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 hosting provider.
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 brand grow.
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 additional opportunities.