Seven considerations when buying a SaaS product

When buying a SaaS product, there are many points you need to evaluate. The track record of the vendor, the similar businesses using the same or similar software, and the long-term value of the solution all need consideration.

But what are the top considerations you need to make to ensure SaaS success? We’ve put together the seven considerations that should be at the top of your checklist when buying a SaaS product.

1.    Will buying a SaaS product solve your problem?

Starting with the obvious, will buying a SaaS product solve a current problem you or your team are facing? Make sure you have a clear definition of the problem(s) you are looking to solve. A list of must-have features can also aid your evaluation. If the SaaS product you’re considering doesn’t solve the problem better than your current system, it’s time to look elsewhere.

2.    What security features and back-up plans does the vendor use?

In an age of increased cybercrime, constant data breach scandals, and the weight of GDPR, security is a top priority. When buying a SaaS product, remember to examine not only the security of the solution itself, but the vendor too. Read their privacy policies and ask questions about their infrastructure. Make sure you are satisfied with their security strategies for keeping your data safe.

3.    What’s the vendor’s track record?

Looking at the track record of a vendor can be a helpful indicator of whether a company is trustworthy. So, before buying a SaaS product, consider more than one review and case study of the product in action. This way, you reduce the chance of being deceived by an anomalous success or failure. It’s better to pay a little more for a SaaS product that comes with good service and genuine support, than less for a service tainted with multiple negative experiences handled badly.

4.    What will the initial impact of buying a SaaS solution be?

Most solutions require some form of training to use them effectively. Your team will need time to get used to the new solution. So, when buying a SaaS product, a top consideration on your checklist should be evaluating the time, cost and available support of the initial implementation. Ask what training the vendor provides. Will you be able to request refresher training if needed? Finally, evaluate whether the cost of implementation and training is justified by the benefits of using the product.

5.    What are the support options?

The level of support and service a SaaS vendor must provide is best defined in a service level agreement, or SLA. Before buying a SaaS product, ensure that you understand clearly – and are satisfied with – the responsibilities of service on the vendor. An SLA should cover the performance required of the vendor, how that performance is monitored, and the time frame for fixing issues. It’s also good to outline the repercussions on the vendor for failing to meet these agreed terms. Plus, the SLA ensures you’re aware of your responsibilities and how to report issues when they happen.

6.    How flexible is the product?

When buying a SaaS product, consider its flexibility. There’s no point buying a solution if it can’t work with your current processes. So, consider whether the software will be able to integrate with your existing systems and strategies. If you’re a global business, or looking to go global, will the service be able to support a global reach? Consider the long-term goals of your business, and whether the software will be able to fit in and grow with you.

7.    What’s your exit strategy if you want to leave later down the line?

Sadly, things sometimes fall apart or stop working. In the case of a break up with your new SaaS vendor, you need to know how to end the relationship. Before buying a SaaS solution, examine whether you can leave at any time, or will be bound to a fixed term. You should also consider how to retain custody of your data, and how much of your data the vendor can retain if you do leave. Having a clear exit strategy at the start can help reduce the costs and stresses of a messy escape.

Top of your checklist

There are many SaaS products available, and it can be tricky to find the ones that are right for your business. With these considerations at the top of your checklist, your search might just be that little bit easier. Happy hunting!

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