Many companies are choosing to use SaaS vendors. These are vendors who have websites and services that you can sign up for, and then do things like Gmail or Box. How can you best evaluate new SaaS vendors?
First you have to do lots of research. This is not only the features of course, but also and more importantly the customer service. Many times companies may have good features but poor customer service. This means that when there is a problem you really are on your own, and that is a difficult place to support. For example, Google Gmail is famous for not having great support. Yet because it is free people use it. As a business our priorities are different than just cost. In fact, a service that costs money might provide a better value.
I look at the value a company can provide like this. If I buy their service, am I going to save money or am I going to be able to do things that I might otherwise have to pay a person to do? Many companies buy software because it is popular. This is the worst way to do something. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it is a useful product. “Jumping on the bandwagon” is a mistake that many people make. You use something because it has a unique advantage, and you try to look forward and estimate if the company will be around for the long haul.
For example, I once worked for a company where the person before me used Microsoft Publisher as her marketing application. It is hard to make things look good with Publisher, and it gives things an amateur appearance. Yes the program is free as part of Office but sometimes paying for an application like Adobe Cloud is worth the money.
Vendor relationships should be strategic and not based on just the cost and features.