SaaS (software as a service) is a Microsoft powered cloud based on-demand service for web-based software. Instead of traditional apps that are stored on the phone, SaaS based apps are stored and run from a remote server center and most commonly accessed through a webbrowser. SaaS applications are subscription-based services paid over time on an on-demand basis.
The SaaS market is experiencing constant growth and the popularity is not showing any signs of slowing down. The end-user spending is forecast to grow from a $270 billion market in 2021 to a $332 billion industry in 2021 – that’s a 23% increase in just one year.
You become part of the booming SaaS industry by developing a SaaS application. In this article, we’ll give you insights on the best software development methods to make a SaaS based app for mobile use.
Things to keep in mind when you develop a SaaS powered app
Every app development agency should give thought to these points when developing a mobile app based on SaaS.
1. Flexibility of scaling your cloud-based app
A successful app is able to scale both horizontally and vertically. Horizontal scaling is targeted at a specific niche industry like restaurants or healthcare apps for example. Vertical scaling is developed across industries can be software solutions like booking systems, email clients etc.
2. Keep maintain and improving your SaaS app
In line with progressively scaling an app it’s also important to keep an eye on the app users’ feedback and meet their expectations continuously. Developers must pay attention to include new features requested by current users, as well as removing old features not being used enough in order to minimize clutter in the app.
3. Do extensive market research beforehand
There’s no reason to throw money at developing an app if there is no market need for it. On the other hand, even though there may be other competitors already offering similar apps, if you have a unique idea that will be a major problem solver for users, do market research to measure interest and move forward with development if you see a demand.
4. A strong back-end database integration
Although an optimized, adjustable, and protected database is necessary, it must also be of a specific type that suits your business’ requirements. How to choose the correct database depends on numerous factors, such as expected traffic, the kind of data accessed, data processing complexity, programming language and expected budget allocation.
5. Use third-party software to your advantage
There’s no reason to spend a valuable budget on software features that already exist in the form of third-party plug-ins. They are a great way to expand advanced functionality to your app without having the resources available to do in-house software research and development. Make sure all APIs are clearly documented to make for easier integration.
5. Set an attractive price point
SaaS apps are subscription-based so consider what pricing models you should offer your users. It’s common to choose several subscription models based on available features and cost. By offering different pricing, you cater to customers with different needs and accommodate their changing wants and budgets.
Development phases of the app
Developing an app in SaaS is similar in some ways to developing a traditional app.Market research has to be done, requirements have to be built, wire-framing and UI/UX (user interface/user experience) design is needed and the same with programming, quality assurance and deployment. An app development company can help you with all these phases, but there are some differences between traditional apps and SaaS apps. Let’s go through the SaaS development process step-by-step.
Step 1. Market research
Start by finding out what your target audience gets excited about. What needs do they have that are not met in the marketplace? If features are not meeting the needs, don’t spend a budget on implementing them even though your competition is.
As a side note, initial market research is imperative for the adaptation success rate of your app, but continued market research should also be applied. App users’ needs change and your app should accommodate that.
Step 2. Requirements
Once market research has been completed and you have a solid idea of what the app should offer, the next phase is building out the requirements documentation.
The requirements will define every goal and need the app must fulfill to meet the market demand.
It will also define the flexibility of business-driven configurability to accommodate your app clients’ ever-changing needs.
Being a cloud-based service, there is strong emphasis on the security of data processing from client to the cloud-based servers as well as being able to provide high-performance IT infrastructure both for processing and fast delivery.
Step 3. Wire-framing
Functional prototypes are built in a wire-frame structure demonstrating the functionality of the app. Being able to navigate through the app before it is being designed and developed adds focus to feature availability, navigational optimization, and an overall picture of the app before it goes into the next phases, where changes are significantly costlier.
Step 4. UI/UX design
Based on the learnings from the previous 3 phases, UI/UX design starts. Market research dictates how the apps should look based on user personas.
User personas are fictional characters based on an ideal customer. They often include parameters like name, age, profession, income, hobbies and spending behavior.
For example, if the target demographic is seniors, the UI and UX will accommodate this group by displaying less information on the screen at a time, using larger font types, and so on.
The requirements also set the tone for the UI and UX design. If the target group is mostly iOS users, then Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines will be weighed heavier. Likewise, if Android is the target mobile device, Google’s Android Material design will be prioritized.
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Step 5. Programming
One of the great things of SaaS development is that there is no specific programming language required. Apps can be developed based on the best programming language for the task at hand.
Prioritization should be on developing a platform that can meet and withstand peak load times and allow for scalability as the app grows. It requires structured code, solid API integration and detailed documentation.
Step 6. Quality Assurance
Extensive testing is necessary to ensure the app meets all ISO certifications, security protocols and mobile device screen-sizes.
The app is tested on various mobile devices and in different environments and tested based on different user navigation scenarios.
A solid quality assurance phase will minimize user frustration and increase app usage satisfaction and customer retention.
Step 7. Deployment
When you reach this step you must have all your ducks in a row. This is where customers will start using your app, it must work flawlessly. In case your customers have any questions, a support helpline should also be available. It can be an online ticketing system, chat service or phone support.
Well-written and easily accessible documentation should also be available to your users, so they can configure the app to their needs. Consider hiring a copywriter for this step and a translator in case you are offering the app in other markets around the world.
If you follow these development guidelines you’re on your way to deploying a successful app for your upcoming SaaS customers. SaaS software development is exciting and oftentimes a better alternative to traditionally developed apps, as the scalability and customization it offers is unparalleled.