Jul 30, 2021

Top 6 SaaS Implementation Risks and How to Minimize Them

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What is SaaS?

SaaS has grown rapidly in recent years. Already millions of companies around the world are using SaaS. Statista estimates the size of the public cloud software to have reached $157 billion in 2020. But this is not the end, although many people still doubt whether they should switch to SaaS or not. 

Let's start with understanding what SaaS is. The abbreviation simply stands for software as a service. The SaaS solution is hosted on servers, and users receive information through an API or via a browser. Therefore, SaaS is a solution that a user interacts with online. One example is well-known Google products such as Google documents, forms, and presentations. The maintenance of the SaaS service is entirely the responsibility of the provider, while the user simply operates the tool or service.

According to Alpacked this is what you should consider the main benefits of SaaS to be:

  1. Saving
    If you have a large company, then there is no need to purchase separate software and install it on separate computers. All you need is an Internet connection since all SaaS solutions are available in-browser or on mobile devices.
  2. Provider support
    Most software solutions are not supported. The user purchases the software, however, he is not provided with support and maintenance. With SaaS solutions, the service provider gives full support to customers. In addition, all customers have access to regular updates.
  3. Data stability and safety
    If you store your data in the cloud, your provider will regularly back up your data. This reassures you in critical cases. This is why SaaS services are considered to be highly secure and efficient.

However, there is also a downside of the coin. Let's talk about cloud migration avoiding saas implementation risks.

Skills gap

When moving to cloud solutions, companies need to understand that it requires a large set of skills that professionals simply may not have. Cloud solutions have a greater impact on business users. After all, they are the ones who interact with the product and should participate in the formation of the application for themselves. Hence why a detailed analysis is needed, where the client discusses the problems that they wish to solve. Ultimately, this means that the implementation team must be required to have expert skills, not only about the application itself but also about the users and their behavior.

Unintended integration

In an ideal world, a customer comes up with a clear vision and request for a SaaS application. The customer understands exactly how the SaaS solution will fit into their architecture and has already calculated the estimated budget. However, this is not always the case, and often the client is simply interested in sensational SaaS solutions. Thus, before even starting a conversation about the development of any SaaS solution, the company should understand what place it will occupy in the entire company architecture. Also, it is important to consider this issue from the point of data: what data is requested by the system and where it will be transferred. This is necessary to understand whether the SaaS solution will integrate with other software utilities or will it work in isolation. It is highly critical to discuss all of this early on in the initial planning and not to delay, as it increases both development time and budget.

Expectations and reality

Granted, we have all met with SaaS solutions in our lives and a multitude of companies have utilised them in their work. When moving from cloud-based subscription solutions to on-premises tools, it is always important to find a balance between expectations and reality. Local applications have unlimited scalability and rich functionality. While cloud-based subscription solutions are the best in the services they provide. A common situation is when a customer comes up with an idea to implement all of the functions of a SaaS application that they have used before and then add custom processes within their particular specialisation. Simply put, this is the desire to change an already out-of-the-box SaaS application to fully meet the needs of the organization. However, it is not always possible to implement all of the desired functionalities. Moreover, this can simply lead to the unusability of the SaaS application and the loss of its benefits. Subsequently, when developing a custom solution, you should expect a different configuration and you should not demand that all of the needs of the organization will be met. In order to develop a quality SaaS application that works ideally for your organization, you need expert exploration on what saas is compared to paas and iaas. Crucially, you need to think in advance about what functions you can implement with the lowest acceptable risks.

Dependence on the Internet

One of the significant risks of SaaS applications (that everyone pays attention to) is its dependence on an Internet connection. SaaS applications are renowned for their flexibility and availability anywhere: at home, in the office, or outdoors. But all of this is only possible if there is an Internet connection. The key difference between SaaS applications and local ones is the inability to work offline. Have you ever had such a situation when you are working in Google documents, the Internet connection cuts off and you are not able to print the text anymore. Conclusively, this is why when implementing SaaS solutions into your organization, you should contemplate whether the situation will be critical for you if you lose the ability to access your data.

Data security

Of course, we cannot ignore the question of saas security risks. When moving to cloud-based tools, companies face a data protection challenge. Until now, a common mistake on the part of users was to use the same passwords for several accounts or to use a password that is too simple to hack/manipulate. Despite the fact that many users understand that there is a possible risk of hacking a provider, they still don’t bother to come up with a complex password. Data protection is a critical issue that should be given due attention. To minimize the security risks of implementing SaaS services, enterprises can think about both two-factor authentication or data encryption during storage and transmission. Ensuring data security is a key issue that requires a responsible approach. Major providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure have earned 3/4 of the market for publicly available clouds, thanks to their strong security policy.

According to a study by the Ponemon Institute on the Cost Of Data Breach Study, the average cost of data breaches was $ 3.86 million. Before starting any work, ask the following questions to your SaaS provider:

  1. What security certificates are you using?
  2. Does the data provided to the provider include PII personal information?
  3. Who is responsible for controlling encryption keys?

Testing process

Software testing is one of the main processes of software product development and at the same time, it can become one of the implementation issues of saas. The importance of this stage cannot be ignored. While many understand the need for it, testing can be ineffective if completed at the wrong time. To minimize risks, you need to understand when to check requirements and functionality. First, testing should start in parallel with requirements collection and development. This will help your company clearly form a common understanding of the requirements and expectations of the tests performed. Engaging users from the outset, from requirements development to acceptance testing, is critical to implementing a SaaS application.

Conclusion

Today cloud services are at the peak of their popularity and development. In this article, we wanted to convey the simple idea that there are two sides of the coin. And before introducing SaaS applications into your production infrastructure, you need to conduct a thorough analysis, and it is best to seek help from specialists. Chasing trendy solutions, you risk losing more than you could gain. To achieve the best result, the implementation team must understand exactly how the new SaaS technology will affect the rest of the processes in the company, how the tool will work and what specifics it will cover.

Gartner estimates global revenues will reach $278 billion by 2022, even taking into account the risks and challenges companies face during implementation. However, we would like to reiterate that most of the problems can be solved or minimized through detailed research, understanding the business requirements, proper integration and interaction with a professional supplier. We hope that this article supplied you with the necessary precautions to minimize risks associated with saas implementation.

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