From email clients to file storage, customer support to CRM, enterprise SaaS applications are transforming the way we work. Gartner expects SaaS revenue to reach $85.1 billion this year, a 17.8% increase from 2018. Another study found that enterprises use an average of 16 SaaS applications. Not only that, but 73% of organizations surveyed believe nearly all of their apps will be SaaS by 2020. Read on to learn about the key SaaS metrics you need to consider as you select apps for your business.
SaaS platforms offer a number of benefits, including reduced IT maintenance costs, the ability to easily scale up or down, seamless collaboration across global teams, and ongoing access to new features. But enterprise SaaS also brings new challenges to IT departments. Putting your business critical applications in the hands of third party providers means issues like data breaches, service disruptions and unwanted software updates are no longer in your control.
Before making a purchase decision, it’s critical to conduct extensive research and planning to fully understand the nuances of a SaaS application. To help determine whether an application is right for your business, consider the following key SaaS metrics.
Key SaaS Metrics: Reliability & Performance
You don’t want your employees wasting time staring at loading pages, so first and foremost, ensure that any SaaS application you consider delivers high performance and reliability anywhere in the world.
While there will inevitably be downtimes with any application, what’s important is how the vendor responds. A proper SaaS provider will have fault tolerance or disaster recovery plans, along with a team available to manage any issues. Ask for a performance report from the last six to twelve months and find out the cause of downtimes. Was it was scheduled maintenance outside of normal working hours? Or was it an unexpected problem that caused users to lose access to their data? Be sure to compare the actual uptime to what was promised in the sales pitch.
It’s also important to consider application performance. Can the provider deliver a consistent level of service for your users, no matter where they are? Do they have the infrastructure to support a geographically dispersed user base? Have they sharded their app into regional datacenters to help overcome the inefficiencies and bottlenecks of the public Internet?
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention here that Teridion’s cloud WAN service can free you from agonizing over these SaaS performance questions by delivering great performance from any SaaS application through our global network.
Key SaaS Metrics: Data Management, Governance & Exit Strategies
SaaS providers have different approaches to data ownership, so look for vendors that offer choice and control in the location, processing and management of your data. And while it may seem like an odd place to start a negotiation, ask the vendor their protocol if you decide to part ways. SaaS startups are volatile; your provider could get acquired, pivot, or go belly up—so what would that mean for your data? Even with mature SaaS providers, confirm that you can easily export your data in a standard format if you ultimately change providers. The exit strategy—including data transition, storage and access—should be clear in the SLA.
Additionally, some providers keep your data for a certain period, even after you’re no longer a customer. If that violates your data policies, be sure to include a clause in your contract that requires the vendor to delete your data.
Key SaaS Metrics: Security
SaaS models mean that your data is hosted by a third party and accessed via the Internet, which can cause concern for CISOs. When talking to a prospective SaaS vendor, make sure they have documented all of their security infrastructure and protocols, and are willing to share this information. The SLA should include details about data encryption and disaster recovery plans, along with security certifications that align with your business’ compliance needs.
Key SaaS Metrics: Migration Services
Migrating to a new SaaS platform can be time-consuming, especially if the data formats or structures vary across applications. Before choosing a SaaS provider, understand the scope of each migration stage—from assessment and planning, to code refactoring, to the actual workload migration, testing, and management—and whether the vendor will provide support at any of those stages. For a large SaaS deployment, migration services can be a point of leverage in contract negotiations. After all, it’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure a quick and seamless transition.
Key SaaS Metrics: Training & Support
Once you’ve migrated your data to a new SaaS application, you should ensure that your employees know how to use it. Many SaaS providers offer training and onboarding programs to help drive adoption among new customers. Find out what training is included and whether it costs additional fees.
Another key SaaS metric for a successful implementation is customer support. During the sales pitch, SaaS providers will naturally tout their world-class support team. Once you’re locked in as a customer, though, they can become less than attentive.
Before purchasing, test out the vendor’s support offerings by creating a trial account that’s not associated with your company. This ensures that you don’t get preferential treatment as an identified prospect. Submit tickets to see how quickly and capably the support team responds and which communication channels are available. Ask to review the vendor’s support documents, and find out how often they’re updated to reflect new features. Comprehensive help documentation will help your team be more self-sufficient.
Key SaaS Metrics: Integrations
One of the major drivers for moving to a SaaS platform is the better integration opportunities. While most reputable SaaS products will offer integrations for popular business applications, the question is about implementation. Ask the vendor whether integrations are a simple plug-and-play, or require additional paid applications (e.g. Zapier), or, worse yet, developer or IT support. Lastly, make sure that the entire app functionality is available in the integration, rather than simply a few features.
Key SaaS Metrics: Cross-Platform Compatibility
Of course, any SaaS application you’re considering needs to work within your current and future environments. Your organization may allow employees to choose their preferred operating systems and web browsers. Test the app in multiple environments since some applications have different interfaces and visuals across browsers. Variations could cause challenges for collaborating teams. Your employees need a consistent experience whether they use Chrome or Edge, macOS or Windows 10.
Key Saas Metrics: Mobility
Whether you have sales representatives in the field or production managers on the factory floor, many employees need to use business applications on the go. Before choosing a SaaS provider, find out whether they offer a mobile app or mobile browser support, and whether the mobile version has the same features, functionality and interface as the desktop app. Ideally, the SaaS application should be available on iOS and Android. It should also be responsive to various screen sizes across laptops, monitors and tablets.
For enterprises, choosing a SaaS provider can be a difficult process. But by carefully researching these key SaaS metrics, you’ll make the right decision for your organization. And to ensure that the SaaS solutions you choose ultimately deliver the performance and reliability your business needs, sign up for a free trial with Teridion.