SaaS implementations, without the spreadsheet

November 4, 2021

You’ve heard great things about SaaS implementation software but transitioning away from your tried-and-true spreadsheets will take a ton of time, right?

Not even close. That transition takes matter of minutes.

Transitioning to SaaS Implementation Software

So, what does it actually look like to take the plunge and dive into a project management platform designed to improve your SaaS implementations? 

If you’re like most SaaS providers, you probably built your onboarding processes on spreadsheets, such as Google Docs or Excel. You completed the heavy lifting. Moving everything to a project management platform is simply the next logical next step.

A CS rep helps you import the spreadsheets—and all the onboarding tasks outlined on each one—into the system’s vendor and client-side deployment templates. Every internal or client implementation task now lives in one system. 

And that’s it. Say goodbye to spreadsheets forever. 

Templates create seamless SaaS Implementation experiences

You are now ready to open and configure the templates for your next customer deployment. Start by addressing your portion of the implementation, assigning personnel to their various roles/tasks. As the SaaS provider, your in-house implementation roles and tasks can be assigned before you even meet with the customer.

Then comes the client kick-off meeting. Rather than opening with a presentation that generally explains how your implementation process works, you present the actual process! With all your internal tasks/deadlines/assignments already in place, you simply pull up your client-side templates and assign those roles. If the customer can’t fill a certain position, you help them secure an outside expert. 

In relatively short order, you’ve configured the entire onboarding process, including vendor/client roles, dependencies, and projected timelines. Sales often promises prospects a custom implementation. Now you can actually demonstrate it. 

And forget about returning to the office to finalize and send your spreadsheets to each participant. Your workspace is accessible as a single source of truth.

How a project management platform speeds up SaaS implementations

With project management software custom-built for SaaS implementations: 

  • You increase customer engagement and visibility. The customer knows their role in the project, including who in their organization needs to be involved, the degree of their participation, and their impact on the overall project schedule.
  • Automate approval, task, and milestone notifications. If someone has an approval coming up, the system automatically notifies them in advance and continues to send reminders until the approval is given. 
  • The system automatically shifts subsequent milestones and dependency deadlines based on delayed tasks. No need to revise and resend updated spreadsheets. 
  • If the client is in a highly regulated industry and certain onboarding steps must be legally documented, no worries. The system automatically records every step and can be easily audited, even after the deployment is completed.  
  • The platform is on-line and accessible to all participants, 24/7, including outside consultants. If a customer gets an approval notification, they can log-in from home and give their blessing.  

Success is the sum of small, daily implementation improvements

With access to your own internal dashboard, you’ll be able to: 1) monitor the progress of all current and upcoming implementation projects, and 2) continuously measure client satisfaction on completed onboardings. 

Having access to this kind of info provides endless opportunities to identify improvements and efficiencies that will help you learn from mistakes and keep things moving forward. 

Here’s how that works.

Open the dashboard view and you find each implementation project represented by a color-coded icon. Click on a delayed project icon to view the templates, timeline, and attachments and determine the cause of the holdup. 

The icons are also located within the appropriate implementation phase—users often employ the “four D’s,” Discovery, Design, Development and Deployment as their categories. With each color-coded icon located within one of the four categories, the dashboard gives you an incredibly rich, up-to-the-minute status report of your entire book of business.  

Know what causes implementation delays

You can then drill down to address virtually any issue. Want to know why one project manager has so many delayed projects while another is mostly on-time? Just filter the view by “project manager,” choose the individual, and go through their projects. 

The dashboard also allows you to monitor the health of your business. Bar charts reveal the number of projects scheduled to be completed this month and the number completed to date; active contracts by value as well as the value of the contracts still to be brought on-board. You can slice and dice your company’s financial and performance data any number of ways.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you can create a proprietary NPS-like metric that automatically tracks and measures customer satisfaction for each implementation. By combining quantitative data with the qualitative score clients give you, you can monitor your implementation health on a daily basis and drive continuous improvement. A high score means your implementations are successful, customers are happy and likely to stick with you longer. 

Can you imagine the time and personnel it would take to generate this level of reporting using spreadsheets?

Don’t neglect implementation— it really matters 

Simply put, moving from spreadsheets to sophisticated project management software is easy and the operational/financial benefits can be the difference between success and failure. 

As the competitive SaaS industry continues to evolve and mature, vendors who leverage advanced project management technology to accelerate their implementations and reduce costs will gain a tremendous market advantage. They’ll continue to grow,  keep clients happy, bolster their reputations, and most importantly, make lots of money. 

Will you be one of them?

At Baton, we believe you should never stop improving your implementation process as it’s a crucial driver of success—especially if your SaaS business is growing rapidly. Schedule a demo to break free of spreadsheets today.