The SaaS business is a fast-growing industry that today attracts more and more private enterprises as well as big companies. More organizations tend to store apps in the cloud, which of course has both benefits and risks. SaaS business has got highly complex models. As an entrepreneur, you have to consider lots of things to succeed in the SaaS business. So if you are only making the first steps in SaaS business here is a guide on how to build a great SaaS product.
What is SaaS?
Software as a service (SaaS) is one of the forms of cloud computing which implies that software is centrally hosted and licensed on a subscription basis. SaaS applications are sometimes referred to as on-demand software or hosted software. SaaS apps run on a provider’s servers. Subscribers access the software via the Internet either through a mobile app or the web browser. The access to the application, its security, availability, and performance are managed entirely by the provider.
One of the essential advantages of the SaaS model for subscribers lies in the absence of expenses connected with installation, update, and maintenance of hardware and software.
How To Get Started
- Building software usually implies big finances, long development time, and complicated management. However, it’s all about the timing, and no one wants to get the service finished when the world is no longer in need of it. Both consumer and enterprise needs are changing too fast. Thus, if the development takes too much time, the consumer requirements can never be met, which would mean your effort and budget were wasted.
- Starting your SaaS development with Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can be a great solution if you plan to give your customers what they need on time. MVP is a minimum number of features required to satisfy customers and provide feedback for future development. Advantages of MVP:
- Comparatively quick start of a working version of the product
- Ability to a soon test of your business concept
- Fast feedback from first users
- Reduced number of engineers’ working hours and thus cost-efficiency
- Ability to demonstrate a working version of your business idea to potential investors
- Lower chance of project failure
Choosing The Development Team
A key to the successful development of any project and especially the SaaS project is finding the right development team. Choosing the most professional professionals still does not guarantee success. What is more important is to find the right people, who will become your long-term partners, interested in your success the same as you. By finding a full-service company, you kill 2 and more birds with one stone. So, it is a matter of convenience and time if your company provides UX/UI creation, planning, development, maintenance, and post-release support.
Building SaaS Product
The development of SaaS products does not differ a lot from other product development. It can be logically divided into the following parts:
- Post-launch support and maintenance.
Before the actual development starts, there are some important things to do first. One of them is the research and selection process. Among the variety of technologies, programming languages, databases, frameworks, third-party software you need to choose those that would meet your product requirements the best way.
The choice of a programming language will be narrowed down to the possibilities and restrictions of each language. You might be going through hard times of choosing the right one as the whole project will be influenced by your choice. Talk to different development companies, study as much as you can, and make your choice.
Here the time for you to recollect that building SaaS products has some differences compared to traditional application development. SaaS business model requires a new approach to common business disciplines. So, make sure agility and speed are the main characteristics of your development process. The sooner you launch the product, the sooner it will earn money. So, when choosing a development team, make sure they follow the agile methodology of development such as Scrum or Kanban. The agile methodology of development provides more flexibility, and thus you can easily change the requirements if needed. No matter if your project is big or small, the agile approach works fine on both. Working sessions in agile methodology usually last from 2 to 4 weeks and are called sprints. This step-by-step approach allows developers to predict and react to major obstacles and set the project to the right course of development.
As the experience shows, it is ok to release products that are not complete, as long as you form a user base and incorporate their feedback into future project iterations. Development based on agile methodology works fine and allows you to incorporate users’ feedback into upcoming releases on a regular basis.
API And Third-Party Solutions
There is a need to mention that building the whole project from scratch as well as overloading it with third-party solutions only is a bad idea. Try to find the balance and do the best what possible and outsource the rest. There is a huge variety of ready-made solutions for your project development that would work the best way and save loads of time for you and your team.
Another good idea is choosing an open API strategy. First of all your customers will be grateful as it will make it easy to integrate with their existing systems. Secondly, you will be able to partner easily with other vendors and web services and create new solutions. This would also be a green light for the developers’ community to create new extensions which will result in enhancing your product line.
Data Protection And Security
When building enterprise-grade SaaS, there are many different security and data protection factors companies need to take into account. Major SaaS security areas include:
- Access control and user authentication
- Unauthorized access protection
- Physical and personal security
- Malware detection and remediation
- Code hardening and auditing
- External threat defense and remediation
- Rights to audit the SaaS vendor’s operations and access log information
- Protection of access by other tenants collocated in the same system
- Post-launch Support And Maintenance
As soon as you launch the MVP of your product, it is important to keep monitoring the software infrastructure to ensure optimal performance. Any issues related to software’s functionality should be resolved quickly to avoid bad impression they can leave on the first users. So it is essential that the development team building the service or the platform be ready to provide on-going development work if needed at any stage of beta-testing. Therefore, having a dedicated system-administrator or a team is a crucial moment. Make sure your team can still lead your project after launch.
As you can see, general recommendations for building a great product apply for building a great SaaS product with little exceptions. Great attention should be paid to data protection and general software security. The more dedicated approach should be given to the development methodology and post-release maintenance.