73% of organizations believe that nearly all (if not all) of their apps will be SaaS-based by 2021. And there are over 6,000 companies actively vying for attention in the SaaS space. It makes sense.
A core component of the ever-coveted digital transformation is the transition to hyper-scale, cloud-based solutions that you can instantly deploy across your stack. In today's digital-first ecosystem, you don't have to spend billions of dollars on R&D to build out a fully-fleshed sales pipeline app; you can use Salesforce. They spent the billions for you.
That's the power of SaaS. Beyond breaking down silos, enabling data collection and attribution, and enabling teams with rapid deployment and instant scale, SaaS brings trillions of dollars of R&D to businesses for a low monthly payment.
But what happens when those apps don't perform as they should? After all, SaaS apps aren't your solutions. You don't control the backend. Someone else does. It's the biggest con of SaaS. You rely on a third party to keep your business-critical solutions running.
To compensate, you have to run monitoring solutions across your SaaS ecosystem. Your customer experience relies on SaaS performance, and any breaks in that performance can impact your backend, tank customer trust, and disrupt daily business workflows. So how do you monitor your SaaS solutions to ensure that they're meeting SLAs?
Let's talk about it!
Service-level Agreements & SaaS: Keeping Your Solutions in Check
Service level agreements (SLAs) are the bread-and-butter of the SaaS industry. Your business invests its hard-earned dollars on outside solutions. How do you justify the cost and ensure that you're getting consistent quality? You check your vendor's SLA. Service level agreements should consist of two main criteria:
- Details about the specific services provided
- The conditions of service availability
1. Details About the Specific Services Provided
What exactly are you getting out of your SaaS solution? It can be difficult to worm your way through the marketing fluff and get to the real nitty-gritty of the service. The SLA should spell out (hopefully not in legalese) the services that are being provided to your business. Read these carefully.
If your solution promises a service, you need to make sure that you're actually getting that service. It seems simple on the surface. But modern SaaS solutions come packed with features. Digging through your features and ensuring that you're getting what you paid for is massive.
2. The Conditions of Service Availability
According to Splunk, the average cost of IT downtime is over $8,000 per minute. If your SaaS solution experiences disruptions, that impacts your customers, your employees, your data, and your decisions. A reputable SaaS vendor will typically offer a 99.9% SLA.
This means that you can expect 99.9% uptime on your solution. Here's where things get tricky: how do you know if this guarantee is being met? Sure! You can rely on vendor transparency. But, remember, any outages (service-wide or impacting particular components) directly impact your customers. And that's a big deal!
Burn these statistics into your brain:
- 33% of American consumers will switch companies after a single poor experience.
- People tell 15 other people about a single poor experience.
- It's 25x more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an existing one.
- The ROI of the customer experience is 9,900%.
Obviously, outages impacting customers can be seriously damaging to your brand. But here's the thing: that's only the second-most expensive part of IT outages. Business disruption accounts for over 34% of the cost. It makes sense! Your tech stack is the gateway to your operations and liquidity. Any hiccups in the stack can have far-reaching consequences that stall productivity and completely disrupt workflows.
In modern tech stacks, businesses spend time, money, and plenty of headaches attempting to de-silo their ecosystem. So, if one app breaks, every app breaks, suddenly, your automated workflows are dead in the water, your employees are smashing their heads against the desk trying to figure out how to adjust their workflows, and your data lakes, cloud servers, and systems are all relying on partial data to make informed decisions. It's a nightmare!
You rely on your SaaS providers to meet their SLAs. But how do you know if they're actually meeting those goals? How can you be sure that your SaaS solution is functioning perfectly? For that, you need monitoring.
Understanding the Role of Monitoring and SaaS Vendor SLAs
As a business, it's up to you to monitor your SaaS solutions for SLA conduct. No one is going to do it for you. Again, you can rely on your SaaS providers to monitor their systems. And they almost certainly are. But can you really risk leaving your workflows, customers, and operations in someone else's hands? If not, you have two monitoring solutions to choose between:
- Synthetic (or agentless) monitoring
- Real user monitoring (RUM)
Agentless monitoring relies on synthetic "bots" that act like real users. They scour your solutions for UX errors, launch times, and scripting problems that would inevitably be encountered by the end-user. So, let's say you wanted to test how long it takes each of your services in a particular SaaS program to launch.
You could set up a script and run an agentless monitoring test every day before your employees sit down at their desks. Or, alternatively, you may want to run a continuous agentless monitoring solution to detect issues in real-time.
Real user monitoring relies on data from the end-user. This requires issues to already occur. So, instead of running a test before work to see if your SaaS solutions are functioning, you would rely on real-time data to attempt to catch issues as quickly as possible after they happen. Generally, agentless monitoring provides a few benefits over RUM for SaaS SLA monitoring:
- Agentless monitoring focuses on proactively catching issues before they stall operations.
- Agentless monitoring doesn't require a significant number of end-users to perform.
- Agentless monitoring is amazing at benchmarking issues and giving you data to present those issues to your SaaS providers. RUM is sporadic and requires either a) an enormous number of users or b) long-term testing to derive accurate benchmarks.
Point 3 is especially important. RUM can take months to accurately baseline and benchmark an issue. Remember, you're relying on data from real-users as they browse the environment. This data isn't filtered, and it's coming in hot.
You have to analyze it, discover trends, and use those trends to project benchmarking. With agentless monitoring, you run a bot. When the bot hits an issue, you know. You can orchestrate thousands of these bots to give you an accurate, clear-cut idea of what's happening before it impacts the end-user.
So, let's look at an example of this with SLAs:
"Bob sets up a real user monitoring solution for his company's sales SaaS app. As end users engage with the platform, data flows into his dashboard. Bob can't really benchmark effectively for at least a few weeks. He needs an influx of data to garner any real meaning. Over the next day, Bob notices that some users are having issues with a particular part of the application. Again, Bob only has some very basic data. Bob spends the next two days exploring this issue in an attempt to figure out what's causing the problem. Finally, after day 3, Bob discovers the problem and communicates it with his company's vendor. In the meantime, Bob's business loses out on thousands of dollars in revenue and lost productivity."
"Angela sets up 2 Steps' agentless monitoring solution on her companies new sales app. Before the company even launches the app, 2 Steps notices a downtime issue on one of the apps services. Angela calls her vendor and discusses the issue. No money is lost. No customers are impacted. And Angela has a play-by-play video of the entire issue."
That's a big difference!
How 2 Steps Can Help You Track Vendor SLAs
At 2 Steps, we built our agentless monitoring solution to help you tackle your most complex monitoring problems.
Here's the big secret: you have to proactively monitor your SaaS apps for SLA alignment. But it's more than that. You also need to be capable of finding any issues and presenting them to your SaaS vendor. This helps them improve their service, but, more importantly, it keeps them aligned to your service agreement.
2 Steps is the universal service provider of agentless SaaS monitoring. Seriously! You point to a solution; we'll help you monitor it. We aren't bound by the same frameworks as our competitors. Our solution works across virtually any environment. We're tech-agnostic. Want to see how your mobile SaaS solution is performing? No problem! Curious to see if your SaaS solution is impacting your Citrix environment? Let's get to work!
We're an agentless monitoring solution built for today's diverse tech stacks.
And, are you ready for it...? There's no coding required. You can run 2 Steps across 15 different SaaS solutions in a matter of minutes — not weeks. When you add a brand new shiny solution to your stack, you can deploy 2 Steps without any headaches or a painstaking setup. Our agentless bots will constantly monitor your solutions for hiccups and SLA issues. Then, we'll present our findings to you in video format.
That's right. Video. We also have dashboards, plenty of reporting features, and rich, juicy data for you to pour through. But we also show you a step-by-step video of the issue. This makes the issue easier to explain to stakeholders and vendor customer service reps. And that's just the beginning. 2 Steps allows you to:
- Push baseline performance metrics directly into your Splunk dashboard
- Create easy-to-use no-code scripts
- Monitor across the web, Citrix, Android, Windows, and terminal applications
- Push out scripts without Selenium nightmares
- and more!
At 2 Steps, we pride ourselves on the universal use-cases of our agentless monitoring solution. Due to our architecture, we're immediately useful as a monitoring tool against SaaS solutions.
Are You Ready to Monitor Your SLAs?
Keeping track of SaaS vendors is an increasingly important component of modern business. You rely on SaaS vendors to supply you with the technology you need to make smart, sophisticated, and competitive business moves. But, when those SaaS apps have hiccups, you don't have the ability to go into the backend and make changes yourself. You're at the will of the vendor.
2 Steps can help you track your SaaS solutions to ensure compliance with SLAs. We have a tech-agnostic solution that can be deployed across virtually any major environment. We offer play-by-play videos of errors, immediate integrations with Splunk dashboards, and a no-code way to deploy scripts across your stack. Sure! You may not be able to make changes yourself. But we give you the muscles to communicate needs and requirements with your SaaS vendors effectively. Are you ready to take control of your stack? Contact us to learn more.