10 Key questions to ask before you commit to a SaaS POS system?

1. What is the total cost of ownership (TCO) over a five year period?
2. Does the monthly fee include upgrades and support?
3. How does the five year TCO compare to a five year lease/purchase option?
4. How many years is the term of the Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
5. Is the vendor you willing to commit to renewal price under the original SLA
6. When is the penalty for early cancellation of the SLA?
7. If you cancel your contract of don’t renew it will you have immediate access to your data?
8. Where is the hosting facility?
9. Are there redundant hosting facilities they are updated and roll over automatically if the primary facility goes down?
10. What is the uptime of the hosting facility

Since SaaS is just emerging in the SBM retail space it’s bit of the wild west from a consistency of terms for one company to the next so a certain amount of due diligence is required. From my perspective all the points listed above are important but the two that must be addressed are:

• If I terminate or don’t renew my SLA will I have immediate to my data?
• What is the total cost of ownership over the initial five year period?

I am slowly becoming an advocate of the SaaS model for retail. It makes sense for certain verticals and retailers who want a cost certain system that can be deployed quickly. I would recommend to any retailer evaluating a SaaS solution to also evaluate an on premise solution and do a side by side comparison of features. In the final analysis the solution you deploy should have the features to effect positive change to your business.