SaaS Product Testing
Software-as-a-Service – from vendors like NetSuite and salesforce.com – has democratized the software industry from RFP to purchase to rollout. Unlike complex on-premise deployments that carry a hefty price tag and require weeks for vendor selection and months for rollout, SaaS provides a quicker, lower-risk alternative to traditional licensed software that empowers the business unit by:
- Enabling business units to own the buying cycle.
Business users now have a software option that allows them to control the buying cycle, in contrast to pre-SaaS application purchases that required IT involvement – to short-list, demo, and approve solutions as well as corporate involvement for budget sign-off. With SaaS, line-of-business heads ranging from the vice president of sales to the vice president of HR can single-handedly own the decision by taking advantage of free trial offers on Web sites to evaluate solutions and paying a monthly or quarterly rate low enough to stay off the corporate radar screen.
- Eliminating dependence on IT.
SaaS allows business units to roll out and manage day-to-day application needs, providing an alternative for users who don’t have necessary IT resources available or IT’s cooperation. One customer we spoke with said, “Our division looked at SaaS since we couldn’t use our headquarters’ IT department. They weren’t willing to support us at all.” Since part of the SaaS appeal is freedom from IT, vendors have focused on creating easy-to-use, point-and-click tools so that business users can set up and configure solutions with little technical knowledge and minimal specialized training. For many users, SaaS wizards for creating custom reports, changing roles and access rights, and building custom layouts means an end to waiting on an IT project list for days or weeks until resources become available.
- Facilitating ongoing development and innovation networks.
Because firms running on a multitenant architecture are all running the same code base, user firms, channel partners, and SIs can choose to reapply one deployment’s customizations to another through templates, creating economies of scale not possible with on-premise implementations with modified code. Moreover, this co-development speeds innovation and enhancement by letting developers build off each other’s work. Vendors like salesforce.com and Salesnet support publicly accessible developer sites that provide free sample code, best practices, and forums for developer discussion. Salesforce.com’s developer community has gone one step further by growing an open source developer forum on SourceForge.net.