Selecting a SaaS provider is the first and most crucial step in the cloud migration process, no matter what type of service you are looking to provision. As you look to migrate your organization’s apps and software to the cloud, you will need to begin looking at the software as a service (SaaS) vendors that will be the best fit for your needs. From client support to exit planning, you must take several factors into consideration when selecting a provider.
Let’s look at some of the most important questions that you should ask prospective SaaS vendors before making a final decision:
1. Will you assist us during the migration process and beyond?
Cloud migration isn’t an easy process. It involves countless moving parts that must all come together to ensure a seamless transition between traditional and cloud infrastructure. Even provisioning new SaaS solutions can be challenging, so you should make sure that your vendor will be able to support you both during and after this process. Look for a provider that will deliver migration tools and resources to help you train your staff on your new SaaS solution.
The SaaS vendor that you choose should also be able to support you throughout your contract. To this end, they should be responsive to any issues that you may encounter and reply quickly to any requests that you make. In order to test a provider’s capabilities in this arena, you can reach out to existing customers for their input or conduct your own trial of the vendor’s services before committing.
2. What type of experience does your team have?
You should always look for a SaaS vendor with an experienced team that can help you to navigate the migration process with ease. This will be especially crucial if you will be integrating your new provider’s software with your existing IT environment, or if you plan to rely on third-party apps in the cloud. Integrating platforms across more than one cloud platform can be a difficult task for any SaaS provider. You must make sure that your vendor will be capable of handling the integration process and other intricate migration needs.
It’s also crucial that you look for SaaS providers whose teams possess intimate knowledge of your industry. When evaluating vendors, look for existing customers in your vertical. Working with a provider that already understands your industry will make it easier for them to meet your unique needs down the line.
3. How well do your services align with our needs?
Functionality should be another primary focus during your search for a SaaS provider. Many organizations search for vendors that can provide support for all of their most crucial apps at once. This can help to reduce cloud spending and simplify your cloud environment while still supplying all of the features that your organization needs. Moreover, provisioning software from a single provider can help to mitigate the issues surrounding app integration.
There are countless other factors that you should consider when selecting a SaaS provider. Take flexibility, for example. Does your organization need the ability to change elements of your vendor’s software to accommodate unique business needs? Will you be able to scale your services to accommodate future business growth? You may even need to choose a SaaS vendor based on the number of employees that will use their software. Whatever your organization’s business needs, you should communicate them with potential vendors to ensure the right fit.
4. Do you consistently update your product?
It’s vital that you find a SaaS provider that does more than support its clients. If a vendor doesn’t also provide support to its products, then you will eventually find yourself falling behind. As you evaluate different providers, you should touch upon the subject of product updates. Ask how they handle the management of their updates and how frequently they roll them out.
SaaS vendors that consistently update their products give their users access to the latest and greatest features. This, in turn, allows these organizations to continue improving over time instead of stagnating due to outdated software. The SaaS vendor that you select for your organization must help you to meet this challenge head-on by keeping up with product updates.
5. What will happen if we want to move to another provider?
Most organizations don’t want to think about ending their partnership with their cloud provider before they’ve even selected one, but you must have an exit plan in place if you want to protect your data. You should never enter into a cloud agreement until you determine how your vendor will handle your information when it comes time to move on.
Don’t take a SaaS vendor at their word if they do little more than promise to migrate your data during a transition to the cloud. You should look for specific language in your service level agreement (SLA) that outlines your provider’s responsibilities throughout this process. Ideally, they should allow you to export all of your information, including any type of customization that you’ve made and any data logs you’ve saved, with little hassle.