Software as a Service, or SaaS, is the delivery of software and applications over the Internet. This is usually done via a web browser and it is an easy way to deliver software as opposed to local server and workstation installations. Most SaaS products are niche' for specific jobs or industries. Often these industries, like Healthcare, Financial Management, and Accounting have special compliance and deployment requirements making the management and installation of solutions and infrastructure needed to run SaaS products challenging to small and medium businesses. To ease the deployment burden some SaaS companies have "preferred vendors" they steer their customers to when hardware and support is needed.
While this may seem like a slam-dunk solution -- consider this -- you selected the SaaS solution because it was the best fit for your business and you were free to choose the best. The SaaS solution you chose has the features you need, it is easy to use, and the pricing fits your budget. But that doesn't mean their preferred managed services solution provider fits with your organizational needs. Their preferred provider may specialize in your industry but they may also lack the adaptability to focus on your other business processes and needs. Your organization is more than a SaaS solution -- it is a complex mixture of technologies and applications that needs a managed solution provider able to work with all vendors and technologies. The SaaS - Preferred Vendor relationship is often about volume and not about the individuality of your business.
The preferred vendor model used by some SaaS providers also serves to rob your organization of the freedom you used to select the SaaS solution in the first place. When SaaS vendors partner with managed services providers they are beholden to support each other not only technically but also from a business retention standpoint as well. In short, your managed services provider, who should be working for YOU, actually works to keep your business with the SaaS provider. So when a better SaaS solution comes along that is more cost-effective and fits your business better how likely is your SaaS rcommended vendor going to be to support you in your transition?
Change is tough. It affects productivity and your bottom line but we all know that change will continue to happen. When it does you want to make sure your business is free to make the best choices for itself and not what most compliments your current SaaS allied partners. A good SaaS solution should work with most any hardware and infrastructure. The nature of what makes SaaS so great is that it is easy to deploy and use and it shouldn't rely upon strictly recommended business partners to pull off the magic of deployment. After all -- the term "IBM PC Compatible" was first printed on a box over thirty years ago.