Are budget pressures forcing you to take a look at adding SaaS applications to your organization? If so, keep the following tips in mind to assure a successful hosted deployment.
User Expectations – If you will be replacing an existing on-premises application with an SaaS application, be sure that your user group will experience all of the functionality they enjoyed previously. Track current transaction times under the current application, and measure them against those within the SaaS application in a demo or test environment. Do the same testing in your environment for any new application that you’ll pull off with SaaS.
Your Networks – Evaluate your company’s internet connections. If your user base is already experiencing bandwidth and latency problems, adding more traffic will only strain your connections further. Clear up any of these problems before you launch your new SaaS application.
SaaS Provider’s Service Record – Most Saas providers make their service performance records public. If your SaaS candidate does not, this should raise an eyebrow. In addition, double-check an SaaS provider’s public statistics against actual user experiences. Look for independent reviews and comments posted on the web.
Service Level Agreements – Use an SLA to establish uptime and other performance characteristics that are important to your organization. Although SLAs are a great tool for establishing performance expectations and corresponding penalties for nonperformance, remember two things.
One, if your SaaS provider’s performance is really bad, should you be content knowing that at least you’re getting the bad service at a healthy discount? Or, is the service so bad that it’s hurting your organization? Your SLA should be structured such that it gives you a way out of the deal if service drops below some level. And think about asking for redeployment expense as part of this type of provision.
Second, SLAs are burdensome to administer–both for you and your provider. The more complicated the SLA, the more difficult it is to adminster. For this reason, many SaaS providers (even reputable ones) do not offer an SLA option. In all events, you’d much rather have premium service all the time and not have to worry about tracking performance metrics.