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Is a SaaS Knowledge Strategy a Necessity or a Luxury?

SaaS

Kem Butler, Senior Principal Customer Success Manager for Oracle, wrote about whether having a SaaS knowledge strategy is a necessity or a luxury for organizations. Many customers aren’t aware of the many capabilities available with Software as a Service (SaaS) that could benefit their business. This can lead to the wasting of time, money, and resources to try to address business needs that aren’t being met by current enterprise applications. When a software solution is assumed to not meet a specific need, organizations can respond in several ways with varying implications.

Methods for Addressing Pain Points

There are several methods that companies can take to address pain points in their software solution. These methods include:

  • Manual workarounds
  • Ad hoc bolt-on software
  • Customizations
  • Too many gaps and workarounds

However, there are potential impacts and risks that come with all of these methods.

Manual Workarounds

Some of the potential impacts and risks that come with the manual workarounds method include:

  • User frustration and employee turnover related to job dissatisfaction
  • Higher error rates
  • Lower productivity
  • Loss of confidence in a solution

Ad Hoc Bolt-On Software

Some of the potential impacts and risks that come with the ad hoc bolt-on software method include:

  • Additional license/subscription cost
  • Security risk of non-IT-vetted solutions
  • Time/cost to integrate or to maintain data manually in add-on solutions
  • Potential reporting/analytics issues when all data is not in one repository

Customizations

Some of the potential impacts and risks that come with the customizations method include:

  • Cost to develop, test, implement and maintain
  • Potential block to future updates/upgrades

Too Many Gaps and Workarounds

Some of the potential impacts and risks that come with the too many gaps and workarounds method include:

  • Replace the current system with a competitive solution

Reasons Behind Lack of System Knowledge

It’s inevitable that there will always be something that your current solution doesn’t do or doesn’t do well. However, there’s a great chance that the system offers a solution, and your organization is just simply not aware of the feature or configuration option. This might occur due to a number of reasons:

  • Business requirements have evolved over time and initial configuration(s) no longer fit
  • Users that were leveraging a feature have moved on and new users didn’t get the necessary training
  • Most notable for SaaS applications is that most SaaS vendors introduce new features on a frequent cycle and customers lack a SaaS knowledge strategy to stay abreast of new features—missing the opportunity to improve the value that they realize from the application(s)

Developing a SaaS Knowledge Strategy: A Necessity

The gap between business need and feature awareness can easily be remedied. To do so, you don’t need an army of consultants, a large technology investment, or a huge organization-wide culture shift. It could be as straightforward as defining and executing a simple SaaS knowledge strategy, which should include the following four best practices:

  1. Designate individuals to be responsible for staying abreast of solution updates and advances
  2. Officially allocate a few hours per quarter to assigned individuals for the task of staying informed
  3. Train these folks on vendor’s resources designed to help customers stay up to date
  4. Hold your knowledge team accountable for reviewing quarterly new change guides—vetting features with the business users and defining the go-forward plan for adoption

The number of people involved in your SaaS knowledge management strategy will depend on the breadth of your software footprint. A small SaaS footprint in one functional area could be managed by one person. However, in a larger footprint, you might assign someone for each functional pillar (HCM, ERP, CX, SCM, etc.). Incorporating these responsibilities into an individual’s annual performance plan will help ensure that your strategy will succeed.

At the end of the day, knowledge is power. Even if there are new features that you decide not to adopt for one reason or another, at least you know what the application can and cannot do. The knowledge and the development of a strong SaaS knowledge strategy will help you avoid wasting time, money, and resources while trying to aimlessly solve your problems.

Butler explained that the bottom line is that a SaaS knowledge strategy is a necessity, not a luxury.

The best way to develop a strong SaaS knowledge strategy is to join a discussion with others in the community. Sharing your thoughts, experiences, best practices, lessons learned, etc. can help you and others manage change, maintain efficiency, and keep your business users satisfied.

To learn more about the necessity of a SaaS knowledge strategy, check out Kem Butler’s blog post attached below.