Development of SaaS Applications
SaaS is an excellent option for both experienced entrepreneurs and startup founders with ambitious goals due to its consistent revenue and secure code.
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SaaS is the most popular and widely used category of cloud computing (the other two are IaaS and PaaS), offered to users and businesses who prefer a subscription software model and simple platform maintenance. In addition, SaaS is an excellent option for both experienced entrepreneurs and startup founders with ambitious goals due to its consistent revenue and secure code.
Definition of a SaaS Application
SaaS, or Software-as-a-Service, is a subscription-based model of delivering software and applications over the Internet without users needing to manage, install, and upgrade the software themselves. It is developing Software as a service application (e.g., Slack, Dropbox, Gmail, and Google Drive) that replaces offline software and can be accessed from any compatible device. Cloud service providers handle all aspects of a SaaS application.
Factors to Consider When Developing a SaaS Application
There are numerous factors to consider when working on a SaaS product. The process may seem complex enough for a startup project but may vary depending on the demand for a particular software.
There are specific steps to building a SaaS product for a business to take.
Steps to Develop a SaaS Application
Approach the development of a SaaS application from a position of knowledge and experience. Learn what a particular industry requires in terms of SaaS. Set reasonable expectations. Is there a market for your product? What is in high demand?
Conduct preliminary research to validate your idea and better understand what your potential users expect. For example, will people pay to use it if you build it? SaaS applications and solutions for customer relationship management, financial management, HR management, billing, and many other functions exist. The research will help you determine your niche audience and a fair future pricing policy.
3. App Design
This phase eliminates the risk of producing software full of faulty features and ensures your product is professionally portrayed in the marketplace. SaaS design is a complex process that covers functionality, user experience, and user interface.
4. Architecture Design
Decide on what SaaS architecture design to go with – single-tenant (with an isolated and separate server and database for a client) or multi-tenant (shared servers and database for multiple clients), which is typically preferred when you develop a SaaS product due to more efficient use of resources.
5. Software Development
After the architecture and design are approved, and the required improvements are made, product development can start. In this phase, the team of developers already has a full vision of a future SaaS product and must choose the appropriate programming language and framework to start coding on it.
6. QA and UX Testing
QA and UX testing should be given special attention. Never skip on thoroughly, ensuring that your app meets specified requirements and that users have a positive experience with the product. This is what separates high-quality software from the rest.
7. Deployment of MVP Version
Give your SaaS into the hands of users as fast as possible. Before you build a SaaS app, develop an MVP or a Minimum Viable Product. There are a lot of things you will have to add and remove. MVP helps to measure the interest of your audience and prioritize future features by getting fair feedback on the critical functionality.
8. App Maintenance
Work on improving MVP by analyzing the feedback you have received and deciding what should or can be improved. Consider what can be changed or added to the design or functionalities in the future. The work continues once the product is released.
9. Product Scaling
Scale a deployed SaaS product by reviewing users' feedback on it. What is the success rate after the launch? How much do you spend to acquire new users? Scalability suggests building your strategy in a way that allows your business to grow. Define the products' key performance indicators to measure your business as a whole. Get a revenue model to generate financial income, and then try to understand and prioritize its sources.
Create a Team for SaaS Development
It takes time and effort to develop a unique SaaS product that delivers results and accurately solves users' problems. We understand how often the results are heavily reliant on the team you are working with and how great product ideas are nothing without flawless execution. A high-quality product is directly dependent on the team's expertise and experience. What you get are high-quality services delivered remotely, without the need to constantly dive into the process or monitor and manage every step by yourself. For example, our typical SaaS development team structure includes the following:
- Project Manager
- Business Analyst
- UX/UI Designer
- Front-End Developer
- Back-End Developer
- QA Engineer
The role of the product manager in building a SaaS product is to manage the work process and ensure things are systematic and nothing is missed. PM ensures everyone in a team is on the same page, things are getting done, and the product is delivered on time.
A business analyst is responsible for understanding and gathering business goals and translating them into requirements. In addition, business analysts track the work process and connect the client and the team, providing suggestions of what else should be added during later stages of development.
The goal of user experience/ user interface designers is to transform visions of a product into user-friendly designs. Therefore, UX is concerned with designing the user's experience with the product. In contrast, UI is only concerned with the aesthetic experience (icons, buttons, colors), which is especially important when you create Software as a service product, where many users value design as much as functionality and content. Therefore, design is always taken into consideration.
A front-end developer's role in a SaaS team is to participate in a cloud-based product development cycle and create the part of the product that users interact with, ensuring it operates well on any platform and device that it is required to.
Back-end developers write all of the code that runs on the server side and is not visible to a user. They set up the environment, plan the database and code the product. You cannot build a SaaS platform without an experienced back-end developer, or even two, since different SaaS systems may necessitate different developers with different responsibilities.
Test engineers are in charge of ensuring that your SaaS solution performs according to the requirements. They run manual and automated tests on all levels of the product, looking for functional and non-functional defects. In short, it is impossible to imagine how to build a SaaS application without working with an experienced team involved in all aspects of the product life cycle, from design and support to development and maintenance.
Published at DZone with permission of Anna Smith. See the original article here.
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