Software-as-a-service or SaaS has been a game-changer in the tech world. Products like Google Workspace, Microsoft, Slack, Zoom, Hubspot, and many more have revolutionized the way businesses work, communicate, manage tasks, and even execute global-scale processes.
With so many SaaS products in the market, it’s no surprise that the industry is forecasted to mint end-user spending of $208 billion by 2023. Not just startups and small businesses, but even larger enterprises are taking multiple routes to incorporate SaaS and break up their larger monolithic applications.
A steady growth, booming revenue, and several untapped opportunities have always attracted businesses to clutch some profits and make their name in the industry. And that’s exactly what the SaaS industry is doing right now. With such a whopping revenue forecasted for coming years, it is magnetizing big and small players to bring out their SaaS products to the market.
And that’s where this guide will come into play.
It covers everything that a business, startup, SME, or enterprise would want to know about SaaS application development and entering the market. Be it market challenges, opportunities, development process, considerations during development, cost of building the software, or more, we’ve covered it all here.
But before we delve into the technicalities of SaaS application development, let’s start with understanding what SaaS applications are.
In layman’s terms, a SaaS application is software that they don’t have to host on-premise and is usually maintained by a third-party service provider.
Contrary to offline software which you can purchase and use, SaaS products are subscription-based for which you pay a subscription fee for the amount of time you want to use it. These come packed for use and all the maintenance and other activities related to maintenance and more. These software products are hosted in the cloud and are easily accessed over the internet. Users don’t need any extensive hardware for deploying them. The one who hosts the software-as-a-service on the cloud manages who gets access to which features based on the subscription model the user selects and also ensures its updates and maintenance.
The very basic way to describe SaaS products is through means of an example. So, here let’s understand it in that way.
Take Gmail for example. We all use Gmail for sending and receiving emails. But this email server is not hosted by us. It is Google that hosts it. We, on the other hand, simply access it over the internet on our browsers. This is exactly how SaaS works. The SaaS application's host or owner maintains the product while users pay to access it based on their usage.
But when offline and on-premise software worked just fine for businesses, why did the need for having a SaaS product arise?
The credit goes to the countless advantages that a software-as-a-service brings to the table. Some of these include:
It reduces time to market: As the software application is already fully configured and installed, you can use the SaaS application in a matter of minutes.
It reduces the costs: Compared to the traditional software model, users don’t need to buy complete software or its licenses. The multi-tenant system of SaaS apps allows even small businesses to use the software at a lower cost.
It provides easy integration & scalability: Residing in cloud environments, it is always easy to scale and is super flexible. You can simply switch the subscription model to enhance the SaaS offering when required to scale.
It is always ready with new upgrades: The best part about adopting a SaaS product is that it is always ready with new upgrades. Businesses can always rely on SaaS providers to launch new updates and keep the product up-to-date.
No doubt, there are several advantages to using a SaaS product. And that's what's leading to the surge in SaaS adoption. However, despite all these advantages, there are many businesses that are hesitant to enter the SaaS world. This could be because of the challenges that the industry throws in its way.
Every business industry comes with its set of challenges and opportunities. Some with more opportunities than challenges and vice versa. This situation largely varies on the market volatility, current needs, persisting user trends, and more.
And analyzing the current global scenario, it won’t be wrong to say that the SaaS industry is ripe with opportunities across all sectors. So, if you have plans to clutch some benefits from the $152 billion SaaS market, here are some opportunities you can grasp.
The current digital landscape has created several business opportunities and an altogether new marketplace for SaaS providers. And one of the key drivers behind this boom in the SaaS industry was the growing reliance on digital technologies or digital dependence.
A great example of this would be the need for remote working tools in 2020. As the pandemic hit, businesses had to rely on SaaS tools to communicate, collaborate, and manage work efficiently. And considering the urgency of the situation, the best bet was to go for SaaS providers.
And this growing inclination toward digital products hasn’t halted and is not expected to come to a halt in the coming several years. So, businesses have a plethora of opportunities in the SaaS industry. Some of these are listed below.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are the two buzzwords that have become a trend-driving force in almost every industry.
And the SaaS industry is no exception.
There is a lot of untapped potential lying in the realm of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Businesses can look into this sector and build SaaS products that have features of AI and ML to make them tomorrow-proof.
Cloud is offering endless possibilities to businesses of all verticals and scales. This is opening up a multitude of avenues for businesses.
Precedence Research has pointed out that the global cloud computing market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.32% and reach US$ 1,630 billion by 2030. And almost 55% of this revenue is generated by SaaS products alone.
Now wonder SaaS is expected to grow at an exponential rate as the cloud computing market grows.
Data is very pivotal in the SaaS industry today and drives the majority of the trends. And with major businesses eyeing digital transformation, it is expected that analytics-centric SaaS products will start to rule the market. There would be a surge in SaaS products that are innovatively centered around data and analytics. This would also assist businesses in making data-driven decisions and choosing business intelligence.
Enhancing the customer experience is not just the core focus of CXOs today. It is garnering attention from CTOs, entrepreneurs, and everyone else in the industry. And it goes without saying that customer experience or CX has a great impact on customer behavior, product growth, and success.
And in order to improve the customer experience, businesses would be required to follow the customer experience trends prevailing in the industry. These would include frictionless sign-ups, personalized experience, localization, proactive support, improved engagement, and more.
Being the latest trend in the industry, Vertical SaaS is sure to open up a plethora of opportunities for SaaS providers. Unlike horizontal SaaS which targets customers & clients across all industries & niches, vertical SaaS focuses on a particular vertical and meets their common requirements.
These are cost-effective and industry-specific solutions for SaaS providers as well as their target audiences. Vertical SaaS opens up new avenues for customization and delivering better experiences. Apart from that, vertical SaaS enables providers to collect industry-specific customer data that can be used to deliver intelligent solutions. This has also opened opportunities for businesses to deliver niche products. These SaaS products can solve niche industry challenges and pain points, thus, also opening opportunities for smaller businesses planning to launch their SaaS product.
Now that we know the main opportunities that SaaS businesses can dig into and become leading SaaS providers, it’s time we throw light on the major industries with the highest SaaS potential. While SaaS is increasingly penetrating every industry, there are a few industries that will be helpful for businesses aiming to reap the maximum benefit.
Players in the healthcare industry had to digitize their operations in order to provide care during the tough times of the pandemic. They were required to deliver care and one of the most effective ways to do that was through telehealthcare or healthcare SaaS products. Whether it is about healthcare EHRs, EMRs, PACS, or other non-medical systems like billing, accounting, customer feedback collection, etc., most healthcare players have started deploying SaaS products for it.
In the coming years, it is expected that care delivery would be largely impacted by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies like Natural Language Processing and Predictive Analysis. This would allow them to use data and build smart SaaS healthcare products.
MarTech, short for marketing technology, is one industry that is booming with potential, especially for those who are planning to launch their SaaS. Every business needs a marketing team to increase brand awareness, target the right audiences, boost conversions, and generate more leads. And they’ve realized that the best way to get it done is to install a marketing automation tool.
While there are plenty of SaaS tools to streamline the marketing process, there is still a lot of potential that the market holds. You can identify several opportunities and offer SaaS marketing automation tools for lead management, content management, scheduling, personalization, and other aspects of marketing automation.
Almost every business planning to get their content out there on the web is using a content management system like WordPress, Drupal, etc. However, there are many businesses that have their CMSs hosted on-premise or in a private cloud. Now, there is a growing demand for SaaS CMS that is hosted in the cloud. SaaS CMS offers a multitude of features and opportunities for businesses to innovate with the way they want to present their brand or offer an authoring experience.
Businesses looking for scalability and innovation with their CMS are tapping into SaaS content management. While there are CMS pioneers and frontrunners like WordPress, Magento, Wix, and Joomla, there is still potential to revolutionize the industry with an innovative SaaS CMS.
Businesses today have realized how digitally conscious their users or target audiences are. This has given rise to the immense popularity of Digital Experience Platforms DXP. These are similar to CMS but a step ahead of them. These platforms are SaaS-based and enable businesses to offer a seamless experience to their users and potential customers across each digital touchpoint.
While there are popular digital experience platforms like HubSpot, Acquia, Salesforce, and many more, there is a lot of potential yet untapped in this field. They can tap on the smart features and add more automation rules to offer DXPs that come with their own set of unique features.
Slack and Google Hangouts are the top tools used by businesses across industries to communicate among their teams. These SaaS products allow users to have one-on-one chats with each other, have group chats, and even place calls. There are different features offered by these tools. And yet, there is much more that these tools can offer. And that’s where the big opportunity for SaaS players lies. They can come up with a super communication tool or an AR/VR-assisted tool that can help them communicate better using advanced tech.
The next industry or sector where one can find opportunities for their SaaS products is the eCommerce industry. There are so many things that one can do to take the eCommerce industry forward and flourish. You can come up with niche-centric SaaS products or micro-SaaS products with unique offerings to test the market without directly competing with the industry behemoths like Magento, Shopify, etc.
Government digital transformation is the global talk of the town. Government authorities are eyeing the digital landscape to take their transactions online. Be it fund collection, grievance solutions, tax payments, or simply offering a way to fill up data on a government database, everything is slowly becoming digitized. Businesses can look to provide new SaaS product ideas and deliver secure products that can assist the government digitalization.
Last but not the least, business-centric products or products that enhance productivity or can be used for management can be a great opportunity for the SaaS providers. Whether it is productivity tools, project management, time management, or other tools that can help enhance business, there will always be a great need for it. And one can easily come up with new ideas to help them enhance the quality of work.
Considering how digitally-involved and tech-savvy everyone has become today, there are no doubts about the countless opportunities available for SaaS businesses in the post-pandemic world.
But with so many opportunities and the expected continued growth, there are bound to be some challenges facing the SaaS players. And that’s what we are going to highlight in the next section.
Any booming industry is bound to have its set of challenges. And when your team is all set to take on the SaaS development lifecycle or has already initiated one, there are several roadblocks that they might have to overcome. Let’s have a look at the common challenges you might face with your SaaS product or SaaS development.
One of the biggest challenges faced by businesses building their SaaS product is the need to integrate them with third-party applications. The SaaS product should be able to seamlessly communicate with other applications and share data. It could be payment gateways, CX platforms, contact databases, CRM, feedback tools, email services, and more. SaaS providers would either need to build their own custom integrations for the functionality or create services or facades to allow such integrations.
Data is precious and businesses need to ensure that the data fed into their SaaS product by the users is protected at all costs. And considering the huge amount of data that SaaS products need to store, the protection & security of data becomes no less than a challenge. There are different security risks associated with SaaS products. These could be data leaks, identity theft, unauthorized data access, phishing attacks, account takeover, and more.
While getting the SaaS application development, businesses should ensure that the database is well-defined and GDPR compliant. In addition to that, SaaS providers should also ensure that they’ve received HIPAA compliance, SOX, PCI-DSS compliance, and more based on their business model.
Businesses opt for SaaS as they need not worry about the tech updates from the frameworks’ end or getting the product updated for security patches, features, and more. They expect it to be offered by the SaaS provider. And it is the SaaS product owner or provider’s responsibility to keep updating the product and keep scaling the app as required.
SaaS providers can join hands with an established SaaS development agency and be assured to get regular updates for technologies, and versions, and even launch new features based on the feedback collected from the users.
SaaS providers also come across the challenge of managing the SaaS subscriber’s lifecycle based on their plans and subscription. Without proper SaaS lifecycle management, it would be challenging for businesses to manage the billing cycle.
They can either go with a third-party application to help manage the SaaS lifecycle of the users or have a team build the functionality into the SaaS product.
Every business aspires to have a successful monetization strategy for its SaaS product. And selecting the delivery and pricing model plays a crucial role in determining that. This is an important decision yet challenging for most SaaS providers.
They need to keep their target audiences in mind to set the pricing and choose the model that would be the best fit to drive more subscriptions. It could be freemium, fixed fee, usage-based, tiered model, per-user based, feature-based, or more. Not just that, you also need to define the monetization strategy to generate revenue from the product. Choose from different modes of monetization like subscription, advertisement, Freemium, etc.
While selecting the business model, you need to keep your product lifecycle or the way it would be launched, its offerings, software development costs, and the target audience in mind.
SaaS products are usually developed to be accessed by users across different platforms. Additionally, it can have unlimited permutations when it comes to the plans, subscriptions, and usage requirements of the users. You could have layout inconsistencies in terms of design, navigation, etc., on different devices or screen sizes. There can also be inconsistency in terms of the codes and data syncing between servers.
This problem can be solved by creating a customizable SaaS system. In addition to that, you can have the SaaS application development team create hooks and filters that would allow the users to customize the product as per their requirements without specific programming.
No wonder there are countless challenges affecting SaaS providers. But with smart planning and strategizing, one can successfully launch a SaaS product and become a leader despite these challenges.
On that note, let’s jump to our next section.
No doubt there are some challenges facing the SaaS industry. However, there are many SaaS providers who have faced these challenges head-on and overcome them with excellence. Let’s have a look at some of the top SaaS products that are ruling various industries today.
The pandemic forced everyone to work from a distance, from the safety of their homes. And this also gave rise to the remote working culture. And that’s exactly when the communication tools boomed.
Slack: One of the first names that come to mind when we think of communication tools is Slack. It is a one-stop tool for all your communication requirements. From messaging remote team members seamlessly and having group chats to creating channels for different projects, and other things, this tool has countless features. It can even be integrated with 2000+ apps for ease of working.
Zoom: Another communication tool that has made life easier during and after the pandemic is Zoom. This is one teleconferencing SaaS tool that enables you to make video calls, and audio calls, share screens, and record meetings.
Managing projects has always been a hassle for businesses. One solution to such hassles is using project management tools. There are several tools in the market today that make it easier for business owners to manage their projects and keep track of their progress, especially while working with distributed teams or remote developers. Here are the top project management tools in the market.
Trello: Simplifying collaboration between teams, Trello is one of the most popular SaaS tools used by startups, small businesses, and large-scale companies as well. There are different features like time management with cards, drag-drop editing, adding tags & labels, sending alerts, and more.
ProofHub: The next most popular SaaS project management tool in the market right now is ProofHub. This cloud-based tool is known for enabling teams to run, track, and discuss projects on a single platform. Features like workflows, project reports, rapid project discussion, etc., make this tool even more powerful.
When it comes to business, there are various tools that enable seamless operations for any type of business process. There is one SaaS suite that enables all business functions.
Google Workspace: The most popular SaaS tool that offers a complete suite of tools for all types of business processes. There is no business in the world that wouldn’t have used any of the Google suites before. Be it Gmail for sending emails or chatting, Google Docs for creating files and sharing, drive for storing data online, Google Meets for online calling, or other applications of the Google workspace, there are a wide variety of applications making business operations simpler.
The next most popular category for SaaS tools is Sales & Marketing. With the advancement in marketing and sales automation tools, many SaaS providers have come forward, offering their expertise in different types of software. Some of the most popular ones are listed below.
Hubspot: Started as an inbound marketing platform, Hubspot has now qualified to become a leading sales, marketing, and CRM tool. It has a whole suite that offers all functionalities like CRM, CMS, lead generation, real-time analytics, Salesforce Integration, sales hub, social media integration & scheduling, CRM, and more. It is a full-growth software that allows businesses to integrate sales and marketing automation with CRM and even defines life cycle stages for leads.
Salesforce: A very popular CRM tool that is leading the market today is Salesforce. This customer relationship management SaaS software is used by businesses of all scales to manage their customers across different stages in the life cycle. It has a visual workforce builder with drag-and-drop functionality that automates processes. You can collect crucial customer data and manage it all on a simple yet intuitive dashboard.
Buffer: The next tool in the list is Buffer. This tool offers complete flexibility to businesses seeking to manage their social media marketing campaigns. It has gained popularity owing to its multiple features like content scheduling on social media, browser extensions, and the ability to offer metrics for social post performance and other analytics.
While these were some of the popular categories and the SaaS tools ruling those sectors, there are various other SaaS tools that we have been using for some time. Here are the top examples of SaaS tools you can look up to.
Microsoft: The Microsoft Office suite is no stranger to businesses. It became one of the largest SaaS product companies in the world after shifting Office to the cloud.
Adobe Creative Cloud: The creative suite of Adobe includes Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, InDesign, After Effects, and more.
Zonka Feedback: This SaaS customer feedback software is used by top companies to collect feedback and survey responses.
Asana: This is one of the best tools out there for businesses to manage workflows and enhance the productivity of their employees.
Jira: A product of Atlassian, Jira is another tool used for collaboration and managing teamwork.
Shopify: This is the leading name that comes to mind when you think of launching your eCommerce business. It lets you host, operate, and create your eCommerce store easily.
Canva: The most popular design tool out there, Canva is used by thousands of professionals to create stunning designs, images, graphics, and videos.
It goes without saying that SaaS products are everywhere today. While there is a lot already in the market, the opportunities are endless as well. And if you have a great idea, you can even dethrone the SaaS industry giants and leaders.
Now that you know the opportunities in the industry and the ways you can succeed with your SaaS product development, it’s time we get to the foundation of it.
How do you build your SaaS application?
There are different steps involved in the entire SaaS development lifecycle. These steps flow in the following order of stages:
This is how you go ahead with your SaaS product development. You plan the product first, then you make various selections based on the product, and then you go ahead with developing the final product.
And this is what we will cover in this chapter of our SaaS product development guide. So, let’s get started with understanding the steps involved in building a SaaS product based on the different stages.
The first part of building any new product is to plan it out. This is where you get started with envisioning the product, ideating it, and performing research around the same. Here are the steps involved in it:
Research the opportunities around your idea and set up the scope for your product. This would include everything from the business perspective, the scale you want to take your product to, the target market, the user persona, and the different versions you are planning to launch your product.
Once you have envisioned your product or startup app idea, the next step is to perform in-depth research about it. This includes researching your target market, the audience, and the competitors alike. This would help define common traits, pick out features that would resonate best, and even assess the idea based on the competitors.
Validating the product idea is all about ensuring that the product would be a viable fit for the market before going in with the core development. You can conduct a market survey for it, analyze the feedback, and ensure how viable your SaaS product idea is.
The next step is to define your requirements regarding the product. This would include everything from technical parameters like the multi-tenancy architecture, SaaS product security, self-service provisioning, user activity monitoring, and more.
The next phase in your product development lifecycle is to make the crucial choices that will determine the future of your product. These include a lot of things like the development methodology you would follow, the technology frameworks you would use, the team that would build the product, and most importantly, the cloud provider where you would host your product. Here are the different selections you’d have to make:
The first selection that you would have to make in terms of the SaaS product development would be to choose the technology stack. This is where you select the technologies that you would be selecting the frameworks for back-end, front-end, full-stack, and more.
The next and most important selection is your development team. This team would be doing all the groundwork, coding, and testing of your product. They would be the ones creating the basic structure of your SaaS product as well as ensuring that it runs seamlessly without any error. You can build an in-house team for your product development or hire remote developers to build distributed teams.
The next choice to make is about the development methodologies. There are a number of methodologies that businesses are following nowadays for their product development. Some of these include agile software development, waterfall methodology, Scrum, Kanban, and more. You need to assess your SaaS product and the pros and cons of all the methodologies before selecting one.
The next choice to make when building a SaaS product is to choose the cloud provider. This is where you need to make the decision of choosing the provider that will host your SaaS product. This is where you assess the provider on different parameters like scalability, discoverability, economic feasibility, reachability, supportability, and more based on your SaaS product. You can choose from Amazon AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and many more.
The next important choice to make regarding your software development is the pricing model that you choose. This is where you have to make the crucial choice of monetizing your software and the subscription model you would like to offer. The delivery model would also impact the development process of your SaaS product. So, making this choice before the actual development starts is crucial. You can choose from Freemium, Tiered, Fixed fee, usage-based, per-user based, and more.
The next phase in building your SaaS product would be to get the ground working going. With the insights in hand and all the critical choices made, you need to get started with building your product from the ground up. And that is also a very critical step that includes:
Now that we have the team and the basic idea ready, it’s time that we get started with designing the user flow of the SaaS product and creating the wireframe. This is where you define the potential paths the user might take and their possible user journeys, and create a user flow diagram. Once that is done, you can get started with creating the wireframe of your product. This is how you will be able to build the best design for your product. This would have a hierarchical structure for your app along with a visual representation of how your app would look like.
With the wireframe and app’s visual data ready, you can start with building the prototype for your SaaS product. You can join hands with an experienced firm to get MVP development. This is the first working version of your SaaS product that can be tested on your beta users. You have a team of developers (both frontend and backend) to write codes for your SaaS product. You choose the core feature of your product and build the prototype based on it. This enables you to launch faster, test it on your users, assess the market demand, work as per the feedback received, and even get market validation.
While the MVP is in the development phase, you can have UI/UX designers and graphic designers working on building the interface and design. This is where the developers create the main design, navigation, and other elements of your digital product. This will analyze your personas, their entire customer journey, and the digital touchpoints to create an impeccable user experience. It should also be aesthetically pleasing while also aligning with the brand.
Once you have the basic skeleton of your SaaS product, i.e., the wireframe, MVP, and the design, ready, you can start with the product development. Your solution architects and developers get together to create the product environment and write the codes for its backend and front end. They make the architectural and infrastructure level decisions and have the developers write down the codes for the SaaS product.
Before making the big launch of your SaaS software product, it is crucial that it meets your expectations and your end users’ requirements. Moreover, it shouldn’t have any bugs and be seamless while working. That’s why you should have your quality assurance engineers and product testers in place to perform both manual and automated testing of the SaaS product. Moreover, your development team should also comprise analysts who can analyze the feedback and data received from the beta testers of the MVP. They can help find out trivial use cases or any bugs that would require attention. Once you have fully tested your saaS product and removed any bugs or unnecessary actions that might distract them from the core functionality, you can get your product ready for its launch.
Once your product is out, it’s all about maintenance, management, and optimization. By optimizing the SaaS product, we mean to optimize the SaaS environment in terms of the costs, tenet experience, performance, availability, functionalities, and more. You need to ensure that your SaaS product is fully optimized for you to increase business. Careful optimization can even help in cutting down the production cost during scaling. This brings us to the next step - scaling.
This is one of the most crucial stages of your SaaS product lifecycle. Every business seeks to increase its user base with time. This is where you need to plan the next stages of your SaaS product. This would include several options like adding more features, enhancing tenet facilities, product enhancements, and more.
Now that you know the main steps across the three stages of the software development lifecycle, it’s time that we move on to the next chapter. This is where we will talk about certain considerations that you’ll need to keep in mind while building your SaaS application.
When it comes to building a SaaS product, there are different considerations that go into the making of the product. It could be around your team composition, costs, frameworks, technologies, best practices, and more. So, in this chapter, we will be throwing light on some of these considerations.
Once you know the development process and complete lifecycle, the first thing you gotta do is get your dream SaaS application development team together. This is where you bring together and hire the best people to build your software-as-a-service product. And here are the people you will require in your team.
They are the managers who would be responsible for obtaining the main value out of the product through the development team’s work. They assess the plans of the project managers and bring them to action through different teams as required.
The product manager would be someone who would be responsible for a lot of things including the planning of the development process, task assigning, progress adherence, and more. For larger companies, project managers can be broadly classified into four categories-
The main role of a Scrum Master in the SaaS product development team is to ensure there are no hindrances in the development process. They are responsible for facilitating the agile software development teams and eliminating any type of impediment. They also ensure that teams can work effectively on the deliverables without any interruptions.
A business analyst is a person who is responsible for ensuring that your SaaS product has business viability. They are required to ensure that business processes are in line with the current market trends and the current requirements of your SaaS product. Moreover, they can also help you understand the business problem, optimize the business processes, and scope of software, and identify and evaluate solutions.
Keeping the business aspect aside, the most important aspect of any SaaS development lifecycle is creating its user interface and user experience designs. This is handled by a UI/UX designer. They use different tools like PhotoShop, Figma, etc., to create your product’s design including the layout for all the pages or screens. They ensure that the page is in line with your branding requirement, is aesthetically pleasing, and also seamless to use for the customers. This design is then sent to the development team to implement it and build the application.
Now that we have a team set aside to manage the business aspect of the SaaS product and design it, it’s time we bring in some developers to write codes to materialize your idea. They form the technical part of your team and handle the creation of different components and features for your SaaS product. Basically, they build the server side of your product. Their work majorly focuses on different aspects of the application like its database, data, logic, APIs, and more. They use various scripting/programming languages and software development frameworks to ensure your product has all the required components to connect with servers and maintain the backend infrastructure.
Every business wants its SaaS product to be bug-free and seamless to use before it is launched and used by the target audience. This is where the QA engineers or Quality Assurance engineers step in. They test your product rigorously across different platforms and devices to make sure that it does not have any type of bugs, defects, or issues. If anything is found, they report it back to the developers to fix them.
Once you know the team requirements, you need to move forward and choose the frameworks and build the right tech stack for building your SaaS product. And keeping the frameworks and tech stack in consideration is crucial to ensure your SaaS product is powerful, robust, technically sound, and advanced to cater to your business requirements and adapt to customer behavior.
Here are the top frameworks that you can choose from for your SaaS product development:
These were some of the best frameworks for SaaS application development. However, just knowing about the frameworks isn’t enough for businesses to attain technical success with their SaaS product. You also need to consider the tech stack that you’d be using while building your product.
By SaaS tech stack, we mean the technology frameworks that complement each other and would help you build a more powerful and robust SaaS application. In layman's terms, SaaS would mean a simple combination of the best frontend and backend technologies. Your SaaS tech stack would include one or more technologies from the following:
To make the best tech stack, analyze your business requirements, offerings, limitations, and features offered by each technology or framework. This would help you find the best tech stack and make it easier for you to build your team as well.
No matter which industry or sector or business process you look into, there will always be some myths surrounding it. And the same goes for the SaaS product development industry as well. People have associated several myths with building software-as-a-service products. These are usually rooted in their misunderstandings, bad experiences, or being unaware of the industry. So, in this section, we will help you debunk the several myths associated with SaaS products.
Economic feasibility is the main factor behind the fast adoption of SaaS products. This is completely true. However, the fact that many people consider SaaS products being cheaper as the only reason behind their popularity is a mere myth.
The truth is that while cost is a driving force, competitive advantage is the main factor behind SaaS adoption. The speed, agility, and innovation offered by SaaS products offer a more competitive edge to businesses.
The next myth associated with SaaS product development is that anyone can build a SaaS product. They feel that just having a team of developers or business development people can help them build and launch their SaaS. Building a SaaS product requires extensive skills not just on the development front but also in terms of marketing, sales, and business. We already discussed the entire SaaS product development lifecycle. It goes above and beyond coding and comprises various aspects of research, marketing, business, monetization strategies, and more.
The best way to get SaaS product development quickly and easily is by joining hands with an experienced SaaS application development company.
Many businesses have the misconception that once they have built their SaaS product, their work is done. Your first launch would always be the prototype or the MVP that would help you capture user feedback. Never believe that your first release is the final product. SaaS can only be successful as long as you iterate and update it based on the latest technologies for security and features based on user feedback.
The most feasible solution to succeed with your SaaS product is to partner with a company that can assist you in all the stages of development, from rapid prototyping to development to launch to scaling.
No product is perfect as perfection is subjective to everyone’s opinion. What’s perfect for you might not be perfect for others. Hence, the concept that you need to launch the SaaS product only when it is perfect is a myth.
The best route to take while building a SaaS product is to identify the features that are absolutely essential for your product and start with an MVP. Having an experienced team of developers can help you perfect your product with each iteration and add features of functionalities pertaining to your user feedback.
Businesses feel that SaaS offers only a single functionality. This misconception might also arise from the fact that many people also confuse SaaS only for CRM, CMS, or such tools.
However, that’s definitely not the case. While having a feature-centric SaaS product is key to building a great MVP for your SaaS product, perfection in it should never be the main concern. Just make sure to keep fine-tuning your product with every update or version release.
Another common myth surrounding SaaS products is that it is mainly for low-end users or small and mid-market-sized businesses. They believe that large enterprises with established IT departments or data centers are meant for on-premise software and not SaaS products.
However, that is not the case today. Now, we can see businesses of all scales, including several enterprises. They are also looking for innovation, cost to service, and agility, that would be easily done using SaaS products. In fact, we can see several enterprises taking the SaaS-first approach while fitting the cloud app with their legacy systems.
Another common myth that we can see circulating in the industry is that SaaS is leading to shadow IT. And this is true that SaaS is easier to deploy and can be used effectively even by business users. But the fact that SaaS products’ ease of use leads to shadow IT is a myth that needs to be debunked.
SaaS is disrupting the entire ecosystem, not just the business perspective, and that includes the IT department too. There are several IT SaaS apps in the marketplace that are simplifying work for IT workers in terms of workload automation, testing, and now even building applications through no-code and low-code development tools. Moreover, CIOs and IT heads are increasingly getting involved with SaaS products to boost innovation and focus on strategic ways to enhance business. Collaboration with the IT department would always be required to ensure security, seamless integration, and privacy while using SaaS products.
Now that we have debunked the various myths associated with SaaS product development, let’s move to the next important consideration. This is where we will be discussing the mistakes that you need to avoid while building your SaaS application.
It goes without saying that one of the biggest mistakes that one can make in terms of their SaaS product development is to invest in a product that has no market need. And more than that, a product that is a complete replica of an existing product. While getting inspiration from an existing product is great but such a product is bound to fail sometimes. Either the users would realize that it does not have any new features that would make them purchase it.
The best way to avoid such a mistake is to perform in-depth market research before getting on with the development process. This would enable you to analyze the market situation and its demand. With proper market research, you would be able to ensure if your product has demand and even throw light on pricing and product features to prioritize.
You can solve all the other problems including pricing, scaling, planning, and more. However, not having the right team would be a mistake that could cost you your entire SaaS product. In fact, almost 23% of companies fail because of having the wrong people on their team. You need to build a team for your SaaS application development. The people should not just be passionate about your project but also work diligently as a team to bring your product to success.
The best way to overcome this mistake is to ensure that you have hired the right set of people for your team. Make sure to follow the team composition discussed above for your product. And hire people who align with your vision and are passionate about the idea.
Pricing your product too high or underpricing it is another common mistake made by many SaaS product owners. Undercharging for the product would lead to losses while overpricing would mean you drive your customers away. Many businesses also make the mistake of hiding their pricing options.
To avoid this mistake, businesses should be very meticulous about their pricing model. Whether you are researching the subscription model or the pricing strategy, make sure you have analyzed the user requirements, market conditions, and other things before getting started.
The next mistake that businesses make while creating their SaaS product is not valuing the users as much as they should. They underemphasize or undermine the importance that user-friendliness holds in their product. They focus on creating the best version of their product or its core feature. And while their product seems perfect in technical terms, they forget about its user-friendliness.
To avoid this mistake, you should always make sure that you start with your MVP first to collect user feedback as you scale. Your users should be able to use your product’s capabilities to their fullest potential. Don’t overcomplicate your product. Keep it simple and let your user understand your core feature while using it.
The next big mistake any SaaS company can make once they’ve tested it and are ready to launch is to offer a low-grade or no onboarding experience. Many companies think that users would understand how to use the product and its features on their own. Some even try to collect all customer details during sign-up and make it mandatory to fill in each field. However, this could complicate things for them.
To avoid this mistake, businesses should make sure that they’ve set up a simple and interesting onboarding experience for their customers. It should have a simple user guide or demo showcasing the features, features to get a trial, and more.
These were some of the biggest blunders that businesses can make while building their software-as-a-service product. In this section, we not just discussed the mistakes but also ways to avoid them. And now that we know how to avoid these mistakes, let’s go through some best practices to help you succeed.
When it comes to SaaS product development, we’ve covered almost all aspects of SaaS product development. However, in order to succeed, you need to not just avoid mistakes and overlook the myths, you also need to follow some of the best practices. So, without further ado, let’s throw light on some of the best practices for succeeding with SaaS product development.
The most important thing about SaaS product development is to have centralized operations. The user subscribing to SaaS products wants everything to be perfect and served to them as they subscribe to their desired model. Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery during SaaS product development can help in centralizing operations by bringing in DevOps.
Many businesses want to launch their SaaS product faster. And one cool way to get that done is through the use of no-code or low-code application development. These are new drag-and-drop tools that can help you build your SaaS products quickly. It is a great approach for businesses to launch simple SaaS products quickly.
As many of the industries and markets are already dominated by big names, creating a monolithic architecture wouldn’t be a feasible solution. You can always go small and go for microservices. These are smaller components of your SaaS product that can be built individually and be used for showing your core features also instead of any added fluff.
The best tip or strategy that anyone can offer you when it comes to SaaS product development is taking the minimum viable product approach. This way you can launch your product frequently and with crucial user feedback. You can also launch faster and make sure you are offering what your customers want.
Security should always be your top priority when you are building a Saas product. Your SaaS product would contain data of several users and tenets. Any data leakage could cost you a lot. Therefore, you should always make sure that you follow the compliances like HIPAA, GDPR, and more.
Now that we have discussed some of the key things that you should key in mind while building your SaaS product, it’s time we move to the most crucial aspect- the cost. And that’s what you will find in the next chapter.
When it comes to building a SaaS product, the cost is one of the first things that any business looks out for. It would help them find their funding and get started easily. However, calculating SaaS product development costs is not a very quick and easy process.
There are different things involved and factors that could lead to variations in the cost. So, if you are planning to get your product built, here is how you can know everything about the costs.
When it comes to SaaS application development cost, there are several factors that affect the overall calculation. While the majority of the costs are very similar to the costs of developing any other product, additional costs entail your cloud provider, multi-tenancy or single-tenancy mode, user base, and more.
However, these are not all. There are many factors that you should always consider when trying to calculate your SaaS application development cost. So, let’s have a look at the most crucial factors that impact your cost of SaaS application development.
The biggest factor that would determine the cost of your SaaS application development is its size. The bigger your product, the more it would cost to build. The price would escalate as you increase the number of users, screens, tenets, pricing models, etc., for your product.
The next important factor that comes into play when you are planning to calculate the cost of the MVP of your SaaS product is the team size required for building it. The team would essentially comprise the developers building the backend and front end of your application, designers managing the UI and UX, QA engineers ensuring quality, and project managers managing it all. And as you scale your SaaS product, the salary you pay for the development fees would also increase. You can manage the costs based on experience, skills, delivery deadlines, expertise, and more.
Many SaaS products are pretty simple and can be built in a matter of months. Some, on the other hand, are pretty complex. Building them requires advanced technologies, integrations with different systems or third-party apps, and even new-age technologies like AI, ML, data science, RPA, and more. And all these technical advancements need skilled developers who charge a pretty high sum.
While most business leaders always tell SaaS product owners to take the MVP approach and build the core business feature first, there are many SaaS products that come with multiple features. Also, the more complex features you add to the SaaS product, your costs would automatically increase.
Your technological architecture includes everything from the SaaS component arrangement to their interactions with each other and external platforms. Cost based on architecture depends largely on the number of API integrations you want to include in your SaaS product, its multi-tenancy architecture, and scalability.
SaaS products started overcoming the limitation of not communicating with other apps through third-party and API integrations. And while this saves a lot of costs compared to building the integration as backend functionality, it also adds to the costs.
The next and the most important factor that can lower or increase your SaaS application development costs by a huge margin is the method of development. You can outsource to India for your development needs as companies here charge pretty less compared to companies in western regions. Not just outsourcing software development, you can also opt for hiring remote developers for your product instead of building an in-house team. You can easily find highly skilled developers at half the charges in countries like India. In addition to that, you can also build your own dedicated teams for building the SaaS product with an experienced SaaS application development company.
These were some of the major factors that affect the cost of SaaS application development. In addition to these, you also need to perform the cost calculations. So, let’s move to the next chapter to calculate the same.
Now that we know the obvious and not-so-obvious factors that impact the cost of SaaS application development. There are different apps that can give you a slight idea of how much your app would cost.
Here are some examples:
Slack: This tool is commonly used by organizations across the globe to hold conversations with teammates, in groups, or even integrate it with other applications. Its core features include:
Building A SaaS product that would be similar to Slack MVP would cost anywhere between $70,000 and $100,000 and take 1,200 hours of development time.
Dropbox: Dropbox allows businesses and users to store their files for easy sharing while ensuring security. It allows personal storage, cloud storage, file synchronization, and much more. It comes with features like:
Building a SaaS product like Dropbox can cost anywhere around $50,000 for its first prototype or MVP. It would require around 1,000 hours of development time.
MailChimp: The next commonly used SaaS platform is widely used for its marketing automation capabilities. Its key features include:
Building an app like MailChimp can cost anywhere between $80,000 and $100,000.
Figma: Another popular SaaS tool that is used by many in the design industry is Figma. This tool provides designers countless options to create graphics, share files, and more. Some of its features include:
Building a tool like Figma could cost anywhere around $75,000.
When building a SaaS MVP, you would need to calculate based on different parameters like the product size, team size, time required to build and more. You can check out this blog to know more about calcuating MVP development cost for SaaS product.
This includes the costs of your front-end developer, back-end developer, API integrations, and more.
When it comes to building a SaaS product, one requires more than just a great idea to make the product a success. And while you can find hundreds of tips to achieve success with your SaaS product, our SaaS product development guide highlights some tips to help you out during the development phase of your Software as a Service.
The first step in launching any new business initiative is to understand the target audience and the market. This should be the first step in market research. You need to know if your target user segment exists and has a long-term need for it. Additionally, you should also know the market you want to penetrate and the competitors currently there. There should be a need for the SaaS product in the market and a unique proposition in your product that makes it stand out from your competitors.
While researching the audience, market, and competitor is crucial, this would still remain theoretical knowledge. To mitigate the risk of investing all funds in an idea that doesn’t resonate with the users. And the best way to get that done is by developing a Minimum Viable Product. It is the first prototype of your SaaS product that you can test on your beta users and iterate as per the user feedback. This would help validate your idea and even make sure your business monetization strategy works.
The next important thing to consider when building your SaaS product is to ensure that you have identified the concerns of your users. This is where your market research and competitor analysis can help you. You need to make sure that you have analyzed the prototype and each step of the customer journey to identify any concerns that might hinder their experience.
The next tip that businesses can use when building their SaaS product and especially marketing is to collaborate with companies looking for such solutions. You can join hands with smaller or mid-size companies, startups, or even enterprises to get a faster adoption of your product. Moreover, you can also generate more relevant leads when you collaborate. This would lead to an increased adoption rate and leave you with greater insights to create a better product in the next version.
The next tip that you can follow when building your SaaS product is to approach it with a narrowed down scope. The larger your product scope, the more challenging it would be for you to make your mark in the market. Micro SaaS is already a trend and going with a clear and narrowed scope would help you launch faster and better.
Your pricing model would determine the conversions and leads that you generate for your SaaS product. In order to do so, you need to understand your product’s cost, competitor costs, and current usage rates. You also need to be aware of the value that your product offers to your customers and end users to define the pricing. However, just identifying the pricing isn’t enough. You also need to be aware of what model you choose from the pricing.
There are Freemium, user-based, tiered pricing, and more. A simple pricing model could have four options, free, low-price, medium-price, and high-price. Keep the pricing based on the features that you are offering. This is the simplest model where users can pay more to unlock more features. Moreover, it should have upselling opportunities so that the customer not just sticks with it but also upgrades to the next level of your SaaS product offering.
SaaS businesses need to understand the various touchpoints in the user journey in order to deliver an exceptional user experience. Whether it is the free demo of your product when someone signs up, the option for social sign-up, sharing across other products, or any other feature in the user journey, you need to make sure that it is seamless. Your SaaS product should be created such that it offers a seamless experience across all touch points.
SaaS application development is a time-consuming but rewarding process. If done right, you can reap abundant benefits from your SaaS app. And this is where joining hands with a SaaS application development partner can come in handy for you.
There are several reasons why joining hands with a SaaS applications development company would be advantageous for you. SaaS product development is a lengthy process that requires a lot of expertise and skill set. Going around looking for skills every time there is a requirement in your team can lead to a delay in the launch or even increase the overall budget.
And you can simply avoid all these issues by simply joining hands with an experienced SaaS development company. You can outsource the development or even hire remote developers or build a team with them. And that’s not all, there are several other benefits of partnering up for your SaaS product like:
However, while joining hands with a SaaS development partner, there are several things that you need to keep in mind. And the first thing is to follow the right process. There is a process with set steps that can help you.
When it comes to choosing the right SaaS application development company for your project, there are different steps that you can take. In this section, we will be outlining the process that you can follow to find the right SaaS application development partner for yourself.
The first step is to always look for the best SaaS product development companies. You can search them on Google, and go through sites like Clutch, The Manifest, listicles, and more. Once you have found them, shortlist the ones that fit well based on the checklist we’ve listed in the next section.
Once you have shortlisted the company or companies, you can start sharing your requirements with them. You can hold meetings with their business experts to analyze what vision they’ll have and what they can bring to the table.
You can now also discuss your requirements along with the engagement models that they offer. They can help you build a complete team, offer developers who can work as an extension to your in-house team, manage your end-to-end SaaS product development, or simply outsource your project. They will also share their working process and more.
Upon assessing the different proposals and engagement models, you can finalize the company and get quotes from them. However, remember that this would be the initial proposed budget and might fluctuate based on any additions or further integrations, or scaling of your SaaS product.
The next step is to start interviewing the developers that the SaaS application development company can offer. Based on your requirements, you can ask them to share the resumes of the engineers and hold interviews. You can select the devs and set up your own team for the same.
Once everything is set, you can simply sign the contract and get started with the engagement. Make sure that the contract is fool-proof and with everything including the payment structure, IP protection/NDA clauses, exit strategy, subcontracting, etc.
When it comes to partnering up with an agency for your SaaS application development, there are some things that you should definitely check with them. So, once you have decided to join hands with a company, here are some things to check first:
Make sure to follow this checklist while choosing your partner for SaaS software development. It will enable you to find the partner that fits right with your requirements and offers expertise in the same.
If you are choosing to entrust your SaaS project to a development company, make sure that you are joining hands with someone with experience, expertise, and technical excellence in your niche. Classic Informatics is one of the leaders when it comes to building SaaS products.
We have over two decades of experience in building all types of software products. As your outsourcing partner, we can help you build awesome products.