Innovative SaaS Product Development by Example - A Step-by-Step Guide
SaaS Product Development

Innovative SaaS Product Development by Example – A Step-by-Step Guide

SaaS was once limited to large corporates and IT companies. Today, SaaS products drive everything from productivity to communication, making them the most-used services worldwide. Gartner estimates that the value of the SaaS industry has already breached $145B, and at a CAGR of 15%, it will reach the $171B mark by 2022. SaaS product development has seen unprecedented growth in this time, leading to organizations choosing SaaS services for up to 70% of their needs.

Why are SaaS products so popular?

Harvey Nash considers SaaS as the most critical technology for business success—and for a good reason. As the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered offices and made work from home, the new normal, SaaS software and services were the lifeline of every company—helping them keep their business running at all times. 

Advantages and disadvantages of SaaS solutions

There are numerous advantages (pros) that SaaS software offer. These include: 

  • Reliability: SaaS software is always available, giving your business the advantage of high uptime using a network of servers that provide connectivity around the globe.
  • Scalability: With SaaS, all your business has to do is purchase an additional subscription, and the vendor takes care of the rest.
  • Cost-efficiency: SaaS software is incredibly cost-efficient, and all you need is a subscription and a browser to access them. SaaS software may also require a thick client for offline use, such as MS Office 365, Adobe Suite and others.
  • Secure: SaaS applications place particular importance on security. The underlying architecture remains inherently secure because these applications are only accessed through a browser-driven instance or a client.
  • Mobile: Mobility is the biggest advantage of SaaS software. As companies increasingly move to a mobile workforce that can operate from anywhere, using a SaaS application becomes their only option.
  • Updates: With SaaS, you always get the latest and greatest software version, eliminating your company’s licensing and upgrade woes forever.
  • Reduced IT overheads: SaaS software eliminates the need for installations and updates to be performed manually, and the SaaS vendor takes care of all of this.
  • Lower upfront costs: You only have to pay for a subscription, so you reduce your upfront costs manifold.

 

However, all is not well in the SaaS world. SaaS software also has some disadvantages (cons), which include:

  • Control: You cannot customize or retain older versions of SaaS software for any reason. You are always dependent on the vendor for the version that you can use, which can impact legacy software usage.
  • Integration: SaaS software is difficult to integrate with custom offline or on-premise systems, which makes integration with a decoupled approach cumbersome.
  • Connectivity: SaaS software is inaccessible without an internet connection. If your network is sluggish, you can just wait for it to stabilize. Additionally, SaaS providers can also face connectivity issues, causing downtime. 
  • Security: Sensitive customer data can sometimes be affected by data breaches

Why should you build a SaaS solution?

SaaS software solves a magnitude of problems faced by the IT industry today. In addition to the advantages listed above, innovative SaaS products such as Salesforce, Grammarly, GSuite, Adobe Suite, Slack, Atlassian and many others have transformed the way businesses work today. Building an innovative SaaS solution is the perfect way to help your customers transform how they do business. Additionally, Associação Brasileira de Startups stated that SaaS was the way to go for over 40% of startups. Nasscom reported that India’s SaaS industry grew 75% between 2018 and 2020. All these numbers add to the SaaS use case and make it an exceedingly lucrative proposition for entrepreneurs. SaaS software is helping businesses function and grow in times when they would need to shut shop.

For example, the on-demand food industry would not grow at the rate it did during the pandemic. The education industry couldn’t function without SaaS solutions, and healthcare would get a major setback. There was no facet of the industry that SaaS software did not impact positively during the pandemic and beyond.

How to create a SaaS product?

It is essential to begin your SaaS entrepreneurial journey right. You can only do this by planning your approach well. Here is what you can do:

Step 1 – Do thorough market research

Analyzing your market will help you to understand if you should build your product, what to build, and who to build it for. Ask yourself questions that include:

  • Who are my customers?
  • Who is this product for?
  • What are their underserved needs?
  • Who am I competing with
  • Why is their product popular?
  • What is their business model?

This will help you to analyze your customer’s needs and create a vision that will help you throughout the lifecycle of your product. Additionally, good market research also allows you to pitch your app better to those who need it the most.

Step 2 – Create a solid business plan

You need a solid business plan to ensure success. Here’s what you need to include in your SaaS product business plan:

  • What is your USP? Why is your product unique and why should customers choose it over the competition?
  • How will your product solve the underserved needs of your customers?
  • How do you plan to reach your audience? How will you market your solution?
  • How will your product make money? Do you have solid monetization plans in place?
  • What is your long-term vision for the product?
  • How will you fund your product? Include infrastructure, development, marketing and other expenses

Step 3 – Define the must-haves for your product

Every product must have a list of must-have and nice-to-have features. For a SaaS solution, there is a list of essentials that your product must have:

  • Self-service: Self-service speeds up service delivery and reduces manual intervention, making the experience consistent and scalable.
  • Multi-tenancy: This will drive self-efficiency by sharing resources between customers. 
  • Monitoring and audit: consistent audits and log analysis will help you ensure your solution’s security and integrity.

Step 4 – Choosing the right tech stack

The tech stack that you choose will determine the cost of your solution. Additionally, your customers will also evaluate the tech stack to see if it meets their needs. Here is a list of some standard tech stack options that you can choose from:

Front-end

Your customers will use the front-end of your app to interact with your solution—also known as the user interface. Popular front-end technologies include:

  • HTML, CSS
  • Angular, React, Vue.js 

Backend

Backend technologies drive the server-side bit of your app. This will drive the core functionality of your product. Popular backend technologies include:

  • Node.js
  • PHP (Laravel)
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Django

Database

Databases facilitate data storage and retrieval by data processing applications. You can choose between relational databases and non-relational databases. Popular examples for SaaS products include:

  • Relational Databases
    • MySQL
    • PostgreSQL
  • Non-relational databases:
    • MongoDB
    • DynamoDB
      • Elasticsearch

Step 5 – Choosing Cloud Hosting

Every SaaS product needs hosting. You must choose a cloud hosting provider that can offer you all the services you need with the flexibility to grow according to your need. Popular cloud hosting providers include:

  • AWS or Amazon Web Services
  • Google Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Heroku

Step 6 – Pricing your product

Pricing your product right is vital to get the traction you need and provide your users with the flexibility to choose a starting point for your offering. You can vary your offerings as per need. These are some popular pricing strategies used by SaaS companies:

  • Free trial

A free trial is essential to get users onboard and for them to understand your product well.

  • Individual

Many SaaS users are individuals who use these apps for personal projects or individual apps.

  • Small Businesses and startups

Small businesses typically use many SaaS-based apps as their needs are high and staff size is small.

  • Enterprise

Many enterprise organizations use over 150 SaaS products every day. They are the most significant users of SaaS applications for email, CRM, HRM, finance, payroll, communication and more!

Step 7 – Finding developers to create your app

Creating a SaaS product requires a communicative, technically sound team that can help you drive product growth in the long term. Every SaaS development team must include the following members:

  • Project Managers

Project managers ensure that your project does not have communication issues and works according to set timelines and budget.

  • QA Engineers

QA engineers test your product to ensure that it runs as designed and does not have bugs or issues that customers might face while using it. Additionally, QA engineers also partake in the requirements analysis phase to ensure that no aspect of product development and quality is left out.

  • UI Designers

UI designers will design a user interface for your product, and they understand your target user base and design interfaces that suit their needs.

  • UX Designers

Even the best-engineered products may have a clunky user experience. UX designers ensure that the flow of the app is intuitive, natural, and smooth and does not involve jumping through hoops to perform tasks.

  • Software Developers

Software developers code your product and ensure that it has all the features you included in the requirement specifications. 

  • DevOps Engineers

DevOps engineers ensure that your product is deployed well and functions the way it should. They also ensure that all the software elements (APIs, libraries, and SDKs) come together as one cohesive unit.

How much does it cost to create a SaaS application?

The cost of developing a SaaS application can vary significantly according to the features you need and the geographical location of your team. Developers in the USA charge between $150-200 per hour. Comparatively, developers in some Asian countries may charge as low as $40 per hour, dramatically impacting the core cost of developing your app.

Your app’s cost will depend on its functionality, the underlying architecture, the tech stack used, and your development team’s location.

Average SaaS MVP development times range from 1000-1500 hours. A simple SaaS MVP with basic features will cost between $30,000-$50,000 to develop. Comparatively, building the same application in Europe or USA can cost between $100,000-$150,000. 

How can Volumetree help you in developing a SaaS application?

Our teams have spent many years developing SaaS-based applications for enterprises and government organizations globally. Millions of people use our SaaS-based apps worldwide and have consistently appreciated their reliability and efficiency. 

Our global reach across three continents and our access to a vast talent pool ensure that we offer you a price-quality ratio that few can match. At Volumetree, we believe in quality, reliability and a long-term vision for all our products. 

We love innovators and augment their passion for creating a disruptive new platform with our technical capabilities. Got a great idea in mind? Set up a free 15-minute consultation with one of our SaaS product experts today!

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