Development | 13 min read
How To Build A SaaS Application: An Ultimate Guide
Cloud solutions become more widespread, their reliability and flexibility attract new entrepreneurs and startuppers.
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As Gartner states, SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) revenue is going to reach $143,7 billion in 2022. In 2019, its revenue was about $94 billion. SaaS application development turned out to be a perfect idea for a startup. Or for software modification, when entrepreneurs want to modify existing software and run it in the cloud.
Do you want to adapt to the market conditions rapidly? Then you should know how to build a SaaS application. Advantages of SaaS, its types, development steps, tech stack — you will find everything in our article.
Advantages Of Software-as-a-Service
For a start, it is recommended to single out all the pros of SaaS platform development. Why do you need to consider software-as-a-service as an ideal starting point of a successful business? There are five primary advantages for potential customers.
Low costs. The SaaS model implies easy accessibility and no additional license fees, as many other apps require. As a SaaS provider, you handle the infrastructure of the application, which leads to reduced hardware costs, and maintenance is cheaper.
Fast deployment and configuration. The SaaS app is already configured and deployed in the cloud. Customers don’t need to spend time on installation and think about free space on their hard drive. Customers just register in the app, and they can start using it.
Quick updating process. All hardware and software updates are on behalf of the SaaS provider, and everything is implemented without the involvement of customers. That is, customers don’t spend their time installing new updates.
Easy accessibility. As we mentioned above, easy accessibility is always an attractive feature for customers. Users need a browser and an Internet connection — that’s all! Access is possible from any part of the world, and SaaS application architecture often allows clients to use various devices for access (a laptop, PC, or smartphone).
Scalability. The cloud environment makes it possible for you to quickly scale up your SaaS app when the number of customers grows, and you update an app often. So scalability occurs smoothly, and it doesn’t affect the software performance.
Types of SaaS Product
Then, what is the type of your SaaS business? What do you plan to create? The software-as-a-service application can be used for many purposes, and you need to decide what niche you plan to occupy before SaaS product development.
Communication platforms. Types of SaaS apps where users can communicate with their team, leave notes and messages, share files, etc. Such platforms may be used both for work and entertainment purposes. Twilio, Plivo, Miro are some of the examples.
eCommerce platforms. The majority of eCommerce platforms are SaaS applications. Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce are a few examples. eCommerce apps can be a beneficial way to gain some profit. You can determine what type of eCommerce platform is to be built if you read this article about eCommerce models and platforms.
Customer relationship management platforms. Companies often use CRMs for internal purposes — organization and optimization of workflow, improvement of relationships with customers, sales processes tracking, etc. Examples: Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Mind to read the article about CRM benefits and why it helps companies to improve their work.
Human resource management system. HRMS helps HR managers track working hours, automate payroll processes, schedule interviews with candidates, create staffing tables, and make other relevant tasks. BambooHR and Deputy are good examples.
Accounting platforms. Do you want to help other people manage their financial operations efficiently? Accounting SaaS software is the appropriate thing. Examples: Wave, Xero.
Project management platforms. PM services like Zoho, Jira, Trello need no introduction. IT companies actively use these platforms to manage each project, task assignment, time control, and project data storage.
Pitfalls Of SaaS Development
When you are building SaaS applications, you should remember that a good idea doesn’t mean an unqualified success in the result. If the project fails, you need to know the causes of failure.
Lack of trust. You must gain the confidence of new customers if you are a young entrepreneur, and your product is unknown. For example, when Google releases a new SaaS platform, it will likely be well received by the public since brand loyalty takes place.
Make sure that everything functions correctly, your software has no significant bugs, and it has a simple yet attractive design. Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair, remember it.
Wrong target audience. You should do research and target the right audience. If you fail to do it, your product won’t be created considering particular SaaS application requirements, and your app won’t capture the attention of potential customers.
An obsolete idea. Everything is implemented thoroughly, but nobody needs your software-as-a-service platform? Perhaps, you opted for a wrong idea of a platform, and today it is not already captivating for anybody. Research trends, analyze the current situation on the market and deliver the right solution.
How To Create Software-as-a-Service: Tips And Steps
This section will duplicate some crucial nuances we mentioned above in pitfalls. But don’t jump to the end, here you will find a SaaS product development strategy and systematized step-by-step guide on how to build your own SaaS application.
Elaborate A Value Proposition
You must think about some extraordinary features that will be included in your SaaS system. That is, your product should stand out among other competitors and have some uniqueness. Even if you create a SaaS of an already existing type, you should answer the question “why do consumers need to use your app?”
It will be the first right step to SaaS development when you understand the real value of your SaaS platform.
Find Your Target Audience
The next step is the one that helps you avoid mistakes and failures. When you build a value proposition, you will have to study the target audience, because the value of the SaaS platform cannot be high for everybody. Find your audience, and learn everything about it — age, expectations, possible behavioral models, and so on. Target audience is the audience that has a pain your SaaS can resolve.
Keep Up With Trends
We noted that obsolete app ideas lead to failures. So, conduct detailed research and analyze existing trends. Figure out all the digital tricks that may help your software become advantageous. For example, AI (Artificial Intelligence) is the trend that may enhance many types of apps.
Apart from this, don’t forget to make your SaaS system mobile-friendly. The number of mobile users is multiplying, and you should make your platform compatible with mobile platforms. Even if you start with a web version, remember that you should keep mobile in mind as well.
Make The List Of Features
Depending on the type of SaaS, you should build the list of must-have features for the system. If you want to start with an MVP and add necessary features only, read an article about MVP importance. But when you test the viability of your SaaS product, some new features can be added. Write them down, and include some new fascinating features that will make an outstanding app.
Choose Your Pricing Model
When you create a SaaS application, choose the revenue model. How will you monetize your brainchild? There are a few ways to make some money on your software.
Freemium. Everyone can use your app for free, and the functionality is entirely available for them. But there are additional paid features that enhance your app and make it more robust.
Subscription-based model. Unlike freemium, you provide users with additional content, not functionality. This model is appropriate if your software has a lot of content.
In-app advertising. The SaaS platform may use the most popular monetization model — advertising. Your app will be available for free forever, but the advertising will show up when users navigate through your SaaS platform.
Premium model. Users pay for an ad-free app and additional features. They pay once and use this SaaS platform with all its benefits.
Think About Security Issues
Perhaps, your SaaS system will process personal and confidential data. It means that the platform should be protected, and the connection must be encrypted. Besides, your product must comply with the GDPR if you create it for the European market, or with the CPPA, if your app is targeted at the USA, and California state, in particular.
Hire SaaS Application Development Company
Can you create SaaS without coding? This question may occupy many minds, but the answer will be short and definitive — it’s impossible. There are some website builders that you may use to create websites, but it is impossible to build a fully-functional SaaS product without software development skills.
SaaS application development process should be delegated to the experienced team that will build it from scratch, starting with UI/UX design and proceeding to front-end and back-end development. The Cadabra Studio team can provide you with a full software development life cycle, and you just need to share your requirements and needs.
SaaS Technology Stack
If you’ve already found a SaaS development company you want to cooperate with, it would be essential to know about the tech stack that may be used to develop your software-as-a-service system. Remember that this stack is not ultimate since our team will select SaaS development tools according to your project's technical specifications.
Frameworks. We will likely use React as a framework for building web and cloud services. React is flexible and fast, has an extensive database, and a large community. It is also perfect for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) — bots interact better with React-based websites. So React is a relevant SaaS development framework.
Databases. We can use relational and non-relational databases, and it depends on the type of data you want to store. MySQL and PostgreSQL are good examples of relational databases we may use. As for non-relational DB, MongoDB is an appropriate option.
Cloud services. As you create a cloud-based app, we need to choose a cloud service for your project. Well, we don’t have much choice since we want your service to function flawlessly. So the list includes Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, or Amazon Web Services. Each of them is reliable, and we will discuss with you which one to choose once you provide us with the details.
Payment gateway. Here is the same situation — we will use only proven and reliable services, and there are not too many of them. PayPal, Braintree, Stripe — each of them has its particularities, but we recommend using PayPal — it is available in 202+ countries.
Let us repeat that it is a full list of SaaS development tools. It may include additional infrastructure tools, containerization tools, etc.
How Much Does It Cost To Build A SaaS?
Finally, you want to know how much money you will need to spend on the development of the SaaS application. Let’s try to make approximate calculations.
SaaS development costs will vary depending on the complexity of your application, the number of features, integrations with other services, design particularities, etc.
Besides, the cost depends on the location of the development team. If you want to build an in-house team, you will have to spend more money on office rent, hardware purchase, software licenses. Moreover, you will need to hire each team member and interview them.
Or you will outsource the development. Then, you should choose the region where outsourcing costs will be justified. For example, outsourcing to Eastern European countries is more profitable since you get high quality for low hourly rates ($25-50).
Okay, and how long does it take to build a SaaS product? Well, the development time can be estimated only upon your requirements. Get in touch with Cadabra Studio and describe your demands — our business development managers will provide you with a detailed estimate.
Thank you for reaching the end of the article. Have you already drawn up the list of features and requirements for your future SaaS app? We can also recommend you fill out the request for a proposal that you can find on this link. Even if you need a mobile app, this template is also acceptable for the description of your demands.
Our team is always glad to help you create something great and helpful for thousands of users, so drop us a line. Looking forward to your requests and may the force be with you!