Evaluating SaaS: Gartner's Recommended Steps

Updated: July 06, 2010

SaaS does not solve all the challenges associated with the delivery of traditional software, but it can be hugely advantageous provided the problem is not too complex. It provides a solution that is quicker to implement and configure than previous software would allow.

However, many of the bad practices that occur in traditional software are now working their way into SaaS. A good example is shelfware, a result of businesses purchasing too many SaaS subscriptions. "Shelfware as a service is the concept of paying for a software subscription that is not being accessed by an end user," said Mr. Cearley, vice president and fellow at Gartner. The study conducted by the market research firm reveals that this is more common in larger organisations, but can still occur in companies of any size.

So, in order to minimize the risks of this happening, Gartner analysts have offered their advice on best practices for SaaS at the Gartner SOA & Application Development and Integration Summit 2010. They highlighted four important steps to take when evaluating SaaS:

1. Determine the value
While it limits infrastructure overheads, lowers short- to medium-term total cost of ownership and improves levels of ROI, SaaS is perhaps less financially and technically viablein the long-term, and for applications requiring a high degree of integration.

2. Develop governance of SaaS applications
The next step is to create an SaaS governance model which meets the internal and external needs of the organization. This should take the form of a policy document and all applications should be fully integrated into it.

3. Evaluation of vendors
Organizations need to evaluate vendors based not only on business performance, but also on financial, legal and technical aspects - in other words, within the context of specific application needs. It is not enough to simply consider a single dimension; a much more comprehensive overview of the effects of SaaS deployment can be achieved by considering a vendor's full package. But the question that remains to be asked is: do all organisations have the means, or even the desire, to evaluate SaaS on such a level?

4. Put an Integration Road Map in place
Integration with on-premises applications and other SaaS solutions presents the biggest technical difficulty. It is therefore very important that the application stays constantly connected to the information system with which it is integrated, and evolves alongside it. For example, good mapping will ensure a smooth changeover in the instance where a major organizational change, such as a merger or acquisition, takes place.

Featured Research
  • 16 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Phone System

    Purchasing a phone system for your business is a major investment. With the average business changing phone systems only once every seven years, it’s important to make the right decision. more

  • 2017 Video Conferencing Trends

    New advancements are also making video more beneficial to a greater range of business areas including marketing, HR, and internal operations. Many solutions are economical, easy to use, and very effective at making communication more personal. more

  • [Infographic] Top 11 VoIP Vendors

    A good VoIP provider will offer additional benefits as well, but many first-time buyers find assessing each option to be difficult. Nevertheless, this is an important step in the buying process because a substandard provider can easily waste both your time and money. more

  • Work Smarter Not Harder with Business Intelligence

    While this may have been true at one time, the days of BI requiring a dedicated team of experts to implement are over. Self-service solutions are making it possible for everyone, including small, local businesses, to easily implement BI in their decision making process. more

  • Best Practices for Contact Center Quality Assurance

    A contact center often brings about a prospect’s first real-time interaction with your company. As such, if it’s not a positive one, they’ll likely look elsewhere for help. With 69% of Americans more inclined to recommend a company to friends and family after a positive customer service experience, you’ll need to exceed expectations on the following fronts. more