Sept 19, 2022
We know what you might be thinking, and no, we’re not talking about “sass” as in attitude. This blog takes a deep dive into SaaS, or Software-as-a-Service, and why SaaS technology is important and impactful in the online world as we know it today. And we’re not exaggerating - the SaaS market is estimated to exceed $170 billion by the end of 2022. This tech is changing how we use, offer, and develop software. Despite being one of the fastest growing IT industries, SaaS can sometimes be a confusing landscape for non-techie business owners to navigate. And that’s where we come in.
If you’re looking to build the next revolutionary SaaS product, chances are you’ve asked yourself these questions: How do you create a SaaS platform? How do you launch it and sell it? What tools can assist you? And finally, what makes a product “SaaS”? This blog post will go through these questions and uncover the key indicators of a successful SaaS application.
What is SaaS?
Think about it: when someone first starts a business, they’ll likely require some sort of software, whether it’s for project management, accounting, communication, managing clients, and so on. Nowadays, nearly every business, from a donut shop to a hedge fund, uses and, in many cases, provides software-enabled services.
Just a decade ago, you had to purchase licensed software to make things function. Unfortunately, that software usually requires maintenance, involves hidden operational costs, and often needs to be routinely updated. In addition to that, licensed software is sometimes known to lack flexibility and security.
Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, is an alternative software delivery model. SaaS is a one-size-fits-all solution to a wide range of issues. SaaS applications may meet the needs of both B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) companies due to their flexible architecture. In most cases, SaaS platforms can grow with a business as it gains more clients, staff, and revenue.
Some SaaS examples include Google Workspace, BigCommerce, Trello, and many others. As SaaS grows more popular and profitable, some on-premise companies, such as Adobe, have transitioned to SaaS. As a result, the service can effectively remain nearly the same while the business model changes.
“The SaaS market is estimated to exceed $170 billion by the end of 2022.”
What Makes SaaS so Popular?
Compared to traditional licensed software, SaaS is scalable, secure, and cost-effective - especially for small businesses. The reason for that is the subscription-based business model of SaaS. Traditional software delivery systems demand significant initial investments, whereas SaaS offers monthly or yearly subscription rates that rarely approach five figures at the high end.
Another popular selling point for businesses is that the responsibility of software upkeep is typically entirely on the SaaS developer. They are responsible for the security of the software, connectivity, pushing updates out, hardware maintenance, and (most importantly) the software quality. In addition, SaaS is a highly competitive market, so if the quality drops, a client can switch to a competitor’s platform extremely easily (primarily because of subscription-based payment models).
Building a SaaS Product
The cost of your MVP (minimum viable product) and how well your product suits the market are two key factors that directly affect the success of your SaaS application. You’ll also want to be sure you understand the landscape of SaaS technology before fundraising or building your MVP. Let’s break down the process of building a successful SaaS application.
Understanding The Technology
As we mentioned earlier, a SaaS business has a big responsibility to take on when it comes to the actual software. When another company purchases your future product, they’ll expect a great customer experience, automatically installed software updates, an easy-to-use interface, and much more.
Another technical thing to consider is tenant isolation. What in the heck is that? We’re glad you asked! It means that you need to ensure that one customer's use of the software does not interfere with the work of another. It sounds pretty obvious, right? However, it can be a common challenge in SaaS development, especially if you’re working with developers that don’t often develop SaaS or enterprise tools.
Apart from the software, SaaS providers are also responsible for managing the hardware. Thankfully, nowadays, it is mainly done through the use of centralized data centers and cloud data storage.
The first step of creating a SaaS product can be tricky. Doing research, getting feedback, and proving the need for a new product is extremely important and not to be skipped over. Unfortunately, besides falling into the common trap of “paralysis by analysis”, many new startups tend to overvalue customers' minor requests and undervalue the actual vital metrics.
A good rule of thumb is to make a direct, well-researched, and specific hypothesis about the market. Then test these hypotheses with prototypes and gather as much feedback as possible. Doing so will help you to identify the direction for the future development of your application.
After your initial research, the goal is to bring your hypothesis to the market and test it as quickly as possible. However, this can be a step that companies struggle with the most.
At the beginning of the SaaS development journey, it's important to stay realistic and prioritize the basic features. Your MVP should be both usable by your first customer and require less development than the future full-blown product. Prioritize not adding too many additional features and avoid a super fancy schmancy design. Just the core of your product, that’s it.
According to the famous business theorist Alex Osterwalder, you should go fast and cheap at the beginning. As you generally know less about the industry, it's a perfect strategy to resort to affordable, quick, and effective experiments. Being strategic this way will make your MVP less costly, more informative, and more efficient in terms of your final product deployment.
There is a lot to learn just by launching your first MVP. We believe that nobody has ever been harmed by learning from their errors. So, by developing and launching your MVP as quickly as possible, you may recognize a new direction for your product or a missing area in the market that you haven’t seen before.
Once the MVP is successfully launched and you can clearly see the product potential, the uncertainty will decrease, so it might be the right time to boost your project budget (for things like development, design, PR, and marketing). By this point, you’ll be well on your way to launching the more extensive features and full-scale product that you’ve been dreaming of!
SaaS Developers vs. Development Tools
Numerous SaaS development solutions are available to help you on your SaaS journey. Software constructors, cloud computing, API providers… we’d need a whole standalone blog post to list them all! We’ve worked with many SaaS startups, so take it from us: it’s pretty easy to get lost at this stage.
Developing a SaaS product has never been an everyday thing with a simple to-do list. Often it makes sense to seek direct advice from industry experts with years of expertise in SaaS development to guide you along the way. And this is precisely what we love to do! Got a product idea? We’d love to hear it! Get in touch with us.