Part III: Purchasing a SaaS Solution – Launching your SaaS Application and Beyond

||Part III: Purchasing a SaaS Solution – Launching your SaaS Application and Beyond
By  | October 20, 2015

Negotiating your SaaS AgreementThis is the third part of a three part series on purchasing a SaaS application buy cialis overnight delivery. The first part of the series covers “Planning questions and purchasing considerations” and the second covers Negotiating and Executing your Agreement.

At this point let’s assume you are in the implementation period.  The contract has been executed and you are getting ready to start your requirements meeting.  Below you will find some tips and tricks to help you launch your application.

  1. We touched on this in earlier posts, but it is important to understand who from your team needs/wants to be involved in your project.
    • There could be a lot of requirements that need decisions. Are you able to make decisions on your own? Who do you need to consult with in order to make decisions?
    • Who should be in attendance during the requirements meeting?
      • This is tricky, because too many people could complicate the meeting and leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. However, you will want to balance your team’s schedule to ensure they are present when needed.
      • Have those who are planning to attend done their homework? What is expected of them during the meeting?  What decisions or requirements will be important to them?  The last thing you want is to block off someone’s calendar for a full day and not have them contribute.
      • Do you have the luxury of this project falling in your organization’s PMO?
  2. How does your vendor handle change requests?
    • Can you change your mind “free of charge”? Or will each change in requirement result in a new SOW and cost?
    • Most SaaS applications are built on flexibility within configurations, so hopefully changing your mind won’t cost you time and money
  3. Does your agreement require any custom integrations or SSO?
    • If the answer is yes, you will need to understand how this work will impact your overall timeline. Some integrations can take months to complete, especially complex integrations across multiples IT groups/partners.
    • Are you planning to launch your application without any custom work? As most SaaS applications charge for subscription right out of the gate, it will be important for you to get users on your application even if it is just a shell of what it will be.  This will allow you to get feedback from your end users prior to launching the entire application (custom integration included).
    • If SSO is included, do you have your IT queued up for development work? What type of SSO are you going to deploy?
  4. How frequently will you meet with your vendor after the requirements meeting?
    • It is a good idea to have a weekly status call up until the launch of your application to ensure you are all on the same page.
  5. How will your vendor manage the project? Will they use an online project management software?  MS Excel?  MS Project?
    • It will be important for you to have quick and easy access to your project plan in the event that someone asks you about key dates/milestones.
  6. How will your organization handle change management? (Personally, this is the number 1 factor when it comes to a successful launch and long-term engagement)
    • Let’s assume your application is brand new, replacing a manual process. It will be extremely important to begin educating users as quickly as possible on what is to come.  How will their job change?  What training will they require?  How will you encourage adoption and engagement?
      • Start asking your vendor now what best practices they have with respect to the questions above. They will have most likely compiled many tips and tricks across their client base that they can share.
      • What does your contract include as it relates to both administrative and end user training? Most agreements may have a standard, out of the box, training guide but anything beyond that may cost additional.
      • Who can you leverage internally to help drive your message? Do you have a training and/or communication department who can help with training and change management?
      • After the application launches, who is going to drive adoption? Does your vendor offer professional services to help you?  Will you be on your own?  How much time have you committed to spending on this application and pushing it out to your user community?
  7. What is your “launch” date?
    • This can mean different things to different groups. To your vendor, it could mean the date in which they have completed their SOW obligations.  To you, it could mean a pilot/soft launch to certain users.  Or it could align with a major milestone such as a convention.
    • A pilot/soft launch is always a good idea as it allows you to get users on the application and gain feedback in an effort to tweak configurations for the future state (larger audience launch).
  8. Who will handle end user support?
    • Is this something you will do? The vendor?  Your IT help desk?
  9. How do you plan to support the application long-term? (Another important, often overlooked, component)
    • How will you on-board new users? Will you have “lunch and learns” to help refresh current users on the application and its purpose?
    • How do you plan to continue your education on the application? Does your vendor have a user conference you can attend?  How does your vendor educate on new release features?

This concludes the final installment of our blog posts centered around SaaS application purchase, execution, and launch.  I hoped you have learned something through reading and I wish you the best on your journey!