How Do You Know You’re Getting True SaaS?

by Kenton Gray on April 11, 2019

Software as a service (SaaS) has become the preferred model for many enterprises in recent years, and its popularity continues to grow.

Market research shows the SaaS market is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 21 percent from 2018 to 2023. Yet many software companies that claim to have this model are not true SaaS.

They want the appearance of being agile and innovative without letting go of their legacy business models.

As a consumer investing in facility management software, your company’s future is on the line. You can’t afford to get locked into a model that is expensive to maintain and can’t keep up with your growth.

Here’s why you should be wary of software companies that are faking their SaaS…and how to know when you’re getting an actual SaaS solution.

What Is True SaaS?

The term “software-as-a-service” is used so frequently that you may not fully understand what it means. Software Advice defines true SaaS as a web-based model in which vendors host and maintain the servers, databases and code that constitute an application.

Rather than buying a one-time license as they would for on-premise software, buyers of SaaS typically pay an annual or monthly subscription fee to use it. This fee includes the software license, routine maintenance and ongoing support.

The SaaS model makes it easier to spread out the costs over time, reduces risks and often reduces the total cost of ownership.

Why True SaaS Matters

True SaaS is a business model, not a marketing tool. A company that is fully invested in software-as-a-service will not also support hosted or on-premise software solutions because those other models conflict with their business goals.

If they are still profiting from legacy solutions and the costly maintenance and upgrades that typically accompany them, they will be reluctant to abandon this model. They’ll invest less money, time and effort into improving their cloud-based software.

And ultimately, that will stifle innovation for you, the end user.

Even if you are using their SaaS option, you may experience a lack of customer support or a lack of urgency to make much-needed updates. If the company makes a larger share of its revenue updating and maintaining its legacy software model, that’s always going to be their priority. They know many of their customers are going to stick with the software they have, no matter how frustrating it is to use because they’ve invested so much into it already. It’s the classic sunk cost fallacy at work — the same one that keeps us from selling a home or a car we admit was a bad investment.

Unless a software company has fully embraced a true SaaS model, there’s little incentive for them to keep up with the changing needs of today’s customers and their workplaces.

How Do You Know You’re Getting True SaaS?

When you’re searching for cloud-based facility management software, it’s important to understand what you’re really getting.

Here are five questions you can ask to determine if the platform you’re evaluating is true SaaS.

1. Do you support hosted or on-premise software?

True SaaS should be fully committed to that business model, rather than trying to be all things to all customers.

2. How much can we customize your software?

In a true SaaS model, users can customize some aspects of the software, such as data fields and workflows. They can set up integrations and often upgrade their subscription to add functionality. However, in a true SaaS model, any significant updates are made by the software vendor, rather than the user. They are rolled out at regular intervals and made available to all users immediately.

3. What other fees are involved?

A true SaaS company should have a transparent pricing model free of hidden fees. The company shouldn’t charge you extra for maintenance, upgrades or extra users.

4. What’s the cancellation policy?

Many hosted or on-premise software solutions have a lengthy implementation process, so they make it difficult to cancel. They often have annual contracts that penalize you with early termination fees. A true SaaS company should allow you to cancel at any time by giving reasonable notice (such as 90 days).

5. How do you keep my data secure?

Many users have concerns about security when adopting a SaaS model. There is still a false perception that having data managed in a data center rather than hosted on your company’s own servers somehow makes it less secure, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. True SaaS vendors actually have a greater incentive to invest in security compared to in-house IT departments because their entire business model is subscription-based. Any security issues have a far-reaching impact and cause significant damage to their reputation. That’s why most SaaS vendors adhere to strict security procedures, including audits of the data centers they use. 

If your organization has decided to adopt a SaaS model, make sure you’re getting true SaaS. iOFFICE’s IWMS was built this way from its inception in 2002.

Our software is fully SaaS and fully secure. We follow best-in-class data security standards, including supporting encryption for data at rest. We’re constantly making updates based on feedback from our customers and the changing needs of the workplace.

At iOFFICE, we believe all customers deserve a full product with full functionality and full visibility into their workplace. We also believe you shouldn’t pay for features you don’t need. That’s why our pricing model allows you to add new modules like room reservation, service requests, wayfinding and more as you need them.

To learn more about what to look for when investing in workplace management software, check out our newest resource from Verdantix.


Kenton Gray

Kenton joined iOFFICE in 2002 as the company’s Chief Technology Officer and now manages a team of ten developers and programmers. When we develop a new module or do a major upgrade, Kenton is the one who envisions the project and designs it from scratch.

Capterra Ratings: ★★★★★ 4.5/5