Software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications are a cost-effective and efficient alternative to traditional software systems and they have become increasingly popular since the early 2000s. This upward trend in SaaS application development has resulted in a global shift from on-premise software systems towards cloud software. Many businesses and individuals have adopted cloud-based SaaS solutions as a replacement for traditional software solutions that require an IT infrastructure and installation.
Some entrepreneurs also invest in SaaS software development for business growth. But developing a SaaS application is not an easy task, especially for businesses that are not from the technical sphere. Making the decision for SaaS development without proper research and a strong technical understanding can land businesses in hot waters. If you are a business owner wondering whether a SaaS app is a viable option for you, then this guide will answer all your questions. In this article, we will cover the technical and non-technical specifications of SaaS applications and an overview of the SaaS development process. But before all that, let’s understand what Software-as-a-Service means.
What is Software-as-a-Service?
Software-as-a-Service or SaaS refers to a software licensing and distribution model in which software applications that are hosted on the cloud are licensed to users on a subscription basis. Unlike traditional software solutions, users can access a SaaS application over the internet via a web browser without downloading and installing it on their devices or networks. This is what makes SaaS software development inherently different from the development of other types of software.
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SaaS applications can take many forms — anything from business software to communication tools. There are many popular software-as-a-service examples that we have around us today, including apps like Salesforce, Dropbox, Slack, Mailchimp and Google G Suite. SaaS apps are also some of the most used software apps today because they are convenient and cost-effective for end-users. Netflix is a great example of this. The subscription-based streaming service software has an active user base of over 214 million paid subscribers. It is popular because of its subscription-based model that allows users to watch licenced video content demand.
If you are wondering how to develop a SaaS application as successful as Netflix or Salesforce, read on. In the next section, we will cover the most important features of SaaS applications and the technical and non-technical characteristics of SaaS apps that you need to consider when planning your SaaS product.
Important Considerations for SaaS Application Development
Even though Software-as-a-Service is not a new concept, businesses have a lot of questions regarding the viability and the development process of SaaS applications. So let’s take a look at the most important considerations of building a SaaS application.
Basic Set of Features for SaaS Development
SaaS applications are different from other forms of software solutions and these are the set of features that set them apart. Here’s what makes a software application a software-as-a-service:
- A software monetization model that is generally based on subscription billings
- Multi-tenant architecture
- User registration functionality and the ability to login and logout of user profiles
- High availability
- Scalable infrastructure
- Application and data security
Two things make a SaaS application successful: (i) a well-built app that performs flawlessly and (ii) strong product marketing and branding. Both technical and non-technical components of a SaaS application are equally important.
Technical characteristics of SaaS applications
Following are the technical characteristics that every SaaS product owner should prioritise:
Deciding on the database for a SaaS application is one of the most important decisions that a SaaS product owner might have to take. It is essential to have a database that is easy-to-scale, secure, and flexible; at the same time, it is also important to choose a database type that befits your business needs. The type of database depends on several factors, such as scalability, flexibility, data type, programming language, etc.
It is important to have a SaaS application that can scale up as your business expands in the future. Building a scalable infrastructure is an essential consideration for the development of SaaS apps. Your development team needs to build the software such that it can easily scale up vertically and horizontally whenever needed.
A successful SaaS application can adapt to the changing market conditions and client expectations which means it is regularly updated and improved. Regularly updating your SaaS app based on user feedback and adding new and advanced features is crucial to the success of the SaaS product.
Third-party integrations can improve the experience and marketability of a SaaS solution. By allowing the application to integrate with third-party software, you not only add value to your solution but also maximise its growth potential. For the end-users, third-party integrations can make the software easy to use and access.
Non-technical characteristics of SaaS applications
Technical characteristics of SaaS apps are important but half of the success of your SaaS product depends on the non-technical components. These include:
The first step of building a SaaS application is to check the market fit of the solution to make sure there’s an actual need for it in the market. Conducting market research to analyze the competitor solutions and the target audience helps you set realistic expectations about the market standing of your SaaS solution.
Client acquisition process
The users of your app are at the centre of everything you do. Who are your users? How will your users find your app? What will appeal to them? What do they want out of the SaaS solution? These are some important questions you need to answer in order to build an app that is easy to use, well-marketed, and appealing.
Different pricing models
The pricing policy for your SaaS solution should be fair and flexible. In order to attract more clients, it is advised to offer different kinds of pricing plans and packages as well as a free trial option so users can test out your app before making a purchase.
Wrapping it up
Now that you know the basic features of a SaaS application and the technical and non-technical considerations of developing a SaaS app, you know what important things to pay attention to. Since developing a SaaS app is a technically complex process, you need the help of a saas development company that can bring your app idea to life. There are a plethora of software companies that offer SaaS application development services and finding the right company to partner with is also important for the success of your SaaS application.