SaaS Product Development: The Complete Guide

Updated on:
16.02.2024
4.5
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10 min

Would you like to expand your money-making capabilities? Perhaps you have ever thought about developing a SaaS solution? Overall, this can be a great business idea if you choose the right, well-thought-out approach for this. 

Actually, that’s why we decided to write this article, in which you can find out what business opportunities you can provide to your users through your product, what difficulties you may encounter during its implementation, as well as what steps to building a SaaS product you will have to go through for its successful release. 

Why Should You Develop a SaaS Product?

Every year, both B2B and B2C sectors are trying to abstract themselves from software solutions that need to be installed and updated locally. This is mainly due to the reluctance to waste the memory resources of users’ personal devices. However, in reality, there can be more benefits, from the ease of access to the absence of the need to integrate the solution into the existing IT infrastructure.

Indeed, why bother with unnecessary fuss if you can use customizable one-size-fits-all software available via the cloud? Yes, yes, we are just talking about SaaS products, which are becoming more and more popular every year.

That’s why, if you have an idea about engineering SaaS, it definitely makes sense for you to start putting it into practice. 

Opportunities in the SaaS Ecosystem

In this paragraph, we invite you to consider the business opportunities and prospects that you can provide to users through creating a SaaS product.

#1. Leverage AI/ML prospects

One of the most current options for implementing SaaS is providing access to advanced tools based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. In particular, you can develop functions for analytics, forecasting, diagnostics, personalization, etc., to make them available to companies that do not want or do not have the opportunity to invest in the creation of their turnkey software solutions.

#2. Get started with cloud migration

According to Grand View Research, the global cloud computing market size is predicted to grow from 2024 to 2030 at a 14.1% CAGR. Therefore, in the near future, more and more companies will choose cloud services instead of local solutions, which means that your SaaS product may be of interest to them as well. Thus, if you provide enough customization, it will be able to take a leadership position in its niche quickly.

#3. Improve data-driven operations

Companies with regular data-driven operations may find salvation in your SaaS solution if it provides them with access to advanced analytical capabilities. Moreover, they will be able to quickly appreciate the positive changes in their activities and, thus, become its regular users.

#4. Boost customer experience

You can use your SaaS solution to improve the quality of customer service for the companies to which you are going to provide it. And, since this is one of the critical factors ensuring the competitiveness of a business, your product is likely to become in demand.

#5. Launch a niche solution

Finally, as an option, you can create a vertical SaaS that will cover the needs of a specific, highly targeted business niche. Thus, you are unlikely to encounter increased competition and, at the same time, will be able to offer your users a solution that automates the vast majority of their business processes. 

Steps Involved in SaaS Product Development

So, how to create a SaaS product? To find it out, let's look at the four main stages that will lead you to its successful launch.

The Planning Stage

You already have an idea, but you don’t have a detailed roadmap at hand yet. To get to this point, you will have to follow several steps outlined below.

Imagine what the final solution will be

Try to formulate a more detailed description of your idea – who its audience will be, how you are going to position your product, what consumer needs you can satisfy for them, in what versions it will be supplied, etc.

Conduct research

Once you have already formulated hypotheses regarding your product, you will need to conduct research to confirm or, conversely, refute them. To do this, you will need to analyze existing competitors and the target market as a whole. This way, you can filter out priority and secondary functionality, as well as get rid of those functions that are most likely unnecessary. 

Analyze your idea

You will also need to try to understand whether your solution is viable. To do this, you can conduct a survey on representatives of its target audience – this way, you will receive additional insights that will help you move in the right direction.

Clarify requirements

Finally, with all the necessary data at hand, you can formulate the final product requirements that you will present to your development team. These include both technical and non-technical features of the product that they will have to implement. 

The Selection Stage

At this stage, you will have to make many decisions that will ultimately affect the success of your product.

Tools and technologies

You can determine the key technologies like AI, machine learning, big data, Internet of Things, etc., on your own – in fact, they will most likely be the main value of your SaaS product for its target audience. 

Team

You will also need to spend some time choosing your team. It’s great if you have such experts on staff, but if their expertise is not enough for this, or your business activities are far from developing cloud software, it is better to delegate the task of implementing your SaaS solution to a third-party team. They will help you complement the technology stack you have chosen, taking into account your business requirements. 

Methodologies

Depending on how clearly you have defined your requirements for the product and how urgent the release date is, the methodology is chosen. If you do not have experience in choosing SaaS product development methodologies, it is better to entrust this to your team – especially if its members have the relevant expertise. 

Cloud vendor

You should also evaluate the pricing plans and features that cloud providers offer. In addition, you may find it useful to survey representatives of your target audience, which will help you find out which cloud vendors they consider trusted. With this information in mind, you can choose the best option to base your SaaS product on. 

Monetization model

And, of course, do not forget about choosing a monetization model that is suitable for your target audience (for example, pay-per-view advertising, paid subscription, freemium, affiliate links, etc.). To do this, you will need to evaluate its solvency, as well as the monetization models that your competitors choose. This is very important to do before your team starts working on the project so as not to lead to a lot of edits in the future.

The Development Stage

Finally, you and your team are all ready to start the SaaS product development process. After that, you can reap the benefits of the work done.

Wireframing

To build a wireframe, you will need to think about what steps a potential user will take when dealing with your product. Once you have built a block diagram of possible sequences of steps, you can create a wireframe that will define the hierarchical structure of your SaaS solution. 

MVP development

Based on the approved wireframe, you can first develop a minimum viable product or MVP. In essence, this will become a primitive version of your future SaaS solution, which you will be able to test on real users and, based on their feedback, evolve into a full-fledged product.

Design

At the time, while the bulk of your team is working on the MVP, you can speed up the project development by involving UI/UX and graphic designers so that they can gradually begin to implement the full design. 

Coding and testing

In general, the coding process can begin at the MVP development stage (here, your team will at least have to create a scalable project architecture and work out the business logic), but it will be the most time-consuming at the stage of implementing a full-fledged solution. Also, as individual modules of your solution are ready, they will need to be subjected to end-to-end testing to eliminate hard-to-fix bugs at later stages. 

Launch

After the final build of your software, make sure that it functions as originally intended – for this, you will need to conduct at least a few more global testing procedures. And only when all the detected bugs are fixed (it’s the last step within the SaaS development life cycle), you will be able to make your solution publicly available.

Maintenance and updates

Now that your SaaS solution is available to a wider audience, you will need to think about how you will deal with the problems that its users have encountered while applying it. In particular, you will need a support service that can quickly respond to user requests. Moreover, it is possible that some of your users will discover new bugs, and this will also require an early fix. Finally, to maintain the competitiveness and relevance of your solution, you should update it from time to time, enriching it with new, even more advanced features. 

Challenges You Might Face & How To Deal with Them

Along with all the benefits and action plan, you also need to take into account the possible challenges that you may face – both during the implementation of your SaaS solution and after its release:

  • the difficulty of dividing functionality for different pricing plans;
  • growth in development costs over time;
  • problems with ensuring integration with third-party solutions;
  • the difficulty of ensuring compliance with provisions of GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, etc.
  • the difficulty of monitoring the life cycle of users (if the chosen monetization model involves post-payment for the used functionality);
  • lack of understanding of which features should be customizable and which can be presented in a one-size-fits-all format. 

At the same time, choosing a reliable development team will allow you to overcome all these difficulties with ease.

Our Successful Cases of SaaS Product Development

Now, we propose to consider special cases of SaaS products implemented by our team.

Case 1: Saas product for an Electronics Manufacturer

We were approached by a client representing a company that designs, manufactures, sells, and installs custom entertainment and communications devices for airlines around the world. To expand profit opportunities, the client launched a frictionless multi-tenant SaaS e-commerce experience for B2B2C customers on a singular platform.

We were presented with a solution that required optimization. In particular, it was not cloud-native, had 55+ custom Wi-Fi portal implementations, each on different core versions, with unique UI frameworks and versions, and with a custom toolset at every layer. This solution was also characterized by some scalability issues with hardware, a lack of self-service options, unreliable reporting tools, no local currency support, and a non-standard approach to payment processing. Ultimately, it turned out to be difficult for the client's team to support, and because of this, the client turned to us to improve it.

As a result of the discussion, we came to a specific list of tasks:

  • development of a flexible, extensible, and scalable SaaS product that is truly multi-tenant;
  • development of CMS-based backend with self-service capability;
  • creating an API layer;
  • creating virtual test racks;
  • ensuring provider and portal agnosticism.

Based on the client's requirements, we chose Java, React JS, Flutter, Amazon Web Services, PostgreSQL, and MySQL as the main technology stack.

As a result, after several months of hard work, we built a solution with:

  • tiered feature set and pricing models;
  • no-code page and store builders;
  • theme builder;
  • different payment options;
  • a set of marketing and reporting tools.

Now, the optimization is in progress, and we are preparing the updated solution for its launch in the near future.

Case 2: TMS for Logistics Company

We were contacted by a logistics company with a staff of 1000+ experienced drivers, transporting cargo of various volumes throughout the United States. The client's initial goal was to automate the vast majority of internal business processes through the implementation of a turnkey TMS.

However, after discussing the prospects of the project with our specialists, it was decided to create a customizable software product distributed using the SaaS model.

Here are the main tasks that this product should solve:

  • optimization of internal communication between company departments;
  • increasing employee productivity;
  • simplifying work processes and reducing the risk of errors associated with the human factor;
  • reduction of overhead costs.

In practice, these global challenges had to be overcome by developing the following functionality:

  • fleet management module;
  • accounting & finance dashboard;
  • CEO's comprehensive overview;
  • dispatch operations center;
  • safety & compliance module;
  • driver interface;
  • destination insights;
  • drag-and-drop load info entry;
  • breakthrough fleet inspections;
  • driver app;
  • HR management module;
  • maintenance toolset;
  • dispatch board.

To implement the client’s plan, we settled on Java, React JS, Flutter, Amazon Web Services, PostgreSQL, and MySQL.

After the last stage of the SaaS product development lifecycle was finished, the client received an MVP and was able to recoup the initial investment after a year of its provisioning to third-party logistics companies.

Need Help with SaaS Product Development?

If you are inspired by our cases or are simply looking for a reliable team with many years of experience in SaaS platform development, feel free to contact us. We will create a scalable product with the most profitable monetization model so that you can recoup your initial investment as soon as possible and expand your earning potential.

Eugene
Interested in a custom solution?
Of course, this will require some financial investment from you at the beginning of the path to automation, but over time, this approach usually fully pays off. I can talk about it in detail.
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