Customising Software as a Service (SaaS): Maximising the Value of Your Solution
In today's fast-paced and highly competitive business landscape, organisations are increasingly turning to Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions to streamline their operations and drive growth. SaaS products offer numerous benefits, including cost-effectiveness, scalability, and ease of implementation. However, one question that often arises is whether customising a SaaS solution is worth it.
In this article, we will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of customising your SaaS solution, explore the factors to consider when deciding on the extent of customisation and provide valuable insights on how to strike the right balance.
Understanding Customisation in a SaaS Environment
Before we dive into the pros and cons of customisation, let's first define what it entails within a SaaS environment. Customisation refers to the process of tailoring a SaaS product to meet the unique needs and requirements of an organisation. It involves modifying or extending the existing functionality of the software to align with specific business processes, workflows, or industry standards. By customising a Software as a Service solution, businesses can enhance their productivity, gain a competitive edge, and deliver a more personalised experience to their customers.
Advantages of Customisation in SaaS
One of the key advantages of customising a SaaS solution is the ability to differentiate your business from competitors. By tailoring the application to align with your brand and unique value proposition, you can deliver a bespoke solution that stands out in the market. This level of customisation serves as a powerful marketing tool, enabling you to showcase your ability to meet the specific needs of your clients and prospects.
Customisation in a SaaS environment provides businesses with the flexibility to design workflows and processes that are not available in the core product. As organisations grow and evolve, their requirements may change, and the out-of-the-box features of a SaaS solution may no longer suffice. Customisation allows businesses to adapt and evolve their software to meet their changing needs, ensuring they can continue operating efficiently and effectively.
Disadvantages of Customisation in SaaS
Development Costs and Time
One of the main drawbacks of customisation in a SaaS environment is the cost and time associated with development. Each customisation or modification requires developer resources, which incur additional costs. The complexity and size of the development project determine the extent of these costs. Additionally, extensive testing is required to ensure that the customisations work seamlessly with the core product. This testing and development process can be time-consuming, potentially delaying the implementation or upgrades of the software.
Customisations in a SaaS solution deviate from the core product and are typically unique to each client. As a result, they can be more time-consuming and challenging to support. SaaS support teams may not have the expertise or visibility into customisations, leading to delays in issue resolution. In some cases, vendor development resources may be required to investigate and resolve issues, further impacting support timelines. It's important to consider the long-term support implications of customisations before proceeding with extensive modifications.
Upgrades and Compatibility
When a SaaS product undergoes upgrades or updates, all customisations need to be reviewed and potentially recoded to ensure compatibility with the new version. This process can be time-consuming, requiring extensive regression testing by both the vendor and the client. Failure to address compatibility issues can result in disruptions to business operations and the loss of custom functionalities. It's essential to carefully evaluate the impact of upgrades on customisations and plan accordingly to minimise disruptions.
Finding the Right Balance: Factors to Consider
While customisation offers significant benefits, it's crucial to find the right balance between tailoring a SaaS solution and maintaining compatibility with the core product. Here are some key factors to consider when making customisation decisions.
Business Needs and Goals
Evaluate your organisation's specific needs and goals to determine the level of customisation required. You will need to conduct a thorough analysis of your business processes and workflows to identify areas that can be optimised through customisation. Consider whether the benefits of customisation outweigh the costs and potential support challenges.
Product Best Practices
You will need to fully understand the product's architecture and design to assess the feasibility of customisation. Consider the product's core features, functionalities, and platform capabilities. Determine if your customisation requests align with the product's best practices and if they fall within the scope of the platform's capabilities. It’s important to find a balance between customisation and adhering to the product's intended design and architecture.
Business Impact and Justification
Consider the potential impact of specific customisations on your business. It’s imperative to evaluate the consequences of not meeting certain business needs against the value that customisations bring in terms of revenue, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. You will need to quantify the potential loss or gain associated with each customisation to make informed decisions.
Vendor Collaboration and Roadmap
Engage in open communication with your SaaS vendor. Share your customisation requirements and discuss them in the context of the vendor's product roadmap. Collaborate with the vendor to explore alternative solutions and determine if certain customisations are already planned for future releases. Here at Limina, we continually incorporate client feedback into our development strategy and roadmaps to ensure that our investment management platform evolves to meet your business needs. This in turn, enables you to avoid unnecessary customisation efforts and leverage upcoming product enhancements.
User Experience Considerations
Ensure that customisations do not adversely affect the user experience. Evaluate the impact of customisations on the usability, intuitiveness, and onboarding process of the software. We fully promote that a modern UX & UI can transform investment management workflows however a balance needs to be struck between meeting specific business requirements and maintaining a user-friendly interface. If customisations are needed we recommend looking at alternative solutions, such as configuration options or CSS overrides, to achieve desired customisations without compromising the user experience.
Customising a SaaS solution can provide organisations with a competitive advantage, increased flexibility, and the ability to meet unique business requirements. However, it's essential to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages before embarking on extensive customisations. Finding the right balance between customisation and maintaining compatibility with the core product is crucial for long-term success. By evaluating your specific business needs, collaborating with your SaaS vendor, and considering user experience implications, you can maximise the value of your SaaS solution while minimising potential drawbacks. Remember, customisation should be a strategic decision driven by business goals and justified by the potential impact it brings.
If you’d like to know more about how our investment management software is flexible enough to meet your business needs then, browse our Investment Management Solutions or book a demo with our team to see our tools in action and learn more about how Limina can help your firm to achieve its goals.