Businesses far and wide are constantly looking for new ways to improve their operations to attract more customers and increase revenues. However, developing in-house software solutions is often too expensive and time-consuming. That's why most successful businesses adopt SaaS solutions designed to improve business processes.
While Software as Service solutions offer all kinds of benefits, their implementation still comes with challenges that complicate the integration process. Let's dig deeper into the world of SaaS and the process of adopting modern technologies in existing business processes.
Best SaaS Implementation Practices
Adoption and integration of new software solutions in existing business practices are never easy. The process can sometimes be very complicated because there's a lot of preparation and assessments involved. Businesses have to ensure that the SaaS solution fits their needs and budgets, but they also have to consider the benefits they provide and the limits of existing systems.
You need a detailed SaaS implementation plan to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. The implementation process is also known as the onboarding stage, and it requires you to provide the vendor with a detailed overview of existing processes, business goals, and timelines. The preparation stage goes both ways, as the vendor will provide details of the implementation procedures and other tools. Here are some tips on how to get the most value from implementing new SaaS solutions into your business operation.
1. Focus on Core Features First
Most SaaS solutions offer all kinds of advanced features that can help improve various business processes. While that might seem like a plus, it's often the cause of complex implementations. The more features you want to adopt, the harder it becomes to implement everything properly.
That's why you should focus on implementing core features first. You have to sit down and create a detailed inventory of all assets at your disposal. Once that is done, plan the integration process, considering only the solutions that improve core processes. Leave the "nice-to-haves" for later to avoid getting lost in the implementation process.
As mentioned above, nonessential features and functionalities will only complicate your SaaS implementation strategy and lead to delays and unforeseen costs. Your team members will also have a hard time picking everything up, so you're better off starting smaller. You can add new features and extend the SaaS solution at any time in the future. Again, remember to plan everything out before you adopt any new features.
2. Embrace the Change
The change in management often leads to complete confusion and chaos for many companies. You have to hire team members with the right skills to make the SaaS adoption as simple as possible. The key here is to make the new team members feel welcomed, to speed up the adoption process.
However, doing that is sometimes easier said than done. You'll have to provide your existing staff with detailed steps and behaviors they have to adapt to simplify the adoption process. Moreover, provide your staff with a simple communication channel where they can exchange ideas and have full access to documentation.
On the other hand, you'll also have to keep your stakeholders and other key people in the loop at all times. Provide team members with regular, transparent updates on the implementation process, and ensure that everyone is on the same page at all times. Lastly, don't forget that your user engagement requirements will also change, so you will probably have to change your engagement methods as well.
3. Create Specific Roles for Team Members
Another essential step in creating a good SaaS implementation strategy is giving out specific roles to team members. This is a critical step, as you want to ensure that you give the decision-making power to the right people. You want a strict top-down chain of command for everything to work. Otherwise, the wrong people might be making key decisions, which leads to longer implementation periods, and other complications.
For a SaaS implementation strategy to work, every team member has to be clear about their obligations. The key here is to make them feel empowered and essential for the company. That will help improve their decision-making and lead to better results. Of course, you can't expect every decision they make to be perfect, but you should always ensure that the decisions are made according to company values and goals.
Lastly, you want your teams to report everything, including bad news. No one likes bad news, but open communication is key to success. If your teams fail to report bad news, you will probably face unexpected costs down the road. That's why teams have to inform you about every error or mistake as soon as possible.
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4. Promote Clear Communication Across All Departments
Once the SaaS implementation process starts, all teams and team members must pull their weight. Informing everyone about the SaaS implementation strategy won't be enough. You want to reach out to your employees and team members regularly to ensure that they understand what's going on. Moreover, you will get the best results if you promote cross-department partnerships and communication.
Partnering up helps improve communication by promoting open communication between teams and departments. It helps create a common language, ensuring that everyone involved is in tune with the plans and company expectations. Try to use colloquial language, without IT and SaaS-related jargon, to ensure that everyone understands what is being said. Keep building stronger relationships between the people involved, and the implementation will lead to better outcomes and a more flexible operation.
5. Plan and Rehearse Go-Live Events
The SaaS implementation strategy largely depends on good system preparation. That's why you should rehearse go-live events multiple times before actually launching new features. Many businesses make the mistake of not planning for all potential pitfalls during go-live events.
If you want the implementation to succeed the first time, you should triple-check every process and system before a go-live event. Yes, that might lead to longer downtimes, but even that is more acceptable than going over the entire process after an unsuccessful go-live event.
The best approach is to organize regular sit downs with stakeholders and partners to uncover potential problems and rehearse different scenarios that might unfold during implementation. Once you make sure that everyone is on the same page, you can start the go-live event.
As you can see, many different considerations go into creating a SaaS implementation strategy. Good SaaS implementation rests on open communication, detailed preparation, and countless rehearsals.
SaaS solutions can help you improve your business operation, but only when set up correctly. Remember to focus only on the key SaaS features first, and extend your implementation with other features only after the backbone is up and running. Now, start looking for your ideal SaaS solution and prepare your company for the future!