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SOA - Integration Industry Pulse

Beth Gold-Bernstein

The Second S in SaaS

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I recently had an experience that made me acutely aware of the importance of the second "S" in Software as a Service (SaaS). When you do not own or control the software used for business operations, it is critically important to evaluate the service levels that are provided.

This was my experience. We use a service called Free Online Surveys for our surveys. We had a user induced error and required a restoration of the backup of the data. I sent an email immediately. There was NO TELEPHONE number on the Free Online Survey site. However, there was a link to the parent company Problem Free. This site had both a UK telephone number and a toll free US number. No one answered either number. It was past 6:00 pm in the UK, so I waited until morning.

The next morning I checked my email and voice mail very early to see if they responded. They had not. I started searching for alternative telephone numbers but my searches kept coming up with either "no business found" or the Problem Free website. This did not not engender much confidence, but I didn't give up. I was, afterall, desperate. After over an hour I finally found a name match with a different telephone number. I was lucky - some one answered the phone. But get this one - it was the owner's MOTHER! My guess is that he started the business while still living at home and somehow this number still existed on a site. His mother was kind enough to give me the owner's home telephone number. Luckily he was home when I called, and I was successful in getting the problem resolved - FOR AN EXORBITANT PRICE!!!

So this is a cautionary tale. You really don't want to depend on getting someone's home number from their mother to respond to technical issues of your SaaS application. I strongly recommend that before you decide on a service, check out the company's support services. Do they have a telephone number you can call? Do they answer the telephone? What do they charge for technical support?

Forewarned is forearmed. We are currently evaluating other services. And you can bet we will focus on support. I suggest you do the same. Ultimately, it is as important as the software itself.

Industry trends and vendor spotlights from Beth Gold-Bernstein.

Beth Gold-Bernstein

Beth Gold-Bernstein is a recognized expert in integration technologies and SOA with over 20 years experience View more

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