It’s 2020 and the entire world is trying to work from inside closed doors, which means that now is the ideal time for business app developers and service providers to generate serious revenue.
From the perspective of the small business, this just makes an already confusing scenario even more confusing. Not only are the previously established options in business SaaS stepping up their game, but new players are also entering the field, trying to cash in on the situation. By the time you are through this brief guide, though, you will know exactly what you need and how to choose the right options pertaining to those needs.
Look Past the Marketing
It would be wrong to state that all marketing materials are dishonest, but some of them most certainly are. On top of that, you cannot take the decision to invest in an enterprise-grade software based on the service provider’s own marketing alone. Unfortunately, that is precisely what happens more often not. To help small business decision-makers look past the marketing and choose SaaS solutions that they have an actual use for, we have prepared the following list of guidelines to follow.
Keep It Real and To the Point
Jot down all your general and specific requirements for which you are seeking a cloud-based service. After that, every option that comes your way should be considered while keeping the following pointers in mind.
- The application should be able to fulfill at least one specific and/or a few general requirements of your business that you already have listed
- If a software package by a provider or just a single app can handle multiple needs of the business, it’s going to be a more cost-effective option
- The vendor should be a reputed one with verifiability
- Any software service you choose right now should be able to help your business model instantly, not in the future
The Promise of Future Potentials is Often a Misleading Promise: Choose Scalability Instead
Do not listen to any promise of “future potentials” because that’s one of the reasons why shadow IT expenses are so common. A service signed up for without any immediate application in sight will eventually be forgotten completely since the new and more useful ones will take up everyone’s attention. Future Potential is certainly an aspect to consider, but scalability is what you should be looking for in that department.
For example, most popular and reputed hosting services will offer online businesses with scalable plans to choose from. Scalability offers SMEs the chance to upgrade or downgrade their plans, as and when needed, to manage and sustain the company’s growth, or at times, its decreasing need for web resources. Any application that might be useful in the future but has no real usage right now should not be billing your company. Hosting is useful from the second you come online since a business cannot come online without a host, but it also allows your business the option to grow and expand, as required.
Minimize the Vendor Count
It is true that there are numerous vendors, and some of the competing names in each category are equally reputable as well. Nevertheless, a choice must be made between them to reduce the vendor count and incompatible software services that do not synchronize with each other in the way that they should to boost productivity and efficiency.
It will also become more confusing as the number of vendors begins to grow, once again increasing the risks of shadow IT (unused apps that bill you anyway). Unfortunately, this creates a huge problem for businesses of all sizes, as it limits their freedom of choice and also makes them over-reliant on one or two software providers. There is a better option, though, and we will discuss it next.
Ho to Prevent Overreliance?
If all your services are being provided by a select few vendors, it does ensure better synchronization, but at the same time, limits your options. As a business tactic, competing cloud-based software providers often do not allow their own apps to sync with that of their competitors: however, some of them actually allow that.
PieSync is a SaaS solution that aims to keep your customer data in sync across all your business apps, two-ways and in real time. By using it, you can save hours of manual data entry. No coding is required to use it thanks to a simple and user friendly GUI.
With two-way synchronization support for over 230+ business applications, PieSync presents a platform that helps companies from being over-reliant on any one provider. Follow the steps on PieSync to get started with both-way syncing of all your cloud-based applications such as Pipedrive, even if the providers are competitors. Not only does this keep your option to use multiple helpful services from different providers at once, but it also unifies them for easier management and better utilization.
Start Small with the Basics
When a company is only starting out, you need it to take baby steps, and that applies everywhere. As cloud resources are an extensive part of modern business now, the same principle applies here as well. Give your company the cloud resources it needs, but do not overinvest by subscribing to applications the business can do without at the moment. This is different from the “future potential” mistake previously discussed because these are the apps the business can benefit from immediately, but not to a degree where the cost of subscription can be justified.
ROI is an important calculation for every business investment, so when you are only beginning, it is best to keep your SaaS solutions and subscriptions limited. Stick to the ones that are essential for your day-to-day business operations for the time being. A time to expand and include various other apps will soon come, but you should wait for it. Overexpansion without a sustainability plan in any segment of a business is not a good plan. In case you are not yet sure about the ROI of a particular service, see if they offer a trial period or perhaps even a monthly subscription plan. This will provide your company with the option to leave that service if the cost to maintain its subscription feels imbalanced with respect to its utility for the business. Free cloud applications are an option, but they are seldom really free and the ones that are totally free cannot really cover the needs of a commercial venture.