- Define your needs. Make a list of the things you want the software to accomplish and rank them by importance. Getting caught up in all of the hype is easy, so knowing your priorities before you get started will help keep you on track.
- Take the program for a test drive. Sign up for a free trial so you can see the system for yourself. It is probably a bad sign if you can’t ‘try it before you buy it.’
- Contact the support team. Did a real person answer your call? How long did it take for them to respond to your email? Sometimes software companies forget about the Service part of SaaS. If you can’t get technical help or answers to your questions, it does not matter if the program has all the features you need and more. The quality of service is what is really going to matter to you at the end of the day.
- Find out what kind of training is available. Does the company provide training? If so, does it cost extra? Do you have access to training as well as support during the free trial?
- Talk to people already using the system. See if anyone you know is using the system and ask the company for customer references (If they refuse, it might be a red flag – maybe no one is using the software or maybe the people using the software are unhappy.)
- Analyze the security and compliance. Is the data secure and encrypted? Who has access to your data? How often are backups performed? Can you get a copy of the backup file?
- Ask if they have a Disaster Recovery Plan. How often do they test it? Does it work?
- Read the contract. Will the price increase every few months if you don’t sign a long contract? How often is your subscription cost adjusted (whether it’s up or down) based on your usage level? Do you own the data?
8 Things to Do When You Review Church Software in the Cloud