SaaS Users Not Impressed, Survey Finds

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Gartner is calling on SaaS vendors to “reaffirm fundamentals,” after survey reveals finds their products don’t satisfy users

A recent survey of UK and US software-as-a-service (SaaS) users has found them underwhelmed by their current experience of it.

The research by Gartner found that the mainstream apparent acceptance of SaaS as a viable model had not entirely translated into satisfied users.

Measured on 16 aspects of user satisfaction, on a seven-point sliding scale the average rating given by 333 respondents was 4.7, or “somewhat satisfied”.

The aspects measured included (in order of popularity) functionality for business users, provider responsiveness, reliability of performance to technical specifications, service reliability and support compliance and risk management.

“Our research findings did not exactly provide a ringing endorsement of SaaS, in fact I would go as far as to say that satisfaction levels among SaaS users are little more than lukewarm,” said Ben Pring, research vice president at Gartner.

“Although macroeconomic factors would seem to favour SaaS providers, almost two thirds of respondents said that they planned only to maintain their current levels of SaaS in the next two years.”

The majority (58 percent) of organisations were planning to maintain current levels of SaaS in the next two years and 32 percent will expand, while 5 percent said they would discontinue its use and 5 per cent will decrease levels.

US respondents also seemed slightly more satisfied than their UK counterparts, with US organisations scoring slightly higher than the overall average at 4.94, compared to slightly lower in the UK at 4.34.

In terms of areas of the positives, US respondents were most satisfied with provider responsiveness, functionality for business users and reliability of performance to technical specifications and least satisfied with yearly cost of service, terms and conditions and predictability of costs.

UK respondents were most satisfied with support compliance and risk management, service reliability and terms and conditions, and least satisfied with speed to implementation, predictability of costs and post sale/user support.

And of the top factors considered when deploying SaaS, 46 percent cited meeting technical requirements, followed by security, privacy and/or confidentiality at 33 percent. Ease of integration and meeting business unit owner functionality requirements were both named by 29 per cent.

Those respondents who had considered, but not used, SaaS said the high cost of service was the biggest turn-off (42 percent), while 38 percent cited integration difficulties and 33 per cent said the solution didn’t meet technical requirements.

“At a time when SaaS is becoming more of a consideration for more enterprises, the results of this survey will be somewhat disquieting for SaaS vendors,” said Twiggy Lo, Gartner principal research analyst.

Lo added that vendors must “reaffirm the fundamentals of the SaaS model” – that SaaS systems are “lighter, simpler, more intuitive, more agile and more modest”.