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Expanded as Software as a Service, SaaS is also referred to as Web-based software, hosted software, and on-demand software. Saas provides the user with software, through a mobile application or a web browser. Moreover, it's a readymade or I better say ready-to-use software, which is available across the world, and the provider doesn’t let the user worry about software configuration or process of installation.
Since the customers can use it on any device and they also get everything already configured, they can directly start using the software. Although, when it comes to the traditional software models, Saas is quite different from them not just in technical parts but in the case of philosophy and development process as well. It’s a continuous process where software updates, as well as optimization, is done by the developers whenever needed after it is launched in the marketplace.
A few SaaS app examples include Salesforce, Box, Amazon Web Services, and Concur. And hence, in order to deal with a large customer base and to help them generate revenues, it's crucial that the software keeps on fulfilling their requirements.
How is SaaS Beneficial?
When it comes to the development of a marketplace dealing with applications, SaaS has been found to provide the following benefits:
As mentioned above, SaaS doesn't require the user to maintain, update, fix bugs and configure any hardware or software part. It can be used for their needs directly.
There is no need to download or install the software and users are able to use the SaaS applications via the web browser. There is still an exception in the case of a few platforms that require the use of plugins.
SaaS doesn't require the user to pay for what they don't use and hence, the user will only be investing in the subscriptions depending upon their level of using the product functions.
SaaS allows users to have access to their app data across the world from any device connected to the internet. Moreover, cloud storage helps users with secure access and no data loss.
In the case of large companies, in order to update or install custom software is a continuous and expensive process and hence, SaaS has solved their problem by providing them with the convenience of bug fixing and updates.
Since users only have the right to use the product and not make any modifications via source code, it's impossible for the data to be stolen or to get lost by any means.
SaaS Application Development: What does it take to create a SaaS Platform?
Before you start with the process of actual SaaS Custom App Development, there are a few crucial factors, which have to be kept in account because the SaaS model is not necessarily apt for just any project and you obviously don’t want to get into any trouble.
These important factors include complete idea analysis of the entire project, the reasoning behind the use of your product by your targeted users, checking the market place for similar ideas or products by your competitors, details of your potential audience, and most importantly, how are you planning to monetize it, should you use a SaaS model to launch your product, etc.
Here I am going to take the example of Google Drive in order to understand “How to Develop a SaaS Application, which is cloud-based and what the reason behind its success is.”
Paid Data Storage
There used to be a time when people would run out of storage on their devices, would require using external hard drives in order to keep their data or they would simply lose it. Since this wasn't a complete data saving as well as protection solution (because c'mon a storage device like that has the chances to get ruined physically), with the help of SaaS products, nowadays, they don't have to worry about the physical storage device as you can use, for example, Google Drive for storing files. It provides you with a 30 GB space for free. Moreover, you can buy monthly storage of let's say 1 TB for only $10.
Free Microsoft Office-style functionality
Apart from storage, Google Drive provides its users with the use of Microsoft Office-style functionality free of cost, which includes Google Sheets, Google Docs, and more. Moreover, people are able to share documents while they are working on a project together.
Since a huge amount of people use Google Drive, YouTube, Google Chrome, Gmail, Google Photos, and other services on a daily basis, with just a single log-in in Google account, why would they find the need to use another platform with the same solutions but require separate accounts and log-ins?
Is SaaS Based Product Success Guaranteed?
Well, if the SaaS Based Product Development has been done keeping in mind the value your product will provide to a user, customer preferences, competitor's analysis, etc. there are lesser to no chances of failure. Here are a few other factors:
Be clear of who your Ideal Customer is:
You can't be using the same strategy for different types of people and hence, make sure that you have defined your ideal audience for the product. Moreover, ensure that you analyze the SaaS development trends as well.
Know how users plan to use your App:
In order to ensure product quality, define the features that are unique in your app and apart from the complete understanding of the app's functions, it's crucial to know how it will be used by your app users.
Keep a check at SaaS Research Trends:
Ensure keeping a check on trends so you can improve your product accordingly and keep it relevant. SaaS market trends include:
Artificial intelligence: VA's such as Alexa, Siri, Cortana, etc. are a few SaaS model examples in AI.
Mobile apps: The growth in the use of mobile apps over web applications says it all about why SaaS apps are needed nowadays.
Vertical development: SaaS Business must ensure providing for a specific need for their audience, which is usually smaller and ready to invest in order to deal with that particular problem they face.
Platform as a service: SaaS model must ensure to serve as a service in order to solve multiple purposes.
What are the Challenges of SaaS Development?
Not every SaaS Business is a success and hence, it's crucial to understand the challenges involved and how to deal with them effectively. Here is a list of a few:
Your customers don’t trust you:
Since your SaaS provider stores personal user details and information, your product must ensure safe and secure user experience.
A small group of targeted customers:
Since the targeted audience is smaller in size, expecting huge revenue without providing constant app updates and optimization on a regular basis is not a good idea. And hence, horizontal development or the enhancement in functionality comes to play.
Not good-enough idea:
Poor idea analysis, research, and a poor app execution are the most crucial factors, which impact your product’s performance throughout.
How to Monetize SaaS Application?
Below mentioned are 4 ways for monetizing SaaS:
Good option for constant income growth as the app gains fame. But a lot of ads can backfire and hence, a balance has to be maintained.
People have a habit of actually using what they pay for and hence, paid apps.
Includes a free app with only standard features. User must pay extra for additional functions.
If your app is content-driven, you can provide a subscription plan in return for giving your users access to, for instance, premium content. No extra functionality is included.
How to calculate an ideal Cost to Develop a SaaS App?
When it's about the development of SaaS applications such as Google Drive, the cost factor varies largely depending upon how big or small the project is. However, these 5 below-mentioned categories might help:
Monitoring software costs from appx. $3,000 to $50,000, which depends upon the advancements required.
Business analysis and design costs between $3,000 to $5,000 a month
Development and support cost begins from $15,000, which includes prototypes, bug fixing, testing, etc.
Marketing costs $3,000 a month after the app launches, which includes inbound and outbound marketing stages.
Hosting Server costs around $30 to $8,000 a month based on user number and the scale of the project scale.
Conclusion: Should you start a SaaS Business?
Well, if you consider your SaaS business idea has a unique perspective to provide value to the users and provide a service they will choose over other available similar options, you must invest in it. Moreover, it's crucial to keep yourself updated with research and SaaS trends.