Selecting the right managed hosting provider for your SAAS solution involves a number of important considerations. Since each ASP's software-as-a-service offering is different, it's important to ensure that you are partnering with a managed hosting provider that will get to know your culture, understand your needs and help your customer base grow. Knowledge Center contributor Larry Steele explains what you need to know to select the right managed hosting provider to implement a SAAS solution that will help you meet your business goals.
The SAAS market is poised for strong growth through 2011, when worldwide
revenue is expected to reach $11.5 billion. The rapid expansion of software as
a service and the sheer number of companies touting their SAAS hosting
capabilities is making it harder for application service providers to identify
the right hosting provider.
As the next waves of SAAS approach, the right hosting provider should be
able to provide world-class managed hosting support, as well as cutting-edge
features such as end-to-end software development capabilities and cloud-based
platforms. A willingness to act as a consultative partner to effectively
address the changing needs of users is also an essential quality of the right
The following five tips will provide a starting point to help you more
thoroughly evaluate and select the hosting service that will be the best fit,
culturally and technically, with your business.
Tip No. 1: Select a hosting company that has widespread expertise in
running a standard, global enterprise infrastructure.
Many companies, particularly broad service providers, are introducing SAAS
offerings to capitalize on the buzz surrounding this software model. A number
of brands in the telecommunications and software industries, as well as online
retailers and search engines, claim to have SAAS capabilities. However, their
existing infrastructure may not be able to handle every individual customer's
unique SAAS needs.
Undoubtedly, your hosting provider must have a reputation for successfully
implementing hosted services. It also must be focused on addressing specific
SAAS requirements, including capacity planning, compliance, visibility and new
technology integration. In short, SAAS should be a natural extension of the
host's core business and expertise-not just a loose grouping of services
packaged together to capitalize on the SAAS trend.
Tip No. 2: Find a SAAS hosting provider that will work with you to
understand your specific SAAS requirements, helping your business and your
Managed hosting companies have arrived at effective processes for developing,
delivering and refining many of the essential elements of SAAS. As a result,
ASPs and their customers now expect these capabilities-such as security, SLAs
(service-level agreements), scalability, consistent uptime and rapid system
response time-to be built in to the standard SAAS infrastructure offering.
Although a high-performing technological infrastructure is critically
important to your ability to develop and sustain long-term business success,
today's frequent shifts in SAAS technology also require consultative assessment
services to help facilitate your transition to a SAAS model and effectively
manage business changes that may follow. Thus, when evaluating hosting
providers, look for one with the tools to operate a SAAS application reliably
and a willingness to help your business grow. This includes assisting with a
go-to-market strategy and providing access to global markets.
The right hosting provider can also help extend your brand by offering
additional avenues for growth, such as partnering with you to create clearly differentiated
solutions, developing services that increase marketing and integration options,
and granting access to its customer base, which gives you greater exposure to