Imagine we’re in the year 2000 (it seems like it wasn’t that long ago, right?), walking into an office filled with employees. If you look around, you’d probably spot stacks of paperwork scattered around desks, clunky filing cabinets filled to the brim and a whole lot of running around to meet deadlines. Using SaaS expense management software would only come into play years later, but employees were likely dreaming about this future where their processes would be simpler, faster and way more efficient.

Fast-forward to today, and it’s like stepping into a whole new world filled with possibilities. Digital transformation has become the buzzword, and with good reason. It’s not just about keeping up with the times but about giving your team the tools to work smarter, not harder.

Enter: SaaS providers. SaaS stands for Software as a Service, a way to deliver applications online, as a service. So, instead of installing and maintaining the software, you can purchase a license and use the service directly only. Picture renting a movie from a streaming service, where you won’t need to buy a DVD; you just stream it. This cuts down on all the extra details and allows users to focus on what matters to them.

Choosing the right SaaS provider

The reasons behind the search for SaaS providers will vary according to the business. For the most part, organisations that are on a digital transformation path will look to switch their manual and traditional systems to fully digital options.

SaaS solutions provide flexibility, cost-effectiveness, security and even data storage, meaning they can forget about all those filling cabinets and pieces of paper scattered around the office. Most solutions are also highly adjustable, which means that whenever the company’s needs change, the solution can easily adjust.

But to make the best use of a SaaS provider, you need to choose the right one for your organisation. Asking the right questions is key to understanding how it works, the impact it can have on your team, and even what steps you need to take to implement the system with your existing tools.

If you’re looking for a new SaaS provider, these are some of the questions you should ask.

What’s the real pricing?

Most SaaS providers will include a pricing page on their website, but there’s usually a bit more to it than that.

SaaS companies reach their fee by taking multiple factors into consideration, such as the number of users, functionality, amount of data stored, number of users, etc.

The simplest method is to charge by the number of users (e.g., €3 per user, per month). If that’s the case, it’s crucial to understand what constitutes a “user.” Some services charge for registered users, meaning that you’ll be charged for each person who creates an account, even if they don’t use it. Other companies will only charge you if a registered user carries out a transaction in a particular month.

Rydoo, for instance, uses a pricing model where you only pay for active users. This means you will only pay for employees who actively use the platform. You can learn more about this on Rydoo’s pricing page.

What is your uptime SLA?

SaaS providers offer their clients a Service Level Agreement (SLA), a contract between the provider and the customer which describes the minimum level of service they will provide.

Most service providers are expected to disclose this data to their clients. Financial service providers, in particular, ought to ensure availability that is consistently in the upper 90th percentile. They should also provide advance notice of any scheduled maintenance that may result in downtime.

Keep in mind that when the system is down for maintenance and upgrades, it can often be based on a different timezone, so make sure that an outage doesn’t cause serious issues for your organisation.

How is data security handled?

Maintaining total security of company data is really important for most organisations, so naturally, it’s important to ask the SaaS provider how they will be storing your business information.

For many companies, especially those that comply with international standards such as ISO90001 or ISO27701, data security will need to be at the forefront of their thinking and effectively documented.

Rydoo’s system, for instance, has multiple secure controls and features industry-standard certifications such as ISO 27001, SOC 2 Type 2, and PCI DSS to guarantee system, payment, and data security.

What migration options are available?

When considering a new system, it is only right that you concentrate on how it will operate in practice. But you also need to understand the process for making your system usable.

How are usernames and passwords entered? How do you migrate your existing data? How do you test that the migration process has worked accurately?

If your potential provider comes back and tells you that there is no migration process, then you may need to reconsider, especially if you have a lot of data that needs to be available for users.

How do you provide user & application security?

There’s a lot to cover in security alone, and you also need to discuss with your SaaS provider the systems they have in place to avoid unauthorised access.

During the meetings, make sure to ask what protocols are implemented to guarantee that regular users cannot modify parts of the system designated solely for administrators or if it’s possible to integrate your current Single Sign-On (SSO) solution to manage access permissions.

Rydoo’s software features mandatory multi-factor authentication for all its employees and contractors. Access is granted based on the “least privilege” and “need-to-know” principles. The team also conducts yearly penetration testing and vulnerability assessments to identify and address security weaknesses.

What happens when we move away?

When forging relationships with SaaS providers, you always hope they’ll be ever-lasting. Regardless, there might come a time when you realise that the system is just not working for you or your team. But what happens in this case?

It’s important to discuss this option with the team and understand how you can extract the information from their system in a format that will make it easy to migrate to a new solution.

What implementation and post-implementation support is available?

One of the main benefits of working with well-designed and user-friendly SaaS solutions is that the systems work with minimal setup and implementation.

The smaller and simpler the system, the less effort you and your team will have to put in to get it up and running. Rydoo’s system, for instance, is user-friendly and easy to set up, and our dedicated onboarding team will guide you through all the steps you need to take to get the system ready for all your employees to use.

You should also make sure you ask your SaaS provider to share manuals, datasheets, templates or videos that will help you better understand how the system operates. You can also request training and other support materials to help guide your team through the implementation process so they can start using the tool.

It’s also important to ask what kind of support will be in place after the implementation. Will you have a point of contact you can reach out to in case there’s an issue? How long will they take to answer?

What other systems does it integrate with?

Integrations is a huge topic for organisations, as many of them are often using multiple systems for their processes, and they often need them to integrate with each other to ensure data is shared seamlessly.

Most SaaS providers will have a list of systems their software can integrate with. Rydoo’s expense management software currently integrates with over 35 Travel, HR, Finance and ERP tools to enable full system synchronisation.

However, if none of your tools feature the list, the system can connect with API and SFPT. This way, virtually any tool can be integrated within the platform, giving you full access to all of the information you need.

It’s also important to understand how this information is transmitted between the different systems, as it might not always be possible to fully link all the data from one software to the other.

What’s on the product roadmap?

The needs of businesses shift, so it’s important for SaaS providers to stay ahead of the curve and continue upgrading and improving their products for it to match competitors. As for the potential customers, they should understand if everything the company is planning for the upcoming months or years matches what they’re looking for in a solution.

During the initial conversations, ask your provider for a detailed outline of their product development plans for the next 1-2 years. This roadmap should highlight upcoming features and all major updates or changes. You could also determine if there’s a possibility to provide feedback and be involved in future product developments, participate in beta programs or even join customer advisory boards.

Is the product complaint across multiple locations?

Compliance is one of the major topics for finance teams. So, when choosing a SaaS system, especially an expense management solution, it’s crucial to ensure it follows all local laws and regulations for the countries your organisation operates in.

You should also enquire about the procedures for handling legal requests for data access. Understanding how the team manages them will help you assess their commitment to protecting your sensitive information and maintaining legal compliance.

Using SaaS providers can transform your business and start your digital transformation journey. By transitioning from the old, manual processes and embracing efficient digital solutions, you’ll see a big boost in your team’s productivity. Plus, it makes operations smoother and keeps your data secure.

If you’re looking for an expense management software, Rydoo offers users an easy interface, strong security features, and seamless integrations. It also ensures compliance across locations, and the dedicated onboarding team will help guide you through the implementation process from start to finish.

So, if you’re planning on embracing the future, moving to a trusted SaaS partner is your first step in the journey.