Not so long ago, all of a company’s IT systems were on-premise. Back then, a cloud was just something white and fluffy above us. Cloud computing has since become the norm. Today, cloud platforms can be utilized for just about all of your processes and systems. Enterprises consider the flexibility and risk-management implications and add SaaS to their portfolios of IT services. The main question is “How to design a SaaS application?”
What Is Software as a Service (SaaS)?
Let’s start with the basics. SaaS stands for “software as a service.” It can be described as a software distribution model. In a nutshell, it means that some independent third-party provider hosts applications and make them available to users online without installation. SaaS application examples include picture editing tools, email, office apps, and calendars, among others.
SaaS is one of three central cloud computing categories, alongside infrastructure as a service and platform as a service (IaaS and PaaS). If you’re diving into transitioning over to a cloud, it may be helpful to understand that there are usually three different models to choose from:
- ⇒ Software as a Service (SaaS) – software that’s available via a third party over the Internet.
- ⇒ Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – a cloud-based service, pay-as-you-go for services such as storage, networking, and virtualization.
- ⇒ Platform as a Service (PaaS) – hardware and software tools available over the Internet, and SaaS infrastructure architecture is responsible for designing and maintaining the right ones.
There is a direct link between SaaS, ASP (Application Service Provider), and on-demand computing software delivery models. The hosted application management models of SaaS are a lot like ASP in the sense that a provider hosts software for the customer before delivering it to confirmed end-users online.
A SaaS deployment service provides beneficial payoffs and saves users from all of the hassles that come with updating, maintaining, installing, and buying an app. SaaS application access is simple and quick, and all that is needed is a connection to the Internet.
Besides being secure and reliable, SaaS app development ensures benefits like the following:
- App data is available online from anywhere. No need to be connected to a specific workplace or computer.
- No need to deal with the technical issues of the software.
- SaaS is hosted on a remote server by a third-party provider.
- Scalable, with different tiers for different businesses.
- As part of the cost, it offers security, compliance, and maintenance.
- Easy to customize, monitor, and update.
- Single/multitenant architecture of SaaS.
- No compatibility problems with another platform(s).
- No performance problems.
- Customers pay a certain fee for the usage period only.
As in the case of any other work model, the SaaS approach has its downsides as well:
- Due to Internet disruptions, users can lose access to the application.
- When using a SaaS system, users’ commercial data is accessible to a third-party provider, which raises privacy concerns for both.
How Does a SaaS Model Work?
A SaaS application is sometimes called “hosted software.” Cloud computing is used to transmit an application over to multiple potential customers and real users, no matter where they are situated. It permits handling activities out of central locations using the model some refer to as “1-to-many.”
Because the delivery model is web-based, there is no need for IT employees to download/install apps on each computer. Instead, vendors will manage technical issues pertaining to storage, servers, middleware, and data. It will result in streamlined support and maintenance for the company.
The SaaS software is located on the service provider’s network, and the user’s data is stored there. Users can access it from a web browser on any computer or Internet-connected device.
For organizational use, companies can rent productivity apps, such as email, collaboration, calendaring, and sophisticated business applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and document management. Companies pay for the use of these apps by subscription or according to the level of use.
Software as a Service Examples
There are hundreds of examples of well-known products working according to the SaaS model, from mobile management tools to expense report management, from video transcoding to financial calculations, and from customer data cleanup to computer-aided design (CAD).
Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Microsoft Office 365, HubSpot, Amazon Web Services, DocuSign, and others were early SaaS companies, and its SaaS platforms remain one of the most popular cloud-based applications. The SaaS business market continues to grow, and cloud technology continues to gain in popularity.
Among the other leading enterprises, SaaS providers are Mailchimp.com email marketing platform, Wix.com website builder, Canva.com (graphic editor), Adobe Systems, Citrix Systems, Dropbox, ServiceNow, and Workday.
SaaS vs. On-Premise: Which One to Pick?
To answer this question, you’ll need to determine how complex your business is. Ask yourself these questions to figure out if SaaS will be suitable for your business:
- ⇒ Is there a specific software customization level you need?
- ⇒ Are shelf products enough to provide you with the functionality your business needs?
- ⇒ How is your company specialized in contrast to your competition?
Another aspect to keep in mind is your company’s budget. SaaS subscriber payment models can help businesses with small budgets spread out the overall ownership cost gradually. This allows businesses – especially small ones – to adopt modern, robust software.
Buyers no longer need to pick between functionality and flexibility. A majority of modern cloud-based programs provide the very same customer experiences that on-premise installations do.
A bigger question lies around ownership of data. Most vendors allow end-users to possess data. However, it is worth reviewing service contracts to determine precisely how the data is used.
Many industries haven’t yet embraced cloud solutions. Some manufacturers prefer conventional ERP deployment solutions. Regardless, any business interested in contemporary approaches tends to steer toward cloud-based solutions by default.
Designing SaaS applications can be quite convenient in all types of situations, including the following:
- ⇒Apps that require both mobile and web access.
- ⇒Apps that are not used very often.
- ⇒Projects of a short-term nature that need fast, affordable, and simple collaboration.
- ⇒Small companies or start-ups trying to launch their businesses quickly but lack time to deal with software or server issues.
The SaaS solution architecture encompasses the design and deployment of the entire product, including the application, infrastructure, and data management. The SaaS software is licensed and centrally hosted on the basis of a subscription. But how to design a SaaS architecture?
Using the SaaS, a single model of an app with a singular configuration is accessible to multiple users. Apps are installed on various machines to support scalability. A well-designed SaaS system architecture is essential to ensuring the reliability and scalability of a software-as-a-service solution.
Another version of an app can also be created to offer potential customers access to new application versions as a pre-release (usually for testing purposes).
SaaS comes in a few different variations:
- Horizontal SaaS – these solutions emphasize software categories (for instance, tools for sales and marketing, tools for developers, Etc.).
- Vertical SaaS – these types of solutions fulfill a specific industry’s needs (for instance, software for a particular industry – retail software, healthcare software, logistics software, Etc.).
SaaS architecture design is about creating a framework for delivering software as a service over the internet. To highlight, SaaS backend architecture and SaaS infrastructure design are key components of this framework. They focus on the server-side technology and infrastructure that are required to support the SaaS application.
Cloud-Based SaaS Applications Development: Six Suggestions to Build
OneSaaS app development significantly differs from conventional approaches to software engineering in several different ways. Such distinctions can come across as daunting to those who aren’t tech-savvy and/or people who don’t know very much about SaaS products and what they entail. However, traditional and cloud-based app development has many things in common.
1. Decide On the Key Features of the SaaS System
A SaaS development company must keep on investing in research and tech experiments, track innovations, optimize resources, and monitor users’ needs to stay competitive and develop the proper SaaS product architecture. When designing a SaaS application architecture, it’s important to consider factors such as user experience, security, and integration with other systems. There are several important key features of SaaS apps. They depend on product type, market research, or even the development budget available.
Let us list some of the must-have or nice-to-have features that distinguish a SaaS product from standard software:
- ⇒Multi-tenancy model;
- ⇒Automated provisioning;
- ⇒Single sign-on;
- ⇒Subscription-based billing;
- ⇒High availability;
- ⇒Elastic infrastructure;
- ⇒Data security;
- ⇒Application security;
- ⇒Rate limiting/QoS;
Each of these options aligns best with particular use cases, so it’s critical to estimate your platform’s scalability, potential profits, and start-up costs before selecting.
2. Choose Your Pricing Strategy
Pricing strategy choices – the pricing strategy your platform uses will either make your web application or break it. While there aren’t any fast and hard pricing rules, the SaaS business model has changed over the years. At that time, a number of successful cost strategies have come about.
The odds are pretty good that your mobile device has a freemium application installed on it. With this pricing model, the application provides a specific series of central features at no cost. Generally, such features are intended to cast a broad net for the sake of appealing to a wide audience. App developers generate revenue by converting freemium users to premium ones. They do so by providing an advanced feature set for either a monthly or one-time fee.
3. Finding the Right SaaS Application Development Tools.
From the technology to the ecosystem of partners, apps, and components, there are many considerations in selecting the right platform.
Choosing a SaaS application technology stack is a lot like selecting building materials necessary for a physical structure. Technology stacks are what are used to create a web application and run it.
Obviously, cloud SaaS needs a powerful yet simple programming language that will cover today’s development requirements.
- A primary relational database for back-end data storage: MySQL, PostgreSQL.
- Server for your app: Nginx, Apache.
4. SaaS Integration
SaaS applications offer unprecedented flexibility, access, and ease of use. They also create data silos that make it hard to get complete visibility over the data, processes, and business context.
Because SaaS offerings are available from so many providers, a key trend is a rise in integration among different vendors. SaaS integration helps to improve efficiency, access all of your data, see the opportunities and threats that lie within it, and act.
There are both services meant to integrate multiple SaaS applications, such as to provide single sign-on and access management across them, and efforts within the SaaS vendor community to create integrations across multiple providers’ software so enterprise processes can flow more easily across those applications sourced from multiple providers.
5. SaaS Application Development Cost
The cost of SaaS platform development will be based on a product’s complexity, the features it comes with, its integration potential with various other services, SaaS software design, and more.
In general, the budget has several parts: business analysis, design, programming, servers, software monitoring and maintenance, client support, and promotion.
You’ll also need to be mindful of the country the team works from. Doing so will establish the quality and price of your final product. For instance, by partnering up with a Canadian or American agency, you will need to pay up to $150 an hour. European countries offer cheaper rates but provide better quality in comparison to South American and Asian counterparts.
With that said, European prices also significantly vary. Western Europe happens to be a costlier outsourcing market, and their prices can be as high as $120 per hour. Developers working out of East European countries generally charge between $40 and $75 an hour. Having web and cloud application development outsourced to Ukraine would be worth considering, as their prices range between $25 and $60 an hour.
As per these prices, a basic SaaS MVP may charge you between $15,000 and $35,000 total if it is being built out of Eastern Europe. Prices for a web application rich with features may be as high as $100,000 from countries in this particular region. As high as that sounds, it’s still cheaper than what you would spend if the app were developed by a North American-based SaaS development company.
6. Find a Trusted SaaS Development Team
Finding a SaaS developer – creating a cloud app – particularly in the digital ecosystem, which is always changing – isn’t a one-and-done deal. A number of core benefits provided by certain SaaS platforms include ongoing updates, customer support, and feature integrations.
If your staff (or you) are not excited about or prepared to make a regular, long-term commitment to a product’s maintenance and development, it would be prudent to speak with a developer before hiring one.
Outsourcing companies will provide you with industry insights and advice customized to your specific business needs.
Check out some of these SaaS start-ups – they all achieved success, and their stories could inspire you to create an amazing project.
DevCom is an awarded development company with significant experience in the engineering of top-performing SaaS applications for enterprises across diverse industries. With a strong SaaS development portfolio, DevCom provides a diverse range of world-class programming services that cover consultancy, designing, development, testing, 3rd party integration, and ongoing support/maintenance.
Start building intelligent SaaS apps today with DevCom. Contact us now.
What is SaaS application design
SaaS application design is defined as a creation of an application that is hosted and delivered over the Internet. When you design a SaaS application, you carefully consider all user needs, business goals, and technology opportunities to deliver robust, scalable, and user-friendly app designs.
How long does it take to build a SaaS app
As soon as you learn how to create a SaaS application, you realize that it is essential to focus on quality than just rushing the process. To create a SaaS application (be it web or mobile apps), you must first determine the target market and the specific needs of the customers before designing the software architecture. The timeline may vary depending on the complexity of the application, the size of the development team, and the level of customizability required. On average, it takes from a few months to over a year.
How Much Does It Cost to Develop SaaS Applications?
The cost of developing SaaS applications is determined by factors similar to the duration, such as complexity, team size, number of features required, timelines, etc. It also takes longer if you need a custom SaaS design that involves tailoring the software architecture to meet the specific needs of a client in a particular industry. The final price may range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.
How does SaaS development differ from traditional software development?
Developing SaaS applications differ from traditional ones in many ways. However, the main difference is that it involves creating an app that is delivered over the Internet and has multi-tenant architecture. So the software has to be scalable, reliable, and extremely secure. To ensure long-term success, it undergoes the repetitive process of ongoing changes and updates, constant maintenance, and support. Moreover, SaaS cloud architecture should be solid to ensure seamless functioning in a cloud environment.
How to choose a SaaS development vendor?
The choice of a SaaS development vendor may be challenging. But if you consider all the duration and cost factors, you’ll find it much easier. First of all, a potential software partner should have profound knowledge and experience in SaaS applications architecture, tools, and security options. They should be able to understand and estimate your business needs and market requirements. A successful partnership is possible when they work collaboratively throughout the development and design process.