What are the biggest challenges in SaaS implementation, and more importantly, how do you solve them? We’ve assembled a list of what we believe are the biggest challenges in SaaS implementation along with tips on how you can address them.
Your implementation experience will leave a lasting first impression on every new customer. A messy and delayed process will damage your reputation — no matter how good your software is.
There have been many stories about top enterprise software companies damaging their reputations by falling short on software implementation and delivery. And there are lots of reasons why implementations fail, but whatever the reason, the results are the same. These are the common challenges in SaaS implementation we help customers solve every day.
Challenge #1: Communications break down among participants
Aggressive deadlines will make the client happy at the moment that you present them, but if you have over-promised and you can’t deliver, that happiness shifts to disappointment really quickly. Be realistic about how long tasks will take to complete, who is available to actually complete those tasks, and how long client approvals will truly take. But good planning is only part of the solution for effective communication during a project.
How do you keep everyone — implementation teams and the client — accountable for meeting deadlines and up to date on status? Real-time visibility. The right project management tool gives everyone the appropriate view of upcoming deadlines, project delays, and task dependencies. Keeping everyone up to date and satisfied doesn’t mean sharing every detail with every person, though. The right tool allows you to share only what is needed with your client and keeps your internal team communications private.
Challenge #2: Hiring additional implementation managers is an expensive substitute for creating efficiencies
While this may not impact your SaaS implementation while it’s happening, it will affect your ability to continue to implement your product long-term. VCs around the globe will tell you that too frequently SaaS companies are adding costly staff to manage growth rather than finding new economies of scale by improving client onboarding processes. Lower the marginal cost of replicating your product implementations or perish. It’s that simple. How? Add processes and tools instead of people. The right tools allow you to create repeatable, efficient processes that don’t require more bodies.
Challenge #3: Delayed customer onboarding = delayed revenue recognition
Stalled implementations delay bookings-to-billings. Many SaaS clients will delay payment until the implementation is completed. Most CFOs won’t even recognize revenue until the project is signed off on by the client as complete. Get more sophisticated with your process, finish faster, and get paid.
Don’t give your clients buyer’s remorse — or worse, watch them abandon the whole project — because your implementation is messy, delayed, or disorganized. Make your implementation as impressive as your software with more visibility, improved efficiency, and quicker time to revenue.
Challenge #4: Lack of established, repeatable implementation & customer onboarding processes
Does your team seem to invent pieces of your implementation process each time you begin a new project? An established process allows you to repeat what you’ve done without having to rethink and reinvent. It’s the path to scale. A lack of process means that your team has to think through — and create a plan for — each step of the implementation every time. Locking down the process before you start means that the path is clear, and perhaps more importantly, the next implementation will move more efficiently. And efficiency leads to scale and scale leads to revenue.
Challenge #5: Onboarding project plans & time frames are based on gut feelings rather than data
How long does that portion of the project take to complete? If the answer is something like, “I think last time it probably took us about two weeks,” you’re in trouble. Creating deadlines based on facts gives you a more reliable structure on which to build a timeline, and instills confidence in your client that you are the experts. A project management platform that uses real data to show you the history of past project timeframes and schedules will help you create deadlines based on facts. Understanding past task time frames and completion schedules leads to project success by helping you avoid the creation of unrealistic deadlines in the first place.
Is your implementation team facing these common hurdles to business growth & success?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, no SaaS company is immune to the challenges of implementation. Implementations aren’t easy, and many factors can slow or complete halt a new customer’s launch time.
Fortunately, there are several steps and technologies out there that can help your team improve this critical phase of the customer journey and start each new client relationship off on the right foot. If any of the struggles listed above sound all too familiar, check out our in-depth guide to crushing your SaaS implementations and driving real, measurable results.