When we look at the major driving forces behind the business transformation in the past 2-3 years, Software as a Service (SaaS) would be on the top. That’s true because the way SaaS applications have helped businesses create impeccable user experiences has been remarkable.
SaaS adoption was on the rise even before the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic. As we now enter the post-pandemic era, the global SaaS market keeps growing at an unprecedented pace. A recent survey by BetterCloud predicted that more than 85% of business apps across diverse sectors will be SaaS-based by 2025. Hence, understanding the SaaS application development process is essential to fully leverage the true potential of the SaaS market and choose the right product.
In this guide, we will discuss the key steps involved in SaaS application development cycle to help you understand the complete process and make an informed decision.
So, let’s get started!
An Overview of SaaS Applications
With the rising adoption of SaaS products, SaaS application development is becoming more relevant in today’s digital landscape. From e-commerce to workforce automation, SaaS products are taking over every sector and reshaping user experiences worldwide.
The rapid growth of the SaaS application market is fueled by a paradigm shift toward the automation of business processes. Experts have predicted that the global SaaS market size will increase from $152 billion in 2021 to $208 billion by 2023. Hence, more and more businesses with diverse target audiences are leveraging SaaS applications to increase their profitability and achieve operational efficiency.
Steps in SaaS Application Development Cycle
1. Market Research & Analysis
The first and most crucial step in SaaS application development is market research & analysis. Sound market research lays down the foundation of long-term success for every SaaS product. It provides business leaders with valuable insights into their competitors’ and clients’ demands.
Similarly, market research also helps entrepreneurs avoid potential mistakes that can result in financial and reputational losses. Besides, you can define key features to make your SaaS application stand out and give you a competitive advantage over other companies.
When performing market research, you should focus on the top market players, popular SaaS applications in your domain, and missing features. Likewise, monitor the demand-supply graph for your intended SaaS product, 5-10 years’ market value and growth forecast, and pain points of your target market. Lastly, evaluate the current monetization models and pricing strategies of your competitors to make an informed decision.
2. MVP Development
Once your market research is complete, the next step is to identify and develop the minimal viable product (MVP). An MVP is like a prototype of your SaaS application and helps you figure out core features. Identifying MVP also helps early testers try out the product prototype and make necessary changes.
Hence, make sure to define a clear path of customization, security, and integration while working on the MVP. Similarly, remain flexible to users’ requirements that keep evolving with time. Make sure your SaaS application is flexible enough to handle large traffic and perform in all kinds of environments without any interruption.
Similarly, define your user persona, their problems, and viable solutions to create an MVP. Never forget to collect feedback from potential users and make adjustments accordingly for better performance.
3. UI/UX Design
After finalizing your MVP, now it’s time for UI/UX designing. Like market research and MVP development, UI/UX design is very important because an interactive application interface enhances user experience. SaaS applications having a user-friendly interface drive engagement and are preferred by companies.
When working on the UI/UX design, don’t try to copy your competitors. Instead, create something different with exclusive features that can attract users and compel them to recommend your SaaS application to others. For this purpose, use the findings of your market research and come up with more innovative and creative designs that no company has created before.
Choosing unique UI/UX designs can differentiate your SaaS product from other applications and strengthen your value proposition.
4. Product Development
This is the core part of the SaaS application development process where you have to gather all your resources to shape your ideas into reality. All your plans, designs, and inspirations will take the final shape in the product development phase.
Keep a few things in your mind while working on SaaS product development. You might have a clear picture of the type of SaaS product you want to develop. However, always consider your market research and MVP development to stay on track and achieve your desired results. Similarly, choose your tech stack and document your SaaS development strategy highlighting technical specifications and business standpoints.
While working on the SaaS development strategy, make sure to include the following aspects:
- Supporting platforms and devices
- SaaS development team and technology stack
- Key milestones, timelines, and ambitions
- Cost and monetization model
- Project deadline for product release
Similarly, build an experienced SaaS development team comprising:
- Product Manager
- Front-end developer
- Back-end developer
- SQA engineer
- Business analyst
Another key aspect you must consider is communication among team members and project stakeholders. Always maintain seamless communication and keep consulting tech experts and certified IT professionals to get your desired results.
5. QA Testing
User experience is one of the deciding factors in the success of SaaS applications. Strong QA testing is essential to enhance user experience and make sure the product meets users’ needs. Hence, only a resilient SQA testing team can help you make your SaaS product free from bugs and errors.
Once your designers and developers have done their jobs, software quality assurance (SQA) engineers take the center stage. They apply various models, testing techniques, and advanced technologies and identify bugs, defects, and similar issues. Next, the findings of the SQA team are sent to developers to fix the identified problems.
When testing your SaaS application, consider the following three benchmarks:
Check your app for interface navigation, integrations, loading time and speed, and working of essential features.
Perform penetration testing, security testing, and ethical hacking attempt to see if your SaaS application can survive cybersecurity and data breach attacks.
If your SaaS app is integrated into third-party apps via APIs, make sure it fetches, stores, and exchanges accurate data at the right time. Similarly, monitor raw data processing to ensure data accuracy and better performance.
6. Final Deployment
Once you are ready to launch your SaaS application, choose the right deployment model to make it accessible to users. Four SaaS deployment models are currently popular in the SaaS industry:
Private Cloud (Buyer Managed)
This is the most popular SaaS deployment model due to cost-efficiency, reliability, and minimal maintenance. Besides, it also offers impressive flexibility and allows businesses to easily upgrade or migrate their software on monthly and annual subscriptions. One drawback of the private cloud is that you have less control over your SaaS product.
On-premises Data Center (Buyer Managed)
Large and well-established organizations with sufficient resources prefer this model to deploy their SaaS applications. In this mode, SaaS providers use clients’ on-premises data centers to create a portable SaaS infrastructure that can be deployed and managed by buyers themselves. Hence, businesses get extended control over their SaaS application and can manage integrations within the infrastructure. However, they require dedicated resources to manage SaaS products themselves.
Single Tenant (Vendor Managed)
Single-tenant architecture gives companies high-level security, better control, and extensive customization options with SaaS deployment. The most obvious advantage of this model is that it does not involve database sharing with third parties. Instead, the client is solely responsible for infrastructure maintenance and management.
Multi-Tenant (Vendor Managed)
Multi-tenant architecture is a cost-effective SaaS deployment option that gives companies effortless operability. With this mode, you don’t need to manage extensive resources to manage system infrastructure. However, the model gives only fewer customization options and limited control over SaaS applications.
SaaS application development is a multifaceted and business-critical process. With changing business regulations and ever-evolving consumer needs, it is probably the best time for companies to go for SaaS adoption and automated their operations.
The development of a robust and all-inclusive SaaS application starts with market research and analysis. Based on your findings, you can create a minimal viable product (MVP) and make necessary adjustments by collecting users’ feedback. Once the MBP is finalized, the next step is to work on UI/UX design and develop a user-friendly application interface.
Similarly, product development involves documenting development strategy that highlights tech stack & resources, project timeline, cost and monetization model, and estimated deadline. The final SaaS product is then tested in various environments to identify and resolve potential bugs and errors. The last stage is to release the SaaS application by using the preferred SaaS deployment model.
To get a scalable and high-performing SaaS application, you need to find a trusted and reliable SaaS partner. Get in touch with Khired Networks to get a custom SaaS application that meets your desired criteria and delivers your desired results.