Going Saas one Step at a Time
The One-Step-at-a-Time Approach to SaaS
Despite the hype of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployment model, software companies are somewhat apprehensive and for good reason; the problems encountered by early adopters are an indication that the technology has not quite reached its full potential.
There is another approach to implementing SaaS, however, and that is taking it one step at a time. While this may not be a ‘plug and play’ formula that can be applied to each and every company, it does reflect a logical, managed journey towards SaaS, albeit cautious. Suggested here is a step-by-step approach to implementing SaaS configurations.
Step 1: Do a feasibility study
A feasibility study is the first thing you should do and it’s probably one of the most neglected yet critical areas. Before you go ahead and start developing the next salesforce.com, do an analysis from an objective perspective. Ask questions such as: Why should the company consider moving in to a SaaS model as opposed to sticking with the traditional delivery method. Does SaaS deliver make sense for the business? You should also conduct a benefit analysis and research the degree of flexibility needed, plus potential risks that may arise and any licensing-related issues that may affect both delivery models.
Step 2: Set goals and objectives for the SaaS application
You have determined that developing a SaaS application makes sense. Now set goals and objectives to measure the effectiveness of the application. Pen what you want to achieve through a SaaS delivery model. Also at this time, make a tentative marketing and sales plan. This can be reviewed and altered at a later date, if needed.
Step 3: Consider the costs and the cash flows
The business model for SaaS is different than that of traditional software models. One of the most important dissimilarities is the nature of cash flow. Large, upfront licensing expenses are replaced by pay-as-you-go subscription costs. A SaaS operator should also pay special attention to the potential fixed cost that will be incurred such as continuous support to the application.
Step 4: Develop a Strong SLA
We cannot over emphasize the importance of a strong Service Level Agreement (SLA) in this industry. An SLA acts as a safety net for any software company as well as SaaS provider. And when the software is provided as a service, an SLA becomes even more vital. A rock solid SLA serves a duel purpose for the SaaS provider: (1) it will add to your credibility as a reliable vendor, defining the services and support that will be provided and (2) an SLA will clearly outline the limitation of your obligation towards clients (or should we say tenants?).
Step 5: Build the Team
Software as a Service – see the word “service” in there? Make the service memorable and you have a winner. Delivering a superior SaaS experience depends, to a great extent, on the level of service the company offers. The application needs to be backed by a strong team of support personnel and a customer support center. Make sure you can sustain your software with superior service levels by putting together a team who can handle the challenge. And don’t forget to bring your current team up to speed on what’s required to succeed as a SaaS company and procure their buy-in.
Step 6: Plan the Project
Before you start developing your SaaS application, there is one more step to consider – and it’s an important one. Draw up a project plan and set clear milestones. Remember, these are not the same as what may apply to a traditional software project. Proper planning will ensure your project succeeds with minimal delays and problems along the way.
Like to know more about how to manage a SaaS application development project? Give Digital Sabre a call today at 704-944-5525 for a free consultation. We’re here to help.
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