What is a SaaS App?
As cloud-based technology has evolved and become more secure, reliable and socially acceptable, the move towards SaaS apps (Software as a Service) has grown tremendously. Whilst there was initial resistance and trepidation from organisations to adopt this model of software delivery, it is now the norm, and has become the preferred and trusted way of both deploying and consuming software.
The SaaS model is the method of providing software over the internet, using cloud-based technology and the provider’s servers, rather than the traditional method of purchasing a physical piece of software from a store. It’s often referred to as web-based software. Users generally pay a subscription fee for the service and can then access the service over the internet. In addition to providing access to their technology, service providers are also responsible for:
– Ensuring network/server security and integrity to protect users against hackers, malware and performance issues.
– Ongoing maintenance of the software, via updates and patches delivered over the internet, to ensure continuous high performance and reliability.
– Real-time support to users via 24/7 online chat platforms and remote monitoring.
SaaS apps are now everywhere in the online space, and the days of buying software on disk, installing it on our PCs, and having to purchase a new license every time a new version is released are all but gone. Most major word processing, graphic design, spreadsheeting, presentation and e-commerce platforms now run via SaaS apps.
The widespread use of portable devices has contributed enormously to the growth of web-based software, and it’s not just businesses that are embracing this method of service consumption. The massive popularity of consumer-targeted platforms, such as movie and music streaming services, and social networking and dating applications, is illustrative of how incredibly successful the adoption of SaaS apps has become.
With this far-reaching acceptance and growing popularity of SaaS apps in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of their benefits and discuss three significant reasons why the development of SaaS applications are the future of product and service delivery.
Three Major Benefits of Employing SaaS App Solutions
1. Accessibility and Security
A huge advantage of SaaS applications is that anyone with an internet connection can access them via their web browser, regardless of which operating system they’re running or what type of device they’re on. SaaS apps are designed to be just as functional on mobile devices as they are on desktops.
You can, therefore, use web-based applications anywhere at any time, provided you have access to the internet.
This increased accessibility also means that as a software vendor or developer, you have the potential to reach a huge section of the market as you are not limited to developing for one operating system, or with one particular organisation or business model in mind.
Greater market reach ideally leads to more revenue and reduced development costs, as you are essentially designing one application that can be tailored to suit individual needs via multiple subscription tiers.
Likewise, consumers benefit from the greatly increased user-base and lower development costs as it keeps their subscription fees low, and provides developers with the resources to perform frequent updates and maintenance, and administer regular security patches to improve platform functionality and reliability.
Developers can easily distribute software updates to users via the internet when working with SaaS apps because they are web-based and ‘live’ in the cloud. There is very little disruption to the user under this model, as updates and fixes can be implemented quickly and easily without any loss of production time.
This is a huge improvement on traditional on-site software updates that require compatibility testing and security checks before being deployed to each individual device, which can be both time-consuming and disruptive to the workplace.
2. Operational Management and Use of Resources
For SaaS app vendors and developers, a huge amount of time is saved from having all your clients using essentially the same version of your software. It means that there is less code to write, and less work involved to provide updates as you are not having to account for multiple versions of the same program.
It is also easier to maintain security because you are working and deploying centrally to the cloud, rather than to individual users, and distributing patches and upgrades to all clients at once.
This better use of both financial and human resources means that time can be spent more efficiently and effectively on innovating and improving the software for clients, rather than simply maintaining. Happier clients mean continued support and subscription to your service platform, allowing you to have a steady stream of revenue and continued opportunities to grow and plan ahead.
Data and analytics regarding your client base and how your application is being used will also be vastly improved under this model, as again, all the information regarding your client base is coming from a central source – the cloud. SaaS providers and developers can examine user data and make adjustments and improvements accordingly.
Financial Benefits for Both Developers and Clients
There are numerous ways in which the move to SaaS apps will reduce costs for both vendors/developers and users.
Gone are the days of users having to pay exorbitant fees for software licences and continual upgrades. If you are running a SaaS app platform, your only costs will be the subscription fees that you pay monthly or annually, and all updates will be included with your subscription fee.
SaaS app vendors do not have any costs for the production of disks, distribution of products to retailers or shipping costs. The product is delivered directly to the client via the web!
Vendor/developer cost of maintenance and upgrades is greatly reduced, as all clients are using the same platform. Time and resources can be better distributed for innovation and enhancements, as fewer resources are required for maintenance of basic infrastructure.
SaaS app vendors typically offer different tiers of service delivery based on the user’s subscription type. This system benefits both vendor and client – clients can adjust their subscription type to meet their current needs without any disruption to their business, and developers do not have to do any extra work to tailor their software to meet the user’s changing needs.
SaaS app developers have regular payments coming in and know exactly how much revenue to expect each month or year, based on the number and type of user subscriptions they have on their books. This makes it easier to budget for what lies ahead and to plan for development, updates and allocation of resources.
Extra Points to Consider for Developers
Although there are a lot of similarities between traditional and cloud-based software development, there are also a few key differences that need to be taken into consideration when embarking on a SaaS app development project.
Do Your Market Research
Software developers often fail to perform adequate market research. It’s easy to check out the competition – you can access their platforms via the web, and most SaaS apps will offer a free trial period. Use this trial period to test out your competitors and identify what works well and what you could improve on.
Another method of conducting some basic level market research is to read through the user reviews of competitors’ apps and see if any recurring complaints (or compliments) are being made. This will give you at least some idea of what consumers’ expectations are and what to avoid when developing your SaaS app.
Choose a Proven Cloud Service Provider
Security, reliability and storage are of crucial importance to the ongoing success of your app, so choosing the right cloud service provider is possibly the most important consideration for your ultimate success. Make sure you do your research and find one that has an excellent track record, can scale to your ever-changing business needs and provides relative value for money.
This is probably an obvious point to consider, but it is important that you get this right so that your SaaS app subscription tiers are competitive and attractive to potential users, but not so under-priced that you end up losing money.
Again, examine your competitors’ products and what they are offering for the price, and also take your development costs into consideration when planning your pricing strategy.
Choose a Reliable Content Delivery Network
The performance of your app will be largely reliant on your CDN, and how their servers are distributed around the world. The positioning, number and reliability of these servers is a significant factor in determining how accessible your app is from the cloud, so this is obviously something you need to get right.
Again, while you do not want to spend outside your development budget if you can help it, choosing a proven industry leader is extremely important to the long-term success of your app, as the server availability will ultimately determine how stable and accessible it is for consumers.
Given that the use of the internet has become so ensconced in all our daily lives, and the fact that we now do virtually everything from our computers and mobile phones, it makes perfect sense that software developers are now leaving behind the traditional methods of producing hard copy products and are moving towards web-based service-providing applications.
SaaS apps are without question the way of the future and provide multiple benefits for both the user and developers. They are agile applications that are adaptable to the ever-changing business environment and to consumers’ needs, and they allow software developers and vendors opportunities for innovation and service delivery that was just not possible with physical products.
Dua is one of the industry leaders when it comes to the implementation of SaaS apps, and our Albanian social platform has successfully connected millions of people, thanks to its user-friendly interface, reliability and functionality. Our dating app has proven to be particularly successful and is a perfect example of what is possible with a well-developed SaaS app.
If you would like to discuss our game-changing online dating platform or ask one of our helpful staff any questions regarding the app, please feel free to contact us here and we will happily provide all the assistance we can.