SaaS (Software as a Service) is not a right fit for every company. You need to consider various key aspects while evaluating whether SaaS is right for your business. The following are a few:
• The type of function for which you are considering the SaaS application
• The extent of customization you require after implementation
• The extent of integration with other systems
• The usability of the application
Saas applications work best for the systems that are simple, standard, and neither highly interdependent nor greatly integrated with other business systems. Such applications include expense and travel management, procurement and performance management system, and many more. SaaS apps are also ideal for processes that are being automated for the first time as there would be fewer challenges.
If your company wants to have a well-defined process for a particular function, then SaaS would be the right choice. On the other hand, if you are looking for a solution that manages your core operations, then it is better to go with an onsite solution. It is because you need to have greater flexibility in adapting to the changes and you should be able to manage the application even if it goes down.
If high-end customization is on your wish list, SaaS might not be a better option for you since the application requires changing the underlying code. The greater the customization, the more the complexity involved. Hence, implementation takes more time, and future upgrades become a high-end task. So, it is better to check with the vendor how customization works. Also, the more integration you need with SaaS solutions, the more complicated the process becomes. However, real-time integration with back-end systems would not be highly possible with SaaS.
The best part about SaaS applications is its interoperability. As SaaS applications should work with other software applications, vendors will pay great attention to the features that simplify the integration process.
SaaS will be the best choice if you are going to implement a new kind of functionality and the vendor agrees to make necessary enhancements as and when required. You can be at the forefront of technology by accessing the latest features, which is difficult with on-premise solutions.
SaaS has its advantages over on-premise software. While selecting software, you need to figure out what the company wants out of it. Also, the software you choose should be of high quality and reliably complemented by high-end security.
Though SaaS comes with low upfront installation costs and set up costs compared to on-premise software, there are a lot of things that you need to think over while considering SaaS apps. To make the right decision, organizations should not only consider costs but also the business requirements. Choosing between SaaS and on-premise applications will depend on the functionality you would like to implement. Also, it is up to you to decide which is important- maintenance costs or eventual ownership. And you should evaluate how important the customization is for your organization when deciding between SaaS and on-premise applications.
Major Considerations when Moving to a SaaS Model
Moving your legacy application to SaaS is not easy as you think; you have to take various aspects into consideration. And, with the proliferation of cloud solutions, making choices has become more difficult. Making wrong choices would leave an adverse affect on performance and reputation and makes you take a downturn in the competitive marketplace. So, the following are a few things you should consider when evaluating your cloud solutions:
Public and private cloud services
Firstly, you have to consider what level of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is required for you. For applications that don’t demand stringent security measures, public cloud services might work. And, for those that store sensitive data, secure private cloud services might work well. Flexibility is an important aspect one should keep in mind. SaaS vendors should be able to host their offerings on whichever IaaS type best suits their business requirements. SaaS vendors who require stringent monitoring and managing operations should consider managed cloud services.
Cloud service providers should rely on a platform to monitor its operations and optimize the performance, which gives SaaS vendors greater visibility into the availability, security and system delivery costs. Management should be able to report issues and provide real-time status updates to make sure the service providers are complying with the SLA obligations.
Cloud solutions are available via the internet. Therefore, it is important to have the product as web-native so that operating those applications from cloud becomes easy. Non-web native applications should follow some mechanisms to be delivered from the cloud. However, these solutions come with a lot of operational overhead and are not feasible due to security concerns. Also, re-engineering these requires great effort and cost. Therefore, it is critical to move to web-native applications.
When it comes to SaaS, security is the biggest fear among decision-makers. The cloud service provider should follow the security standards and should automatically update the anti-virus and other security applications. The solution providers should have encryption methodology, single sign-on, authentication, alarm and reporting systems. The service provider should administer security systems and policies to govern how they operate. The ideal way to determine whether your service provider posses the right security systems, tools, policies and procedures in place is through testing and documenting by a series of industry-recognized certifications. This would start with SAS 70, which confirms that the cloud service providers have appropriate policies and procedures to provide reliable security continuously.
Disaster and Back-up recovery
Every solution provider will experience a disruption that can adversely affect the SaaS vendors, irrespective of the security measures they have in place. Therefore, the solution provider should have good disaster recovery, back-up, and recovery systems in place. In addition, skilled and experienced professionals are required to execute the disaster recovery, back-up and recovery systems.
Despite having good technical architecture and service delivery methodologies, having qualified staff is one of the great assets that service providers should have. Architecture and service delivery systems are becoming commoditized and cloud service provider is the key differentiator that sets them apart from their peers.
Service providers share innovations and best practices to intensify development processes, service delivery capabilities and position in the market. The best partner ecosystem is to build around rather than operating models and proprietary architectures.