Software as a Service is a relatively new – but hugely popular – cloud-based software delivery method. Providing solutions to business problems, usually via a subscription service, is the new alternative to the traditional buying of a software license. One reason for its popularity is its convenience. You may not want or need a 12-month plan in place. With a subscription, you can pay for the service for a shorter time frame – and then again later, if required.
There are many advantages for both the consumer and developer. Here, we will look take a quick look at 5 essential steps to building your own SaaS application.
5 Steps to Build a SaaS Application
Step 1: Market Research and Analysis
Just like starting a new business such as an LLC, before creating an application for SaaS, it’s important to do your research first – and then analyze it. Study the apps that are already out there and within the same ballpark that you are intending to play in. By seeking out a weak spot or two – and hopefully finding them – within your competitor’s apps you will have a leg-up when it comes to knowing where to better meet the needs and requirements of customers.
Every organization and developer wants to try to do something that is unique, so analysis of what is already out there is crucial to you putting together an original product and/or service. Only through market analysis will you be able to break down and gain a deep understanding of what is wanted and needed by potential customers. Finding the weak spots and filling the gaps creatively can generate significant interest – and growth.
Step 2: Monetization
Before you really get stuck deep into the development of your SaaS application (as an interpreter app, for instance), it’s a very good idea to determine how you will structure the pricing tiers. Which services for what payment plans are hugely influential decisions and in fact will be the determining factors to the architecture of your app and your service. So before shutting yourself away in the laboratory and working day and night on your monster of an app, meticulously map out a revenue model. If you have done all of the necessary research, then you will know your target audience and therefore, have a very good approximation of their budget ceilings. With this in mind, you will be able to draft a suitable pricing strategy for your platform.
Choosing the right SaaS pricing model is critical and may be daunting but generally speaking, there are three tried and trusted methods for the monetizing of SaaS applications:
- Subscription: More often than not, a free trial is offered, at the end of which is the option to subscribe. The possible variables here are numerous. Will you go with the basic, standard, premium, package structure? Will you allow only monthly subscriptions, or will there be options to subscribe for 90 days at a time – or even an entire year? And will a 90-day subscription be offered across all tiers or just one of them? You get the idea – and get an idea of why it makes more sense and makes your life easier to determine these elements before fully developing the app.Subscription models can often be the best route for growth and revenue, but that can of course depend on the market you are catering for. Monthly, quarterly, and annual subscriptions can make a lot of sense. Your application and service may be the very best available – but that does not mean that everyone may need it every single day of the year. Some may only need or want your apps help for just a month, so it makes sense to offer versatility.
- Advertisements In-app: a predominant method of monetizing within SaaS applications is with the use of adverts. The application owners get paid for every ad view or click, and the users are granted access to more services for watching an advertisement. It should perhaps be pointed out that it’s best to keep things relevant, should you opt for this method. A sports app, for example, could offer content related to particular events or teams, while advertising products that sponsor those teams or athletes.
- Freemium: This is a classic app model and it is very likely that you have at least one of these on your cell phone right now. A Freemium app is one that is downloadable and useable to an extent for free but will only supply premium services after a fee has been paid. This technique is used commonly with mobile apps and cloud services, such as OneDrive and iCloud.
Step 3: UI and UX
It goes without saying but the app you are developing is going to need an attention-grabbing, aesthetically pleasing interface for its users. Not only does it need to look top-quality, but it needs to be efficient and provide an excellent user experience. It can’t just look the part – it needs to be equipped with decent bells and whistles under the surface too. Pearl Lemon Web uses UI and UX design to make their software products stand out and it has yielded great results. As an innovative bachelor’s degree in visual design claims, design is much more than a discipline that shows us how to improve and invent the material side of life – it can also be seen as an ideal model that teaches us how things both great and small are connected by invisible threads.
Step 4: Third-party Integration
The vast majority of SaaS applications are designed for and aimed at business markets. They need to be developed to merge seamlessly with other apps and business platforms. Software to assist business is great: software that integrates with other software to optimize potential further is even better. So at the very least, your app should contain APIs for third-party developers to reach your code. Just be sure that an open API structured app that is reliable and secure.
Step 5: Tech Stack
Deciding on the technology stack of your app is akin to an artist deciding what materials they will use for a particular project. Your applications technology stack is made up of what you will use to build your app.
- Back-end: Widely used among SaaS developers are MongoDB and MySQL.
Once completed, your app will of course be in need of a server. Many SaaS applications such as animation tools or appointment schedulers use Apache or Nginx, the latter being especially popular with SaaS app developers. Finally, for everything about customer data, consider keeping your stack together with the help of a customer data platform. If it sounds like too much, start with the tool Segment and get a head start by visualizing your tech stack first.
The variables, the features that can be offered, the speed at which solutions can be deployed… Cloud-based software solutions have revolutionized business and provided advantages for both the end-user and the developer.