How does a SaaS platform grow from one employee’s free premium trial to a core IT-approved service in a multinational enterprise environment?
It didn’t take long for just one QAD Smartsheet user to turn into 2,000; every department jumped on board and many partners embraced instant sharing via the cloud. Not only did Smartsheet integration reduce email, it helped QAD streamline IT and marketing operations, optimize financial task management, and implement and automate successful projects. More than 83 percent of employees began using Smartsheet, which quickly spread to their partners and customers. It was the key to more effective manufacturing and delivery of goods. See QAD Case Study
Here we’ll cover the seven steps to deployment and how to take a SaaS tool from zero to sixty within your business in no time. Let’s break the cycle down into the seven key phases.
The seven-step deployment cycle
A knowledge worker within an enterprise stumbles upon a SaaS tool to solve a business need. This first step is usually driven by an individual employee outside of IT. He or she is deeply involved in whatever business process the SaaS tool is meant to solve, but is almost always new to the world of SaaS deployment.
2. The ripple effect
In most cases, the new SaaS tool improves efficiency, transparency, or otherwise enables the individual who discovered it to solve the problem at hand with unprecedented success. Processes once arduous or unpleasant suddenly become streamlined — or even automated.
He or she is eager to share the discovery with other team members, thus creating the ripple effect. People love to share the good news of finding a solution that improves not only their own productivity but the productivity of the whole enterprise, and it’s especially easy to do so when communication and collaboration are at the core of the SaaS platform in question.
3. Security verification
Other knowledge workers begin to adopt the tool in widening circles from the first initial discovery, which catches IT’s attention. IT contacts the SaaS tool provider to vet the security of the tool, which is usually their first priority. Efficiency aside, if a tool doesn’t have world-class data protection capabilities within its DNA, IT comes down on its use in their organization. And rightly so, of course. Even if IT was thrilled for employees taking the initiative, protecting company and customer data must be the priority.
4. Legal teams
If the new SaaS tool on the scene passes IT’s security check, the next step is a process of terms and conditions with the enterprise’s legal teams. This typically takes twice as long in extra-large enterprises; there’s a correlation between enterprise size and how long each of these steps will take due to the depth and complexity of larger, global workforces.
5. Ecosystem alignment
At this stage in the game, full deployment is right around the corner. The fundamental research and verification — often the most complex part — is now out of the way. It’s time for a decision-maker from IT within the enterprise to sit down with the SaaS provider to conduct a fairly prescriptive interview. Ecosystem alignment is about making sure the SaaS tool will work well alongside pre-existing software which powers the enterprise.
App integration is crucial here. Enterprises usually contain a mix of desktop productivity tools, mobile tools, purpose-built tools . . . you get the idea. If IT doesn’t go through the capability attributes of the new tool to make sure it’s a good fit, things will break down at this step. IT needs to know the new tool has advanced API integrations. What kind of open connectivity do you have? How deep and detailed is that connectivity? Are there pre-built integrations with other apps my enterprise already uses? Are custom integrations possible? These are a few of the key questions the IT leader can use to gauge ecosystem alignment.
6. The bottom line
App fatigue is real in the enterprise, and it’s a productivity killer. Consolidating the app arsenal is welcome to both knowledge workers and their IT departments, and it’s great for the bottom line as well. Between ecosystem alignment and employee adoption comes the necessary step of making sure a good business decision is taking place by conducting a value analysis.
To verify whether the new tool will create a high enough ROI to be worthwhile, the purchasing department will usually ask IT how the tool might increase revenue through new business processes. Likewise, if the SaaS provider can prove the new tool will not only integrate with, but reduce or replace several pre-existing apps in the ecosystem, the IT leader will know they have a potential winner on their hands. And speaking of winning SaaS solutions — let’s take a look at how Smartsheet performs in the final step of the deployment cycle.
7. Deployment & Collaboration
Once the SaaS tool has been verified and purchased, employee adoption is the final step before the enterprise as a whole can reap its benefits. And speaking of benefits, Smartsheet is a CWM tool with serious enterprise mileage. What is CWM, you ask? Collaborative work management is the type of SaaS tool necessary when two or more individuals in a company need to work together in real time on a flexible set of data. This includes numeric, date, and text data in spreadsheets, calendars, budgets, and project management or event-planning documents. CWM tools bring those to life by making them collaborative, transparent, and continually adaptable to the moment. Enterprises often think they have such tools in their ecosystem for real-time collaboration. Then they come to realize they actually have very little happening in that regard. What can fill the gap? That’s where Smartsheet comes in.
Not only does Smartsheet fill the collaboration gap, it saves enterprises time and money by being intuitive by nature. It goes from zero to 60 rather than bogging employees down in a long, inefficient training process. Knowledge workers will already understand Smartsheet from their first moment of contact because of its familiar spreadsheet interface. This way, they start at 30 mph rather than zero. Take a quick product tour of Smartsheet to get a jumpstart on the SaaS deployment cycle and get great results for your whole enterprise fast.