Do it yourself or outsource? SaaS takes care of it! (if the supplier is also ready)

In the blog 'SaaS takes care of it! (if you're ready),' my colleague outlines some prerequisites on the client side for successfully implementing SaaS. I noticed that he didn't mention whether the supplier is ready to deliver SaaS services. In my opinion, suppliers also need to undergo a transformation, shifting from software providers to full-service providers. In this blog, we'll together examine the 'readiness' of SaaS suppliers.

Saas / Software as a Service, Supplier readiness, tender, IT architecture, Monitoring,IT continuity

Customers use SaaS services 24/7 and, therefore, expect continuous availability. It's a challenge for suppliers to make this possible both technically and organizationally. 

The supplier must establish things like monitoring, backup, and contingency facilities. They also need to consider IT architecture issues. Will the services be offered on shared or dedicated hardware? In addition to their development team, the supplier also needs a maintenance team to ensure availability, perform maintenance, and resolve issues. This requires different knowledge and skills than those of a developer. Given the 24/7 nature, this often means that a whole team of people is needed for maintenance. If third parties are used for delivering SaaS services, such as a housing or system administration provider, the SaaS supplier mustn't forget to document supplier management and agreements in so-called underpinning contracts. All these aspects typically contribute to the continuity of the service. Our experience is that especially for smaller/starting SaaS suppliers, this transition is a significant challenge. 

There are several organizational challenges. For instance, the SaaS supplier will have more responsibility for testing their releases. Is the supplier capable of testing new versions against all customer environments or customer-specific configurations? Are they working with continuous integration instead of four releases per year? Then continuous testing is also required. 

Onboarding new customers is often relatively straightforward, but how capable is a SaaS supplier in executing and overseeing a migration from current hosting to SaaS? How is the customization of customers secured (or replaced by standard solutions)? Are the current customer integrations with the product guaranteed in the new situation? Are the used APIs available, secure, and documented? What level of support does the SaaS supplier provide here? 

Security also becomes a prominent concern for the SaaS supplier because customers entrust their business data to them. Does the supplier have their systems demonstrably under control? Do they meet the guidelines for the respective sector? Think of the Dutch Central Government's Baseline Information Security (BIO) and NEN 7510 in Healthcare. And who independently verifies this (TPM statement)? 

Lastly, how is business continuity guaranteed? An Escrow arrangement provides 'software code' rights in case of a continuity issue. But what's arranged for the continuity of the service and the rights to the data if the supplier transfers business operations or, worse yet, goes bankrupt? 

The conclusion in the previous blog was that customers should determine whether they are 'ready' for SaaS. This also applies to suppliers. So, as a customer, you also need to ascertain the supplier's level of 'readiness.' Because when both parties are ready for SaaS services, the chances of success are greater. 

The ongoing dilemma of 'do it yourself or outsource' remains. Highberg assists organizations as an independent advisor in viewing this issue from a 360-degree perspective, considering both opportunities and prerequisites. We examine your specific situation. Ron Mostert guides clients through complex migrations to SaaS service providers.

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