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What sets SaaS apart from on-prem and processing centre solutions in the payments space?

With SaaS you essentially outsource application management and (a part of) data center maintenance employees to external teams who have years of experience developing and hosting payment solutions.

Igors Iljaseko / November 11, 2021

In its most common form, SaaS consists of several key elements: • SaaS is a subscription-based service model, as opposed to an on-prem deployment licensing model, • SaaS solution is typically hosted outside customer premises, either in private data centre or in Public Cloud, • Infrastructure maintenance, software operations and technical support are outsourced to the SaaS provider

SaaS customer receives a turn-key solution with all the services and software components included in the delivery package. Scope varies depending on customer requirements and SaaS provider flexibility.

SaaS brings added control

Given sufficient resources and flexibility, a SaaS provider can create an offering that provides significant control over the following components:

  • Software deployment – SaaS provider must possess proficiency required to design and implement a high availability solution, but it is possible to adjust to accommodate customer IT policies. At minimum, customer must be able to validate and approve the deployment from both technical and compliancy perspective.
  • Custom functionality – this is the very reason a bank might not be able to accept a standardized processing centre proposal. It is possible to adjust SaaS solution functionality according to customer needs.
  • Development process – if SaaS delivery is served by the same company that develops the software, customer is in a better position compared to both on-prem and processing centre arrangements in terms of service flexibility. In a custom-tailored SaaS setup, the customer is assigned a designated technical team with direct access to the development division. This results in faster change request delivery time and organic solution changes without investing time in learning technical details of the software.
  • Maintenance and delivery process – every change in the SaaS solution is coordinated with customer. Every incident is reported to customer in detail alongside with a plan to improve the solution and to avoid any future service disruptions.

Such an approach is critical for larger banks that cannot accept a cost reduction focused, multitenant processing centre setup, but still want to outsource a part of its solution.

Custom tailored SaaS setup mimics own IT department from the business owner point of view.

Single tenant vs. multitenancy setup

Traditionally, processing centres run 3rd party software that creates significant cost base for the processor. Constant push for cost optimization forces the processor to use multitenancy setup as part of standardized product offering that often is not best suited for larger banks.

Up until now, there were limited options for financial institutions willing to outsource their solutions. This is where a SaaS model can provide a solution, if it is served by the same company that develops the software product. Such arrangement decreases SaaS provider costs, allowing it to serve single tenant setup, adjusted to customer needs.

Single tenancy is about control over the entire solution, data residency, dedicated teams, and processes. It guarantees zero impact from other customers that would be served by the same software solution in multi-tenant setup. Noisy neighbours can impact not only solution performance but also potential functional issues and limitations.

Key aspects to consider when choosing a SaaS provider:

1. Ensure the provider prioritizes their employees

Strong and cohesive teams with years of accumulated knowledge and experience are critical for high quality of service and business continuity. Therefore, SaaS provider must be acutely aware of their employees as TOP priority.

At TietoEVRY, our biggest strength and value are our employees. TietoEVRY puts in every effort to maintain a thriving work environment with emphasis on transparency, employee training, individual development plans, evaluation, feedback system, and clear career growth path. We have talented and skilled employees that are passionate about their job – and we strongly believe this is key to a long-term service quality.

2. Specialization in software development and hosting

Alongside a software development profile, seek for a partner that is highly experienced in hosting and maintaining complex multi-cloud IT solutions with long-term experience in payments and cards business. This does indeed set TietoEVRY apart from companies that primarily have a payments software development profile and who are trying to grow their hosting abilities as a side business.

3. Multi-discipline teams provide extensive expertise

A strong partner should have the capabilities to utilize large teams of competence outside of the stand-alone solution. For example, a breadth of business analysts, DevOps, Public Cloud and classic infrastructure technicians, compliancy specialists, maintenance and support employees, and dedicated SaaS teams should be able to provide a reliable, stable, and flexible SaaS service that is deployed in any cloud environment. Only a large company with long-term specialization both in software development and in service provision can provide such level of expertise.

Focus on system availability

Total system availability is a result of individual component combination. Every single component of Card Suite SaaS deployment is built with a high availability and redundancy incorporated. The SaaS solution can be deployed both within our Private Cloud or in Public Cloud for quick deployment time, automation, and global reach. Or both the Private and Public Cloud can be combined for improved flexibility.

Competitive and transparent pricing model

Combining many years of experience and economy of scale should enable your partner to be able to provide transparent pricing for its SaaS services. The pricing model should be adjusted to key card business metrics. Such an approach allows our customers to isolate themselves from the technology whilst keeping the focus on business and new revenue stream development. There is no need to spend time on investigating hardware and software license pricing. Our customers have a clear fee model based on card business metrics under strict SLA. Unless specifically required by customer, technical details are taken care of by TietoEVRY.

Having reviewed the key factors in choosing a SaaS over other business models and revising what are the key contributing factors to a strong SaaS partner, read the next blog that explores the flexibility SaaS solutions may offer, specifically in card issuing and e-commerce areas. Read more in blog: "Don’t rip and replace or how a SaaS solution allows flexibility when outsourcing"

Igors Iljaseko
SaaS service owner, Payments

Igors has spent the last 9 years in retail payments and card area. He has hands-on experience in a variety of scope managed implementation projects. Worked as team manager for different administrative and technical teams. Last 2 years his focus has been on leading technical and support teams working with implementation of card and payment SaaS solutions and establishing all necessary services, processes, and governance to provide best in-class service.

Author

Igors Iljaseko

SaaS service owner, Payments

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