By now, you all should have had a fair idea of the challenges faced by Buyers in the IT / SaaS market. In case, you missed my previous blogs, here is Part 1 and Part 2 of The ultimate SaaS buyers guide.
Organizations, these days – when the future of the pandemic is still uncertain – ought to be careful in their purchases. In doing so, they expect a long-term business relationship with a reliable and resilient vendor so that they get the maximum ROI.
By 2021, 73% of organizations will be using all or mostly SaaS solutions. Reference here
As a pre-sales, I have fielded questions to customers related to their business, demonstrated various products that fit their needs/requirements, handled many POC’s successfully, and guided customers until they achieve the ROI through the product/solution thus purchased. During this process, I have helped many customers overcome the challenges they faced in choosing the right product.
The choices for a decision maker are aplenty and that by itself, becomes a challenge during the buying process. Match your business needs with the software / solution capabilities is the primary motto during this process. Most vendors in the SaaS business are likely to keep the Customer Acquisition Cost to the minimum – that would mean the Salesperson will try to close the deal with minimal effort. Do your due diligence throughout the process to avoid surprises and frustrations.
Technology, Product, and Governance play a major role in the Buyer ecosystem. Let me share my thoughts on this, based on my experience. In this part, we will have a look at the technology aspect.
Understand your current eco system
It is better to understand the technology used by the vendor during the decision-making process. You will need a team of domain experts to help you during the process, lest you will have to be at the mercy of the vendor that will in turn add to your hidden costs.
Understand and review the integration capability of the application. Data should flow seamlessly between the legacy and on-cloud applications.
Most of these vendors could be focused on relatively smaller domains and this could make a customer subscribe to different products. Simultaneously, you may require data integration between certain mission-critical tools. Does the vendor provide APIs to achieve integration?
The Service Availability is perhaps one of the most important things to consider when signing up for a SaaS offering. Most service providers devise the SLA keeping their own best interests in mind, which makes it very important to evaluate the agreement before finalizing it.
This should be part of the Service Availability. You need to clearly define what is counted as downtime. Does scheduled maintenance count as downtime? From a provider’s perspective it probably won’t, but things are different from the end user’s perspective. You obviously would not want to pay when the system is down, which makes it important to consider how the provider would compensate if something goes wrong.
When you talk about availability, definitely you will have to consider scalability. Check the architecture with the vendor so that you ensure that there are no hiccups down the line.
The journey of a customer post-sales depends on customer support. So, check their support process, mode of contact, and operational hours. Are there ways to reach them during non-operational hours? SaaS organization, proactively, allocates a Customer Success Manager and Technical Account Manager when the deal value is high.
Emerging technologies are impacting business outcomes, especially in today’s unprecedented times. On-premises solutions operate in Silos and they take months of deployment. It lacks the agility, speed, interoperability, and simplicity required to tap into the business benefits of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, etc. This is why many organizations are turning to SaaS consumption models to adopt the pay as you go model.
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