How to choose a SAAS provider
Entrepreneurs and businesses are both moving toward the SAAS model nowadays due to its various advantages. With so many options out in the market, it's getting harder and harder to choose the right provider. In this article, we will look at a few aspects that will help you decide better.
Cost: Cost is an obvious factor when choosing the right SAAS provider. There are multiple models that SAAS providers use but monthly and yearly are the common ones. Apart from service at a reasonable cost, here are few things to look at:
1) Monthly vs. Yearly price.
2) Hidden charges for addons that you might want to use.
3) Renewal cost - Few providers might give you a good discount while subscribing, but their renewal cost might be higher.
4) Taxes - Based on the country your business and SAAS provider operates from, you may need to calculate additional tax, if any.
5) Currency: Try to go with the providers that take payment in the same currency that you use for business. It will save on conversion charges.
Service Availability: Uptime is an essential factor. Many businesses depend on subscribed software. Let's take a look at few uptime calculations.
Uptime is usually calculated by hours in a year. There are 8760 hours in a year, so here is what you should expect.
Also, check their uptime reports for the last few years to understand what they have delivered.
Data availability: Usually, SAAS providers manage your data on their servers, but not all allow you to download that data if you are moving to a different provider. No matter what type of application it is, you should always have an option to download your data in a format that you can use elsewhere.
I have worked with businesses that had to pay considerable amounts to migrate the data to different providers or platforms.
Integrations: For a business to function efficiently, many apps need to talk to each other. E.g., an organization may be using different providers for their Email, CRM, and Marketing tools. All of these tools need to talk to one another so they can generate optimum output. Integrations usually achieve this. Before subscribing to SAAS; it's better to check what integrations they offer. Some businesses provide integrations only within the different products they sell, forcing customers to opt for their other products.
Countries and boundaries: It's an era of remote working, so your SAAS provider can be anywhere in the world and be able to provide you with the service. Governments, however, change the rules and regulations from time to time. Even if it's a slim chance, these rules can affect service offerings; It's always better to go with a local provider.
Every country has different regulations about the data. It's always better if the provider keeps your data in a data center that's local to you.
Security: Keeping the data safe and giving its users secure access to it is an essential factor. Check the below aspects before subscribing.
1) Encryption at rest: Can a customer encrypt their data on the server.
2) Encryption in Transit: Can a customer encrypt data when submitting it through the internet.
3) MFA: There should be an option to set up multi-factor authentication for access.
These are the common factors that can help choose a SAAS provider. There are always additional factors that will depend on your nature of business and business goals.