Software-as-a-service (SaaS) offers many advantages over the old on-premise software deployments such as automatic feature updates and not having to worry about uptime. When negotiating the purchase of cloud-based software, it’s important to consider the unfortunate possibility that you’ll need to migrate to another solution in the future.
While both parties have best intentions at the outset, you might find yourself outgrowing the solution or finding yourself dissatisfied with your vendor’s performance.
Software-as-a-service is supposed to make buying and deploying software easier - you buy as much as you need for as long as you need. To keep you happy, software vendors have to keep the product up to date and provide good service. Since this is hard, they often resort to all kinds of tricks to try and lock you in for as long as possible.
One of the things they do is make data export difficult or impossible. Vendors will give all kinds of excuses when you ask for a complete data dump:
“We don’t yet have a feature that lets you export data.”
“Here’s our API documentation, you can write a script to get the data.”
“For security reasons, we can’t give you encrypted passwords.”
“Our terms of service says we own your data, sorry.”
Building a community takes a lot of effort and is a big accomplishment. The member information and the content that your members have created is your property and you should be able to get a data dump, no questions asked.
Before walking down the aisle with a new community platform vendor, make sure that you can get a complete export of your data in a timely manner if things should ever go wrong.
Vanilla Forums is a strong believer in SaaS customer rights, including full data ownership for their customers. Try Vanilla Forums Cloud Solution free for 30-days