Software as a service (SaaS) is an extremely popular model in the IT world, reflecting the new reality where people prefer leasing or renting to owning. Many profitable startups that chose SaaS as their business model and grew exponentially.
SaaS means that all maintenance, upgrades, and hardware support are handled by the software vendor. The other party simply enjoys expanded functionality they access through a web browser.
While SaaS seems like a perfect solution for users, what about the software development company that needs to deliver that solution? Today we will look into the nuances of creating SaaS products, and also share a few tips to help you master the development process for any SaaS projects you might want to launch.
Nuances of SaaS software development
SaaS solutions are built just like typical software products. They go through the stages of ideation, market research, design, development, testing, debugging, and launch.
However, there are several key points that must be considered during the development phase in order to build a robust and modern solution.
#1 Security is an absolute priority
Don’t get us wrong, security should be an important factor for any solution you create. However, you must be extra diligent with SaaS products and adhere to all guidelines and security measures to prevent data loss and leaks. Use end-to-end encryption and make sure you comply with major user protection guidelines, like GDPR in the European Union.
#2 There should be no downtime
Uninterrupted service availability is an absolute must. Even a few minutes of downtime can cause an uproar, especially with large clients who lose tens of thousands every minute they are offline. Companies don’t want to risk their reputation, so if you can’t guarantee the best SLAs, they will leave.
That’s why any application development company must think through several factors when planning the solution:
- The product architecture must support scalability and large volumes. If all goes well, your SaaS product will have an ever-growing number of users that generate profit but also become a challenge to the product’s capacity.
- There should be a smart queuing system implemented to guarantee that each user can send and receive data requests without an issue.
- Maintenance and updates should not interrupt the service and cause downtime.
Additionally, you might consider having an on-premise alternative for enterprise customers who are ready to pay a premium to have your solution on their site. Many companies have strict internal security policies or are required to comply with regulations. These types of clients are very lucrative as they usually have larger budgets and see the value in paying extra for the quality and security.
#3 Third-party integration must be supported
One of the common risks of SaaS solutions that many users (and developers) don’t recognize is having to integrate with other SaaS products. You will run into trouble once you launch the product unless you’ve considered and created a decent and reliable way for integrations at the planning stage.
It is pretty much an industry standard to use third-party tools for things that vendors haven't mastered properly. So it would be unrealistic to assume that your clients won’t require that.
#4 A smooth data migration process
It must be easy for clients to export data from your solution and import their data if they are moving to you from a competitor. Some SaaS vendors are notorious for not having a proper data migration scheme, causing a lot of damage to the clients’ business process.
You don’t want to be one of those companies. In order to maintain your brand integrity, you should ensure your clients can download their data seamlessly.
SaaS software development tips
Here are a few tips we recommend adding to your standard software development checklist.
1. Testing after each and every iteration, no matter how small. Make sure the tests are performed across all fields, not just functionality but also UX, performance, load, security, and compatibility.
2. First impression kit: the welcome screen, a quick product tour, sign up and sign in through social media. Unless your key audience is midsize and enterprise B2B clients, you won’t have a chance to do personal onboarding for your clients. It means that they will be figuring out the software themselves, so make sure the process goes smoothly for them.
3. Special attention to data autonomy. SaaS solutions host countless clients and each of those clients’ data must be separate and secure from accidentally being shared with another company.
4. Monitoring solutions for real-time updates. There must be an established system to track and spot all potential issues or abnormalities that have the potential of negatively impacting the solutions’ performance.
5. The flexibility that allows for customisations. SaaS software is supposed to be universal, but in reality, many clients ask for custom features or changes. It is easier to build this option when designing the software than after it is launched.
Last but not least, make sure your SaaS solution is easy to use and has an intuitive interface. While many companies claim they have the easiest UI ever, that’s not the case in real-life. And the world of SaaS solutions is brutal. Users expect the best user experience and they are not ready to compromise.
Reliable partner for your SaaS development
Not sure where to start with your SaaS project? Don’t worry, the Emphasoft team has you covered! We provide all kinds of software development services, including web development, IT consulting, MVP consulting, and end-to-end SaaS development.
Through more than 135 projects delivered within the last 2 years, we’ve perfected our development process and can create top-notch solutions across all fields and industries. Our team of 170+ specialists has the expertise to bring your vision to life within your timeframes and budget.