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
  • 15 Tools for Managing Remote Call Center Agents

    Together, technology and the connective power of the internet are making drastic changes in what a typical work setting looks like today, and many companies are beginning to rely more upon a remote workforce. In fact, according to Global Workplace Analytics, “regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 105% since 2005.” more

  • The Business Case for Updating an Aging Phone System

    You may think your business phone system is functional, but is it fully modern? In recent years, telecommunications technology has made major strides. A system that was perfectly serviceable ten years ago—or even five years ago—is now very out-of-date. more

  • 2017 ERP Buyer's Guide

    Among all of the business software applications necessary for business operations, ERP is undoubtedly one of the most important. Making the wrong selection can have a disastrous impact on your accounting, manufacturing, and supply chain. With so much at stake, it is crucial to make a well-informed decision. more

  • 2017 Contact Center Software Trends

    Did you know that, according to Forbes, 86 percent of customers will pay more for a better customer experience? Customer satisfaction is always a worthy business pursuit, but to identify customer preferences and exceed expectations, you must keep pace with innovations in the technology your customers are using. more

  • The Social Intranet: A guide to getting better business results

    This whitepaper describes why the shift from a traditional to a social intranet is imperative to staying competitive, and analyzes the costs and benefits associated with implementing one. You will also find useful KPIs to measure performance and further leverage your intranet's success, raising employee engagement and boosting your competitive advantage. more