Software as a Service (SaaS), also known as hosted, enables software to be delivered over the internet and has been available for over ten years. It has gained wide acceptance in the marketplace. Its popularity and benefits are well documented. Research has found that over 90% of SaaS users are satisfied with their solutions. In today’s competitive marketplace many businesses are placing the burden of deploying and maintaining software on the vendor via hosted solutions. Companies are investing in SaaS at double digit rates because of the low cost of implementation. Marketing firm IDC projected that 76% of U.S. companies would invest in at least one SaaS application by year end 2009. Ninety percent of respondents in a 2008 Gartner survey stated they planned to increase or maintain their SaaS technologies.
SaaS is here to stay, but how do companies look beyond the technology to see new business opportunities that can be created through creative use of SaaS features?
This paper explores:
- A checklist of essential features for SaaS applications
- How SaaS can help create new business opportunities
- Determining if SaaS is right for your company
Checklist of Essential SaaS Features
Before investing in SaaS technology, it is advantageous to ensure you are getting features that will truly help your business and save you money. The following is a list of features that should be included with your hosted software.
- Best in class forecasting and scheduling software – Whether hosted or premise-based, forecasting and scheduling software are the most important features of your investment dollars and provide the most return on investment. Without accurate forecasting, you will never achieve your desired service levels.
- Pricing fluctuations to match seasonal trends – Your pricing should be based on number of agents being scheduled; otherwise, you are not experiencing cost savings.
- Each customer has their own separate and unique database – Software is not multi-tenanted (multiple customers using a shared data model). For example, if customer “A” experiences a security breach, software problems, or database issues, other customers are not affected. Additionally, upgrades can be performed independently and hot fixes can be applied to the affected customer.
- Gold standard equipment – There is no single point of failure as redundancy is built-in at every level (power, network, servers).
- Test environments can be configured
- Advanced security features (one of the most important features of SaaS) – The hosted facility is physically hardened. The firewall encompasses gold standard IPS inspection. If your business deals with Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, PCI and other industry or governmental compliance requirements, you need SAS 70 Type II level of security. This is especially important for businesses in financial services, pharmaceutical or healthcare industries, or anyone accepting credit cards over the internet. This superior level of security ensures that: (1) only authorized employees and customers are granted access to the datacenter, (2) mechanical and electrical failures will not result in an outage, (3) smoke detection, cooling, and power are continuously monitored, inspected, and serviced to ensure effective operation; and (4) online connections perform optimally.
- Advanced routing technology
- Network has multiple tier 1 providers – If your primary carrier fails, service is automatically transferred to another provider so your business is not affected.
- Performance is monitored, hardware is added as necessary
- Bandwidth is monitored, capacity is added as necessary
Creating New Business Opportunities With SaaS
One major advantage of SaaS is that it allows you to focus on managing your business and leave the IT infrastructure to someone else. Critical projects can be deployed much faster without waiting on your IT department. Most SaaS applications address project requirements in less time than traditional custom software applications. This is especially valuable when you need to create a specialized application for a new customer or increased internal production.
Because of the simplicity and speed offered by SaaS, it is possible to turn many business ideas into applications that allow expansion into new markets, unique offerings, and better service to your existing customer base. The result is cost savings, increased opportunities, improved customer service, and greater flexibility. Investment is spent on new business opportunities rather than IT infrastructure.
Is SaaS Right for Your Company?
Before deciding on any software solution, take into account all aspects of in-house installations and compare costs and benefits to a hosted application. After initial purchase, there are associated fees with an in-house installation involving licensing, customization, development, deployment, maintenance, monitoring, support, and upgrades. These fees can add costs beyond budget limitations of small to mid-size companies.
In the current economy, SaaS provides an attractive alternative for companies who need the functionality of an enterprise solution, scalability to meet growing needs, and consistent, predictable operational expenses.
100 Agent fully featured Hosted 100 Agent Premise Based
Install $1,275 Initial $122,563
Monthly $3,240 Annual Support $23,288
60 Month Total $195,675 60 Month Total $215,715
Results of a 100-agent comparison of premised based versus SaaS model show that the hosted solution installation costs $1,275 compared to $122,563 for premise based. SaaS model costs remain consistent while premise based annual support totals $23,288. A five year comparison reveals total costs for SaaS are $195,675 versus $215,715 for premise based.
Pipkins and the SaaS Advantage
Pipkins, Inc. offers WorkforceScheduling.com, a low cost subscription-based workforce management solution for the small, mobile, or seasonal call center. You gain all the benefits that a hosted solution can offer by utilizing the power of our enterprise workforce management solution, Maxima Advantage Vantage Point, combined with database, scheduling, and forecasting engines hosted on our servers and a web portal for agent access.
Pipkins’ hosted workforce management solutions offer many unique features and
advantages that aren’t available anywhere else in the marketplace. Specifically:
- The same powerful features as our enterprise solution
- Customizable access to only the functionality you need
- Thorough security and access privileges
- Simple agent access through our web portal
- Complete integration with your ACD
- Advanced proven forecasting and scheduling algorithms
- Scalability to meet your growing needs
- Peace of mind -we manage it for you
WorkforceScheduling.com provides a low-cost, yet feature rich and expandable, solution to call center workforce management. Our system consists of two components. Supervisory access is provided by our proven 4th generation, award winning, Maxima Advantage Vantage Point product. Our web portal provides agent access to schedules, bulletin board, vacation requests, and other relevant agent information. Both of these components access your data stored remotely on our hosted servers to free you from worries associated with database maintenance. This also allows our powerful scheduling and forecasting engines to run on our remotely hosted servers, freeing you from additional hardware and IT costs.
If a hosted solution is in your future, visit www.pipkins.com and take the next step.