer a library of available applications that integrate with their product to help you extend your user experience. Here are a few examples:
- Salesforce – AppExchange
- Netsuite – SuiteApps
- IBM – Marketplace
Customization & Scalability
How customizable is the solution and can it scale with your business?
With most SaaS solutions you can expect to be up and running relatively quickly but a great SaaS solution allows businesses to tailor the product for their unique business needs. While this might delay the implementation process, understanding how customizable the solution is and the level of expertise required is important if you’re planning to grow or have unique use cases to address. If you don’t have a dedicated technical staff, then applications that are easy for your team to customize should be an important factor in your buying decision. Just remember that the more customizable the solution is, the easier it will be to scale with your business and address changing requirements without downtime and without additional costs.
Consider the pricing model and opportunities for discounts?
The popularity of SaaS solutions is largely attributed to the fact that they provide a much more cost-effective solution. There are a variety of pricing models, depending on the type of software so make sure you understand the structure and that it makes sense for your business. Regardless of the pricing model, which will likely be out of your control, take the time to learn about what incentives might be available? Multi-year contracts, online billing, tiered discounts, and nonprofit pricing could be hidden gems that provide your business with more cost-effective options.
Company Health, Service & Support
Do some research and leverage references and reviews.
Imagine finding the “perfect” solution that you believe will really fit your business, only to find out after implementation that the company is going out of business. For this reason, researching the health of a company is important and shouldn’t be overlooked. You also want to consider the service and support that is offered by the companies that you are looking into. A solution can seem like the perfect fit, but if the service and support are lacking, where does that leave you? Here are a few ways to evaluate providers…
- Leverage third-party review sites such as G2 Crowd to read reviews on companies from their actual customers.
- Visit the websites of the companies you are considering to make sure their mission and culture align with your goals.
- Ask for references from current customers and be specific. Ask to speak with customers similar in size, industry or use cases.
It is important not to select a SaaS solution based on any one of these criteria above, but to evaluate them on all criteria and make an informed decision. You will not regret putting in the time and effort to find a solution that best fits your company, but you will regret choosing a solution, paying for it, and then realizing that it is not a good fit. Ultimately it’s about selecting a partner that that can deliver a solution that will add value to your company. This allows you to grow while providing opportunities for increased productivity and efficiency.
LevelEleven is a SaaS solution and proud partner of the Salesforce AppExchange. If you’re a Salesforce user, visit the Salesforce AppExchange today for a comprehensive library of applications available to help extend and customize your Salesforce user experience.