In today's digital age, businesses are constantly looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve and get an edge on their competition. One way to do this is using the business model Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS applications are becoming increasingly popular in recent years. They offer many benefits over traditional software, including —but not limited to — being easier to use because they may require less setup time and can provide greater customization options depending upon your needs. They also increase security when dealing directly with one system provider.
If you're thinking about building your own SaaS app but aren’t sure where to start, this article will explain what SaaS is and its benefits for companies and clients. Using the latest trends, we’ll define the five steps to take your business to the next level in 2022.
Are you ready? Then let’s do this!
Table of Contents
What is SaaS
How to build a SaaS product in 5 steps
➤ SaaS model design
➤ Architecture design and cloud computing
➤ Development and testing
8 SaaS advantages
What is SaaS
SaaS is a cloud computing service that lets users access cloud-based software from a vendor. It is an exciting alternative to the traditional way of installing software in a business environment. There's no need to build the server, install the application, and set it up. Instead, the apps live on a remote cloud network that can be accessed via web or an API. The company provides software that typically sells on a subscription basis, with the customer having access to the software for a certain amount of time and paying for it.
SaaS companies host the software and help users with it. This way, they have more control over their SaaS products than traditional companies.
Each customer's account is protected, and they know that no one will access their personal information, even though they are all part of the same platform.
Some of the Top SaaS Companies of 2022, accordingly to the data provided by Datamation in March 2022, are Salesforce, Microsoft, Google Workspace, Github, Adobe Creative Cloud, and HubSpot.
How to build a SaaS product in 5 steps
Due to the cloud nature of SaaS service, it's essential to follow these steps to build a successful product:
Building a successful application starts with careful planning. SaaS applications' success depends on using the right technologies, researching the market, studying the target audience, defining the app's aim, and considering the main features.
Planning is usually a stakeholder's job, but your development partner can help. An experienced software development company will provide business analysis (BA) services to research your case and provide the best solutions to enter and grow in the desired market.
It’s also a way of having good management of technical debt. Tech debt can lead to increased development costs and lower financial returns. Given the stakes, software developers and high-level decision-makers should comprehend and manage technical debt.
A discovery phase involves structuring your app development plans and preparing documents to help your team build the app. During a project's discovery phase, a BA sets up meetings to learn project details and take care of:
- Software requirements specification (SRS) — outlines a cloud application's features, technical specifications (app structure and dependencies), project objectives, user groups, the scope of work, etc.
- Risk assessment and mitigation plan — it's an assessment of the risks you may encounter when creating your app and a strategy for reducing those risks.
- Feature breakdown list — all the features you want to implement in your SaaS platform and time estimates.
- Cost estimate — a projected budget you might spend on SaaS service development.
A BA also helps you to define the optimal development team structure to build your Software as a Service platform within budget and timeline.
SaaS model design
Web app design involves the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Before building a SaaS application, choose an interface that meets your audience's needs.
Take into consideration that SaaS works on computers and phones. A UI/UX specialist will design for different device resolutions so your users can work conveniently everywhere.
Architecture design and cloud computing
SaaS databases, storage, and services are cloud-based. The SaaS model manages the cloud environment on which the SaaS service is employed, using AWS, Snowflake, Azure, or IBM Cloud.
A software architect should work on creating a high-level architecture design that describes your app's components and connections and guides future development. It also must ensure SaaS applications' fast performance, high security, and easy scalability, using the right tech stack.
Development and testing
1. Build a SaaS application tech specs
You should acquire as much information as possible about future customers, competition, trends, and emerging technology. You may create a unique solution with user data and knowledge about competitors' apps.
At the end of the first phase of app development, you'll write a detailed document with your app's functional and non-functional needs and development guidelines. It might be the start of your MVP.
2. Define revenue channels
How will your app make money? This is an important question and a crucial step for designing SaaS platforms because it will decide your software's structure.
Advertising, subscriptions, and freemium models are popular money sources. Consider adding transaction or selling fees to your marketplace.
3. Choose a cloud infrastructure provider
Select a good cloud infrastructure business to support multiple users and secure their data. Choose a cloud service provider with great scalability, stability, and performance who can enable third-party integrations for your SaaS platform.
4. Create an MVP
MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is a trial application with basic features. Planning your MVP's features takes time, so implement high-impact, low-cost components.
5. Test and implement changes
Collect feedback on an MVP. Ask users directly about your product's pros and cons. At this point, changing an app's features or architecture will be easier. Your proof-of-concept testers may become early app adopters.
6. Start the End Product Development
Your app development team begins coding using the specified language, toolsets, and frameworks. Agile methods will speed up the development while adhering to specifications and ensuring quality.
Best practices advocate QA testing at every step of the development. Keep in touch with your development team during SaaS implementation. Your goal is to stay on track and follow product requirements.
Do you want to know the best Agile practices to use in your Software Development Cycle? Download our e-book!
7. Release and maintenance
After QA testing, you can release your SaaS platform web based. After publishing your business application, user acceptance testing will be the final stage of QA.
Promotion should occur concurrently with establishing your SaaS software. When your initial product hits web stores, you should already have customers.
After the final release, your SaaS developers must deliver continuing maintenance and application updates. Your users should readily get tech help.
Developing a SaaS solution demands high-tech knowledge. You need a web-savvy and cloud-savvy app development team to construct cloud services and platforms. You may consider working with an external software development company that gives you access to talent pools. You can outsource the complete project or add skilled SaaS developers to your team to compensate for skills gaps. This way, a SaaS development company helps you create a solution that meets your business goals.
8 SaaS advantages
SaaS provides several benefits to any business because it can be used by both the company and the client.
Check out the most important ones:
1. Easy-to-use interface
Various devices, such as desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, can access SaaS applications online. The interface is easy to use, so there is no steep learning curve.
SaaS applications also allow customization. This way, businesses can customize their apps slightly to fit their specific industry's requirements.
Since SaaS is usually shared or multi-tenant, its hardware and software license costs are lower than traditional models, resulting in cost savings.
The SaaS model also allows you to rapidly scale your customer base since small and medium businesses can access the software they wouldn't otherwise be able to access.
SaaS providers own the environment and split it among all customers that use that system, so maintenance costs are also reduced.
3. Scalability and integration
SaaS solutions typically reside in scalable cloud environments and integrate with other SaaS solutions. With this model, you don't need to purchase another server or software. Your only role is to enable a new SaaS offering, and the SaaS provider will plan for server capacity. Additionally, you can scale your SaaS usage up and down as needed.
4. Painless upgrades
Businesses save time and money by using Software as a Service, which is hosted in the cloud. As a result, customer software versions will constantly update periodically. Customers can enjoy these perks as part of their subscription price or package.
If you compare this to traditional software solutions, you'll find that it requires fewer updates, a higher maintenance cost, and the assistance of SaaS developers.
5. Remote access to applications
Nowadays, businesses want to be able to work from anywhere and on any device. As a result of the pandemic, many companies now can work from home.
Using a SaaS model, employees can work remotely, accessing software data and essential tools from any device with an internet connection. There is no need to install software or access a VPN. Even during business disruptions, SaaS providers keep efficiency.
6. Data security
Data security depends on software vendor programs developed by experts. Customers can back up and store data on internet servers using SaaS models. In the cloud, multi-factor authentication and anti-phishing programs provide clients with high-quality data security solutions and make switching between devices effortless.
Cloud computing offers consistent high-performance storage that can grow with your business. Customers can choose different storage volumes depending on the business data they store. A service-level agreement (SLA) ensures reliable storage of sensitive business data.
7. Cloud-Based Deployment
With the cloud, businesses can perform daily operations without heavy hardware. With a SaaS business model, the customer buys a membership and receives access to software online through a platform.
8. Easy compatibility
To ensure team collaboration, software and business systems must be compatible. By using SaaS, businesses avoid compatibility issues caused by version discrepancies.
The SaaS business model allows subscribers to log into an upgraded and configured service and begin working immediately. In addition to minimizing downtime, this smooth compatibility reduces employee stress. By using SaaS, software mismanagement becomes less of a problem.
So, what is SaaS? It's software that allows users to access and use it from everywhere. Your company's specific needs can tailor this type of software, and since it's cloud-based, you don't have to worry about installing updates or making room on your computer for new software. Building a SaaS product doesn’t have to be complicated. We've laid out five steps to get you from concept to execution in no time. Once your product is ready for market, there are eight benefits you can provide to customers to help you close more sales, like easy to use, more affordable, and secure.
As more and more businesses move away from traditional software models, the importance of cloud services will continue to grow. So what does this mean for you? If your company wants to stay ahead of the curve, you need to use SaaS. And we're here to make sure that happens.