Sept 2020: There so many elements to a SaaS deal that over the last couple of years we have developed a set of category specific approaches to support our clients in the sourcing and contracting process. Here are some stand out considerations and questions to ask suppliers to succesfully procure SaaS.
Pricing mechanisms – Are the fees based on flat rate, usage, tiered pricing, per user, per active user, per feature, a freemium model, product bundle pricing, trial pricing or a minimum revenue commitment? Or a selection of the above? Do they offering commercial terms for payments in advance or arrears? If only in advance, by how far? When do payments start in relation to software go-live?
Implementation – The contract value and functionality satisfying the business case are crucial however perhaps more essential is the software being adopted by the business. How coherent is the supplier’s implementation approach?
Updates – Do they offer dedicated or shared services and optionality for version releases and updates? Do they offer customer forums?
DCs – Who are the third party hosting providers, what’s the location of the data centre and where is the back up?
GDPR – Do they have the processes and tech in place to cover key elements of the data subjects right to be forgotten, consent, right to a copy of personal data being held?
Contract Renewal – Avoiding customer churn is one of their key priorities so what is the supplier doing to ensure renewal?
Sept 2020: Early supplier involvement has been an approach for fostering closer links with suppliers for some time. It helps to leverage their market insight, breaks down communication barriers during supplier selection processes and encourages sharing of information. Turnstone take an agile approach to IT sourcing project where we can. Contact us to find out how we could assist with a market review.
Sept 2020: A client asked recently what the three highest priority areas are for any contract negotiation. The answer boiled down to these key areas:
- Term & Termination – how do you get into and out of the contract
- SLA – how the supplier will react and communicate when things go wrong (little secret – chances are they may at some point)
- Costs – how much does it ALL cost and how does that change over the term.
Aug 2020: While the fanfair and controversy around 5G continues why are we still having to consider offline capability for mobile applications? If these apps are being used by people in remote mountainous locations there may not be a business case for network coverage. But we’re talking Southern England not the Arctic. Is there a case for a minimum level of nationwide coverage?
Aug 2020: How constructive is a low-balling approach to pricing projects? We’ve recently found very different competing approaches by suppliers. Some using the transparency requested others looking to buy the business. Nothing new there but possibly a growing trend with increasing competition for fresh business during the pandemic.
Aug 2020: Remote working has only increased the demand for technology resilience and security. Turnstone is working with an AIM sector firm to transition to a new IT managed service provider.
July 2020: A recent post from Security Intelligence cited a 6,000% increase in COVID-19 related spam since March 2020, with scammers looking to benefit from employees lowered defences while in a crisis. The recommended approach from the Cybersecurity firms Turnstone have been working with includes providing refresher courses to remind employees of the dangers of clicking on links, visiting fraudulent websites and the importance of protecting endpoints with anti-malware.
June 2020: Turnstone run a cost saving webinar for Inflexion private equity, to the CTO’s of around 25 of their portfolio companies. Focused on the common exposures in IT contracts and how to methodically address cost reduction, Inflexion published a summary as here
May 2020: Scrutiny on spend and value and higher than ever. Turnstone is working with a retailer during lockdown to reduce overheads looking at efficiently re-scoping key contracts.
Apr 2020: Turnstone have been working with a manufacturing firm to put in place a global desktop support services contract. Over 40 points of negotiation resolved!
Feb 2020: We have been working with a Financial Services sector client to review how technology can further enable mobile working – four distinct elements – the right devices, data connection and tariff, infrastructure and policies.
Jan 2020: Turnstone complete a software selection for a training company, replacing their aged legacy systems with one central suite that manages their end to end process. Achieved a 24% cost reduction, plus 20 service and contractual terms improved with the winning supplier.
“Being the size we are, we do not employ IT SME’s or Procurement specialists, so having an IT Procurement consultant has been invaluable for TS4U to select a new Learning Management System that aligns with our vision, strategy and business needs. Turnstone guided us all the way through the process, their knowledge of negotiating technical T&C’s that support our business was critical to get a successful conclusion to this project” – Neil Johnson MD, Tradeskills 4U
Nov 2019: Turnstone engage with a private equity company to find a replacement IT outsource / Managed Service Provider (MSP), which meets their specific requirements for service and regulation.
July 2019: Turnstone completed a contract MOT that led to £17K saving p.a 25% actual saving for a software development company.
Apr 2019: Turnstone complete an RFP for Managed Detection & Response (MDR) / SIEM (Security information and Event Management) service. A burgeoning area of the market, for a client who wished to move the service out to a third party, for 24×7 operation.
Mar 2019: Turnstone assist Simmons&Simmons law firm in outsourcing a key IT service:-
“When we decided to buy a new managed service, it was important that we could run a thorough selection process. Turnstone made it easy and their consultant instilled confidence. They worked well with our team and took on the workload of creating a robust RFP and selection of the best bidders. I’m confident that we not only made the right choice of supplier, but also now have comprehensive SLAs and safer contract terms. We’d certainly consider using Turnstone again on key IT contracts.”
Rob Morgan, Head of IT Infrastructure
August 2018: Turnstone start work with a well known high street retailer, on an RFP process to select new CRM / Customer Experience technology, to rationalise and improve their current mix of point solutions.
July 2018: Turnstone move to the next phase with a major national rail organisation, to select the providers on a major technology refresh, covering website content, CRM, middleware and systems integration.
Our most recent pieces published in the IT press:-
IT Procurement: Still the Wild West – and it favours the vendors
Published in Computer Business Review 27/6/2018
‘The biggest ever shake-up of Cloud contracts?’
Published in Comparethecloud.net 13/2/2018
‘Review your IT supplier contracts to reflect changing technology & GDPR
Published in SCMagazine.com 30/5/2018