10 Important Questions to Ask a SaaS Provider


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

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10 Important Questions to Ask a SaaS Provider

  1. 1. 10 Important Questions to Ask a SaaS Provider
  2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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’ssocial media backup plans.