SaaS development has become one of the most reasonable and frequently applied business tactics for the new software product launch. Its popularity is growing extremely fast along with the number of advantages to be chosen for. Whenever your company comes up with a new idea of developing the software, the SaaS application will be the best option so far. You will definitely favor the maintenance, distribution, licensing and security options.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a delivery model on a subscription basis and centralized hosting. Users also prefer this approach as they can choose among the subscription plans and offered functionality. They have the ability to access the software via the web browser from different devices. In this article, you will find the most important details on SaaS software development implementation.
List of Contents
- SaaS web development
- SaaS development life cycle
- How to develop SaaS product
- SaaS development best practices
- SaaS development challenges
- SaaS development tools
- SaaS development team structure
- How to develop a SaaS product step by step
The question of why SaaS product development has become so popular can be answered by looking at the advantages of software development and overall maintenance. Meanwhile, the users have also acknowledged the distinctive functionality that differentiates these products from regular applications for desktop and mobile platforms.
We should mention accessibility since the customers can easily start their applications on different platforms via the Internet using just a browser. Since the data is stored in the cloud, they are not bound to use the same device all the time. Another thing is that users get rid of on-premise downloads, and it doesn’t take up any space on the customers’ devices. The SaaS product remains accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, which makes them ideal for remote work or teams with members in different locations. Users can access the software on any device, making it highly convenient.
SaaS software development is a reasonable choice for businesses. It will be much easier to deploy your product. The software runs on the server, so your project requirements won’t depend on numerous configurations of every platform. Maintenance and updates are faster to be implemented as well. Moreover, SaaS providers typically handle software updates and maintenance, which means you don’t take responsibility for managing software updates or security patches yourself.
Also, SaaS application development is a flexible solution for businesses that would like to keep pace with rapidly-changed technologies and trends. This distribution model enables them to enter the market faster and deliver the latest features within a short timeline and reasonable cost. At the same time, the customers have also emphasized this product as a budget-friendly option due to the subscription pricing model. Users have the possibility of using up-to-date and fully functional software products.
SaaS solutions are highly scalable, as they can accommodate a large number of users without significant changes to the underlying infrastructure. SaaS products can be highly customizable, allowing you to tailor the software to meet the specific needs of your business. This can include customizing features, integrations, and workflows. They are often designed to be easily integrated with other software, such as CRM systems, project management tools, or accounting software.
SaaS development offers numerous advantages that help businesses be more efficient, cost-effective, and collaborative.
SAAS DEVELOPMENT LIFE CYCLE
Every company interested in successfully building and marketing the application has to be familiar with the SaaS development life cycle. It ensures the continuous delivery of the product and efficient implementation. Consider the following phases of the SaaS development life cycle.
The business strategy is an essential part of any development. Always start with finding business opportunities and ways to attract new customers. Taking into account the distinctive abilities of cloud services, identify the value you are going to deliver. In addition to the development strategy, you should think about the marketing strategy way ahead.
Making a choice on the SaaS application development platform, remember that it should acquire certain capabilities. Since the final architecture has to acquire great performance, reliability, compliance, and scalability, the chosen platform has to provide the necessary tools.
As long as you have defined the necessary requirements, it is time to plan step-by-step implementation and focus on the development solutions. Your project plan should cover details regarding not only its functionality but timeline, cost, and required specialists. However, it should be divided into stages and suggest long-time vision options.
It is an important step in the SaaS development life cycle to acquire a production-quality subscription. In order to make the right decision on the cloud platform and the central hosting model, you should try the chosen services and prepare all the required documentation. Reach the necessary level agreements and make sure that your subscription covers the backup and recovery strategies.
Here comes the development – building the core features and creating scalable software architecture. The custom SaaS development process always goes along with testing. One of the often-used approaches is A/B tests to evaluate the performance and iteration. You couldn’t exclude testing as it enables the overall functionality.
This phase is exceptionally important for deploying all the operations. They should correspond to the level of agreements, security, compliance, and shared infrastructure of the cloud services. It has to cover the specifications of the previous stages that have already outlined the ways of service deployment in production.
HOW TO DEVELOP SAAS PRODUCT
When learning how to develop a SaaS application, remember that you need to deliver some value. It should introduce the concept that is relevant to the needs of the targeted audience. As a rule, this type of application includes functional tools, management of the account, analytics, etc. All these features should be collected and presented as one attractive and functional application. With simple and clear navigation, the user-centered design will help to make a good impression on your customers. Their dashboard shouldn’t be overloaded with unnecessary features. It’s true that the app has to include as much functionality as possible; however, the customers won’t be pleased with confusing and pointless interaction within it.
For example, you want to create a SaaS application for content collaboration that helps to organize business data. It could include document management, file sharing, search engines, communication channels, etc. Like any other application, you can start with the simple SaaS features and add the advanced ones gradually. Do your best to make the registration quick and simple. The users have to be provided with effective and fast ways of collaboration. The file-sharing feature has to include share, view, edit, and comment options. The search engine is required for sorting files and also provides quick access to them. Some advanced collaboration applications could include inbuilt tools for communication like live chats, voice calls, videos, etc. In short, this model is an ideal solution for delivering complex functionality. The point is that more advanced features should be presented to the users gradually as they move through their learning curve and get familiar with basic actions.
Have your idea of starting SaaS app development?
Existek’s team will gladly share our first-hand experience in providing SaaS application development services and can help to deliver your reasonable and business-specific solutions.
SAAS DEVELOPMENT BEST PRACTICES
This model is widely applied, and newcomers can learn how to develop a SaaS product from the success stories of numerous companies like SFDC or HubSpot. In general, all of them are leveraging the same tactics developed over the years of the market presence. We have gathered some of those SaaS development best practices in the list below:
- Scalability – The main advantage of these apps is adding capacity. Handle both vertical (limited by the size of the server) and horizontal scaling (building the logical unit that works on different hardware and software).
- In-app support – Due to the data the applications deal with, they are rather complex ones. Therefore the users’ support could be delivered via detailed tutorials, live chats, etc.
- Omnichannel approach – it is the support strategy that will unify the customers’ requests and keep records of the previous interactions to simplify the coming ones.
- Data protection – No SaaS product development can be completed without data encryption. Try to find all the possible ways to guarantee a high level of security.
- Frequent updates with greater value – Customers have to benefit from using your application. You should understand your users’ requirements and keep improving on a regular basis to deliver the best app functionality.
- Integration strategy – It is common for companies to migrate from one app to another or use a few of them at the same time. So it might be essential to exchange data and support interoperation between them.
- Service fees – The customers are choosing this approach not only for convenience and provided features but they have found it money-saving. Instead of paying for installation and following updates, they favor the subscription approach.
SAAS DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES
While SaaS platform development offers many benefits, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Here are some of the main challenges in SaaS development:
- Technical challenges: SaaS applications require a robust and scalable infrastructure to support multiple customers. This could be challenging to achieve, especially for smaller SaaS providers that lack the resources to build and maintain such an infrastructure.
- Data security and privacy: SaaS providers are responsible for ensuring the security and privacy of their customer’s data. This requires implementing strict access controls, encryption, and data backup and recovery procedures.
- Business challenges: Service providers need to balance the need for revenue growth with the need to provide an excellent user experience. It can be challenging, especially in competitive markets where users have high expectations.
- Integration and interoperability: SaaS apps often need to integrate with other software systems to provide a complete solution. It often takes some effort and specific expertise, as different software systems may have different APIs and data formats.
- User adoption: It’s a necessity to make SaaS solutions user-friendly and provide value to users to encourage adoption and usage. This requires a deep understanding of user needs and preferences, as well as ongoing user testing and feedback.
- Legal and regulatory compliance: SaaS providers need to comply with a number of legal and regulatory requirements, like data protection laws, industry-specific regulations, and contractual obligations.
- Customization: Some customers may require specific features not included in the standard software. Customizing the app to meet these requirements can be challenging if not planned beforehand.
- Maintenance and support: SaaS providers are responsible for maintaining and updating the software regularly. This requires ongoing development, testing, and support to ensure that the solution remains functional and up-to-date with the latest technology trends.
It’s essential for SaaS providers to address these challenges to ensure the long-term success of their applications. This requires a combination of technical expertise, business acumen, and a deep understanding of user needs and preferences.
SAAS DEVELOPMENT TOOLS
Today’s technology offers a great variety of SaaS development tools to build a valuable product. As a matter of fact, we will try to focus on the technical aspect of developing the product. This software obtains the complex architecture that is delivered by means of different frameworks, libraries, and SaaS developer tools. Selecting the tech stack, you definitely need to discover all the pros and cons as well as decide on the cloud services provider. Since every provider works better with a certain programming language, you need to find the perfect combination for your product. So what are the most popular SaaS development tools?
Those technologies do not differ from the common server-side web development ones. You can choose among RoR, NodeJS, .NET, Java, PHP, etc. All these programming languages have their own benefits to be applied. The main requirements are easiness to use, customization, available documentation, and strong community support. You can check for more details on server-side frameworks here.
Cloud platforms for hosting and maintenance
The majority of SaaS companies use third-party providers for the hosting of their products. On-premise hosting would be extremely expensive in their case, not to mention the tremendous cost of developing anything close to Amazon’s platform for cloud management. Cloud platforms like Azure, Google Cloud, AWS, Heroku, and others offer a wide choice in terms of hardware, supporting software, and DevOps tools for those who want to build a SaaS app or migrate to the cloud.
To give you some examples of their distinctions, AWS was among the first market representatives. This platform offers flexible, fast, and reliable solutions for any type of application in the cloud. Azure is known for its consistency and flexibility. Its scalability allows for managing resources according to business needs. As for easy implementation and deployment, a lot of companies go with Heroku.
SAAS DEVELOPMENT TEAM STRUCTURE
Learning the overall process won’t be enough unless you adopt the right SaaS development team structure. You can start setting up the team on your own or apply for the services of a professional SaaS development company. In both cases, you will need the same specialists to deal with your application. Moreover, the team structure is quite similar to the web development team.
Consequently, its structure consists of the project manager, cloud solutions architect, back-end and front-end developers, UI/UX designers, QAs, administrators, and DevOps specialists. Collaboration and performing the tasks properly will deliver a successful market product.
Cloud solution architect maps the architecture of the web application to ensure stability, performance, security, proper load balancing, nodes distribution, etc. The project manager is responsible for planning and estimation details as well as management of the overall SaaS development process together with a system architect. It is obvious that back-end developers deal with the server side, while front-end developers handle the user side.
Take into account the number of developers required for your project, as it is common to set up small back-end and front-end teams that have a few members. For example, you can hire a senior developer for complicated tasks, whereas the junior specialist will be a great assistant to deal with regular ones. Hiring a professional UI/UX designer is also a key to success since front-end developers will implement the provided design. Moreover, customer experience mostly depends on how well the app is arranged and presented to them. Testing is conducted during every stage as it determines the quality of the final software.
Arranging the team won’t be hard when you know your needs, choose the technology stack, decide on the app’s complexity, and estimate your timeline and budget.
How to find professional SaaS developers?
Existek, as a professional SaaS development company, provides full-cycle services to address the needs of our customers. You can apply for the help of individual SaaS developers as well as set up your dedicated cross-functional team.
HOW TO DEVELOP A SAAS PRODUCT STEP BY STEP
Discovering the important details on how to develop a SaaS application, we have prepared a simple step-by-step guide that will help to implement your idea into the valuable market product:
Market search will greatly help to come up with a unique concept. As long as you define your audience, you need to deliver special value that differentiates your product from other competitors.
The point is that the chosen features should correspond to the customers’ needs. Think about the app functionality as the simplest and fastest way of meeting their expectations. The core features should present your initial product concept. If you want to know more about this stage, read our article about system requirements specification documentation development.
Since the technologies vary from project to project, your choice should depend on the main features you want to present. Some functionality can be better delivered in one language than another. For instance, PHP has nice tools for statistics and computation. It’s recommended to choose the technology that has a supportive community and open-source library with comprehensive documentation. Depending on the applied programming languages, it will be greater to adopt the best matching cloud platforms like Azure for .NET or Heroku for Java.
Planned features, the number of specialists, technology stack will outline your final costs. At the same time, this type of application is a cost-efficient solution for businesses as you can serve a huge number of users without high-end infrastructure expenses. Check our big research on average web application development costs to get an idea of how much SaaS product development might cost.
Building the basic app version facilitates the overall delivery process and helps to market your product. You have a chance to target the right audience and add improvements due to the customers’ feedback. Find out more details on what is a minimum viable product and how it works here.
Saas is the perfect solution for businesses due to the ease of maintenance and update options. Both companies and users favor the convenience of these applications and correspondence to the latest market trends.
SaaS product development has become one of the most reasonable and up-to-date solutions for many businesses. The distinctive delivery of SaaS development services has proven itself over the years of the market presence. By choosing this approach, you will obtain the ability to maintain, distribute, and license your product in the most convenient ways. We hope that this article has helped to discover the core details of SaaS web development and suggested new ideas for its implementation.
Have additional questions or need a professional consultation?
Feel free to contact Existek. We are an outsourcing software development company that has built several SaaS applications with different business concepts. For further assistance, you can fill in the form at our contact page or start a discussion in the chat widget on the right.
What is SaaS and its benefits?
SaaS (Software as a Service) is a delivery model on a subscription basis and centralized hosting. This is an effective business tactic that is acknowledged for a number of distinct advantages, including:
How does a SaaS model work?
The SaaS model presents the centrally hosted software licensed to users via subscription plans. Customers have access to it on different platforms via the Internet, just using a browser. It eliminates on-premise downloads and offers the possibility of up-to-date and fully functional software. As it runs on the server, it is much easier to maintain and update SaaS products.
What are the top 3 most important aspects of SaaS?
SaaS software development has become a reasonable choice for numerous companies. They usually acknowledge the following distinct aspects:
The SaaS distribution model enables fast entry into the market.
It is simple to deploy, maintain and update the software.
Companies can offer a budget-friendly option for customers due to the subscription pricing model.
How do I start a SaaS development process?
You can follow a simple guide that can help to implement your idea into a valuable market product.
Come up with a certain concept
Define SaaS functionality
Choose the technology stack
Outline the budget
Build the basic app version (MVP development)
Work on constant improvements