How to build a SaaS product?
Nowadays, the use of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) applications gains momentum throughout the globe. And this stands for a reason. SaaS applications obviate the necessity of downloading software, managing its install process, and configuring settings as well.
With a SaaS app, you don’t have to bother yourself with building the whole app functional at once. Instead, you can launch a demo version of your product with a limited scope of functions at once, and add new features over time. For this reason, many startups give priority of building a SaaS app, since it is a budget-friendly and easy to maintain solution.
We have reviewed the vital aspects of SaaS app development lifecycle. If you want to start own SaaS project, our article “How to build” will suggest you seven tips for building a successful application.
1. Specify app’s core features
At the initial stage of development, you need to elaborate a clear concept of a SaaS application. It means you have to find out the target users’ needs and requirements.
With this information in mind, it will be easier for you to set up a goal for a SaaS application. It will define the scope of features that are essential for your app.
In fact, customer requirements may change over time. Nevertheless, there is some core features your SaaS app should have regardless of users demands and preferences.
Data protection and privacy
As SaaS applications are mostly cloud-based, there is always a risk of security breaches. Unlike the self-contained app that stores user data locally, a SaaS service tends to store it in a cloud. Thus, if there is a flaw in app’s security measures, user information can be easily compromised. For this reason, your SaaS application has to provide sustainable security measures that prevent data from stealing, compromising, and hacker attacks as well.
Nowadays, there is plenty of security patterns used to ensure data protection. Let’s consider the most popular ones.
- Trusted database connection
Within this security pattern, a SaaS app connects to the database with the help of own process identity.
- Customer data encryption
If your application is intended to store a bulk of sensitive high-value information, it should be efficiently encrypted in the databases.
- Access control list
You can realize proper access control by implementing authentication and authorization processes in your SaaS app. User access is limited to a particular tenant during authentication and depending on access rights, to a specific module during authorization.
- Restricted API
Restricted APIs provide limited capabilities of data manipulation.
Third-party app integration
In fact, there is plenty of accessible and useful applications that perform some particular functions truly seamlessly. In such a manner, many users would like to have access to these apps at their fingerprints while using a SaaS application.
For this reason, it is worth considering a third-party app integration in a SaaS application. This way you can extend the capacities of your app’s functionality and avoid a need to build some additional features yourself.
As a result, a third-party app integration not only enriches your SaaS-application but also saves times and expenses of project development.
There is a wide range of SaaS services for any taste and budget. If you want to make your app stand out of the other applications in a particular niche, it should offer personalization features.
When a customer can change the look of the app according to his/her preferences, he/she gets more pleasant experience from using your application.
2. Choose the right technology stack
It’s a well-known fact that modern software industry offers a dime a dozen of development tools that may come in handy while crafting a SaaS application. As most of these tools are open-source, they generate additional value for SaaS app creators.
How can you benefit from using open-source dev tools? First, you can reduce the expenses of app development by using free tools.
Second, the open-source solutions allow anyone to inspect your source code. This way you can engage more people in detecting bugs and security flaws. As a result, you will be able to react to tech issues more quickly.
Third, with the help of open-source software, you can easily customize your app and adapt it to any use case.
In the long run, the performance and expandability of your SaaS application will depend entirely on the chosen technology stack.
3. Build an effective development strategy
A development stage is a crucial part of an app project that calls for particular attention to every detail. If you want to propel a development process to the highest level and ensure app’s success, you need to choose a right methodology for product management. In fact, modern small and large businesses make such kinds of product management methodologies like Agile and Waterfall first choice.
Agile is a methodology which assumes using sprints in software development process. A sprint divides the whole project into small parts. Each part of the project is aimed at the implementation of a new feature for software.
As a rule, a sprint takes around two-four weeks for realization. In such a way, a development team crafts a product in a piecemeal manner.
Agile offers wide range of features including:
- Building a cross-functional team
- High profile on quick release of a shippable product
- Regular and consistent client involvement
- Fast response to changes
Due to the straight course of software building, the Agile methodology allows developers to iron out software features, foresee probable tech issues and respond to them promptly.
Unlike Agile, Waterfall is a more rigid model of software development. When a developers’ team have completed a particular stage of software building, it moves on to the next stages without a possibility to go back to the previous ones.
The main features of Waterfall:
- Upfront gathering of client’s requirements
- Sequential completions of tasks
- Lack of client’s involvement at each development stage except for the initial one
- Software testing as a final stage of the development lifecycle
There are still a lot of disputes among developers and project managers which methodology is the most suitable for app development.
To opt for the most optimal one for your project, you have to consider the following factors that should influence your decision:
- Project size
- Project duration
- Development complexity
- Organisational factors
- Clients’ involvement
4. Apply regular tests
It goes without saying that any project will fail without continual thorough testings.
A SaaS app will provide an outstanding bug-free experience, only if you incorporate your development workflow with the following types of tests.
- Unit testing
Within this method, a QA team conducts testings for each app’s module separately. It is aimed at isolating each unit of a system that makes bug identification and fixing more effective.
- Integration testing
This type of testing allows checking how the separate units of the system work together.
- Functional testing
With the help of functional tests, you can make sure your product’s functionalities meet client’s and developers’ requirements.
- Performance testing
Performance testings pursue a goal to check out how new pieces of code can influence the overall app performance.
After all, it is worth considering the automatization of your testing processes. It will help you save time spent on manual tests, avoid human errors, runs tests unattended, and eliminate the risks of regression as well.
5. Ensure continuous integration
To amalgamate different pieces of code into the main path, you need to set up continuous integration.
How does CI work? The code testing begins automatically when developers push up their pieces of code into the shared repository. This way developers can quickly identify the incompatible fragments of code and carry out its debugging in time.
6. Perform beta-testings
The final stage of app testing comes, when your demo version of a SaaS application is ready. A beta-testing will reveal whether your product is on the beam or not.
Getting feedback from your beta-testers, you will be able to elaborate and implement the app only those functionalities that meet users’ actual requirements and needs.
7. Provide proper support and maintenance
Before launching your SaaS application, you should make sure your developers’ team is ready to support and maintain it.
If you want to provide a seamless performance of your app, ongoing environment and infrastructure monitoring is a must. In such a way, it will be easier for your developers’ team to detect tech issues, resolve them at the first onset, and release the updates that will correspond users’ expectations and needs.
A SaaS app development is a complicated process that consists of a research, development efforts, testings, and maintenance. Indeed, every step towards building a successful product requires a particular emphasis on details and effort commitment.
The tips mentioned above will help you set up an advantageous strategy for creating a robust SaaS product.
Helen Morrice is a technical writer at IDAP Group. She is doing her best to keep abreast of up-to-date news in mobile app development.
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