Whether it’s your first time using technology to enhance your day-to-day tasks, adding a different set of tools, or wanting to spend your time more efficiently, software as a service (SAAS) is here and it’s here to stay. But what if you’ve never implemented a SAAS based tool before? This article is designed to help soften the potential blow when it comes to implementing any type of SAAS product by providing a few tips and tricks to help you become successful.
Pick Your Team
Maybe you’ve been given a project without any idea what it is. Maybe you’ve never implemented a software-based tool before. Or maybe you have every co-worker knocking down your door with input (and if it’s all three make sure there’s fresh coffee). What’s the most repeated phrase in SAAS based implementations? Don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen!
Your core implementation team should be yourself and two or three other stakeholders and decision makers. That isn’t to say you can’t gather feedback and input from other parties, but if you have a team of 20 people during an implementation call, you will struggle to actually get things done.
If not having a large team is out of the question then feel free to invite any contributing member to your implementation meetings, but maybe pick one or two people to lead the meeting on your end. You can then extend that meeting beyond your Project Manager (PM) with just your internal members to gather feedback and provide back to your PM at a later time if need be.
SAAS products have a plethora of features that are available for you to use (if there wasn’t a robust gathering of features then why would you even buy it?). As much as you can, try and hold back your desire to configure every little nook and cranny available because it may not be the best use of your time.
Most implementation teams working with SAAS will have a process put into place to help you successfully launch your system. Often times this doesn’t include certain features as those can be added in after your go-live or launch date. These features are often known as auxiliary or optional sub tasks. If you can, determine early on what you consider “go-live” to be and stick to the features that will get you there.
There can usually be a general consensus on what “go-live” would mean depending on the SAAS product, so be sure to ask your Project Manager what the majority of other clients have done in the past. The term will likely mean different things depending on the product and the client implementing. Typically, this would mean you’d be “live” with the core functionality of the system you’re implementing.
Don’t Overthink It
Along the same lines as starting small, try not to have every possible outcome or scenario determined and solved. Often times, you won’t know enough about the product to make a confident decision on how you should implement a certain feature. SAAS implementation and support teams are unique in that they know their products really well, and they build processes to help you become successful.
An implementation process can be modular, however the core features needing to be implemented most often remain the same. If you just stick to those features for the initial implementation, over time you can work on learning and configuring the rest of the features your SAAS product offers.