Software-as-a-Service Readiness Assessment

Here’s a quick assessment if your company is ready for SaaS. You can use this for adopting just 1 app, or many apps, or a total strategy. Answer YES or NO to the following 10 questions:

  1. Is the total cost of buying the SaaS app for 2 years (24 months) less than the total cost of your current on-premise setup? (note: pirated goods doesn’t count!)
     
  2. Look hard at your IT manager (or CIO) of your company: does he/she have the smarts in piecing together ready made apps (vs simply being a messenger to pass requirements to their favorite vendor)?
     
  3. Does the app you’re looking to adopt solve among the Top 3 Things you needed to do for your business?
     
  4. Have you started a trial and invested time to try configuring the app to the point that can at least be used by one user in the company (vs you believe customization is needed)?
     
  5. Just looking at the available integrations available for the app (usually only their website) – do you see some of the systems you currently already adopted or plan to adopt in the near future?
     
  6. Are you comfortable with storing your data “in the cloud”, i.e. at a remote data center, sometimes outside your country, and definitely outside of your (complete) control?
     
  7. Are you good at “managing vendors”? Were you successful at it? Do you need to have face to face meetings with the company you pay for services?
     
  8. Can you pay for such service from your operating budget (opex) instead of your capital budget (capex)?
     
  9. Have you gotten positive vibes and acceptance from presenting this app within your organization (upwards and downwards), especially from the relevant person who’s going to use it day to day?
     
  10. If you have an existing system (or manual process) that you’re trying to replace with the SaaS app, have you sucessfully attempted a migration (of at least a small portion of data) to see if it works?
     

For every question you said YES to, give yourself 1 point. Here’s my score chart:

8 to 10 points: Jump in and start working on how to buy the app, build a deployment and migration strategy and you’re good to go!

4 to 7 points: You have concerns, but you know you need the app. Deep dive into questions you said no and ask hard questions to understand your current positions. Explore alternative models like Private Cloud, or going with your local service aggregator (like moi’s), before making the decision to jump in.

0 to 3 points: Hold your horses, and perhaps have a deeper conversation with your current IT vendor (or IT manager) about doing something in house. Even if you choose to build, I suggest that you still build from an existing software instead of ground up. There are enough apps around for you to stand on the shoulders.

End.

(SaaS)I came up with this as a reflection on questions I get day-to-day as well as some inspiration from other sites. I wish people wouldn’t ask this and just jump in and try (most of the freemium products are so easy to start you’ll tear with joy). But if you need that extra boost to pitch to the boss, here it is.

Another foot note: As you can see, my list consist of quite a number of “have you tried” questions. All these take time. If you haven’t spent the time, then you are unlikely to be in a good position to adopt SaaS. The self-service nature of these applications require you to be actively involved with it (like you do with consumer services like Facebook) to reap the maximum benefits from the app. My advise: stop asking questions and just go try everything out. Trials are free, it’s your time that isn’t.

References: InfoTech

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