Three Tips for Getting Maximum Value from SaaS
Across the business world, people are working from home, utilizing video conferencing software more than they may be accustomed to. When gathering virtually, coworkers are amusing each other by using funny background images, adorning their faces with cat noses, or adding strange headgear. People are finally adopting the add-on features of the technology they have used for years.
The same principle applies across the technology landscape – businesses are paying more attention than ever to how software as a service (SaaS) applications can help them to solve problems, both new and old. Organizations across the globe are asking questions like these:
- What do we need to move a full-day seminar online, complete with break-out rooms and training sessions?
- What collaboration tools will best help us to run a project together from our homes?
- How do we best share real-time information across our whole organization?
Business leaders are looking to drive maximum value from their SaaS applications. SaaS tools come with a price tag, and there are certain techniques that can be used to ensure you are getting the best possible return on investment from them. When it comes to SaaS adoption, always ask:
- What is the best approach to ensure we are getting the most value from every dollar spent in this area?
- Which tools will ensure our business is ready to step on the gas and accelerate growth when possible?
Here are three tips for maximizing the value of your SaaS applications:
Evaluate what is already in use
Many business leaders do not know which SaaS applications are in use across the business. There may be dozens, if not hundreds, of apps being used — both free and subscription models. Take a moment to do a software audit — create a list of tools being used across all teams.
As with many things in business, it pays to have a diverse team involved in evaluating SaaS tools. There seems to be somewhat of a generational divide when it comes to software adoption practices. Older generations may be used to software which predates the cloud and have expectations rooted in older ways of working. The younger generation tend to use born-in-the-cloud technology as a default. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Be open to discussing across the team which tools are better at delivering the outcomes you are looking to drive.
Also, when you are evaluating what you already have, think about adoption. Are there features you are not using currently which could be of value? Sometimes software implementations start off strongly but then the sponsors get pulled off into other work and the second phase gets postponed. What more could you be doing with what you have to run your business better?
Prioritize business benefits
The potential of SaaS goes beyond replacing things that can otherwise be done in person, such as having face-to-face meetings. It can also be used to operate your business, automating some of the administrative tasks that may have been taking up the time and energy of valuable resources in the past.
Although most businesses today have adopted a wide assortment of SaaS applications, many still don’t rely on those applications to manage core functions of the business. In many organizations, allocating resources, sharing information with customers, creating reports, and many other essential processes are handled on an ad-hoc basis, using a mixture of technologies such as spreadsheets, email, and home-grown systems.
This piecemeal approach means that effort can end up being duplicated. People often have to collect information and move it between systems themselves, which is time-consuming and can lead to errors. Working this way makes it difficult to realize the potential cost benefit that the business could gain from reducing administrative effort.
It can also lead to silos developing — each department organizes its own information and it is difficult to share across the business. For instance, if there is resource availability within a certain team or department, it can be harder to make that time visible or available to another part of the business. Properly used, SAAS can help to manage resources more effectively.
There are other ways to save resource time and effort. Service professionals who submit time and expenses can do this more easily on mobile devices.. The process of approving this can be supported by automation, set within certain parameters, with any issues highlighted. Additionally, accurate invoices can be automatically generated and submitted early, improving cash flow.
Select software for the long term
When evaluating software, it is important to consider whether the software is a good long-term fit for the business. A few key questions include:
- Is the application flexible?
- Can it grow with the business?
- Will it integrate well with other applications?
SaaS lends itself to “best-of-breed” solutions — that is, you select the apps which are the standouts in their category and which best fulfill the business’s needs, and you connect those applications. If a SaaS solution is truly best-of-breed, the vendor will know which other types of solutions it needs to work with and will be ready to provide you with plenty of options for integrating their application with your other tools. That way, as the business needs change, one solution that’s no longer a fit can be swapped out without disrupting the whole ecosystem.
SaaS vendors today build strong relationships with their customer communities, adapting their products to suit the needs of their clients and offering specialized support to enable adoption. These vendors constantly develop and enhance their applications based on the needs of businesses like yours, so partnering with one gives you access to specialist knowledge and powerful functionality which would be difficult to access otherwise.
Making sure that the business is in a position to get the best value from its SAAS starts with evaluating and often adopting more features of what you already use. Secondly, look to deepen the use of SAAS applications in ways that will help the business to perform better. If considering new software, look for best of breed solutions that will integrate smoothly with other applications and support the business for the long term.