Making Your Business as Light as a Cloud. How to Develop a SaaS Application
Whether you are a business person or a consumer, you have probably used a SaaS solution at least once in your life. SaaS has been all the rage for over a decade, and it’s only growing in popularity as companies, from start-ups to large corporations, consider SaaS development for their businesses.
If you are wondering why companies choose this solution and what kind of benefits SaaS offers to businesses, then this article is for you. You’ll also find answers to questions about the most common types of SaaS apps and how to build one. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
What is a SaaS Application?
SaaS stands for Software as a Service. Simply put, it is one of the three main categories in cloud computing (the other two are PaaS and IaaS) that allow users to subscribe to a software product and use it in the cloud. This means that the customer can access the SaaS solution from any device and from anywhere, be it his home, office or public place. All they need is a stable internet connection.
In a nutshell, SaaS gives a great opportunity to save on costly hardware, because the data and applications are stored on remote data centers. In such a way, SaaS users do not have to deal with maintenance, compliance, and security issues. So, the costs of SaaS development will be lower in the long term.
Modern SaaS technology is realized in a huge variety of options. It allows building platforms that can connect apps, integrate Internet of things (IoT) solutions, and analyze big data. IoT and big data are considered to be the most popular technology trends. That is why learning how to build a SaaS product is a highly worthwhile investment.
Recommended reading: Mobile App Development: Constant Dilemma of Choosing Either Native or Cross Platform
Things to consider before you start building a SaaS product
SaaS app development specifications are different compared to desktop software, so there are certain technical aspects that are characteristic of these particular solutions. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter how you distribute your software. It is still a product that follows market laws, same for everyone.
Among the technical challenges you may face during SaaS application development, we can consider the selection of an appropriate database. Your application should effortlessly scale up and down according to the customer’s current demand and provide decent security. An example of a well-proven database management system is, for example, MongoDB.
A company providing access to SaaS applications should take care of its constant updates. Customer expectations can change over time, and let’s be honest, there is no such thing as perfect software, and SaaS applications are no exception to this rule. Hence, it is essential to get feedback from end users, fix bugs and implement new features accordingly.
Building a SaaS solution that can replace all the applications a company currently uses is an unimaginable task. The development complexity of such a system would be very high, to say the least. For this reason, enabling third-party integrations can be a good idea. This will help your customers continuously improve business processes instead of re-learning what they already know.
Even if you create a SaaS application that turns out to be a work of art from a technical point of view, there is no guarantee that there will be market demand for it. Your customers won’t mind how easy it is to use the provided API to integrate with the amazing technologies and third-party applications you’ve used. If the app doesn’t solve the problem and increase business profits, don’t expect it to be welcomed with open arms.
It is also important to remember that you will be competing not only with technical challenges but also with other SaaS app developers. So, apart from making your app user-friendly and reliable, you need to create a flexible and attractive subscription model.
SaaS App Implementation From Idea to Product
Building a SaaS product can be a complex, time-consuming and risky endeavor. This short step-by-step SaaS development guide will help you get started in the complex software-as-a-service development process.
Before creating a SaaS application, you need to understand what you want to build. Is it going to be a CRM system, financial platform, or something else? Do you need a functional prototype, a minimum viable product, or a full-released version? Are there any user roles?
You should also consider what platforms you will be using — iOS, Android, tablet app, web, or all of them together. Also, pay attention to how your users will be logging in — via a phone message, social media account, email, or the combination of these three options.
It is also important to consider in advance your customer support & geo-location features, payment or monetisation models, scheduling apps, push notifications, integrations with third-party solutions, levels of security, analytics, and dashboards. Hope you got the gist.
Choosing Tech Stack and Team Assembly
Once you’ve decided on what you want to build, you need to choose the right technology stack for your project. You should also remember that this step is crucial as it will shape and define the entire SaaS app development process and will influence what kind of team will be working on translating your project from an idea into a reality.
The most commonly-used technologies for mobile development are React Native, Flutter, Swift, Java, Android SDK, and iOS SDK.
And for the back-end, you can opt for Python, PHP, Node.js.
Once you’ve decided on the right tech stack for your project, it is time to assemble your team. You can do this in three ways:
- In-house hiring
- Outsource development
That done, you need to consider a few more factors that play a huge role in SaaS development. You need to choose the right server to enable communication between the user and your Software-as-a-Service solution.
Many companies prefer using cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, but you can also choose Apache or Nginx as your primary choice.
Next, you need to opt for a database to store information and keep it organised — MySQL, Azure SQL Database, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB are just a few prime examples of databases.
Last but not least, you need to choose the right Software architecture for SaaS development. There are two choices: single-tenant and multi-tenant.
Software Development Process
Your team is part of the process of building your product, whether it’s a prototype, an MVP, or a full-scale solution.
A minimum viable product is a good start when you are still unsure of your solution. An MVP covers only the most necessary and essential features of your product and allows you to test these features with real users. Once they give you positive feedback, you can proceed with the software development process. If not, you can iterate and adapt your product to the users’ needs.
When developing a full-release solution, your team will start coding and use the latest technologies such as programming languages, frameworks, and algorithms to transform the MVP into a real product.
Testing, Debugging, and Deployment
The purpose of this phase is to ensure that your SaaS application is bug-free, runs smoothly, and is deployed and released to the world. Your QA team should test the application’s data security, scalability, performance and compatibility. Therefore, quality assurance professionals will try the entire cloud-based infrastructure. Once the product is built and tested, it’s time to deploy it to users.
The last SaaS development stage is maintenance. This is an ongoing stage, as the software requires updating, upgrading, and debugging to keep it up-to-date to ensure your users have the best experience.
Turn your idea into a successful project!
With great opportunities come great challenges. SaaS products are highly variable. The reason is that they are initially designed to take various forms following the changing nature of the market and following the current needs of a particular business customer. Such flexibility has its price and SaaS app development has brought new challenges compared to traditional desktop software development. Fortunately, modern technology can work wonders in the right hands.
If you are looking for an experienced development team who can build a reliable SaaS application for your business, contact us.