Don't Take SaaS for Granted—Make Sure Your Deployments Go Smoothly
by Joe Michalowski on

 Cloud application adoption is a force that can’t be stopped. And honestly, do any IT leaders really want to stop it? There are a lot of benefits to using cloud and SaaS applications.

When you move your apps from on-premises to the cloud, life in IT is supposed to get a lot easier. You enjoy faster user adoption, minimize performance dips during new rollouts or upgrades, increase cost efficiency and gain the flexibility necessary to scale at will. That’s the dream, anyway.

In reality, deploying a new SaaS application doesn’t inherently provide all of these business benefits. The potential is there if you can avoid the potholes that can create a rocky rollout process.

You might be able to handle a few employees adding smaller web-based SaaS apps to your network. But the real problems occur when you’re talking about something like Microsoft Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce, and other mission-critical applications that are moving to a SaaS model.

Make sure you’re prepared to maintain the end-user experience during enterprise-wide SaaS implementation.

Enterprises Are Already Struggling to Deploy Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 is growing steadily as the world’s largest SaaS-based productivity suite, set to surpass 100 million active users this year. Because it has such a strong foothold in the enterprise productivity space, it’s not surprising that adopters expect a seamless transition to the SaaS applications.

However, research from Zscaler shows that seamless deployment is far from what enterprises are getting with Microsoft Office 365:

  • 70% report latency issues on a weekly basis
  • 33% see latency problems daily
  • 69% of adopters report bandwidth issues weekly (even after going through network upgrades)

If SaaS apps are supposed to make life so much easier for IT leaders, why are current deployments experiencing such difficulties? Here’s what the authors of the report had to say:

“A fast and reliable Office 365 experience is key to a successful deployment. However, most organizations backhaul Office 365 traffic over a traditional hub and spoke network architecture that was never designed to support a fast user experience for modern cloud applications.”

You can’t just throw a massive SaaS application on top of existing network infrastructure and expect a seamless transition. You have to be prepared for the challenges ahead of time.

3 Tips for a Smoother SaaS Implementation 

While the stats we mentioned above are about Office 365 deployments, Skype, Unified Communications as a Service, G Suite and other applications aren’t immune to the same situation.

The same precautions necessary to avoid Office 365 deployment issues should also help you roll out other big SaaS apps smoothly. Before you disrupt the work lives of all your employees, consider these 3 tips for smoother SaaS deployments:

  1. Give Users Direct Access: If you’ve monitored remote application performance issues in the past, you know part of the problem lies in relying on the central data center to push data to branch offices. If speed is key to maintaining end-user experience, build your network in a way that creates a direct line between users and SaaS servers.
  2. Plan QoS Ahead of Time: Quality of service enforcement shouldn’t be an afterthought when implementing such large SaaS apps. You know which apps are mission-critical and which can survive with basic prioritization. Make sure apps like Office 365 are top priority to ensure employees never experience productivity-killing latency.
  3. Maintain Visibility Over All Traffic: IT leaders may have gotten by without packet-level visibility into application performance in the past. But when mission-critical apps are going SaaS, it’s time to ensure the IT organization can accurately (and quickly) pinpoint any problems that may come up. Troubleshooting will never go away, but that doesn’t mean it has to disrupt employees.

In the end, smooth SaaS deployments require IT to stay in control from the start of rollout through experience maintenance. If you want to learn more about avoiding SaaS deployment pitfalls, check out our free guide, 5 Steps of Moving Apps to the Cloud. 

Filed Under: cloud computing, Performance Monitoring

Tags: end users , Office 365 , SaaS applications , SaaS issues