Cloud Security is the fastest growing segment in the IT securities market.
This makes it even more crucial for startup founders, entrepreneurs, and product managers to know how to develop a SaaS platform.
As SaaS rapidly replaces the traditional software license purchase, it has grown exponentially in industries such as retail, finance, healthcare, travel, and others. With digital development gaining momentum, businesses of all sizes can access it. This helps cater to a broader audience, including businesses and consumers alike.
If the SaaS wave has overwhelmed you, let’s start with the basics of SaaS Development.
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What is a SaaS Model?
As mentioned above, the SaaS industry is growing and is worth over $145 billion.
SaaS is a model for accessing web applications over the internet. The cloud server allows anyone to access it through a browser or different APIs.
SaaS provides companies with tools to develop and maintain their products without building a tech skeleton from scratch. These products can be entirely managed by the developer in the initial and maintenance phase so that the users are not dealing with additional staff or performance issues.
SaaS models help optimize the clients' resources by providing a cost-effective solution.
Besides being ready-made, it also helps with constant upgrades, maintenance, and 24/7 customer support.
What is Application Development?
SaaS Application Development is the creation of cloud-based applications by including the result of documentation, design, development, testing, and deployment on the server.
The essential features of SaaS development include:
- Being able to log in and log out of the user profiles
- Subscription-based billing models
- Data security
- User-friendly interface
- Automatic updates and notifications
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Benefits of SaaS Development
SaaS products offer multiple benefits to users and startups. They are as follows:
Easy to Deploy
Opting for SaaS products over traditional software is reduced costs and timelines to deliver the solution. The providers can centrally fix, update and deploy the offerings in the cloud, which reduces software maintenance. Hence, users don’t have to install new software installations.
Further on, the database you choose should depend on the business requirements. This depends on the data type, programming language, budget, scalability, and other factors.
Software providers may purchase services via the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Preferring reliable SaaS development platforms ensures data safeguards against potential threats, leaks, and breaches.
SaaS products need to be scaled vertically and horizontally to millions of people and be able to support disruptions such as AI, IoT, and others. This makes it essential that the product is scalable regardless of market disruptions, trends, and application changes.
SaaS solutions are developed in scalable cloud environments, making integrating them with third parties easy. Comprehensively developed SaaS products help Scaling on the users’ end, too as they are not required to purchase any software or servers.
No Need for Hardware
SaaS providers may need third-party hosting providers or high-tech software, although users can access it with any device. An optimized SaaS product can be accessed with any device. A stable internet connection and a functional device is the only requirement.
Since the software is run online, they are updated automatically. This eases the process for the users since they don’t consistently check the details and timelines of the updates.
The standard protocols of SaaS database providers include SSL and TLS encryption. This protects the data, leading to less expenditure on data protection.
This also makes the level and network security even more robust, protecting commercial secrets and security at the cloud infrastructure level, making the product credible. This can set the stage for a positive reputation for the brand.
As per studies, automating SaaS security management and compliance has saved 20 hours per week, reducing risk for documents and accounts by 50%.
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How to Build a SaaS Product?
Developing a SaaS product requires creating a team of business analysts, project managers, UI/UX Managers, Backend Developers, Front end or mobile developers, and QA testers. The strength of the team will depend on the project size and budget. If these aspects shuffle, the team will likewise be shuffled.
Further choosing the backend or frontend technologies may also depend upon the product requirement.
Here are the steps involved in building a promising SaaS product:
Step #1: Ideating
Ideating and validation are the foundational steps in building a SaaS product. It is a creative process to generate ideas and discuss with the development team.
This helps to verify the idea’s potential before teams begin with the core software SaaS development. The steps in this process entail refining a SaaS idea, performing active market research, creating a prototype, studying the technical parameters, and studying the legalities and regulations in the niche.
Step #2: Researching the Market
Researching the market helps teams know what the audiences want. As audiences’ expectations are constantly growing and changing, the SaaS product should be able to accommodate those. You can keep up with those by seamlessly implementing their feedback.
SaaS companies should ensure that the masses need the product by analyzing the market, studying the target audience, and visualizing its positioning to get realistic expectations.
Ensuring these steps helps with cost estimates, risk assessment, and mitigation.
SaaS thrives on tech trends and niche innovations. A niche-oriented strategy is a core component that teams should note. Take a deep look into the niche and hire a specialist to ensure you grow in the right direction.
Step #3: UI/UX
This phase includes creating a blueprint for the platform to get its look and feel right, deliver a relevant customer experience, drive results, and more. Since these apps work both on mobile and desktops, they should be optimized to work well on these devices.
This software development process involves working with the UI/UX team to deliver impact. This will include user stories, style guides, mockups, and a functional prototype.
Different brands have diverse standards, approaches, and deliverables; hence, the process unravels likewise.
Step #4: Development and Testing
The reason for this step is straightforward and doesn't require much explanation.
This stage checks if each product works best in isolation as well as along with functionality.
This can be done via MVP works as a proof of concept and further customer feedback can be gained to make the desired changes.
What further helps is releasing the product in iterations so that minor changes can be made consistently. This approach is known as an agile strategy and is widely implemented in the software industry. The feedback will help to understand the functionalities a user expects allowing them to take baby steps to improvement. This makes the process more agile, flexible, and quick
Step #5: Costs
The minimum costs for the Minimum Viable Product can vary from $60,000 to $200,000.
However, the initial cost will depend upon a variety of factors, including the type of team and the complexity of the product. The charges could further extend as firms navigate their route. Additional costs could be the development and testing environment, storage, and upgrades.
The costs will need analysis. Ensure that you have a strong pricing strategy in place. Market and audience research can help with finalizing the costs. This could be free services with ads included, a freemium model, one-off purchase, or subscription models.
Step #6: SaaS Levels
Users should have a way to modify subscriptions, add users, monitor usage, and more. The SaaS stack can handle this.
Teams can opt for third-party integrations to scale the app, add value and upgrade the features.
Step #7: Knowing the Customer
SaaS is a highly competitive environment and needs to always keep up with market fluctuations.
Some of the significant points to consider include:
- Creating a user persona
- Projecting user journeys
- Listing their pain points
- Defining the product and what it can deliver
- Competitive advantages
- Figuring out a monetary plan
Confirming these features leads to greater adaptability.
Step #8: Product Launch and Maintenance
The SaaS platform can be deployed via GitHub, AWS CodeCommit, or any such platform.
This phase is executed by the DevOps engineer, post which the maintenance process begins. Although not having the maintenance budget is a crucial challenge that firms phase. The costs of this, as well as SaaS marketing, have to be sorted out in the initial stages. It should ideally be 25% of the development budget.
Step #9: Scaling
Attracting potential users is an endless quest. To scale, you need to continue with the user feedback as mentioned above. This can be done by interviews, questionnaires, emails, forms, etc.
This gives opportunities to improve and optimize the user experiences and identify the potential gaps in the process.
Irrespective of the verticals, scaling will be based on the following aspects:
- New features
- Monitoring and analytics
- Product enhancement
How to Find the Best SaaS Development Partner?
A SaaS product that serves the users' requirements call for professionals with technical and niche expertise, years of experience, and an expert team.
You can better understand the same after studying a professional's portfolio.
Apart from the key position holders, a manager also holds a prime position in a team. A manager needs to know the tasks to be assigned and to whom. A manager will also be responsible for the current updates for the product.
As for a team, you can opt for an in-house team, local development agency, outsourcing partners, or freelancers.
SaaS Development – Key Takeaways
Developing an ideal SaaS product requires time and effort, while implementing it is substantial to locate the right tools and strategies.
These steps deepen towards investing in tech experiments research, tracking the innovation result, and optimizing resources and operations.
Apart from the technicalities, soft skills such as an uninterrupted communication cycle are fundamental.
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