Reading around the web – one often mentioned virtue of SaaS is speed of implementation:
I work for a company that delivers on speed of implementation. RealLife HR is a point solution provider – technology platform and services for Benefits Administration, Onboarding, Manager Desktop and a few other things.
We do fast implementation. Our average implementation (kick-off to go-live) last year was just 78 calendar days. We implemented one large account (100k ees, 60 eligibility groups) in 73 days last year. We implemented another large one (55k ees, 273 eligibility groups) in just 90 days.
We don’t do this by stuffing 6 months of custom coding and testing into 2.5 months. We do this because our system is configurable by the subject matter experts (business analysts) and all clients run on a single code base. (SaaS) This eliminates custom coding – and all of the issues that go with it – from the implementation.
How do we implement large complex clients without custom coding? What about every client demanding that we comply with their particular business process? Anything we can’t do with the platform configuration tools is implemented globally, as a generic, configurable widget. It is then configured for that particular client – and available as a feature to all others.
This discipline is difficult to maintain under pressure – the temptation is to implement a bit of custom code – rather than go thru development and configuration of a new generic widget. But this discipline is what enables us to keep all clients on a single code base.
Application customization at the client level is an exponential multiplier time, cost, risk and errors. Custom coding is expensive, introduces error, reduces flexibility, takes longer, causes product and process divergence, introduces huge risk when changes are being made and increases dependence on individual team menbers.
Benefits of a single code base include:
- fast implementation
- very high quality/lower project risk
- much lower operating cost
- no upgrade issues
- speed & flexibility
- high client satisfaction AND high employee satisfaction
I have been in the HR Tech business for some time – and this is the first organization I have seen with this architecture and discipline. I don’t think there is anything magical about it, we just happened to have chosen this approach years ago and have developed expertise and discipline. Others will get here in our space, but it is quite hard to pick your head up and make such a change when it’s all you can do to keep your current clients running – each on their own custom application.
So, does speed matter? Well, it’s good in and of itself – but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.