The software business was supposed to be getting easier. Not just the programming and application development, but the way we consume it and implement it.
While it’s certainly easy to buy software, it’s not easy to buy the right software.
For one, there has never been more choice. There’s been a great decade-long run in SaaS — abundant capital and a massive existing market shift from on-premise to cloud. This means there have been more SaaS products on the market.
On top of this, most cloud services are month to month, which means that these conversations will continue to come up.
The unavoidable scenario here is that most reasonably sized organizations will constantly add new SaaS apps, which means it’s a recurring headache.
Pick the wrong app and more problems will crop up. McAfee reports that of the 20,000 known cloud services in use today, only 1 in 10 providers follow and meet strict data security and privacy requirements, including industry best practices of encrypting data at rest.
That’s where MSPs can come into play and offer to help evaluate and procure these SaaS products. Here’s how to do it.
Building a Business Case for a SaaS Application
The first step an MSP can take is to ensure that the product is needed. Ensure clients are very clear about your pain points.
What is not working? What hurts bad enough for them to make a change? A new system will cause disruption (read: moving colleagues who are happy with the status quo) and require a lot of time and energy.
It’s a good idea to consider at a high-level what you want the application to help you achieve. For example, time saved, reduction in helpdesk tickets, faster turnaround time, automating manual processes, and mobile access are all positive changes that SaaS can bring.
This business case should both:
- Illustrate the pain points your client is experiencing: Outline what the issue is and how it negatively impacts your client’s business. If possible, assign a cost in terms of productivity lost or dollars.
- Address any concerns: Your plan should address concerns about reliability, transition plans, and/or post-sale support.
If you can’t do both then it might not actually be a problem you need to solve.
Evaluate the Market for the Best Fit
Once you’ve built a business case for a new product with your client, it’s now time to evaluate the various options available to them.
When buying a SaaS product, there are many points you need to evaluate. The track record of the vendor, the similar businesses using the same or similar software, and the long-term value of the solution all need consideration. It’s a role MSPs are well-suited for.
For example, every vendor–SaaS providers included–has ‘world-class’ support during the sales process, but the story can suddenly change once you become a paying customer.
As an MSP, you could create a trial account that doesn’t indicate your company affiliation, since you may receive preferential support if there’s a big name attached to a test account. Submit a support request and assess the quality of the support you receive.
You can also look at other areas, such as whether the vendor reveals the pricing on the website with clear terms. This ensures that the vendor is comfortable with the market and consistent with the offering.
Evaluating SaaS Apps for Your Clients
Cloud computing does make many aspects of IT easier, but it also makes things more complex. That complexity shows its face in software licensing from the buyer’s end. Your customers will appreciate this new service.