SaaS ensures on-demand delivery of software over the internet, rather than offline delivery. SaaS (Software as a Service) is a cloud-based software service, where you access a software application via your laptop, computer, or smartphone. The SaaS business model is growing today at a phenomenal rate. If you are using Zoom for a live chat, booking a car through Uber, or using Netflix to watch your favorite web series, you are invariably using a SaaS software product.
Everyone from big multinational companies to small enterprises and startups can use SaaS to develop their customer base and to increase their products and services. Developing a SaaS application is different from traditional software development in several ways. There are many key factors that you have to keep in mind when developing a SaaS-based application.
Solve a problem
Solving real-life problems is what you should aim at when developing a SaaS application. If your software is not solving a problem, then consumers will not come to you. It requires you to be aware of the problems that consumers face in real life. And this, in turn, means identifying the areas where consumers face the maximum difficulties. If your software application can solve that problem, then people will start using your product. For example, with Shopify, you can start selling your products on the web using their portal. Netflix offers live streaming media to consumers looking for entertainment and movies.
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Consumer surveys and market research are key factors when deciding to develop a SaaS product. You get to know what consumers are looking for. Find out what are their problems. You will have to talk personally, email them, talk through video conferencing, phone, use survey forms, questionnaires, and lots of other means that you can think of. You can never guess this out yourself. But the inputs you get from your research will help you develop an application that is user-friendly and solves problems with simple steps.
When offering a product, prioritize the feature that should be able to solve the consumer’s problem. In other words, if you are you are not offering extra or non-essential features of that product, but the one essential thing that consumers are searching for, and which really will solve their problem. For example, an antivirus company offers free trial software that can just scan your computer, but is not able to remove the virus itself, which is not worth going to. The core feature, that is removing the virus, is not present in the version that it’s giving to consumers.
Though there are no definite rules of what price should you offer your product to the customer, some factors can guide you. Suppose you are offering a core feature in your trial offer; you can include this core feature plus some more features in the premium version of the product at a one-time price. Users, who have already used your product, will see get enticed to buy your product as they are getting more by paying a one-time fee for the same product.
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Any business model is built on intelligent analysis and huge amounts of data and large chunks of information. This is then put through a detailed analysis, which is then helpful in making decisions. So is the case with SaaS application development. The SaaS metrics dashboard is such a tool that gives the power of business intelligence to companies developing SaaS-based software. It gives a graphical representation, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), data analysis that gives an idea about monthly visitors, leads, paid and organic traffic, ROI, and other key metrics of that software.
Keeping your product updated reflects a lot about your awareness of market fluctuations and your knack for understanding consumer tastes. Updates to your product also mean that you keep an eye on your competitors and are constantly trying to improve your product features and their usability. Feedback of your customers, insights you gain from surveys, user interface, ease of navigation, all play a major role in determining which feature and what areas are you attempting to update.
Choice of Packages
Offering a wide range of packages to choose from will add more flexibility to consumers when buying your software. You can offer different subscription packages to your consumers so that they will get a choice from the many features that you are offering. You should also put appropriate pricing policy for each subscription, so that you retain your consumer base, and also offer value through your product.
Client requirements are a great motivation that drives a software product, especially one that uses SaaS as its mode of delivery. What is the main priority of your consumer, do they want a user-friendly design? Are they finding it difficult in navigating through the various features of your software? Are they waiting for updates? Or do they want real-time support? These factors can go a long way in designing your product in such a way that your consumer starts trusting your product and is assured of continuous support, whenever they face difficulty.
Build a team / outsource
Developing fully working SaaS software takes a whole lot of effort. Like all great things, it usually starts with an idea; then comes the technical people who build the software through coding, business, and marketing professionals who can market your product. Building a technical team of software engineers, or hiring a software company or IT firm is a question that has to be addressed first. It’s not a one-man show. It is a team effort, that sees your idea convert into software that you can put on the SaaS platform. Whether you want to build an in-house team or want to hire a software firm or want to outsource it to some multinational IT company, is of paramount importance in creating your SaaS product.
Test your product
Testing your product is vital before you decide to put it up on the cloud. Testing your products can be done with few trusted customers, interviewing them, or through surveys and questionnaires. Show them the working prototype or a model of what your final product would be like. Ask them about their opinions, feedback, and their perspective, and evaluation. This can help you in adding or altering the existing design and look of your product. Perhaps, you can even add some extra features, set a subscription plan, or add some more features to your product.
Launching your product is the outcome of sustained efforts and teamwork. Finding an appropriate platform to launch your product is also a key factor that will decide its popularity. You can use your network initially and advertise it through the old and tested way of word of mouth. Participating in events, seminars, using your contacts, cold calls, referring to partners and colleagues, industry events, consumer forums, etc. are great platforms o which you can launch your product.
You have put your software on the SaaS platform for users so that they can be able to perform a particular task or solve a problem. It means that there is a demand for such products. And if the demand rises, so should be the reach of your product. Let’s frame it like this; your product should be capable of being scalable, and find the right platform to scale it up. It calls for being proactive in choosing the right cloud-based platform, the technological expertise of professionals in being able to develop and constantly monitor website, mobile application and change it to current fluctuating trends.
In the current business and technology scenario, third-party accessibility should be a big consideration behind developing a SaaS-based software solution. APIs should be accessible by third-party solution providers, and they should be able to integrate their solutions into your code. Third-party integration brings trust, reliability, and security into your product offering. It ensures that you don’t lose out on prospective customers.
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With technological breakthroughs, increased use of mobile phones for making transactions, and web usage, it is a must that business firms develop a SaaS-based software product. It offers flexibility over the traditional software delivery, and it also offers a wider consumer base. SaaS is an on-demand platform, downloaded over the internet, and is affordable to its users. It can be customized easily according to individual preferences. With such a promise, it is no doubt that it will revolutionize the way technology is used by consumers. It encourages more and more businesses to employ the SaaS-based business model.
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