SaaS or Software-as-a-Service is becoming the new trend for business leaders to launch new services and products in the market, with increased customer base engagement. The main reason behind the popularity of this business model is that it allows the developers to deliver a logical, instant, and cloud-based solutions to users.
Each software is developed for solving a specific problem. Netflix, Office 365, and Uber are some common examples of SaaS products. Talking about Uber, as a whole, it solves the problem of daily transportation. On the other hand, Netflix is developed for killing boredom by providing entertainment to users. And Office 365 helps the business and enterprises in increasing productivity.
In SaaS, users don’t have to install, configure, and pay for using a service or software. Instead, they can buy the software authorization for a fixed time period. This feature makes the SaaS service more flexible. Other reasons for adopting SaaS service for product development are:
Unlike traditional software, you don’t have to wait for weeks or months for deployment. You only need a web browser with a good internet connection for accessing SaaS applications. As SaaS solutions do not require software installation, you can immediately access the new software on your system. This results in quick and easy deployment of software.
SaaS services provide subscription facility to users, which increases flexibility and scalability. Users can change the subscription according to them whenever needed. For example, if the number of employees is increased in business, the owner can easily upgrade the subscription plan for more service access.
You don’t have to worry about updating software. The SaaS service provider deals with the software and hardware updated by deploying updates to hosted applications. Since the cost of new updates is comparatively lower than the traditional software, users can easily buy the upgrade package, or they can pay for specific updates they need.
Lower Hosting and Development Cost
Platforms such as Amazon Web Services, you can easily create or buy a server for your service. This results in reducing the cost of hosting and allows more people to establish new SaaS companies. The product can be released as a Minimal Viable Product(MVP) in the market. This strategy helps you in providing core features of your app to users in the market. With this minimal approach, you can easily test your product in the market.
The SaaS applications are already installed and configured in the cloud. SaaS tools are based on cloud-services users can have immediate benefits from it. It only requires your name and email address to access SaaS services. The user just has to choose the type of service, and within a couple of hours, the application will be available for use. This results in reduced configuration and installation time, as well as reducing the deployment issues.
Tips for Creating Successful SaaS Application
There are various factors that make to product unique from other existing solutions. Since the competition of SaaS development is at a peak in the market, there are some points you can follow to make your product stand-out in the market.
Free Trial Offering
One of the most important and common features found in SaaS applications is free trials. This feature helps your customers in determining how they can make their daily lives more flexible with your product at no cost. You can allow your users to use your product for a limited time at no cost. This will result in increased customer engagement. As you are offering a free trial of your product, you can also increase your sales in no time.
Focus on Purpose, Not on Cost
The cost of developing a SaaS application is usually lower than the traditional development methods. Due to this, the most common mistake, new SaaS businesses do is they market the price of the product instead of the purpose of the product. As the price is comparatively low, you can offer services to your customers at a low price.
But if your customer is unable to understand the purpose of using your product, there is no value of providing services at a lower cost. If you are making it clear that your product can solve a specific problem faced by most of the people, you can have increased customer engagement on your product. So you must always focus on the purpose, not the price.
Create Valuable Content
It’s hard to find any successful company that does not feature blogs on its website. 80% of internet users enjoy reading blog content. Before developing your SaaS application, research content based on your niche and create valuable notes about it. After gathering the required data, compile the important information and create valuable content for your audience. The content you are creating must provide details about the important features of your product.
For example, the website of Zomato has a blog section which provides complete details about the app with various other factors like how to use the app, or how to place an order.
Use Survey Data for Product Development
You can use Google analytics or customer feedback to improve the services you provide. It is important to blend data from both sources to improve the efficiency and flexibility of your app. Before making any changes in your app, compare both the sources carefully. If the percentage of people who requested a specific feature update, then you have to think twice before making a massive change in your product. Suppose 75% of people requested a specific feature in your product, then that feature can really take your business in the right direction.
Steps for Developing a SaaS Application
More companies are following the SaaS model for developing products. If we look at the facts and figures, around 55% of companies use SaaS in most of the development operations. Whereas 40% of companies are entirely using SaaS of development. There is no doubt in saying that the SaaS industry is growing at a rate of five times more than any other service.
According to experts, the market of the SaaS industry will rise up to $80 billion in the next two years. So if you are planning to launch a SaaS product in the market, here are few factors you must keep in mind.
- Simple and Lean Plan
Instead of creating a long 50-page business plan, begin with a short single-page strategy. This is the fastest way of deploying your idea on to paper. The lean planning process is an iterative and much easier way than the traditional planning concepts. This one-page strategy or pitch is most suitable for SaaS enterprises that constantly tests new ideas.
The single-page pitch includes the strategy you are going to use, the tactics you are going to follow, and the schedule of product development. There is various software in the market, that can help you in creating a lean plan for your software within no time. You can then use your time invalidating your software idea. Here is the process of how you have to deal with the single page pitch process.
This section includes the following factors about your product:
- Complete details about your software
- Description of the targeted market and audience
- Brief details about your competitors in the market
- Details about the solution your software will provide to the current market problems
The major note you must take care of is that the details about the problem and the solution must be very clear. Identify the glitch users are facing, and then provide a solution for it to gain more customer engagement.
The tactics section includes the marketing concept you are going to follow. Usually, you can go with vendors, stores, or online to sell your products. You need to create a list of marketing tactics to attract more customers. Figure out all the required resources and partners and then assign roles to members of your team.
In this section, you have to schedule the process of developing your product. The schedule will include the budget of the project, dates of finishing specific parts of your product, milestones, and the deadline of completing and deploying the project in the market. Once you have created a successful lean process of your business idea, you are ready to make it to the next step.
- Strong Tech Team
You need to employ a strong team of employees to handle the development process and maintenance of your product. Finding skilled developers for your product may take time but hiring a team of skilled developers is the most important factor. You may search overseas like Europe, Malaysia, or the US for hiring adept and skilled SaaS developers. If you are a startup, you can hire SaaS developers from India at a reasonable cost. The most important factor for building a strong tech team is that there must be a CTO or Chief Technology Officer on your team.
- Test Your Idea
As now you have successfully created a single-page pitch, the next thing you have to do is test your plan. The main question or reason behind developing a product is that ‘can it make money?’
Before rushing into the development phase, you must check whether the assumptions that you have made in the first phase are correct or not. You can interact with potential customers to research your business idea. This will help you in knowing whether the idea you are validating is a good product or not. Based on the feedback from customers, you can refine your plan to make your product more flexible.
You can create the MVP of your product for testing your idea. This concept is adopted by most of the companies worldwide for testing the core features of the product by creating the simplest version of your product.
- Determine the Programming Language
It doesn’t matter which type of SaaS application you are planning to develop, each SaaS software is integrated with two sides: client-side and the server-side. There are multiple programming languages you can use to for the development of the front end and the back end. Some of the most commonly used programming languages are:
You must go with the programming language that is easy to understand. For example, you can use HTML for client-side development and Python for server-side development.
After determining the programming language, you are going to use, you must begin with the development phase. But before beginning the development process, you must keep in mind that the software must be high-performing with an interactive UX. In order to create a robust and interactive application, you must partner with the top development company. As the users are non-technical guys, you must create an app that is simple and easy to use. Your users expect short registration forms, contextual menus, and tutorial videos in the software. So if your users can setup the software easily without facing any issues, you are going in the right direction.
You must follow a specific development methodology for building your SaaS application. The most used methodology is the agile development process. Agile development allows you to make changes to your product in between the development process. For better development, you can create an MVP of your software for testing its core features.
- Test and Launch
Before delivering your product to the customers, get your product tested by a team of expert testers. The testers aim to find bugs and errors in your product. They also examine whether the product is working according to what was mentioned in the document during the requirement phase.
Once the product is successfully tested, and no major bugs remained in your product, you can deploy your product in the market. After launching it in the market, the maintenance team looks after the post-production issues.
There is no doubt in saying that SaaS applications will grow at a rapid pace in upcoming years. As technology will be growing, business owners will be partnering with developers to create innovative products, using these business models. If you are also planning to create a SaaS product, then you must follow the above-mentioned steps.