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Lessons Learned from AltaFlux’s SaaS Implementation

Software as a Service or SaaS, is becoming the new normal for businesses looking to streamline their processes due to its quicker time to value, lower total cost of ownership (TCO), and scalability. While SaaS implementations are often less cumbersome than traditional on-premise implementations, there are still a number of things to consider before you embark on an implementation or migration to ensure success.

At Altaflux, we are in the business of helping clients implement SAP SuccessFactors, a SaaS human resources technology, on a daily basis. We know the ins and outs of what makes our client’s SaaS implementations successful and recently had to channel that knowledge while we executed our own transition from Google Apps to Microsoft Office 365. While the technology serves different business processes, it’s a SaaS implementation all the same. We realized that the lessons we learned from over 200+ SAP SuccessFactors implementations could also be applied to our internal implementation. The following four tips will help you as you prepare for your SaaS implementation.

1. Determine Your Company’s Needs and Goals Prior to Implementation
AltaFlux had been utilizing Google Apps (and several other complimentary SaaS apps) for years and it met our needs. As the team grew and our needs changed, we decided to implement another SaaS offering, Office 365. Not only did it allow us to consolidate into one platform for a majority of our processes, it enabled us to eliminate fees from several auxiliary apps that supplemented Google Apps.

2. Change Management & End User Adoption
What good is an implementation if no one adopts the technology? We’ve learned through our clients and our internal implementation that change management is vital for end user adoption and acceptance. We all have our comfort zone. Some thrive on change while others resist and cling to what’s comfortable – the old process or technology. Having a change management plan that includes communication, collaboration, coaching, training and open feedback will ensure success.

3. Training
Everyone learns at their own pace and may have different learning styles. When switching from Google to Office 365, we noticed that some employees intuitively adopted and explored its new functionalities, while others needed a more structured approach. Through our internal implementation, we assigned a training lead with in-depth knowledge of the new solution who would field questions and walk others through the transition. During client engagements however, we utilize an approach called “train-the-trainer” where we train system administrators on all features and functionalities so that the organization is self-sufficient long after the implementation.

4. Be Prepared for Constant Innovation
The benefit and draw of SaaS solutions like Office 365 and SAP SuccessFactors is that it offers constant innovation via product enhancements – whether it be on quarterly, monthly, or weekly basis. Some features require an organization to opt-in, while others may be pushed automatically. We recommend that you assign someone who will stay up to date on these enhancements so that your organization can leverage future innovations and properly plan to roll those out to end-users.

During the course of our Office 365 deployment, we realized that we experienced the same struggles that our clients face during their implementations. Setting goals prior to implementation, having a change management plan in place and providing adequate training will ensure success as you embark on your SaaS implementation.

Thinking about moving to the cloud? Download Top 10 Reasons for Moving to SaaS Now to learn why it’s one of the smartest, best business decisions you can make today.