As your business changes, you may want to bring the application on-premise. You cant be locked into a certain data set. You need portability and you need to know how youre going to migrate data [off their servers], he says. Microsoft has several SaaS offerings, including Dynamics Live and Office Live.
OBrien says IT managers should pay close attention to their providers accounting methods. You should know how the billing mechanism on the back-end works. How are your charged? On a per-transaction basis or monthly? he says. One of the many advantages of the pay-as-you-go model is the built-in reporting it offers. Everything is metered so companies can see usage trends, he says. With such detail, there is opportunity to negotiate optimal rates.
Before organizations even consider SaaS as an option, they must do some legwork, according to Rachel Lyubovitzky, director at SaaS-vendor KnowledgeSum. IT teams must first inventory all their on-premise applications and tasks and decide whats core and whats commodity. They then need to consider how much customization and integration with other software theyll need for optimal user productivity. Finally, she says IT managers must consider the requirements they have around data ownership, such as security, privacy regulations, and federal and private sector mandates.
Once you approach the provider, Lyubovitzky says its important not to get pinned down. If anything is unclear data security, compliance or service levels and you dont feel 100% sure, then just walk away, she says.