Considerations for change-management in SaaS to enable a frictionless





Legacy enterprise software have reigned the business landscape for decades, with a majority of companies relying on them to run core business operations. However, the grand entrance of cloud computing brought a massive technological overhaul and sophistication to IT operations. A Gartner study predicts that 85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025.

According to cloud computing research by Foundry conducted in 2022, about 34% of companies said their IT environment comprises mainly cloud applications with some on-premises infrastructure/applications or analytics solutions. SaaS stands strong as the most popular type of cloud-computing service and is set to generate $176.6 billion in revenue by the end of 2022.

Despite the widespread adoption of SaaS solutions across industries, many companies are still mulling over cloud-based SaaS software. On-prem solutions create a sense of security and trust while allowing companies to retain their control internally. Leveraging SaaS solutions to manage IT requirements could equate to loss of control and demand many systemic modifications. These concerns are valid, but while integrating SaaS with the future in mind, consider indulging in a deeper analysis of various parameters.

A 360-degree examination of the potential factors influencing SaaS integration can help. Here are some key considerations for organizations to look into before embracing the SaaS-first approach:

MULTI-TENANCY

On-prem solutions use a single instance of an application or software, with its supporting infrastructure catering to a single customer—meaning that they use a single-tenant architecture. In SaaS solutions, data from multiple tenants or customers resides in the same database within a single-software instance. For this reason, it’s typical for companies to raise concerns over security. But if multi-tenancy serves the nature of a business and it can benefit from a shared infrastructure, this choice can be helpful.

CUSTOMIZATION

Businesses accustomed to heavily customized on-prem applications might find the move to a highly-standardized SaaS solution challenging. The liberty to add or subtract features and customize the application as and when needs emerge might no longer be an option. In such cases, it is important to recognize which earlier customizations cannot be done away with and are critical to running business operations.

SECURITY

Most SaaS solutions are hosted on a public cloud, making them more susceptible to security threats. Before opting for a service provider, be doubly sure about their data encryption provisions when data is at rest and in transit. Perform all the necessary due diligence to understand what measures the service providers take to secure, protect, and back up your data.

 SERVICE AND SUPPORT

SaaS service providers typically offer 24/7 support; however, be mindful of the fact that the response times are not always guaranteed or accurate. On the contrary, on-prem solutions have easy access to support. The downside to on-prem support is that sustaining an entire team comes with hefty costs. For enterprises considering the move to SaaS, it may be wiser to seek out providers who offer the fastest support and help minimize disruptions.

The disparity between on-prem and SaaS solutions could be mighty, but it is what makes SaaS an excellent tool to fast-track IT transformation at scale. Here’s why SaaS outshines on-prem as a solution built for accelerating business growth:

ECONOMICAL AND AFFORDABLE

Most SaaS solutions offer subscription-based services with a recurring fee that can be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually which can be economical.

ACCELERATED IMPLEMENTATION

The ready-made nature of SaaS and its residence in the cloud makes it an attractive choice against on-prem solutions, especially since it offers faster deployment, installation, and configuration. On-prem applications demand long installation hours.

ACCESSIBLE

Since SaaS solutions live in the cloud and are not chained to on-prem infrastructure, they can be accessed at speed by a wider nexus of users spread globally.

SCALABLE AND FLEXIBLE

The SaaS subscription model empowers enterprises with the added privilege of upscaling or downscaling as and when technical requirements grow or shrink in size.

CHANGE MANAGEMENT IN SAAS

Although SaaS is plug-and-play in nature, this does not mean change management will be a cakewalk. I believe it is essential to align all internal stakeholders with the SaaS implementation’s outcomes and its potential to initiate organization-wide growth.

STAGE 1: IMPACT ANALYSIS

Perform a detailed study of the following parameters:

  • Identify the areas and touchpoints that will experience any turbulence
  • Identify the people who are most influenced or affected due to the new solution
  • Understand the frequency and the level of involvement of individuals using the existing technology
  • Chalk out the benefits of each team
  • Get insights on the stages that are directly in the face of the impact

STAGE 2: TRAINING AND SKILL-BUILDING

Focus on the following factors to help strengthen the user group’s understanding of the solution:

  • Zero down on specific teams and processes that require intensive training
  • Identify which teams need highly technical training and teams that need functional support
  • Kick-start training with a pilot model

STAGE 3: PHASED IMPLEMENTATION

Once the preliminary requisites for the implementation are in place, start rolling out the change in a piecemeal fashion. The intention is to gradually introduce the new solution, part by part, rather than implementing it in one fell swoop.

STAGE 5: FEEDBACK LOOP

Leverage these key guides to course-correct the implementation in case it goes off track:

  • Actively monitor the execution and react to pressing hurdles as early as possible
  • Measure if the application is being used in the way it was intended to; if not, take initiative to realign to the right course
  • Mandate users to update feedback forms regularly and conduct polls
  • Optimize processes according to the feedback, and discard unrewarding practices

Becoming a harbinger of change within an organization, and aligning all stakeholders to a future-proof SaaS solution, calls for immense contemplation on the right course of action. Enterprises are transitioning to hybrid architectures, using on-prem solutions while also welcoming SaaS solutions. The move to SaaS could pose various challenges along the way, but delaying or holding back from the move could make enterprises fall behind the curve.


Arun Raghavapudi is President of Americas at ITC Infotech, a global technology solution and services leader enabling future-readiness.




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