Author: Azman Nabi
SaaS stands for Software as a Service, it is a software distribution model that is hosted and operates on the cloud using a third-party host provider.
Being a cloud-hosted software application it is highly scalable (and by ‘highly’ I mean it can be scalable to virtually infinite users). Most of the SaaS applications are served on the subscription model that opens up a whole new channel of software monetization which was hard to leverage before.
Allows users to access their centrally saved data on various devices like tablets, smartphones, laptops etc - A SaaS application is not only highly scalable but highly versatile as well. Look no further than your daily used software, Buffer; it’s available on your PC, smartphone, tablet. All in sync at the same time. Actually, we are surrounded by SaaS products on the internet. Do you remember when was the last time you downloaded and installed a ‘.exe’ software.
What Should You Look Into Your SaaS Developers
Rapid Prototyping - They should be able to provide the MVP with rapid prototyping so that you can pitch out to your angel investors, collect feedback from beta users, and test the app to get a glimpse of how your developed SaaS product will work like.
Understand Startups - They should understand the hustle of startup founders and have the privilege of working with some of the wisest ones. Should have worked from the ideation to development to maintenance and support.
Near-Shore Outsourcing - With a near-shore service provider you don’t need to worry about quality control, communication issues, rapid prototyping and strong NDA assurance of your SaaS development. Which you can’t get with those overseas companies like from south-asia. I’ve already covered a complete article on why you should choose near-shore outsourcing and not the overseas.
Why SaaS is Taking Over the World
SaaS offers services as per the user needs and only charges them for the services used by them. No user wants to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars one off for a new software that they don’t even hear before. So how will you succeed with your software app? Don’t worry! This is where the SaaS model comes to the rescue. As I’ve already mentioned this before that the SaaS model is highly scalable, you can charge the users based on the services used by them. 20 users with a $50/month subscription are way better than a frustrated one-off $1000 user.
SaaS is secure! This is 2017 and no digital entrepreneur is advocating building a SaaP (Software as a Product) application. Why? Because they all are well aware of the power of SaaS model. Since your SaaS application is hosted and served from your cloud servers, you control it! Gone are the days when entrepreneurs lose their sleep because of their software piracy.
You can limit the users only to change the customization options in your web or mobile based SaaS but not the basic functionality.
You might or might not need to download SaaS application on your device. Since the software is served through your third-party cloud storage, it's typically not platform oriented, so it is not necessary to install an application on your device. Just log-in and the users are good to go anywhere virtually on any supported device.
SaaS products are set to grow exponentially. Think about the user base of Buffer, Evernote, Airbnb and to name a few. All these services are served on a cloud-based SaaS model.
As per the survey, by 2020 almost all the software will be delivered by the SaaS model.
What it Takes to Build a Successful SaaS Solution
While building your SaaS app, you not need developers who only talk code. But you need the guys who talk and understands CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization), user experience, and who can find key growth metrics in your SaaS product. Because you are not building your product just to throw another ordinary software in the market.
User Experience - User Experience is one of the most crucial aspects of the viral growth of any growing SaaS app. Developers need to give special attention to every nitpick in the design. And should make a strong collaboration with the UI of the app.
An effective user experience is also required to boost the user retention on the app.
Multi-Tenancy - A strong multi-tenant architecture is required to develop a SaaS app that can force authenticate and authorize the access to sensitive resources. And such capabilities need to be created from scratch so that no other company could ever gain access to your resources.
Configurability - The SaaS app that you want to build also needs to be highly configurable even if it is “one-size-fits-all“ type software. Developers should take care of this from the very beginning of development. Configurability is required to make the software adaptable to every distinct set of user.
Scalability & Robustness - Obviously, you want your product to be highly scalable. You want to handle an ever-growing user base on your desired platform. So, the application should be scalable and robust in such a way that it can manage: -
- Addition of storage
- Escalation in number of users
- Additional connectivity with other apps
Connectability & Automation - You may have already heard this a lot, that AI (Artificial Intelligence) will take over the world. So whether or not you are building your app that is directly or indirectly related to AI. You need AI (say, technology automation) in your app. Your software should be able to talk and exchange data with other software in the market.
SaaS developer must take the time to front design the API's - Robert Cordray
This API connectivity allows third-party developers to connect their software to yours, which in-result enhances the capabilities of your app and open another channel of communication. It also helps in connecting your other existing or future technologies with the app.
But, introducing APIs to a SaaS app could open up some major security issues that can expose the users and app to risk.
So your developers should be well versed when it comes to APIs.