SaaS Based Supplier Portal Software Requirements – The Bakers Dozen
Almost all the modern businesses around the world pay significant attention to SaaS based supplier portal software solutions. In fact, when used correctly, supplier portal software is capable of delivering enormous productivity. However, if a particular business or an organization intends to utilize such a system, it is compulsory for them to have a good awareness of IT. With such awareness, companies can have a proper evaluation of the impact of the entire system.
An appropriate assessment of a SaaS based supplier portal should naturally go beyond observing the functionality of the application. For such evaluation to be considered comprehensive, areas like security, integration, compatibility, data manipulation, identity management, as well as the hosting facility should be thoroughly monitored.
Here are the main 12 areas you need to consider to make sure if you are on the right path in selecting the perfect SaaS based supplier portal software.
12 Areas to Consider
Hosting Provider & Data Location
- Who is the hosting provider?
- Where is the hosting located?
- For the sake of privacy and information security, be sure of the location where the primary data is stored.
- SaaS Based Supplier Portal Software Requirements
- What are the configurations of the infrastructure utilized (you need to evaluate the type of software, hardware, and platform)?
- Verify the virtualization software type used
- Validate if there are proper bandwidth limits.
- Make sure to understand the process to expand your resources. Look for the details of configurations and time needed to implement.
Hosting Facility Security & Compliance
- Any hosting provider of SaaS Based supplier portal software should have a detailed security process breakdown for you to review.
- It would be best to consider the SSAE standards reports.
- Validate that the hosting provider regularly conducts compliance audits.
Data Access, Security, Segregation & Encryption
- Check if the supplier portal is offered in a dedicated tenant.
- If not, (if it is a shared one) verify the method used to segregate data.
- Understand who has access to your vital infrastructure. Make sure to insist that the SaaS provider conducts background checks on everyone that has access.
- Make sure that you get regular access to the data access and audit logs. This will help you understand their processes.
- Ensure that your data is stored and encrypted securely. Be 100% of the primary data encryptions process.
- See if your SaaS based supplier portal software provider has proper investigative support in the event of a breach.
- In the case of a change in the organizational structure, be sure you know what happens with your data.
Process Standards Compliance
In the SaaS based supplier portal software world, you are forced to rely on your provider for security. This does not mean that you are helpless when it comes to ensuring the safety of your data. Here are a couple of simple things you should insist on.
- Verify the regulations of the compliance process
- Does the supplier portal software provider regulate their process audits to standards like PCI & HIPPA?
- Make sure they conduct regular process reviews. SSAE SOC1 – SSAE Type 2
- Make sure that they provide you the audit reports regularly on the compliance process
Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery
- A mature supplier portal software provider will have a documented business continuity & disaster recovery plan. If they not in their standard disclosure package, you should ask for it.
- Be knowledgeable about the locations of disaster recovery data centers
- Be satisfied with the infrastructure system that helps to synchronize with DR data center(s). It should sync daily at a minimum.
- Do not forget to verify the estimated recovery time
Identity Management, Security & Single Sign-On
- Refer to the identity management solution they offer
- Ask if your SaaS based supplier portal software provider has experience with Single Sign-On. If not then you need to, check all their available security option.
- Ask the portal provider to document how their current SSO infrastructure integrates with your present IMS (Identity Management System).
- Check for the possibility of integration with your Active Directory. Your supplier portal software provider should be able to accommodate this.
- Remember that your SaaS based supplier portal software provider should possess excellent user security, authentication, and authorization process.
Standards, Policies, Procedures & Frameworks
- Collect and store the technology standards, policies, and procedures documents.
- Verify the architecture framework.
- See the internal project management process they use
- See for the type of the professional assistance provided. Check for their skills, experience, track records, and certifications.
Integration, APIs & Reports
- See if the push and pull data process are adequately supported by a fully supported Application Program Interface (API)
- Make sure if these APIs are properly secured
- Determine whether they facilitate you to access data directly from the database
- Check for the possibilities of generating useful reports.
Support & Maintenance
- What are the stated support levels? Support for your internal users as well as support for your suppliers?
- What are the support hours? Languages?
- See if they have categorized response times (Critical, Urgent, High & Low priorities)
- Check for the efficiency of the support desk, their location, the size of the staff, etc.
- Do they offer a premium support model?
- Does your SaaS based supplier portal software provider have a strict monitoring and alerting process?
- Does your supplier portal software provider have a dedicated support manager and account representative for your account?
- It is way better if you can have a dedicated support manager and account representative to attend to your issues.
- What are the provider’s controls for applying patches, necessary upgrades and required changes to the supplier portal software?
Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
- Carefully review the SLAs. See if they cover all the critical areas of usage and performance of the supplier portal software.
- See if they conduct regular meetings to review SLA issues.
Evaluate the Product Roadmap
- Get an idea about the strength of the product development and support teams.
- Closely observe the product roadmap as it helps for your future steps.
- Get an accurate idea of the product strategy, positioning, etc.
- See if you Supplier portal software provider has a customer advisory council, if so, can you participate?
- Do not be afraid to make product suggestions.
- Check for the financial sources of the vendor.
- Get an awareness of their existing client base (in numbers)
- Refer to the organizational structure as it gives you a clear idea about the stability
Pricing & Contract
After having an excellent understanding of the previously mentioned facts, you need to consider the price of the SaaS vendor portal software you intend to subscribe. You have all the rights to know what you get for the price you spend.
- Does your supplier portal provider charge you for new product features?
- Do they offer customized packages and open for negotiations?
- Sometimes, you will get discounts on long terms contracts, so be aware of such offers.
All these steps together will help you to obtain the perfect supplier portal provider with minimal issues.