Quick Guide: Choosing a SaaS Provider for Your Business Needs
by Stacey Papp
Cloud computing can be a polarizing topic among small business owners. There are generally two perspectives:
I love working in the cloud, the technology is great and ROI has been amazing!
I’m never getting burned by the cloud again.
Both points of view are valid, but how can such extreme opinions about the same technology exist at once? In many cases, it comes down to the vendor relationship. You need a cloud provider that will be a true partner, letting you trust it to deliver technology that will meet your specific business needs.
This is especially true when you are taking advantage of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions. SaaS systems are cloud apps that can be delivered either through the Web or a mobile app store. These apps let you access and interact with data - for example, pulling up work schedules and adjusting them - making them powerful business tools. However, the quality, reliability, and security of an app depends on the service provider offering it. Here's how you can find a partner for your SaaS needs.
Making Initial Evaluations
Open conversations early in the sales process can help you decide if you should continue pursuing a partnership. As you have these discussions, there are a few key questions you should ask about both your business and the service provider:
- Will the SaaS provider make updates to apps as my industry changes?
- Do the capabilities offered by cloud apps solve business problems I am facing right now?
- How difficult will it be for users to adjust to the technology?
- Will this technology create value on an ongoing basis?
A good relationship centers around trust. If you are confident in your potential partner’s ability to deal with all of these questions, then you are ready to take a deeper dive into making your final choice.
Choosing the Right Vendor
Selecting a SaaS provider isn't all that different than choosing a standard business partner. When you evaluate mechanics to service your trucks, you probably get references, talk with them to make sure the relationship clicks and check their experience working on the types of vehicles in your fleet.
This same process applies to choosing a SaaS solution, but there are a few unique issues you should consider:
- Flexibility: Carefully analyze the service provider's culture around managing your data and handling your subscription to make sure it will be flexible in meeting your needs. This includes thoroughly reviewing the legal details of the cloud service to make sure you know what to expect from the provider over time.
- Customer service: Make sure the solutions you’re considering prioritize customer service through the life of the relationship, not just during the sales process.
- Transparency: Evaluate any provider you may partner with to ensure it is open and transparent in their conversations with you. Working with a cloud provider that is forthright about policies, technological capabilities and its update cycles will protect you from unwanted surprises throughout the relationship.
The Right SaaS Provider Can Make Cloud Technologies Easy
New technology can be intimidating, but the concerns surrounding cloud computing primarily come down to one factor: Can you trust your SaaS provider?
The relationship is the real difference between small business owners who end up swearing by the cloud and those that end up swearing at it!
As you explore cloud options for your service fleet, keep one thought constantly in the back of your mind - you are evaluating a partner that will simplify operations for your business, not a technological silver bullet that might solve all your problems. Once you have a good relationship in place, the intimidation around technology disappears.
When implementing technology within your small business, knowing the ins and outs of how it works is a must. Download our free eBook to learn everything about cloud computing and how it can affect everyone from your office staff to your drivers.