Naysayers might tell you that Software-as-a-Service is a bit like boarding an airplane: Your delivery management operations are now entirely in the hands of the SaaS provider. And while it’s true that SaaS promises low overhead and predictable pricing, to say that it comes at the cost of control would be an egregious misunderstanding.
The simple fact is not all SaaS solutions or providers are created equal. The best solutions offer flexibility in their utility and reliability in their functionality. Upon deployment, they shouldn’t feel like they were painstakingly adopted by your business, but rather, born into it – a natural fit for your processes that does what you need it to and never oversteps its bounds.
Now that doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Flexibility: Your SaaS solution is what you need it to be
The first key marker of a stalwart SaaS provider is an understanding of your business. Whether you’re a small white-glove delivery service, a major retailer that’s trying to create visibility in its downstream operation or a third-party carrier, you should expect a prospective SaaS provider to:
- Understand the unique challenges associated with your business’s point of view.
- Supply a product that has the ability to jibe well with your vision for your business.
For example, maybe you’re seeking a delivery tracking system that can help you with automatic route optimization, but still allows manual input and customization. If that’s what you want, then that’s what you should get from your SaaS provider.
And if they can’t give it to, then take your money elsewhere.
Reliability: Enterprise-grade durability is everything
“Demand no less than the promise of 99 percent uptime.”
The average cost of IT downtime is an astonishing $8,851 per minute, according to The Ponemon Institute. Reliability, then, is of the essence. If your SaaS solution fails, it puts your operations in jeopardy. With so much at stake, carriers, retailers and other supply chain stakeholders should demand no less than the promise of 99 percent uptime.
And reliability doesn’t stop at uptime. When you make SaaS a part of your business, you should also get 24/7/365 support to assist you with any issues or questions you may encounter. One of the core benefits of SaaS is that you don’t have to pay an internal team to act as the stewards of your software. Part of what you pay for is on-demand support from experts who maintain the software and provide prompt support.
Last but not least, there’s the issues of compliance and security. These are essential components of any digital operation and should be treated as prerequisites for any solution that you might be considering. Cyberattacks are expected to cost businesses worldwide up to $2 trillion by the end of next year, according to Forbes contributor Steve Morgan. Similarly, non-compliance penalties can quickly add up. So make sure your delivery management SaaS provider manages the security of the solution, and that their software has mechanisms in place to assist with compliance management.
Hold your SaaS provider to all of these expectations, and you will see ROI.