Software Evaluation For SaaS and Cloud Computing – Part 1

The article below looks at several aspects that should be considered when doing a cloud or SaaS software or services evaluation.   These principles are best practices and are part of the overall selection methodology.

Analyst Insight:

SaaS and new enterprise software offerings have created a new dynamic for enterprise software selection as opposed to traditional software selection.   The cloud evaluation process for software and services must consist of different and a more focused approach including such factors as; importance of methodology, model differentiation, industry specific expertise and total cost of ownership.

Importance of a methodology

A key technique to reduce risk, achieve roi, reduce risk of implementation failure and aligning business needs with organizational requirements is to have a software selection methodology in place.  All of these benefits can be realized by how effective your evaluation was, if not executed properly spells disaster.  A method that provides consistent results enables you to assess differentiation between vendors early in the evaluation process.

Model Differentiation

SaaS has spawned several new models of software billing.  It is imperative that organizations know the different types of models they are evaluating and the nuances they contain. Organizations must realize the difference between SaaS, hybrid, hosted and in-house and any combinations thereof.  The main differentiators are data, who owns it, how it is administered, stored and security of private, public, semi-private clouds and understanding the implementation implications that each factors will cause.

Industry Specific Expertise

Now more than ever this has become more important to organizations for cloud evaluation.  Strategic size, fit, vertical industry expertise and similarities to existing clients should become areas of focus within the selection.  Vendor specific infrastructure, architecture and support will help predict reliability if they will offer a good cloud product.  Look for software that can adapt to changing business models rapidly and the vendor’s past history in delivery of the solution.

Total Cost of Ownership

To compare an in-house application to a SaaS model requires measurable metrics that can be ascertained from the system.  Issues such as variables of time for the solution, current licenses, future licensing costs, data administration, storage costs, network management, integration costs to existing systems, support costs per year and consequent years and sometimes buyback should be heavily scrutinized.

The Outlook

These four areas have changed the way software is purchased and sold.  Once too costly applications were a barrier of entry for smaller companies to compete, now SaaS can assist in profitability and enable rapid growth.  The differences between an in-house and SaaS evaluations are subtle but yet enough to disrupt your business if the incorrect selection is made – so pay close attention.

As experts in software evaluation we are truly geared to help your organization find the right fit for your organization.  Feel free to give us a call if you are doing any type of software evaluation or even to augment an on-premises system with cloud software or services.

Eval-Source is an Analyst/Consulting consulting firm that offers enterprise software evaluation, cloud computing consulting, business process optimization and technology planning for organizationsOur innovative professional services make your life easier whether it is to acquire enterprise software  or provide you with fact – based information to match your business with IT. Eval-Source provides critical  decision support to validate your technology investments using the Tru-Eval  system.  Follow our blog at or on twitter @eval_source or our site


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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