As you are evaluating new SaaS products from smaller vendors, you want to make sure you do good due diligence. You may already have a good process in place. Below are some additional questions you may want to consider adding to your list.
– Where does your infrastructure reside? ( dig into this, it may be in their mom’s basement too 🙂 ).
– Is your infrastructure ready for High Availability? Is it geographically distributed?
– Do you build your own infrastructure or do you leverage an IAAS solution?
– How does your infra costs compare to AWS/GCE costs?
– Do you expect to pass on your infra cost savings to customers?
– How many dedicated infrastructure staff do you currently employ?
– Which standards do you comply with? See list here: http://aws.amazon.com/compliance/
Why are these questions important?
If the vendor you choose is building their own infrastructure and they are small, they are not getting full leverage that can come from scale that leading IAAS products offer. Secondly, they are at risk of getting out-competed by other startups that leverage IAAS and invest all their resources into their core product vs. investing on the infrastructure.
While these questions are not the sole factors for making a selection, asking these questions would help you uncover if the SaaS vendor is using Cloud as a term in sales or if they are indeed truly believes cloud can offer real cost savings and leverage from numbers. For ex: if one of the large customer requires them to be compliant with a standard, they may re-focus product resources from innovation to meeting infrastructure audit. Compare this to a vendor that uses public IAAS and compliance request is a smaller effort for them than someone building their own infrastructure.