SaaS app development: If you consider building SaaS solutions in 2022, it’s wise to know that experts predict the SaaS market will rise to $716 billion by 2028, making SaaS take up nearly half of the world’s digital business. Such popularity among providers is dictated by the robust security of data protection and huge scalability, which together bring great benefits to all users of the platform. Due to this trend, custom SaaS development looks like the best solution.
In return for all the SaaS benefits, there are also a few challenges worth discussing. It’s important to observe all the aspects to solve them easily with the help of a technically-skilled team, which is why we will tell you about it in this article.
What is software as a service (SaaS)?
Answering the question “what is the SaaS application?”, let us start with the fact that software as a service (SaaS) is a software distribution model. In the cloud, there is the software itself and all the data it connects to. It is accessible for any internet-connected device and it allows users to contact cloud-based applications without any installation or physical collection on the device. On the contrary, traditional software applications require users to install software on their devices, after previously buying the software license.
Top SaaS providers in 2022 such as Github, Adobe Creative Cloud, Salesforce, and others are already taking advantage due to the rapid growth of the larger cloud computing market. The most common types of SaaS software that we can rapidly name are customer relationship management (CRM) software, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, content management system (CMS), e-commerce platforms, and others.
Success stories of SaaS companies
If you’re just thinking about launching your own SaaS solution, you can probably learn a lot from success stories. At the same time, you can also learn what to avoid.
The SaaS stories about growth have one thing in common — every successful company was able to do something that made them different, embed the human element into their corporate culture, and closes the thirsty need of customers.
Microsoft, Salesforce AnswerDash, and Hubspot — these and other successful companies have implemented all of the above practices. And as a result — take care of their customers not just as businesses, but as people.
What are the key advantages of SaaS-based services?
Usually, users buy, manage, and upgrade the software themselves. The advantages of the SaaS model lie not only in a time-saving manner that it enables but also in many aspects of development, maintenance, and regular and fast upgrading.
You pay for what you use — the first and foremost SaaS benefit. The affordable monthly subscription and the regular revenue that such a subscription guarantees are the first advantages among others.
Another advantage of SaaS is the lower cost. This is possible because there is no need to invest heavily in equipment, maintenance, etc. In addition, the continuous growth of the provider company allows it to eventually go wholesale at a lower cost. Also, compared to traditional software, the free trials and reduced cost of SaaS ensure a stable and large customer base.
It is important to say more about such a development benefit as effortless scalability. SaaS offers providers complete control regardless of the users’ locations, thus clients can maintain a platform from any place.
Speaking of code security, you can breathe easy knowing that customers can’t access the source code, eliminating the risk of illegally stealing parts of the SaaS product’s code.
SaaS implementation challenges
SaaS’s benefits and challenges go hand in hand, that’s why knowing about SaaS software peculiarities is also essential during the SaaS product development process.
Preventing problems with secure access to SaaS solutions is of primary importance for SaaS application development. The proper focus should be on data encryption, adherence to international security standards, and phishing attacks prevention. It is also worth remembering that the cloud storage of SaaS solutions requires even more attention to security. Thus, great attention should be paid to visibility, staff qualifications, and highly controlled access to servers.
A fundamental requirement for SaaS solutions is system availability. To ensure it and prevent possible limitations of customer access to the SaaS-based application, developers should use a zero-time deployment strategy. This strategy ensures that the system is fully responsive during deployment, which in turn removes the possibility of downtime.
Customer data privacy is the number one priority for SaaS providers. What provides the necessary security and privacy is a robust database design that meets key regulatory requirements, namely General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for the European Union and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for the United States.
Typically, payment functionality can be implemented by integrating the system with third-party payment services. The simple way to do it is to choose a service available on the market that fits you best and offers excellent integration support. There is another improved option that can be more complicated and time-consuming. But if you choose a better result, then your technical team will have to investigate the technical features of external payments seamless integration, create the necessary application pieces for seamless integration, and make sure they work correctly.
Now, when considering the disadvantages of SaaS, let’s move on to the development process.
Steps to ensure SaaS app development
The development of a SaaS application is time-consuming and requires deep expertise and lots of processes: engagement of specialists, preparatory work, and post-development monitoring. Let’s briefly review the main steps of the SaaS solution development cycle.
- Create a business idea. Begin by defining your business idea through accurate market research. During the research and analyses, it is essential to determine your target audience and their needs. We also advise you to pay attention to your competitors and to strategic planning, through which it is possible to estimate rough deadlines for the project.
- Choose a tech stack. After defining the business idea and conducting market research, it’s worth considering the SaaS application on the technical side. The choice of the technology stack for SaaS depends primarily on your requirements, as well as the following factors: the software ecosystem environment, ease of deployment, time to find expert specialists on the market, and in general the experience of the development team.
- Define key features and create MVP. In terms of functionality, we emphasize as mandatory those for SaaS solutions, without which user benefits are hard to imagine. Such a SaaS platform development must accommodate accessibility, scalability, security, ease of customization, extensibility, and documentation.
Once you have completed the last step of documenting your requirements, a minimum viable product (MVP) is an important step for building a SaaS solution. After launching the MVP, we advise you to monitor the performance stability and collect possible data, such as server performance, usage statistics of existing SaaS app features, etc. After getting feedback on how the MVP operates, the team can start working on modifying features for further product improvement.
- Consider SaaS software development peculiarities. Here we should talk about hot deployment — the process of adding new components to a running server without stopping the application server process and launching it again. It should be a priority for your tech team, as it ultimately ensures that nothing falls off when loaded into the production environment on the client-side.
In addition to the fact that brands such as Google and Microsoft are actively deploying SaaS services, they and other popular SaaS companies also generate more revenue by expanding their customer reach. The bottom line is that by managing through cloud servers, your business becomes easier to run, more structured, and more organized because compared to traditional storage, you need less manpower to manage it. If you would use these software services, you may need a team of experts to consider all the peculiarities of SaaS solutions.