5 Important Questions You Should Ask your Cloud Software Provider


Did you know that over 50% of core HR systems are SaaS solutions? Instead of investing on time and infrastructure to host and maintain HR systems on site, many enterprises prefer the convenience and cost-savings of cloud-hosted systems because they allow access to systems via a mobile application or website. With the growing popularity of cloud-based systems, how can you determine which cloud software provider is the best for you? Here are five important questions you should ask before you sign up to SaaS:

  1. How will your fees be managed? Cloud-based HR systems do not involve significant upfront investment. Everything is managed outside the enterprise from a central location and for a once-a-month pay. So before you invest, ask your cloud software provider how these fees will be managed and what services they will include (i.e. telephone support and training).
  2. What security processes can protect your data? One of the main concerns about cloud-based systems is whether it will be secure or not. You need to make sure that your chosen provider uses an established and certified data center to ensure a high level of protection of highly sensitive data. A good place to start is your own processes. Then, check if the provider’s security standards match up to these.
  3. How will your system be updated? SaaS is actually easier to update, unlike in-house HR systems that require months to upgrade. In contrast, cloud systems can be updated during scheduled maintenance and enhancements on a regular basis. So, ask your cloud software provider how and when these updates are most likely to occur, how much input is required for a seamless process, and how much involvement your IT department needs to have.    
  4. What is the return on investment? Consider your present and future software needs. Although the initial monthly fee can be more expensive than your premise license, you will be able to save more on time and labor when maintaining and updating a cloud-based system. A cloud system is scalable. Your cloud software provider should be able to add new features smoothly.
  5. How should you prepare for the move? You may be concerned about data security and ownership when you move away from your system. You may find yourself dealing with some internal politics. IT and finance departments may welcome the transition with arms wide open due to reduced financial and maintenance burden, but others may require a deeper shift in attitude.

Before you hire a cloud software provider, you need to make sure that they are champions for the system. They should be able to promote the benefits of a flexible and scalable system. Furthermore, they should be able to allay any fears. These five important questions will help you find the best people for the job.      

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Charlie Alsmiller

Throughout his career, Charlie Alsmiller has focused on customer problems in difficult industries such as Energy and Telecommunications. Prior to starting Appterra in 2005, Alsmiller was VP of Global Operations for Allegro Development, a leading provider of software for the energy sector. He has also served as president of OmniSpace Technologies, a leading SaaS provider that he founded in 1999. He spent over 10 years in the consulting world with Price Waterhouse and Deloitte Consulting, where he participated in a wide variety of projects for very high profile clients. Mr. Alsmiller holds a BBA from Baylor University in Management and Information Systems and a MBA from the University of Dallas in International Business. Specialties: Technology ventures, Enterprise Software, Contract Negotiation, International Operations, Private Equity, Product Management, Strategic Alliances, Software Implementation, Software Development

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