With ever-increasing advancements in the digital world, Software-as-a-Service, also known as SaaS, seems to have taken the business strategies of many organizations to the next level. This software delivery system has become one of the most widely used models for business applications. Here, we’ll have a closer look at the basics of these business tools and examine how they are utilized to support and improve modern digital commerce.
What is SaaS?
SaaS is a third party application available over the internet with no physical connection to any one device. Your email client is likely SaaS. Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365, providing productivity apps over the Internet, are SaaS. For businesses, there is SaaS for sales management, customer relationship management (CRM), financial management, human resource management, billing, collaboration, and much more.
SaaS applications are used by a range of IT experts, business users, and C-level professionals. Prominent SaaS providers include Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, and Intuit. Because SaaS eliminates expensive hardware, maintenance, licensing, and installation, it can be cost-effective. SaaS offerings generally operate on a pay-as-you-go model, offering the maximum level of business flexibility. SaaS also offers high scalability for any range of projects and needs. Additionally, it is powered by automated updates, which reduces the burden on IT and improves accessibility and persistence since users can access content from any internet-connected device and location.
SaaS empowering Digital Commerce
With the advent of new digital technologies and faster internet speed, digital commerce has transformed the buying and selling experience and hence turned out to be one of most top trending topics. This transformation is thanks to the technology that digital commerce is characterized by—electronic data interchange, Internet marketing, mobile commerce, online transaction processing, inventory management systems, and electronic funds transfer. SaaS tools have, for a while, played a vital role in flourishing digital businesses.
For instance, no business can run without an efficient system of accounts to control cash inflow and outflow. We can easily show as evidence, digital commerce companies relying on SaaS software to take care of their accounts-related matters. Xero, in this connection, is quite an apt example, with a purpose to manage transactions and keep track of bills.
Maintaining a schedule on-the-go has always been an integral part of running a business. Calendly is a SaaS tool that gives a solution to the issues related to managing schedules. With its extremely simple user-interface, scheduling appointments, keeping all the stakeholders in a single loop, and providing them a collaborative workflow have become possible.
Business intelligence is the ability to make intelligent decisions that support your business. For that, one needs to utilize the data in the most efficient way. Google Analytics is a SaaS tool that has become increasingly popular for its ability to yield performance analysis. Among other functions, Google Analytics is best at gathering accurate audience insights, measuring the audience traffic, and segregating it into different categories based on different factors such as region, age, gender. Who can defy the importance of content in today’s digital world that runs on the degree of audience engagement that the content produces? In 1996, when highlighting the importance of content, Bill Gates wrote an article titled ‘Content is King.’ In order to maintain the consistency and quality of the content, there is a SaaS tool, ‘HubSpot.’ It assists in attracting more visitors through engaging and relevant content and helps to grow the overall business.
Similarly, there are other tools to take care of matters related to human resource management, customer support, project management, and social media management. These include Freshdesk, BambooHR, ProofHub, Zoho Social, and more.
Considerations before building a custom application
There is no denying the growing importance of SaaS software. However, like every other thing, it does have some risk factors which should be taken into consideration. Here below are ten which we recommend you definitely pay attention to.
1. Thorough Market Research
The first and the foremost thing that you should do before going on to develop a SaaS application is to carry out a need-analysis. Let me tell you, this is a Must! Your application, at the end of the day, must be resolving a problem that truly exists. Also, the role of your application should be distinct and clear.
2. Requirement of Developing an App
There is always an option of using a third-party application or going on to develop a custom application yourself. One needs to understand that developing an app is not an easy task. However, it allows you to bring customization as per your suitability.
3. Correct Estimation of Price
One should also pay attention to the required budget for developing an application. The word of advice here is to define functional priorities for your precise need in your application. In this connection, normally adopting an agile method is recommended, which does not require investing the entire money at a time. Hence it is considered a cost-effective method.
4. Should Application Be Developed In-house or Not?
Upon completing the need analysis and deciding upon the pricing, it is important to decide whether the application be developed in-house or be outsourced. It is evident from experience that developing in-house is cost-effective; however, there may be certain compromises that one has to make as far as the quality of the product is concerned.
5. Choosing the Platform
Normally, developers are confused about whether to choose Android or iOS. Preferring one over another is quite a subjective matter as both have distinctive features and engage a specific audience. Although Android provides more options because of its flexibility, its operating space is not as stable as iOS’s.
6. Knowledge-based development
In order to make your application efficient and effective, it is important to build a solid background of market knowledge. You need to understand the needs of the audience. Sometimes, small steps create a huge impact. It’s only a matter of paying attention to the details. You should also be conscious of the market competitors and what they already offer and at what price.
7. Time Factor
It’s an old proverb ‘time is money.’ Therefore, one needs to be careful about the amount of time invested in developing an app. In this connection, framing a Gantt chart is an effective step to set deadlines for each phase of development.
8. Mechanism of Maintenance
Today’s digital world is ever-dynamic. Every other day, there is a new development that poses a threat to the existing mode of operation. Therefore, it is important to keep track of the performance of your app and the user’s current needs.
9. Security and Privacy
10. Business model
The best thing about SaaS from the manufacturer’s point of view is that it is a continuous source of income. It is important to chart a business model to run the flow of cash smoothly. For that reason, consider app monetization to generate revenue from your app directly.