The Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model continues to gain more traction across the globe. Companies of all sizes are now embracing SaaS applications to build new products, manage business processes, improve communication, analyze data, and increase productivity, just to name a few.
SaaS has the potential to fundamentally change how your business operates. It’s therefore important to make sure you select the right SaaS provider for your organization. There are so many SaaS applications out there. You will find dozens of similar apps, with some SaaS apps ranking at the top of their market segment while others offer superior reliability and affordable pricing. However, there’s a lot more to consider when evaluating a new or replacement SaaS tool. The investment in a SaaS application for your business is going to be significant so you need to carefully consider how to get the best return on your investment. Consider the following important factors:
Pro Tip – First, Define Your SaaS Needs
Before you start looking at SaaS applications, you need to define why you need a specific SaaS tool. There should be a clear definition of the business problem you are looking to solve by purchasing a SaaS product. Make a list of your specific business requirements and prioritize them as must-have and nice-to-have features. As part of this, make sure you can identify how many users will access the software, any integration points with other software you need, what kind of response time you expect, and more. This information will help you find the right SaaS provider.
How to Choose the Right SaaS Application for Your Business
Criterion 1 – Core Features and Functionality
Most of the SaaS applications come with different pricing tiers with various feature sets. It is important to identify if the SaaS app you want to buy is providing the must-have features.
Consider you’re buying a project management tool. The core features you should look for include project management, task management, resource management, and performance analysis. If the SaaS product you’re considering for managing projects in your organization offers the above core functionalities, then you can add the product to your list before making the final purchase.
Likewise, if your organization has strong single-sign-on (SSO) adoption, and you don’t see SSO listed in the core features of a SaaS product, then you might want to cross that SaaS app off from your list.
Before you make your decision to move ahead with a SaaS product:
- Find out what are the core functionalities of the application?
- Will it be able to solve your specific business problem?
Criterion 2 – Demo and Free Trial
The next phase of SaaS product evaluation involves taking free trials or demos. By making use of free trials or demos, you will understand how well the app is designed if it is easy to use, and whether or not the app offers the core features it promised on its website. Through the free trial or demo, you will learn about the SaaS company’s support, technology, and hidden costs. Send your scope of SaaS requirements to the IT vendor so that they can tailor the demo for you.
“Try-Before-Buy” can help your business save money on expensive software. During the SaaS trial period, make sure to check the usability factors such as:
- Is it easy to use?
- How long will it take to learn to use it?
- How responsive is it?
- Does the application have self-service support?
- Do they have public support pages and documentation?
- Do they have a chat option within the app if you need immediate help?
- Does the SaaS app support browsers and infrastructure you currently have?
- Can the SaaS tool scale to your expected growth levels?
Criterion 3 – Security and Privacy
Security requirements vary greatly depending on the organization and industry. Since SaaS apps are accessed through the Internet and hosted by a third party, it requires careful planning to choose the most secure app. If the security features of a SaaS application matter to you most, then you need to ensure your prospective SaaS provider can meet your expectations. When researching a prospective SaaS application, dig deeper into their security features:
- What are the SaaS company’s technical security standards?
- Do they have available GDPR/CCPA/other privacy documentation?
- Do they have security certifications, such as SOC 2 or ISO 27001?
- Do they have a policy about data retention/deletion? If so, what is it?
- Do they have an adequate data storage facility and what is the fault tolerance?
- Does it support SSO? Is it Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) or Open Authorization (OAuth)? Do you need to pay more to get SSO?
If your organization has high data security requirements, make sure the SaaS fits the above requirements and your expectations.
Criterion 4 – Integrations
If your new software doesn’t fit seamlessly into your company’s tech infrastructure, it’s likely that employees will have to switch between applications. They will have to log in and log out of multiple applications, which will lower productivity. If your organization is using multiple SaaS applications, the new SaaS tool should integrate well with your tech stack. Move ahead with the new SaaS product only if:
- All the necessary integrations that you currently need are available.
- The SaaS provider is planning to add more integrations or have them in the roadmap to be released shortly.
- Their support team takes any specific requests for integration into consideration.
Criterion 5 – Budget
Another thing to remember with SaaS is how differently the pricing works. Some SaaS products have a pay-as-you-go pricing model while others follow multi-year contracts with discounts. Some of the pricing models for SaaS have variable prices based on the number of users and what features you want. When considering new or replacement SaaS products, your organization needs to look at how the pricing will affect your total SaaS spending. Depending on your tech stack budget, you must check the following things to avoid encountering any unexpected fees:
- If the new SaaS application’s pricing plans are clear?
- Are there are any hidden costs?
- If the SaaS tool if the plan has any limits that might cost you later on?
- Do you need to pay a one-time set-up or implementation fee?
- Do they charge for SaaS integration services?
- Is it easy to negotiate with them?
With thousands of SaaS apps out there, it becomes difficult to choose the right SaaS product for your business. Not all of your questions can be answered in a demo call with a salesperson. You might not be able to evaluate everything in a 14-day free trial. Some of your queries might remain unanswered even after doing your research, asking the right questions, and digging deeper into the software. That’s where A1 Stack comes in!
A1 Stack brings together our expertise in SaaS management and tech vendor management to help your organization save time, money, and resources. We can help you find the right SaaS applications that fit your business’s tech ecosystem and align with your company’s SaaS budget. We help you evaluate your vendor options and develop selection and implementation criteria to create a center of SaaS excellence for your teams. We also encourage organizations to thoroughly evaluate the Proof of Concept (PoC).
When deciding what technology and SaaS products your team will be using for the next few years, it’s important to keep in mind the core features you need, budget, security, usability, integration options, and the total cost of ownership. A1 Stack helps you find the right SaaS solution that solves your business challenges and complements your existing business processes.