5 key questions to ask when implementing Software as a Service

Choosing to implement a solution “as a Service” in an enterprise environment is often as simple as making a call or clicking a ‘Buy Now’ button. But in reality, this is not always the case. Whether your SaaS implementation is a simple one for a distinct  need or a more complex, enterprise-wide effort to create a Center of Excellence practice, there are a few questions your business must ask in order to feel confident in the cloud.

 

Why Software as a Service, anyway?

This is a question as obvious as it is often overlooked. You can accurately predict the impact of SaaS, only if you understand your reasons for implementing it in your IT environment. Then you  will be able to accurately calculate its ROI, TCO and ultimately, its success in progressing the goals of IT and the broader enterprise.   There are a number of valid reasons why enterprises implement SaaS, these include a tactical budget decision or a strategic refocusing on projects that aid innovation and differentiation.

 

What’s the out?

The ‘out’ is the consideration of the ‘what if’. As a marketer for HP SaaS, I do not want to suggest that there would ever be a situation where SaaS wouldn’t work out in your organization, but it can happen. In that case, you’ll want to be certain to avoid vendor lock-in, or in the case of HP Software customers, easily switch to an on-premises version of the software. Further, consider the disposition of any data and how to recover it… and be certain it is no longer of their SaaS provider’s environment.

 

What’s the performance and availability I need – and can expect?

The Service Level Agreement defines what a SaaS vendor offers in the way of performance and the restitution and actions that will be taken should they fall short.  Often enterprises only consider the penalty for non-performance (often as a pro-rate of the subscription),  but they’d be advised to consider the track record of the provider because the loss of revenue or productivity (less the penalty) in the event of a failure can far outweigh any monetary penalty.

 

What are my global requirements?

SaaS vendors can be located globally and still serve locally, so regional and local regulations, policies, and procedures need to be considered. Different industries and regions have different regulatory requirements and these need to be understood and managed by the SaaS vendor. Also, support and other availability will vary by time zone. It is important that these are supported, if not 24/7, at least during the business hours of your enterprise.

 

How does my team need to be prepared?

SaaS implementations are fast and easy by comparison to most on-premises installations, so it is just as easy to overlook the importance of preparing IT staff for the introduction of a new SaaS solution. It not  only improves the user experience, but increases the adoption rate for the solution and in turn, increases the ROI for the solution. Ask your SaaS vendor about training and other services to ease and maintain the transition.

 

Asking a few important questions up front can really smooth the transition to SaaS and improve the uptake of the solution. These are just five of dozens of questions that should be considered to be certain Software as a Service works for you. You need to make sure it works the way you need it to and realizes its maximum potential in your organization.  

 

Feel free to reach out to me in the comments section below, or visit our HP SaaS homepage to find out how SaaS can benefit you.

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About the Author
Jim is a technology marketer with over two decades experience in product launch, branding, and product marketing


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