A Short Guide to Software as a Service
3 Important Questions About SaaS
The balancing act between quality and cost-savings is a tricky one. To pull it off, facilities managers must be vigilant about finding ways to help them hit both targets, from studying the latest trends in sustainability to keeping up with news about office design.
But it’s also that FMs be aware of technology developments that can help them save money while delivering great service—one important example being Software as a Service, or SaaS. Below are three questions covering what it is, why you’d need it and what to look for when you’re evaluating different SaaS options.
Software as a Service: What Is It?
Software as a Service (SaaS) is an increasingly popular option for companies looking for a cost-effective software. Unlike traditional software, which needs to be installed onto your company’s computer network, Software as a Service is hosted remotely on a vendor’s servers. You subscribe to the program, and the vendor provides the services you want.
Why Would I Need It?
There are two major benefits to this model.
Unlike traditional software programs, SaaS has a much shorter turnaround time. Where traditional programs can take months to install (plus a few weeks of implementation and training), SaaS can be installed within weeks. Regular software can require an enormous investment of time, money and energy and still not always be just what you need.
SaaS programs often come with different features that users can pick and choose as they like. This lets companies get the most bang for their buck. Instead of paying for a bundle of services, most of which they might not even need, companies can use only what works best for them.
Choosing SaaS also means that you won’t have to make an additional purchase when the program is updated. Unlike traditional software programs, which may require you buy new versions each time one is released, the best SaaS companies will provide updates for free.
What Should I Think About Before Buying It?
If you’re considering SaaS, listen carefully to what the vendor tells you. Specifically, you need to evaluate companies based on three criteria:
You’re bound to have questions about the software at some point, and you want to know that the vendor’s customer service team can be reached when that moment arrives. What hours are they available? How long do they take to respond to questions? Do they offer multiple ways to contact them? For example, in addition to offering the usual e-mail address and phone number, do they have a customer forum for clients, too?
If you’re looking for new equipment for your company, you would never buy it without doing some research and finding out who the best suppliers are. It’s the same with SaaS—do they have references to provide you?
Don’t be sold on what the sales team alone says. I’ve had clients tell me horror stories of signing on the line after being told that a program could do something, only to find out that the program had little flexibility. See what the references say to see if they back up what the sales person is telling you.
Another thing you’ll want to learn is the time commitment involved. Is there a long-term contract involved, or do they offer month-to-month? Month-to-month arrangements are good in that they let you cancel your service at any time—a company offering month-to-month is obviously giving you your freedom.
However, a company doing this also has the incentive to keep innovating. Month-to-month SaaS vendors will work to keep improving their product so that their customers continue using the service. They know they can’t let quality slide, which results in a better product for the end user.
That drive to over-deliver keeps SaaS vendors like us running. Since 2006, OfficeSpace Software has been providing wayfinding, space management and reporting services to a variety of different industries. (We also come with great references). If you’re interested in using a cost-effective solution that delivers great service, click the link below to request a free demo.
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