SaaS Checklist for Your Business Customer

Projections from Gartner indicate that 75 percent of complex CRM SaaS deployments fail to meet enterprise expectations. A SaaS checklist can help vendors avoid being a part of a failed deployment by assessing the readiness of the business customer for either SaaS or in-house license deployment, and guiding them toward a successful choice.

These are the types of checklist items that typically go into a readiness assessment:

  • Budget - may have difficulty getting up-front approval for a large enterprise SW license purchase, or customer does not want to spend the time it takes to do that.
  • Individual biz user or small biz unit - want to avoid IT or purchasing process (slow, IT stds, etc).
  • Timeliness - user wants to get started right away (shorter implementation times).
  • Usage models - conduct a needs assessment, evaluating all the ways the application would be used. Then compare each usage against a service versus in-house implementation: which is better suited?
  • Application integration complexity - consider what other systems in the enterprise the app needs to interact or integrate with.
  • Security requirements - can they be met with a SaaS implementation? Consider on-demand security solutions.
  • Customization - how much is required, and have you proven that your application can support it? Don't take off more than you (or your product) can chew. Also, make sure that the customer understands the commitment of time and resources on their part is required for any customization, and that they are fully bought into that.
  • Data requirements - if the company requires data to be on-site, or relies extensively on real-time data integration, this can be a good reason to keep the software in-house rather than a service.
  • Customer preference - do they (purchasing) prefer perpectual licenses, or subscriptions, or service offerings? Sticking with their preference, if it fits the other requirements, can make it less of an up-hill battle to sell into their purchasing department.
  • Performance - this goes back to the usage models and expectations of the customer users. If the application is very sensitive to network latency, for example, is an on-demand service going to satisfy the needs of the business users? If not, best to stick with an in-house implementation.
  • How distributed are the users?  Forrester studies showed that enterprises operating in multiple geographies with more than 25 percent of users in remote locations tend to benefit from SaaS.

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