If you have an idea for building a new application, consider the SaaS model. It offers easy maintenance and scalability to businesses and easy access to services to their clients.
What is a SaaS product?
SaaS stands for Software as a Service. This is a model of delivery based on centralized hosting and subscription. Such products do not require installation; and customers get access to them for a yearly or monthly fee. Both factors contribute greatly to the popularity of the SaaS model among companies providing such products and their users.
The most popular types of SaaS applications are the following:
- Billing solutions (Tipalti);
- Project management solutions (Jira);
- ERP solutions (Sage X3);
- CRM solutions (HubSpot);
- eCommerce platforms (Shopify);
- Industry-specific solutions.
How to develop a SaaS product step-by-step?
1. Conduct a thorough market research
This stage helps you build a solid foundation for your future product. You need to find and explore similar products. You also need to acquire a proper understanding of the demand for such products, specific needs of your future clients, and possible pitfalls. During this stage, you should pre-define your target audience, your product offer, and the distinctive features of your product. All of this will allow you to compete successfully on the market.
2. Discuss the SaaS requirements
All SaaS products should be customizable, easily integrable, and extremely secure. Security should become one of your highest priorities in this business model. Fulfilling these three requirements will allow you to attract a larger number of users and serve them successfully for a long period of time.
3. Define the MVP
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. Starting your business with building an MVP will help you quickly test your product assumptions and understand what your target audience really needs. By the way, the result may surprise you. Many things seem logical and valuable until they meet a real customer.
Developing an MVP is a must on any fast-changing and competitive market. Its only drawback is that once you have found your product value and proved it with the help of real users, you may need to rewrite the code of your service from scratch. But this is a much more cost-effective option than spending months or even years on developing a full-fledged product that has no connection to the real world.
4. Choose your pricing model
The SaaS business model offers five different pricing approaches. This is an important choice to make since the pricing model is about access to your product and it significantly defines the popularity of your solution among customers.
Let’s look at these pricing models closer:
- Flat rate means a fixed fee paid on a regular basis (per month or per year).
- Pricing per user is good for teamwork solutions.
- Freemium means providing free access to limited functionalities with an ability to
upgrade to a paid plan.
- Pricing per feature is good for solutions with multiple features.
- Pricing based on usage allows users to pay for the service based on the amount of use.
Most services offer free-trial periods and promotional prices at the beginning of usage. This is a good step towards your users.
5. Think of technical aspects
Choosing technological stack, focus on your main functionality. What programming language is the best to implement this particular feature? The other factor to consider is whether the chosen language or technology is popular, has enough documentation, and a large community of supporters. This will save your time and money in the long run.
6. Find or create a development team
To build a product, you need a team consisting of developers, designers, and testers. You can hire local professionals or outsource the entire development process to a remote team or a SaaS development company. Each option has its own advantages and drawbacks. For example, a remote team may be located in another country and have much lower rates.
That’s a plus. But that country may have a working culture that significantly differs from your own. Besides cultural differences, you may also have a language barrier between you and the team, and the time zone difference may create additional difficulties. A team in your own office is much easier to manage but it also requires much more expenses.
7. Plan your budget
Project costs depend on the number and type of functionalities you need, the number of people in the team, and their location, as well as the chosen technological stack. However, SaaS products themselves are considered being very cost-effective: they allow you to save on infrastructure and maintenance costs. Also, remember that starting with an MVP may save you a fortune.
The SaaS business model is an up-to-date, easily manageable, and cost-effective solution for many businesses. It is easy to scale and promote, so consider it your main option when developing a new product.