Three common mistakes when picking SaaS systems and how to avoid them

Three common mistakes when picking SaaS systems and how to avoid them

By Alastair Youngson, Business Analyst


Any switch to Software as a Service (SaaS) systems in an organisation is an adventurous change, and not one to be taken lightly. Make no mistake, SaaS is a growing industry, which looks to surpass £90 billion by the end of 2020. 

So, it should come as no surprise that choosing a SaaS system which is right for you involves picking from a growing selection of systems, each with a long list of deliverables. And without positioning your requirements correctly, it is easy to find yourself trawling through irrelevant, poorly designed tools sold on a promise of aligning perfectly with your organisation despite zero knowledge of it. 

With this in mind I have outlined below the three most common pitfalls I have found, the woes and struggles organisations encounter when embarking on their SaaS implementations:


1.    Believing that SaaS will automatically be cheaper than your current set-up.

It is true that a well-defined and configured SaaS system can really help to drive efficiencies in your organisation. However, when weighing up the comparison between traditional IT costs such as hardware, IT personnel, maintenance and training against their new SaaS software, many organisations are vastly underestimating the combination of license and administration costs they are going to incur. Many SaaS systems appear to be able to run OOTB, with little or no configuration. However, that is rarely the case, and without configuring your system correctly, previous streamlined processes can quickly turn into a copy and paste headache of miscommunication between departments. Additionally, not factoring in specialist staff, training, future enhancements, data requirements and additional (unspecified) extras can leave you inadequately budgeting for your tool.


2.    Believing you are in control of the performance and availability of your system.

Although you have purchased the licenses, any SaaS system you purchase will, by definition, be controlled by somebody else. This means that you will have little, or no say so on on-going maintenance, down time and upgrades. Instead you will be tied in by SLAs, and will need to take this into account with any system that you purchase. A requirement to be able to access your tool 24 hours a day 7 days a week might not be feasible with many SaaS systems, therefore full consideration and definition of organisational requirements at the procurement stage of any system is essential to a successful product choice.


3.    Failing to ensure you have the skillset to administer your system effectively.

With any purchase of a new system, there is a learning curve for administering it effectively, with SaaS systems being no different. Before you are able to complete intuitive workflow, or measured and effective reporting, you need to be able to do the basics. This often involves a dedicated effort from many areas of your organisation and can be vastly underestimated when trying to achieve an immediate return on your investment. Ensuring that key members of the team receive the support and training they need alongside investment for the entire organisation is the only way to enable your tool to operate aligned to your organisation’s needs rather than separately to it.


Ultimately, many organisations spend a lot of time and expense trying to find the right tool to fit their processes, but little time on assessing how the tool is going to function once it has been implemented. Understanding not only the set-up costs, but also a roadmap of future enhancements, opportunities and most importantly future business requirements will help to ensure that any SaaS solution will be the right one for your organisation.



Click here to see how AiM is helping organisations in their digital transformation journey.