SaaS application development is the logical next step in growing your company. However, converting your current solution to a SaaS model or building one from scratch necessitates a thorough understanding of SaaS-specifics, best practices for developing SaaS applications, and potential pitfalls to watch out for.
This blog will give you insight into outsourcing and SaaS application development so you can turn the technical benefits of SaaS into chances for business expansion.
What is a SaaS application?
A SaaS app, which stands for Software-as-a-Service, is a cloud-based software delivery method that enables you to access data from any device and web browser with an Internet connection. It includes a flexible and customized set of features depending on the different needs of the user groups.
Developing a Software as a Service (SaaS) application requires a strategic approach, and this step-by-step guide provides valuable insights into the process. Explore the key stages of SaaS application development, from ideation and planning to deployment and maintenance. Understand the importance of user feedback, scalability, and continuous improvement in creating a successful SaaS product. Whether you are a startup or an established business, this guide offers practical tips for navigating the complexities of SaaS development and delivering a valuable solution to users.
Your customers won't need to install it locally on their devices or update the necessary hardware because it is subscription-based and on-demand. Customers typically access SaaS solutions from connected devices using an Internet browser or various APIs, with the software provider handling all maintenance. The infrastructure of a cloud computing service is typically maintained by a third-party provider.
SaaS based taxi apps popularity is primarily due to their adaptability and affordability; by 2023, the market for these apps is expected to be worth $208 billion, with 86% of businesses relying solely on SaaS. Building SaaS applications for your company and clients can therefore be a future-proof strategy to gain a competitive advantage in the long run.
SaaS Applications Architecture
Various methods for SaaS application architecture are listed below.
- Multi-tenant: Multi-tenancy describes the use of a single infrastructure to support multiple clients while keeping each tenant's data separate and secure from the others. The multi-tenant strategy can be put into practice in one of two ways:
- One database: One instance of the app. In this configuration, every user who accesses your cloud environment has access to the same database. Although this method is simple to implement, it has limited scaling capabilities, which has an impact on the app's overall performance and user experience.
- Multiple databases: One instance of an app Here, new users are routed to another database after each database has been fully populated. Users will have more resources available as a result, making the software feel more responsive. This strategy demands more resources upfront and is significantly more expensive to implement.
- Single-tenant: Every customer uses their instance of the software thanks to single-tenancy. Although the single-tenancy model is more challenging to support and maintain, it is more secure than the multi-tenancy model.
- Horizontal SaaS: Horizontal SaaS apps are those that cater to a large number of businesses. For instance, these are accounting or marketing apps that businesses in various industries can use.
- Vertical SaaS: Vertical SaaS apps, on the other hand, are those created for a particular business vertical. Businesses are unable to utilize them in other industries. Instead, they offer more or less modern feature sets for various user groups.
Types of SaaS Apps
SaaS apps can also be categorized into the following categories, depending on the industry for which they are developed:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): CRM platforms, such as Salesforce, are used to manage customer data and operations and are appropriate for both B2B and B2C eCommerce businesses.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): An ERP system delivered according to the Software-as-a-Service business model allows enterprises to pay as they go, tailoring the necessary ERP system’s features to the current business needs.
- Accounting and billing: SaaS applications for billing and accounting aren't typically made for the business sector. Instead, they offer flexible subscription plans, allowing each business to pick the best one for itself based on its size, personnel, clients, and partners.
- Task and project management: The majority of software-as-a-service project management and collaboration tools, including Jira, ClickUp, and Monday, are provided.
- Communication tools One of the most well-known communication tools created using the SaaS business model is Slack. It enables selecting a subscription plan based on the size of the team and switching to a more sophisticated one as the team grows.
SaaS Platform Development Specifics
SaaS-based applications should be developed differently than other online services and platforms to provide a comprehensive experience. According to their nature, the following are the key characteristics of SaaS apps:
- Multi or single-tenancy
- Subscription-based billing model
- Application and data security
- User-friendly interface
- Automatic updates
- High availability
- Elastic infrastructure
Differences between SaaS and Web Applications
Web applications and software as a service (SaaS) are two categories of software that run on servers. They do, however, differ significantly in a few key ways.
SaaS, or software as a service, is an on-demand subscription model that enables customers to access the software online. Users don't need to install or configure anything locally on their personal computers as a result. Customers can access the application by simply logging in to the SaaS provider's servers.
You can run standalone programs called web applications in your web browser. Web-only applications typically offer a particular feature that a sizable target audience can use, like currency conversion. SaaS apps, on the other hand, are created to offer more sophisticated features, the number of which changes based on the subscription plan.
However, since the majority of SaaS applications also have a web version, it would be incorrect to completely separate SaaS and web applications. For instance, Slack is easily accessible via desktop, mobile, and web browsers, while this app will continue to be SaaS-based.
Benefits of SaaS Application Development
The innovative advantages listed below make creating SaaS apps a promising business venture in 2023.
- Development flexibility: SaaS applications make it simple to modify your system as your needs change. Traditional software requires you to wait months for a developer to release an update. Since SaaS development takes place in the cloud, making adjustments is simpler. For the same reason, purchasing additional hardware is not necessary to develop such a solution. Users can evaluate it from any location with an Internet connection.
- Pricing that benefits both users and developers: The majority of SaaS providers provide a variety of pricing options, allowing you to start small and scale up as your business develops. The main challenge is to accurately match the feature set to the subscription plan, based on the demands of the users, and to establish a fair price for a given market.
- Predictable sales: Your sales volume and profit become more predictable when you offer software as a service for external use because customers can choose to pay annually upfront or every month.
- Improved Efficiency: Performance bottlenecks are common in traditional software development because data from remote servers is frequently accessed slowly or with a delay. SaaS applications never experience communication lags between users and the system itself because a single central server handles everything.
What you should consider when developing a SaaS application
The following are both technical and non-technical considerations you should make when developing a SaaS application.
SaaS application technical specifications
A strong SaaS application ought to function flawlessly in the areas listed below:
While having a reasonably large, flexible, and secure database is necessary, it also needs to be of a particular type that meets your company's needs. The data type, scalability, anticipated load, proportion of read-to-write operations, programming language, and budget are just a few of the variables that affect the database type.
Scalability must be considered throughout the entire SaaS development process. The software you're creating must scale both vertically and horizontally, and your company should never have trouble growing it. The expectations and needs of your client are probably going to increase. Because of this, you must consider scalability projections when developing a SaaS application.
3. Frequent updates
To stay current, you must frequently update your SaaS solution based on user feedback.
4. Third-party integrations
Another way to increase value and provide a better user experience is to integrate your SaaS application with other apps from other developers.
SaaS application Non-technical specifications
Here are a few non-technical features of software-as-a-service applications that are still crucial.
1. Market fit
Make sure your future solution meets the expectations of your potential customers before beginning the development of your SaaS application. The advanced and thorough market analysis enables realistic expectation setting and forward motion.
2. Focus on service
Maintaining a dual focus on the service it provides and the product it delivers is necessary for software as a service development. The key takeaway is that successful SaaS projects constantly adapt to the changing needs of their clients and anticipate their needs.
3. Different packages
Having a variety of subscription options increases the flexibility of a SaaS pricing model and draws in more customers. Additionally, your customers will be happy to know that they can simply switch to a larger or smaller package to continue using your SaaS even if their budget changes.
How to Develop a SaaS Application [Step-by-Step]
So, How do you create a SaaS product? The following steps are typically involved in creating SaaS applications that run in the cloud:
Fortunately, SaaS design best practices are very similar to those used to create conventional solutions. As per usual, you must create a user interface (UI) that is simple to use and that effectively completes the tasks of the users.
Also, keep in mind that one of the biggest trends in SaaS programming for 2022 is mobile-first SaaS. Because 87% of businesses encourage their staff to access business apps from mobile devices, pay closer attention to your mobile mockup designs. Your future app should have additional security measures and role-based access options in addition to a user-friendly layout.
You must partition the data in your software to allow for future changes to the program, such as scaling and performance improvements, operational flexibility, and improved security. This eliminates the complexity of managing the entire database and makes it simpler to manage each partition separately.
There are various partitioning strategies, including horizontal, vertical, and functional ones, each with advantages and disadvantages.
Testing SaaS software is all about ensuring that it has as few bugs as possible and that it satisfies your users' needs both before and after the release date. To fully test the software, it's a good idea to include both manual and automated testing techniques in your quality assurance process. Beta testers can also lead you to some non-trivial use cases you might not have even considered. A cloud security assessment can be included in this procedure.
Consider software deployment as opening your store's main entrance. Users should be able to use your software, find extensive documentation with ease, and get in touch with your support right away if they need to. Deployment requires automation akin to a factory's production line to remain that way. Real-time software updates are released as soon as they are prepared.
5. The automated deployment approach differs from routine
updates in terms of speed and flexibility. You'll be able to roll out small changes at a time rather than releasing one major update periodically and putting your entire system on hold.
6. Managing, monitoring, and optimizing
Your solution's service and business value are just as crucial as the SaaS product itself. To better meet your customers' expectations and swiftly respond to their shifting needs, you must manage, monitor, and optimize its performance after it has been thoroughly tested and launched. You need to carefully monitor any potential security holes, address the user experience problems, and keep your solution prepared for rapid scaling at this point.
7. Migrating from on-premise to cloud
You must relocate your SaaS development framework to the cloud if it wasn't already there. There are a variety of migration options available to you, depending on the kind of server you have, the volume of data, and the acceptable downtime:
- Physical-to-virtual, or P2V
- Physical-to-Cloud (P2C)
- Virtual-to-virtual (V2V)
- Virtual-to-Cloud (V2C)
Challenges in developing SaaS applications
Even though the best practices of the Agile and LEAN development methodologies are typically followed when creating SaaS applications, there are some particular difficulties you need to be aware of.
1. Meet the needs of the customers
The ability to develop a product that will satisfy all of your customers' needs and expectations is one of the main challenges faced by SaaS developers. Moreover, you will need to adjust as their needs and expectations may change over time.
To overcome this obstacle, adopt a customer-oriented strategy from the outset, learn about the needs of the customers, and pay attention to their expectations. Before beginning the actual programming, give your future product conceptualization extra attention. You will be able to fully satisfy your users' needs by incorporating their requirements into a solution.
2. Hiring a development team with a service-oriented mindset
A service-oriented mindset is essential for developing any SaaS application because it makes sure that every team member is aware of the project's specifics, its present and future objectives, and its potential for scalability.
It is therefore preferable to hire individuals with SaaS app development experience who are passionate about assisting others in finding amazing software-as-a-service solutions to their problems.
3. Select The Appropriate Technology
Although SaaS applications have the advantage of being scalable, you must pick the appropriate technology to make your future solution scalable. For this reason, it would be wise to speak with a SaaS app development vendor and identify the best tech stack for your upcoming project.
Structure of the SaaS development team
There are specific roles you must fill to develop cloud-based SaaS software, though the size of your team may vary. Here is a list of them:
- Project manager is in charge of organizing the software development process, assigning tasks, tracking their completion, and making sure that the progress complies with all requirements and deadlines.
- Business analyst evaluates and creates a workable business plan for you while also looking at the market potential of your software.
- UX/UI designer creates and implements your application's user interface and experience to make sure it's user-friendly, appealing to the eye, and consistent with your brand identity.
- Back-end developer works on the server side of your SaaS application and uses scripting languages to ensure that it runs as intended.
- QA engineer tests your SaaS software for errors, bugs, and other problems and reports them so that the engineers can fix them.
You might also need a technical writer, a marketing expert, or a product manager on the development team, depending on the scope and cost of your project. You will also require a DevOps engineer if your SaaS project is leaning toward DevOps. Consider working with a tech-savvy software development vendor who can assist you in assembling a cross-functional team of developers with a product-oriented mindset as the best strategy.
How much it costs to create a SaaS application
The salaries of software engineers and other crucial development team members make up the lion's share of the costs associated with developing software. Make sure to include the costs of hiring and onboarding new tech specialists in the budget if you're creating an internal team. So, what is the most economical way to create a SaaS application? Consider contracting out software development; in this scenario, you will be responsible for paying the vendor's fee as well as the engineers' salaries based on their hourly rates.
Simply put, depending on the outsourcing location, you can make significant savings while still accessing top SaaS development expertise. This is what makes outsourcing SaaS development effective. Let's contrast the possibilities.
Your Relevant partner
Make sure the SaaS based taxi booking app development company you choose has the most recent technological know-how and relevant experience if you choose to entrust your project to them. However, Relevant, an outsourcing vendor with eight years of SaaS development experience, is nearby. High-growth SaaS businesses from all over the world are among our clients.
Contact our top-notch SaaS software developers whenever you decide to add your name to the list. They will be happy to work with you to create a SaaS application that perfectly satisfies both user and business goals and is technically strong, well-designed, secure, and scalable.
Vinay Jain is the Founder of UBERApps and brings over 10 years of entrepreneurial experience. His focus revolves around software & business development and customer satisfaction.