Evaluate your SaaS stack

Are you evaluating a SaaS Product? Read this first.

Compared to 2018, the average overall spend per company on SaaS products & apps has increased by 50%. The total number of apps used by a single organization has increased by 30%. What is also interesting is that every year organizations stop using 30% of these SaaS products and adopt new ones.

Such a high rate of adoption & churn of SaaS products results in “under the hood” cost which goes largely unnoticed. Apps are left orphaned and unused licenses end up with spend leakages. Not to mention the security risk of hacks and privacy breaches, as more and more apps integrate into core business processes and tools.

Then there is the complexity of distributed and decentralised teams and decision making – multiple owners in the organization are evaluating, suggesting, implementing and driving the adoption of SaaS products and apps.

So it’s become ever so important that when your team evaluates and adopts a new SaaS product or an app, it’s done with careful deliberation and a planned approach. It’s very tempting to ask your manager or an expert for a quick suggestion on which SaaS app would solve your problem, it’s even easier to just Google it. But it’s a slippery slope to go down that road.

If you or someone who is looking to solve a problem by adopting a SaaS product you need to read this first!

Define your problem

First, you need to clearly define the problem that you need solved. Try to build a list of 10 points that articulate what the problem statement truly is. Without doing so, it’s very easy to get lost in the chaotic marketing pitches of every SaaS product. Once you have the problem defined, when evaluating the SaaS app, ask yourself if the app solves each of the problems. Create a simple spreadsheet with a Y/N against each problem. This is more valuable than any other feature comparison matrix that you’ll get there.

List key ‘must-have’ functionalities

Jumping straight into research will result in your decision being swayed by vanity features which you may never end up using. Looking at App comparison sites with the standard 3 column layout with YAY or NAY feature comparison matrix, will surely have you choosing the app with the most YAYs. Fast forward 3 months and you’re back in the market looking for another SaaS app that actually solves your problem. Just as you did with defining the problems first put down the functionality or capabilities that you want from the SaaS app.

Find competitors

Once you’ve defined the problem statement and the expected capabilities from the SaaS product, start searching for competitor apps. You may already know of a SaaS product or app from your experience or someone may have highly recommended one for the job. Regardless, it’s always good to look at alternatives. First order of business is to Google “{SaaS App} top competitors”. This should keep you busy for a couple of hours. Next look at some popular and highly informative SaaS product comparison platforms. These often also include detailed reviews from actual users.

Look for cross platform compatibility

We all work in a world which is fast and mobile. Having to drop your team’s favourite apps because the organization decided to switch from Windows to Mac is hardly going to make you famous. Is a mobile app required? Does the app work on tablets? Is there an iOS and Android version available? These are just some of the key factors to be considered.

Integrations

No man is an island. In 2020, no app survives by itself. Most SaaS products are usually part of a wider workflow or business processes and often need to exchange data and interactions with other apps. Be sure to check if your app integrates into your workflow/business process and if the level of integration is mature. By mature, what you’re looking for is tight coupling in terms of data and process handshake.

Try before you buy

Don’t decide until you’ve actually tried. All the research you do and the checklists you may build, are pointless if you actually don’t test drive the app. Most apps come with a free trial, so don’t hesitate to signup and test the app against the list of problem statements and the capability matrix you built earlier.

Pro Tip: Many SaaS providers require you to connect a credit card even if the first month is free. Remember to set a reminder or an alarm for the day that the free trial finishes. Because the next day you WILL be charged.

Versions and releases

One key sign that the SaaS app/product you’re finalising is the right choice is to also look at the number of releases, updates & bug fixes that the SaaS provider is putting out. The number alone isn’t indicative of the fact that the SaaS product is good, but what we’re saying is that you wouldn’t want to invest in a SaaS app whose last stable release was 4 years ago. Technology is moving fast and products are getting faster, more secure and better, by the day. If a provider isn’t updating their offering more frequently, you’re missing out on something.

Once you’ve got your evaluation down, the next logical step is to add your bank issued credit card and head for that checkout page. What most folks don’t realise is that you are charged additional FX charges every time you pay for your subscriptions. Subtra however, lets you add your own virtual cards in multiple currencies so that you pay less and get more out of your SaaS stack. A subscription management platform like Subtra, helps you manage, optimise and automate your subscription spend.

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