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What Customers Want to Know When They Ask if Your Solution is “SaaS”

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Individual at his computer wondering if the solution is SaaS.

Written by Mark Krupnik, CEO at Retalon. Read the original article published on Forbes here.


It is interesting that people mean different things when they ask, “Is your solution SaaS?”

The term “SaaS” is often poorly defined and, as a result, used too generally. Throughout my time answering this question, I have heard several totally different interpretations of what people really want to know. For example, some retailers want to know if the application will be hosted on the cloud, while others are trying to understand if monthly payment for the service is possible—a question that has more to do with credit than technology.

Let’s look at the five common interpretations people have when asking, “Is your solution SaaS?”

1. ‘How convenient is the payment process?’

Some customers are not asking about SaaS at all. They may want to know if payments can be made monthly. They may be trying to understand how the payment process works, and if they will have to contact the vendor to process their payments.

2. ‘Is the solution deployed on a cloud and elastic?’

This question really means whether the rented cloud space can grow with the customer’s needs and shrink when not using it, to save on cloud consumption.

3. ‘Will the solution be used in a browser?’

Customers prefer to make sure the solution can work on all devices running different operating systems. They want to know if the solution will require them to install anything on their computers.

4. ‘How does data get uploaded into the system?’

Another common concept that customers are seeking to understand is whether the system has a standard API for data integration. It is important for the customer to know how their data flow process will work, both legally and technically.

5. ‘How much human intervention will be required to deploy the solution?’

Customers need to know if they will depend on someone to manually prepare and configure the solution.

The final inquiry is the least common, and the most notable. This is the question that customers should be asking first about the SaaS solution. The answer will allow customers to understand if the solution will require a lot of manual intervention. A true B2B SaaS solution—which would look somewhat like Salesforce—can be used after watching a few prerecorded tutorials.

The good news is that thanks to AI technologies, it is possible to make many of your solutions less dependent on a human and teach these solutions how to behave in various situations that are specific to your business segment. Although this process requires significant effort, I can assure you that the work is justified by the benefits it brings. We learned this from our experience, developing this process for retail and supply chain environments.

Anticipating all or most business-specific needs allows business to be scaled from small to large customers. As a result, the solution can be sold, deployed and operated without human intervention, saving on money and time. Once a solution is made self-sufficient, the four other inquiries outlined above (payment, cloud elasticity, in-browser interface and data integration) can usually be addressed to fit the needs of the customer.

Mark Krupnik, PhD, is one of the world’s top experts in advanced analytics & AI for retailers. He is the CEO at Retalon, and a contributor to Forbes Technology Council.

Connect with Mark on LinkedIn!

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