Posted by Akhand Singh and Jeffery Hall on March 5, 2020.
In Part 1 of the series, we looked at how digitally mature organizations deployed SaaS and explored what tactics worked well and what didn’t work as expected. Today, we will showcase what is recommended to be an implementation master and some leading practices that can be applied to your organization.
The way of the master: Winning with SaaS
Implementation masters are organizations that possess outstanding ability to successfully implement new technology. When comparing masters to non-masters, masters are much better at assessing the likely outcomes and communicating those to stakeholders across all key metrics than non-masters. In our survey, we found out that SaaS proved to exceed the expectations of our masters in almost every SaaS success factor/area. Here are a few key areas where the masters are succeeding:
- Increased end-user adoption
- Decreased upfront implementation cost
- Decreased IT expenditures
- Integrated seamlessly with all existing solutions
- Allowing for customization
- Simplified change management
The question is, how to become a SaaS implementation master?
Leading practices for SaaS implementation
These leading practices can help you mitigate your challenges to get you ahead in the SaaS implementation game:
- Acknowledge and account for practical cost: Organizations need to evaluate the real costs of deploying any technology solution and request the appropriate levels of funding in initial requests to the board or leadership. SaaS ROI has long been a hot topic but looking at the ROI of a single SaaS app is likely not the best approach. Account for the extra costs of integration to fix or workaround such problems.
When companies create business cases for transformations, they should acknowledge the implementation costs and ongoing subscription/maintenance costs to truly meet the expectations around both cost and ROI.
- Strike the right contract with optimized negotiations: When negotiating SaaS contracts, keep in mind that the vendors are highly skilled, trained, and experienced. They come to the negotiation table with tactics, strategies, and knowledge about you and your organization that can often be too overwhelming for the negotiator. These strategies can derail the best of the negotiator. In some cases, negotiators are business leaders who may be unfamiliar with the technical aspects involved in the SaaS solution. It’s recommended to create your own customized negotiation team, strategy, and checklist aligned with your organization's vision, terms, and conditions to successfully execute the contract and negotiations.
- Educate business buyers on implementation needs, strategy, and issues and involve IT ion experts in decision making: No expertise about the solution leads to poor decision making which makes IT involvement very important. No involvement from IT is problematic because the business unit may not know what to look for or how its solution of choice fits into the bigger picture. Many issues arising during SaaS implementation can be avoided if business counterparts are made more aware of the importance of implementation planning or by involving IT experts in decision making.
- Look at the bigger picture on how SaaS can enable new business models, processes, and experiences: Leading SaaS strategies start with innovative thinking, just carrying over old cadence is not enough; SaaS deployment is an opportunity for organizations to standardize what’s not differentiating and to re-imagine the core of the business itself. Include user feedback and hard adoption data as a barometer to enhance user experience.
- Regularly evaluate your SaaS strategy with a goal to reduce disintegration: A SaaS strategy that is disintegrated is a challenge for multiple reasons, not just integration. Business leaders should work with key stakeholders to constantly re-evaluate the SaaS plan. Focusing on standardizing on the same platform or the same vendor plays a crucial role in simplifying things not only from an integration perspective but also reduces other vendor management challenges.
As SaaS solutions evolve, organizations’ longer-term goal of SaaS transformation should be to increase business agility and continuous improvement that allows the business to continuously adapt and face the ever-changing market demands and challenges. As you focus on your SaaS transformation, make sure to set up the right team, and embed a continuous cultural reinforcement of the need to build for change.
Akhand Singh is a senior consultant in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Digital & Cloud Enablement practice, advising global clients across industries to help them activate their digital organizations and prepare them for digital transformations.
Jeffery Hall is a specialist leader in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Digital & Cloud Enablement practice, advising and managing client business transformations driven by digital innovation.