Choose better SaaS with a software evaluation checklist
Use our software evaluation checklist as a template to make your SaaS buying process easier.
Whether you're a procurement professional or a department owner, each time buying a new SaaS product can feel like the first time. Tech specs, licensing agreements, contract terms: how do you know if you're getting the best deal?
Adding a software evaluation template to your purchasing toolbox can simplify the process.
This post will explain the software evaluation process to help you make the best SaaS purchase for your business and provide a software evaluation checklist for you to use for your next purchase.
What to include in your software assessment checklist
You've gone through all the initial software buying steps and are ready for product evaluation and selection.
Let's walk through a list you can customize and use as a software evaluation criteria template.
Here's what this software review template ensures:
- The proposed solution meets all required needs
- You have contacted all customer references
- The proposed SaaS is scalable
- The organization has adequate resources to implement the proposed solution
- There is a consensus among the critical stakeholder team
Free software evaluation template: Outline your company's software purchasing process and empower stakeholders to efficiently identify needs, evaluate options, and request SaaS solutions using this downloadable guide.
The proposed solution meets all required needs
Do research and collaborate with key stakeholders inside your company to ensure the SaaS solution meets your business needs.
In your software vendor evaluation template, you should start with:
- Competitive market research
- Align business needs with internal stakeholders
Next, your software selection template should include a detailed list of all required and desired usability specifications.
Those specifications range from superior functionality needs to implementation and data security to ongoing customer support.
Develop a list of required and desired specifications
Functionality specifications, like
- User-friendly and intuitive
- Custom data collection forms
- Automated workflows
- Technical specifications, like
- Must work with other existing solutions (CRM, ERP, online forms, etc.)
- Single sign-on
Security and privacy specifications, like
- Supplier must complete a company security questionnaire and demonstrate best security practices
- Supplier must maintain SOC 2 certification, and GDPR compliance
- Supplier must participate in regular security audits
- Must specify guaranteed uptime with a two-year history of uptime metrics
Cost specifications like
- Pricing is itemized and inclusive unless otherwise specified as add-ons
- Supplier must provide all pricing model options
- Implementation specifications, like
- The proposal must include all required implementation needs from the supplier and company in the proposal
- Supplier must provide a detailed implementation timeline
Customer support specifications, like
- Supplier must demonstrate excellence in customer satisfaction
- Supplier must provide details of the support team dedicated to the company account
- Supplier must have mechanisms to accept and resolve customer feedback quickly
You have contacted customer references for the potential supplier and their proposed solution
For this section, you must:
- Request references comparable to your organization
- Contact the reference via email
Let them know who you are, why you're reaching out, and what you'd like to discuss with them. If the supplier listed is not the correct person to speak to, they can involve the appropriate people.
- Set up a call to ask questions and learn more about your proposed solution's successes, ease of use, and other concerns.
When designing your software tool evaluation template, you can include specific questions for your customers to receive standardized feedback.
The proposed SaaS is scalable enough to meet your firm’s needs
It is important to define goals for the software in the future, both short and long-term. These goals should be part of your evaluation checklist.
Perhaps your intentions are for this solution to expand from one department's use to enterprise use. Or, maybe you'll need to expand this solution from internal to external customer use, too.
If your plans include growth, include scaled needs in your software evaluation report.
Outline the following future-proof tasks in your software product evaluation template:
- Anticipate your software needs 3, 6, 12, and 24 months from now
- Propose various use cases to your software salesperson
- Assess the opportunities to scale up or scale down your use of the product
The organization has adequate resources to implement the proposed solution
It isn't uncommon for a SaaS implementation to require dedicated implementation resources within the company, especially if it's an enterprise solution. At least one, if not multiple, IT representatives may be needed for any software system.
Include the following in your technical software evaluation template:
- IT has the team members available to dedicate to your project
- You have hired project managers or third-party consultants for implementation
Establish a consensus among the critical stakeholder team
Next, ensure that all stakeholders agree on the best solution and supplier for the business.
Your software selection criteria template should include consensus drivers like
- Established evaluation criteria scoring, ‘brass tacks’ requirements
- A process for stakeholders to share this information
- Agreed-upon product evaluation forms that are clear and easy to complete
- A straightforward process for assessing the winning criteria
- A process to share the evaluation report with the team
- The next steps to move the deal into procurement and implementation
Vendr is the buy button for SaaS
Choosing the software you need is the vital part. Purchasing it isn’t the best use of your time. Vendr buys software for you and gets the best price, keeping you in the loop the entire time.
As SaaS needs continue to grow and change, the art of SaaS buying must become even more versatile, dynamic, and flexible. SaaS buyers should simplify processes to free up time to focus on things that will benefit their business.