5. What if the power goes out or the Internet connection is lost?
A SaaS provider should be able to provide detailed information about how data is protected or will be restored in the event of a power outage or if Internet connectivity is lost.
6. What is your average uptime?
When choosing a cloud solution, ensure that the vendor delivers average uptime that matches data availability expectations. In addition, companies should ask the provider to define their advertised, contracted and actual uptimes.
7. What certifications do you have?
Cloud-based application providers participate in regular security and standards audits by credible third-party entities, so companies should expect to see these types of audits in place. Audits demonstrate credibility and confidence in the vendor’s ability to deliver.
8. How long have you been operating as a SaaS provider?
Many providers are just beginning to enter the SaaS market, and are retrofitting their processes and applications to support a new way of doing business. This is an intensive and demanding undertaking and often includes a distinct learning curve.
Long-term SaaS providers have grown with the cloud movement and adapted their technology, processes and procedures to better fit cloud delivery.
As a result, they are more likely to have a proven track record of successful cloud implementations, as well as strong customer references.
9. What do your SaaS fees include?
Unlike traditional software solutions, which typically have steep up-front costs plus ongoing support fees, many cloud solutions are designed to allow companies to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee.
Updates and upgrades, however, are not always included in these subscription fees. Companies must clearly understand what is included in a provider’s pricing structure.
10. Where can I go for help?
One of the primary benefits of cloud-based solutions is the reduction in time required for the implementation of the product, so companies can realise the benefits of the new solution sooner.
To maximise those benefits, companies must be aware of what support the vendor provides.
“In addition to the significant cost savings, SaaS provides a number of other benefits, including immediate access to new features and performance enhancements,” Tarnacki adds.
“In the case of pure web-based applications, you can expect a higher-quality user experience because the application is available more readily and on more devices than other outmoded software designs.
“Using cloud services frees up more of your company’s resources and lets you focus on your core competencies while shedding hosting infrastructure and maintenance from your overhead costs.”