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10 Important Questions to Ask a SaaS Provider

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10 important questions to ask a SaaS vendor before signing up.

10 important questions to ask a SaaS vendor before signing up.

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  • 1. 10 Important Questions to Ask a SaaS Provider
  • 2. Why SaaS?
    SaaS is Software as a Service
    Moving from on-premise hardware systems to cloud-based servers can be confusing and nerve-wracking
    Gathering the right information before using a cloud service is the key to success
  • 3. Security
    Security is by FAR the largest concern companies have regarding the cloud
    The real question you should be asking a cloud service is, “What type of security infrastructure is in place to secure my data here?”
    Don’t discard the idea of cloud services without first asking that question
  • 4. Data Liberation
    Although stored by the provider, your data is ultimately yours
    You should have access to your data regardless of where it is stored and be able to take it with you when you leave a service
    Every website should have a data liberation policy. See why here
    Google’s Data Liberation Front is leading the way
  • 5. Availability of Data
    Consider the uptime vs. downtime of the service, protection from disasters, SLA terms and ramifications, etc.
    The best SaaS providers will have a 99%+ uptime
    Gmail currently has 95% uptime
  • 6. Support
    You need to know how to contact support if anything goes wrong
    Find out how to reach them, when it’s available and if there is a self-help feature
    A good SaaS provider will have:
    Flexible support schedule
    Highly qualified staff
    Comprehensive knowledge base
    Self-help documentation
    Ability to handle unlimited support tickets
  • 7. Enhancements
    Find out if the SaaS provider allows you access to latest enhancements for the most up-to-date cloud computing capabilities
    Enhancements should be:
    Very easy to implement
    Provide no disruption to service
    Find out how often services are released and how closely customer feedback plays into new features
  • 8. Integration
    You may still need cloud services to work in conjunction with your current local servers and hardware applications
    i.e. if using a CRM tool in-house and need to integrate with other online tools
    Look for a provider that uses open standard based APIs to link to your own on-site system
  • 9. Usability
    Ideal SaaS provider will make user experience as simple and seamless as possible
    To avoid choosing a complex system, get a free trial and see how you feel using it for a week
    Look for a user experience similar to that of Google: simple and easy to understand with little to no support needed
  • 10. Contracts
    Don’t get locked into a pricey year-long contract with a cloud service of which you are unsure
    See if they have a free trial or month-to-month plan
    Don’t waste money on a service you don’t need year-round
  • 11. Infrastructure
    Try to find out if the provider’s infrastructure can easily scale to your needs
    i.e. if you need to start off with 10 users and plan to roll it out to 50 more within the year, can their servers scale easily?
    Tip: Many cloud providers benefit from economies of scale; ask if they give bulk discounts
  • 12. References
    Read through what existing users have said
    Search for the company on Twitter, visit them on Facebook, read testimonials and case studies and check out their website
    The more market validation, the better
  • 13. Why These Questions Matter
    By asking the right questions and being prepared when evaluating a SaaS vendor, you will increase your chances of satisfaction and success with them
    Whichever service you choose, make sure you have a backup plan, as most aren’t at 99%+ uptime yet.
    Check out Backupify’ssocialmedia backup plans.