Asking the right questions before you commit is crucial to selecting the best possible SaaS solution for your needs. In prior entries, we talked about the importance of discussing security, data retention and ownership, performance and availability, and support with your vendor. Today, we’ll cover enhancements and upgrades.
Inquiring About Enhancements and Upgrades
One of the many benefits of the SaaS delivery model is that it eliminates the vicious cycle of expense, forced upgrades that are often imposed by the vendors of on-site software systems. However, the frequency and ease in which upgrades are rolled out will vary greatly from one SaaS provider to the next.
To ensure you are always leveraging the latest and greatest technologies – with little or no cost or time on your part – ask your vendor how often are new features introduced. Additionally, you want to make sure that enhancement plans are based largely on client needs and requirements. So, you’ll also want to discuss how they collect customer feedback, and how heavily it in considered in the product roadmap.
What to Look For
A world-class SaaS vendor will offer:
- Frequent enhancement cycles, with new features being rolled out at least several times each year.
- Upgrades to new software versions that require little or no effort – and absolutely no disruption – on the client’s part.
- A formal mechanism (i.e. a customer advisory board, annual surveys, etc.) for gathering customer feedback and suggestions, and incorporating it into product roadmaps.
The hardware the SaaS software runs on, as well as the servers that house application data, must also be upgraded frequently. Make sure the vendor you choose is committed to innovation, and will replace hardware as it becomes antiquated or out-of-date.
Next time, we’ll highlight integrations, and the questions you should pose to your SaaS vendor regarding their ability to seamlessly link to other on-premise and cloud-based solutions.
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