When a business has chosen an IT solution, it must generally be approved by the IT department. This is not so strange, as there might be other entities within the company or group that have already solved the same problem, with a similar solution, and the central IT department may be aware of this.
Also, the implementation of an IT system requires that the IT department spends time on implementing the solution and establishing a management process. This also applies to cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions. A SaaS solution poses somewhat different requirements than traditional software, which is generally managed entirely by the IT department. For example, a SaaS system is fully operated by the supplier, which reduces the workload for the IT department, but it also increases the need to verify that the supplier knows what it is doing.
When purchasing a SaaS solution, you could say that the IT department will mostly be involved in the procurement process, but less involved once the solution has been purchased and is implemented. Operational people can then work directly with the SaaS supplier. We prepared this material to help IT departments understand the process of procuring a SaaS solution. It is important that your IT department is able to verify that your supplier and their solution are the best alternatives for you.
Comparison between SaaS and traditional software
The following table illustrates things to bear in mind when the IT department purchases a SaaS solution compared to traditional software. As you can see from the table, SaaS involves considerably less work for the IT department.
||Traditional software||SaaS solution
|Evaluation of the technical solution
||The IT department’s responsibility||The IT department’s responsibility|
|Evaluation of operating solution||The IT department’s responsibility||The IT department’s responsibility|
|Purchasing hardware||The IT department purchases the hardware||The supplier’s responsibility|
|Purchasing the required software, including operating systems and databases||The IT department purchases the software||The supplier’s responsibility|
|Installing the solution||The IT department installs the solution, possibly with the help of the supplier||The supplier’s responsibility|
|Configuring the solution||The IT department configures the solution, possibly with the help of the supplier||The supplier’s responsibility|
|Running the application||The IT department is in charge of the operation.||This is the supplier’s responsibility, but the IT department must ensure that the supplier offers the right service levels.|
|Integration with other systems||The IT department develops this, potentially with the help of the supplier||Cooperation between the supplier and the IT department|
|Application support||Depends on the contract||Depends on the contract|
IT department checklist for choosing a SaaS solution
The following checklist may help the IT department when choosing a SaaS supplier. When you procure a SaaS solution, you should demand solid answers to the following questions. Even if the installation, implementation and operation will be less onerous for your IT department, your IT department should still be your expert resource and verify the supplier’s ability in the following areas.
- Is the supplier a credible company? Does it have experience in SaaS and logistics solutions?
- Do other companies/customers use the product?
- Does the system have unique features, and all the features you need? Can you justify yet another system?
- Is the product maintained and updated on a continuous basis?
- Does the solution have a solid technical architecture to meet high reliability requirements, such as redundancy and contingency plans, data security, and scalability?
- Will the supplier comply with your company’s IT policies?
- Can the supplier guarantee a high service level (SLA)?
- Does the supplier have properly defined SLAs for support matters?
The procurement of an IT system requires a careful methodology, regardless of whether you are looking to purchase traditional software or cloud-based services, such as SaaS. This guide will hopefully help you and your IT department so that you make the right choice when looking for a supplier of your solution.