With fledgling SaaS providers recently entering the performance marketing industry it’s important to look at a company’s stability from a holistic standpoint before selecting a technology partner. But what exactly does stability mean?
Here are the two sides of stability that you need to know – business and technology – along with steps you can take to ensure that you’re depending on the right cloud-based solution (and company!) to successfully grow your affiliate marketing and/or lead distribution programs.
Business stability: Make sure your technology partner will be around for the long run
The logical way to avert the crisis of handling the fallout of your SaaS provider going out of business is to make sure it never happens in the first place – partner with a stable technology provider from day one. But that is easier said, than done.
While 73 percent of companies will leverage cloud-based technologies by 2020, the fact is that many of these providers will go out of business within the first couple of years.
Here are three ways to check on a technology provider’s viability for the long-term.
- Investigate a company’s sustainability – Start with the basics and conduct research on the company’s history. Check for healthy financial statements, strong financial backing, and business growth. For example, CAKE is backed by Constellation Software Inc., a $20+ billion international provider of market-leading software and services.
- Research customer reviews – Day-to-day support is crucial and your provider should be available to assist with that. Make sure the provider has a strong track record of satisfied customers and partners. Resources to refer to can range from customer case studies to referrals and recommendations from industry peers. Other useful resources include review sites such as G2 Crowd, Capterra or other industry forums, or simply ask the provider for references.
- Review service-level agreements (SLAs) – SaaS providers offer SLAs, which guarantee specific uptime and other terms of access. This is a must-have and be sure to review the terms carefully to confirm you’re covered. Why is this important? Downtime averages thousands of dollars per minute in lost revenue, according to Gartner. But the downside reaches even further. Downtime triggers a chain reaction that can also lead to lost productivity, ruined partnerships, recovery expenses, and intangible costs like reputation and brand damage.
Technology stability: Know the importance of architectural and infrastructure reliability
It’s also critical to depend on stable technology platforms across your performance marketing technology stack. The consequences of unreliable technology and downtime are more preventable if you depend on platforms that prioritize two keys: architecture and infrastructure. Here are four things you need from the technology that you’re depending on for your affiliate marketing or lead distribution programs.
- Ensures code integrity – When evaluating the architectural stability of a technology provider, look for companies that have solid processes and procedures in place to ensure code integrity. For instance, they should have certifications such as Type 2 SOC 2 compliance. SOC 2 is an audit designed to verify that service providers are properly managing data, in the interest of both the organization and clients. The purpose of Type 2 SOC 2 is for auditors to take a snapshot of time and determine whether a service provider has enforced and properly monitored their controls.
- Guarantees 99.9 percent uptime – Your technology provider should protect you from downtime which typically results in data loss. While it’s nearly impossible to entirely mitigate the threat of downtime, there should be a hierarchy of protocols for efficiently and effectively handling these types of situations. For example, in the event of a server outage, your technology provider should be able to pivot in real-time to a new set of servers, globally if necessary, so that the level of downtime is virtually undetectable to its customers.
- Delivers accurate and real-time reporting – The accuracy of reporting is based on the ability to log every single event that enters your SaaS platform and to maintain the logs. To ensure optimum speed of reporting, you need an architecture that connects real-time streaming data to past data instantaneously. With reporting fueled by both speed and accuracy, you can easily customize reports based on cohorts and date ranges with up-to-the-second data. So, ask your SaaS provider specifically about what their “real-time” actually means in terms of reporting speed. Some SaaS providers claim real-time capabilities, yet are actually “near” real-time which can result in thousands of dollars in lost or missed revenue.
- Allows scalability – While growing your program, you need a flexible platform that handles ebbs and flows in traffic, with no impact on your performance. In other words, your infrastructure should be able to handle growing volumes of transactions without compromising downtime or data accuracy. Additionally, be sure your provider sets up thresholds that provisions additional hardware automatically to adjust the flows of traffic around to support the customer growth all in real-time.
The combined power of business and technology stability delivers the building blocks to drive company growth. Stability enables you to expand or quickly pivot into new verticals, establish credibility with partners, avoid wasting time and money, and more.
To learn additional insights and tips about growing your affiliate marketing and/or lead distribution programs with the right technology, check out our latest guide: Brand Integrity: 6 Pitfalls and How to Steer Clear of Them.
Or if you’re ready to jump in now and get started with an established technology provider, sign up for a free trial.