When evaluating a large software purchase, it is easy to get caught up in exciting features and functions. Understanding your requirements is a great place to start, but as you evaluate your many options, don’t forget to scrutinize the corporate structure of the vendors as much as you are their products. There are enormous benefits to working with SaaS companies who will partner with you long-term and be part of your growth strategy – not just get you live and send you on your way.  

Asking key questions about your vendor’s history, mission and organizational structure can help you make the best decision possible. Today, we’ll focus in on structure – and three questions to ask that will aid your decision-making process.  

 

1. Are they publicly traded or owned by a venture capital firm? 

A privately-owned vendor’s first line of accountability is to its customers. Decisions are more likely to be made based on customer needs, rather than an aggressive growth-by-acquisition mandate and quarter-end results. If the vendor you’re evaluating isn’t privately-owned, consider how their ownership structure may affect your long-term relationship. 

2. Is their product roadmap transparent?  

The best SaaS companies will have product roadmaps that they’re prepared to share with customers and allow customers to have input on their roadmap. Beware vendors that aren’t prepared to share what’s coming soon – this can signal that short-term growth is being prioritized over long-term product innovation and become a reliable partner for your business 

3. Are they focused on product development or product acquisition? 

Ask the companies you’re evaluating for a timeline of who they conducted growth over the past several years. Pay attention to what they’ve been focused on – have they acquired several smaller products or companiesRebranded?  Another great place to look is under their corporate “News” section (ours is here). Is their news mostly about new customers and innovations, or are they mostly sharing about acquisitions? 

Paying attention to features and functions is an important part of evaluating any new technology solution. But don’t forget to also evaluate the vendor that’s providing that solution.