Good SaaS vs. Bad SaaS

A recent post over on Richard Anson’s blog on 11 Crucial Tactics for SaaS Pricing, while written for new SaaS vendors who need to know how to price their solutions, did a great job of helping to point out some of the key elements of a good SaaS solution sales process vs. a bad SaaS solution sales process as well as some key elements of a good SaaS solution from a customer’s perspective vs. a bad SaaS solution from a customer’s perspective.

In particular, it focusses in on some of the key non-functional characteristics that should be examined in your SaaS purchase process. These non-functional characteristics can easily be summarized in a quick side-by-side comparison of good SaaS vs. bad SaaS.

Good SaaS Bad SaaS
Value-based Cost-based
ROI-justification Process Improvement
Business Case Justification Potential Manpower Reduction
Priced According to Company Size and Utilization One Price Fits All
Competitively Priced Priced Out of the Ballpark

In other words, if the SaaS solution is good, it will be competitively priced, and priced according to your company size and intended utilization, come with a business case justification, deliver a proven ROI, and clearly deliver ongoing value.

And if a SaaS solution is bad (for you), it will be priced out of the ball-park with respect to its competition (and be either too expensive to deliver value or too cheap for the company to sustain over the long term, which will lead either to the provider’s failure or substantial price increases at contract renewal time), have little in the way of a solid business case justification, or have a poor ROI over the short and/or long term. SaaS is more than features, functionality, hands-off management, and a cool web experience — it’s about delivering value to your bottom line.

For insights on how to cost out the TCO of a SaaS solution, and compare that TCO to an installed solution, see SI’s classic post on Uncovering the True Cost of On-Premise Sourcing & Procurement Software. For insights on what constitutes a good SaaS contract, see SI’s classic posts on SaaS Contractual Considerations (Part I and Part II). And remember, as per SI’s recent post on Maximizing ROI from Technology, it doesn’t matter how strategic the IT Vendor is, it only matters how strategic the solution they offer is.