How To Develop Successful SaaS Apps in 2023? A Step-By-Step Guide
The SaaS Market is witnessing colossal growth daily. There is an increased demand for good SaaS app development companies as the SaaS business models are popular among enterprises.
This article gives you simple yet detailed information about SaaS application development.
What is SaaS?
In simpler terms, SaaS (Software as a Service) is the technique of delivering applications over the internet. It enables users to access the data from any device with the help of an internet connection and a browser. Here the application software will be remotely hosted on a third-party’s server on behalf of the client. And the user needs to subscribe to the SaaS cloud apps to use the service. This process avoids purchasing and installing the apps on the client’s hardware.
Types of SaaS apps
Now that you understand the concept, let us see the different types of SaaS software available in the market:
Customer Relation Management Software:
Customer relationship management (CRM) is the software that assists businesses in offering quality service to their customers. It will guarantee a smooth and seamless experience for each customer. Below are some of the advantages of this tool:
- Efficient management of customer data
- Tracking all customer interactions
- Identifying new leads and categorizing them accurately
- Manage the marketing campaigns
- Provide better customer service
- Identifying sales opportunities
- Providing detailed analytics through various metrics
- Generating automated sales reports for evaluation
- Creating a centralized database
- Improvement in customer retention
Enterprise Resource Planning Software:
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is an effective tool that allows businesses to integrate all their core activities into a single system. Implementing this software can be very useful. It makes monitoring various business departments easy. It can act as a central nervous system of a business that integrates automation and intelligence to carry out a company’s day-to-day activities efficiently.
Some of the highlights of using ERP software are:
- Availability of accurate information
- Better collaboration of different departments
- Enhancement in productivity
- Reduction in overhead costs
- Improvement in overall quality of management
- Inventory tracking and monitoring are easier
- Minimizing risks by avoiding errors
- Ensuring data security
- Successful scaling of business operations
- Keep ahead of your competitors in the market
Project Management Software:
Managing a project in an enterprise can be quite a complex task. Project management software can simplify the process through proper planning, allocation of resources, and scheduling of tasks. This software assists the project manager in organizing and scrutinizing each stage of the project. Let us now understand the benefits a company acquires by using this software:
- Planning and tracking the progress of projects
- Notifying the parts that need improvement
- Scheduling the meetings and programs
- Allocating the right resources
- Effective communication and collaboration
- Easy documentation
- Functions as per the requirements of a firm
- Project budget management in real-time
Businesses use accounting software to organize, manage and automate their financial tasks and transactions. As a business keeps growing, calculating finances can be a humongous task. At times, accounting errors can cost a fortune. Accounting software helps a business grow to the next level. It provides a clear insight for the management regarding the performance of a business. Let us see some reasons that encourage companies to use accounting software:
- Simplifies time-consuming tasks
- Generates accurate financial reports
- Automates the tasks
- Reduces errors
- Sync up all the financial data
- Filing the tax will be easy
- Helps in integrating with systems like online banking
Email Marketing Software:
As the name suggests, an organization’s marketing department uses email marketing software mainly for email marketing. Emails help a business build an emotional bonding with its customers. It is the best medium that allows businesses to stay in touch with potential customers and keep reminding them about the products or services of a particular brand. This software enables a company to explore a marketing campaign to its fullest potential.
Email marketing software helps businesses to
- Advertise at lower costs
- Convert a viewer into a customer
- Send emails to a specific category of audience
- Easy to operate
- Automate the emails
- Generate analytics for further assessments
- Communicate with the audience globally
- Creates an impact instantly
So, now you understand how SaaS applications can benefit your business. Let us try to understand the distinct features of different types of SaaS applications.
What is the difference between web, native and hybrid apps?
Business owners need to have a thorough understanding of each type of app. It helps to select the right kind of SaaS product that will profitably benefit a business.
Web-based applications enable the users to access an application over the web through the internet browser. In other words, this facility provides a responsive design so the user can browse from a desktop or a mobile browser. Thus, the users have to only open their browser like Chrome or Safari. They can load the webpage and start using it without downloading any standalone applications.
Examples of web-based applications:
Low-cost development and ease of maintenance make it the best choice for tight-budget scenarios.
Native Mobile Apps
These are SaaS mobile apps that users can download and use whenever required. Native apps use specific languages for coding.
For example, iOS devices use Objective-C programming language, while Android devices can use Java. We can install the native apps on our devices through a suitable application store like Google Play or Apple App Store.
Examples of native SaaS mobile apps:
- Facebook Messenger
Native apps are highly reliable and showcase fast performance. The best part is that the UX/UI adjusts according to the device on which the app gets downloaded.
Mobile Hybrid Apps
A hybrid app will have both the characteristics of native and web applications. Like the native apps, hybrid apps are available through the application stores. Even though these apps operate on browsers, they possess the UI capabilities like native apps. If a person wants to test the capabilities of an app before investing in it, then hybrid apps are the best option.
Examples of mobile hybrid apps:
- Twitter Lite
The top feature of a hybrid app is its cost-effectiveness. Also, it can provide an efficient service.
The key differences between SaaS B2B and SaaS B2C
B2B (business to business) is the scenario in which a business sells its products or services to another company. In such cases, commercial transactions happen between two companies.
B2C(business to consumer) is the business model in which a company directly sells its products or services to its target audience or consumers. Hence, the commercial transaction takes place between the company and the consumer.
B2C SaaS is the process of selling SaaS products directly to consumers. Customers can obtain them through the internet.
B2B SaaS is the process of companies offering software to businesses on a subscription basis. Adobe and MailChimp are B2B SaaS application examples, and Google Docs is a B2C SaaS product.
Let us understand some differences between selling B2B and B2C SaaS products:
SaaS Vs. on-premise software: Which should you choose?
Let us first understand the primary difference between SaaS and on-premise solutions.
A vendor hosts and maintains a SaaS solution for a company. But for on-premise solutions, the company owns the servers and network infrastructure and operates the software. The apt type of implementation for a business depends on several parameters like the approach, security requirements, budget allocation, etc.
The on-premise solutions require more time than SaaS solutions, as the former has to go through several phases for proper planning and execution. The latter will already be an existing platform that the vendor has built and tested successfully. So, the users can start using the service immediately when they opt for SaaS solutions.
So if your organization does not have enough resources to develop an on-premise solution, it is better to go for SaaS solutions. Also, if any staff has to access your software remotely, it is better to go for SaaS services.
Compared to the beginning costs of SaaS solutions, on-premise solutions are high. It is mainly due to the hardware purchase, setup, and implementation costs. Companies availing of the SaaS services must pay monthly or annually to continue using the services.
So if your company is not in a position to spend a heavy budget on software, then SaaS will be the best solution.
It is easier to manage SaaS than on-premise software. The vendor will take care of the management and maintenance, reducing the disaster recovery issues. If your organization lacks skilled resources, fixing bugs can take more than you anticipate while using on-premise software.
So if you are unsure whether the in-house IT department can handle some crucial situations, it is better to approach any good vendors to build the software that meets your business needs.
Top SaaS apps used by the world
Let us see some famous SaaS application examples:
HubSpot is a tool with its infrastructure hosted on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform. It offers a package of tools for leading the digital marketing services of a company.
Compared to the previous year, the revenue of Hubspot saw an increase of 35.71% ($ 0.422B) for the quarter ending on June 30, 2022.
Zendesk is a cloud-based platform that offers help-desk support services and helps gain maximum customer satisfaction for a company. Besides providing free live chat services, they also assist businesses with gathering customer information, avoiding unnecessary expenditures, and driving top sales.
Zendesk’s revenue increased by 27.97% ($0.407B) compared to the prior year for the quarter that ended on June 30, 2022.
The Box is a cloud computing software that provides a single platform for content management. It allows the transmission of large files and supports 120+ types of files.
The Notion is an all-in-one productivity application that offers a single workspace for the whole members of the organization. It also allows for taking notes, assigning tasks, and real-time collaboration for all members.
RaftsLabs have created a similar SaaS application called Practo. It is an online platform that allows users to search and communicate with healthcare providers. The software helps in keeping a patient’s data secure through cloud technology.
4 easy steps for SaaS app development
As a SaaS product development agency at RaftLabs, we follow a proven methodology to build SaaS apps that allow us to build and launch profitable SaaS apps in less than 16 weeks for our customers.
1. Planning and analysis
We mostly start with the Product Discovery and Roadmapping session for a SaaS app development. We identify the main competitors of your business, recognize the right target audience, and identify the pain points. We also conduct in-depth market analysis and try to know the latest trends.
2. Finalize the project requirements
We document the features to have a precise vision for development. We make sure that the SaaS product will be suitable to achieve your goals. We note all the risks to come up with the right solutions to overcome all the roadblocks.
3. UI/UX design of your application
We consider the user experience and interface design (UI/UX) crucial characteristics for building a SaaS app. A user-friendly design can attract clients and encourage them to try your product. SaaS cloud apps work on both desktops and mobile devices. Hence, we create designs with various resolutions that can match different screen sizes and devices.
4. SaaS app development
Selecting the appropriate technology for building a SaaS app can be challenging as it has to support the features, design, and requirements. Our team will recommend the right tools and technologies stack that can boost the efficiency of the product.
Let us learn some key components for developing SaaS apps:
Server: You can choose the cloud servers like Google Cloud, AWS, Microsoft Azure, or DigitalOcean.
Database: The popular databases for SaaS app development are MongoDB, MySQL, Redis, and PostgreSQL.
DevOps Tools: DevOps is becoming an integral part of SaaS products as they help to boost the efficiency of the services. Docker, Terraform, Jenkins, Kubernetes, and Ansible are popular DevOps tools.
Artificial intelligence (AI) & Machine learning (ML): This technology supports predictive analytics to deliver a better user experience or help in preventing customers from canceling their subscriptions. Google Cloud, AWS, and Microsoft Azure provide such services.
How much does it cost to develop a SaaS app?
The cost of a SaaS product development depends on the following factors:
1. The developer team’s geographic location.
2. The type of the product.
3. The features, technology, and if the product requires any integrations with other services.
4. The complexity of the project.
For a full-scale platform (web and mobile app), pricing could start from as low as USD 45,000 to 1,50,000.
It is always better to initially ask the developer team to develop a minimum viable product (MVP). An MVP or minimum viable product is a basic version of the application you wish to buy. The pricing for an MVP could typically start from as low as USD 10,000, and usually, the vendor will be able to launch it in less than 6-8 weeks.
The advantage of getting an MVP is that a vendor can deliver it in less time at a lesser cost. It will aid you in deciding whether the product will meet your expectations.
Important SaaS business terms for you to understand
- MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue): A business metric predicting a SaaS company’s recurring revenue will generate monthly.
- Product roadmapping: The companies make a high-level visual summary describing the product vision, strategy, and progress of the development of the product.
- MVP (Minimum Viable Product): It is a basic version of a product with sufficient features developed for checking the product’s viability. Early adopters often use MVP.
- CAC (Customer Acquisition Costs): A business’s total cost to acquire new customers to purchase their products or services.
- Churn rate: It is the percentage of customers that cancels their subscriptions, causing a loss in the recurring revenue subscriptions for a company.
- LTV or CLV (Lifetime Value or Customer Lifetime Value): The business’s total revenue from a customer until the period before they churn.
- ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue): It is the amount a company earns through a recurring subscription annually.
- Lead Velocity Rate: It measures the percentage growth of qualified leads from one month to the next.
What are the benefits of SaaS application development?
The top benefits of SaaS products are:
- They are cost-effective as they reduce the initial expenses of setting up the software.
- SaaS applications significantly save businesses’ time as they are ready to use after the download.
- The scaling process is more uncomplicated and straightforward. Businesses merely have to upgrade their subscription or existing plan.
- As the vendor takes care of the service’s maintenance, they will ensure no compatibility issues arise.
- As the method stores data in cloud storage, there is no fear of data loss.
- Compared to traditional storage methods, SaaS offers a high level of security for your data.
This article has helped you understand how SaaS can be beneficial. The next stage is to find a suitable vendor to develop the appropriate SaaS product for your company.
RaftLabs would love to work with you to design and build a SaaS application. We will collaborate closely with you to create a delightful SaaS product that fits your business niche perfectly. So, if you are gearing up to take your business to the next level, contact us and let us know your requirements and expectations for SaaS app development.
Originally posted on [raftlabs.co]