SaaS implementations, no spreadsheets required

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 can be completed in a matter of minutes.

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

Well, if you’re like most SaaS providers then you probably built your onboarding processes on spreadsheets, such as Google Docs or Excel. So, in a sense, all the heavy lifting has been done. 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 can now be viewed on a digital template. 

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

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. That’s already done—the templates are available on-line for everyone to see. 

How a project management platform speeds up SaaS implementations

With project management software custom-built for SaaS implementations: 

  • The customer immediately understands 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.
  • Automatic notifications can be set for approvals and milestones. If someone has an approval coming up, the system automatically notifies them in advance and continues to send reminders until the approval is given. 
  • If a task is delayed by a week and the schedule must be revised, the system automatically changes all subsequent milestones and dependency deadlines. 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. The system then notifies the entire team that the approval has been given and the project proceeds. 

Success is the sum of small improvements made daily 

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. Green is on-schedule, red is delayed, and yellow means the project is in danger of missing its completion date. 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.  

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. 

Get our quick guide now to learn more about the 9 most common implementation challenges many companies like yours are facing—and how to solve them.