Back in the desktop software era, magazines ran software reviews in which the side-by-side comparisons of features took up an entire page. Buyers used these reviews to shortlist vendors, trying to anticipate which features they’d need over the next five years. Typically, the software with the most features won. Feature-itis ruled.
No more. With software as a service, the focus has become whether the tool is good enough on day one and how well it will adapt over time. Take, for example, theFamily Service Agency of San Francisco, which replaced its ailing paper-based system with SaaSdonated by the Salesforce.com Foundation, improving productivity and accountability along the way. Speaking today at theSIIA’s eGov eventin Washington, D.C., Bob Bennett, the agency’s CEO, explained how the agency turned a salesforce automation tool into a social services management tool.
The point here is that theinitial feature set didn’t matter much. Indeed, in order to evaluate SaaS, those page-long feature comparisons can be whittled down to just seven critical questions: