The end-user experience is pivotal to successful SaaS applications. Said another way, whether delivering business processes, sales, marketing, support, media, communications, or other applications via the Internet—success requires satisfied end-users. No matter your business or purpose, without the end user, your online service might as well not exist. It is critical for any SaaS business to define a framework built around meeting and exceeding the end-users needs.
The end user experience is the result of how the SaaS delivery stack is implemented. Key factors include:
- Usability – Adapting the application to the user behavior is critical in delivering a successful SaaS application. Design considerations include look and feel of the application, the “process flow” and understandability of the screens, and data organization data are critical factors in delivering a successful SaaS application.
- Security – Security is a serious concern for many SaaS users. They need to know that their data is secure and can’t be accessed by other users on the system, or hackers reaching over the network. The application and data base design as well as network and physical security are key considerations that drive this part of the user experience.
- Uptime – The single biggest concern users have when moving from a client-server application to SaaS is the uptime and availability of the application. As they move from a solution that is always available on their desktop or internal server, they need to be assured that their application is always available and always online and that they can get to it 24 hours a day & 7 days a week.
- Scalability – The ability of the application to address a range of users needs from the smallest, casual user to the more intense power users is an important consideration in designing the user experience. Buyers of SaaS applications want to know that they will not “hit their head” on capabilities as their use of the system expands over time.
- Extensibility – Including the ability to integrate with other applications and other data sources, and the ability to import and export data are important factors for users selecting a SaaS application.
- Response Times – The time it takes for an application to respond is a significant factor in the success of a SaaS application. Users are expecting the same experience (in terms of response time) as they have with their client-server or desktop solution. An underlying server architecture that doesn’t have the horsepower to keep up with user demand can readily sink a SaaS application.
- Service & Support – SaaS users may require a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that describes the service uptime and availability your clients can expect. The support experience is also a critical factor in the user satisfaction.
- Training & Customer On-boarding– Another critical factor in a successful SaaS end user experience is how quickly and easily the user is able to start using and get up to speed on the application. The more complex the application, the more training resources need to be available to ease the customer’s learning curve.
The majority of these user experience factors depend on the underlying delivery stack implementation – from the application code and database design to the underlying server architecture to the data center that the servers reside in.
For these reasons, most SaaS providers consider their application code and database their most important asset – one that is understood by relatively few in-house developers. Control and management of the application provides the greatest value add that many SaaS companies can provide. Outsourcing lower layers of the SaaS Delivery Stack to a trusted partner can free up valuable resources to stay focused on this critical part of the company’s services.
Online Tech is a premier managed data center operator focusing on the needs of SaaS providers. Our solutions include fully managed colocation, managed servers and private cloud computing. A number of SaaS leaders trust Online Tech’s HIPPA Compliant, SAS 70 certified data centers to ensure their servers are always on, always online, and always safe.