Did you know that Software-as-a-service, or Saas, came into being in the 1960s?
The worldwide popularity of SaaS, however, took a while. It witnessed a phenomenal surge in popularity in the 90s. And it has shown no signs of stopping ever since.
Surveys have shown that 93% of CIOs are adopting or planning to adopt cloud SaaS. Also, by the end of this year, 73% of organizations have said that all their apps will be SaaS.
Trends clearly show that Saas is only going to get bigger.
So, asking whether you should go with Saas is a redundant question.
It is THE way to go!
However, just because a company builds a Saas product does not mean it WILL be successful.
There are a bunch of factors to consider before you start building a Saas product. Let’s see what these factors are:
Validation of product idea
Does your product solve a burning problem for its users? Or is it just a replica of another product that’s proven to work?
Do people really need the service you are providing?
Long before you embark on building a Saas, the answer to the above questions need to be clear in your head, backed by a concrete proof of concept as well, obviously.
The ‘why’ needs to be crystal clear.
Only then should you consider working on your Saas product.
Without this clarity, a business owner could continue investing in building something that is not even commercially viable.
Worse still he or she can lose enormous amounts of cash by scaling up prematurely, the most common mistake start-ups make that lead to their failure.
A common mistake first time founders tend to make is building something that nobody wants and a problem nobody cares about solving.
Alright. Let’s say you have established that people actually need your product. What do you do next?
Is it ‘ok’ to copy the features of a similar product that exists? After all, that one works well with its users, so why reinvent the wheel, you might think.
Well, not quite.
You need to figure out which exact features you need in order to solve your user’s problems. It could be three features or it could be just one.
At Akrity, we have built several Saas products successfully. And we follow a principle rather strictly: ‘Don’t build what you don’t need’.
And why not?
Because addressing your user’s most important pain point is good enough for your product to start getting usage.
It need not be aesthetically pleasing, your product may not be extremely user friendly, it may be really sparse — and all that is fine, as long it solves a burning problem well.
Some people really struggle at doing this as they get very attached to the solution and not the problem. They think that removing any one single feature will make the whole product unusable and will lose its magic. This is true for a few features, not all. Choose wisely.
No matter how happy you are with your product, changes are inevitable. So, it’s super important that the Saas is flexible enough to accommodate them.
Most of the changes will be made after your target audience has started using your product.
So, it’s important that your product is robust enough to withstand major changes, keeping user experience unchanged.
It’s always a good idea to keep this in mind from the first time you have made the product roadmap, to be mindful and open to new ideas when users are not as happy with your product as you had hoped. It’s important to accept this feedback and improve on it. As they say “Change is the only constant”.
Let’s say you have made sure that your product is something that your users definitely want. Your product also solves their problem really well.
Sounds perfect until now.
Have you thought about how your product will reach your users?
If your answer is yes, give yourself a pat on the back. If it’s no, the (short) answer is: marketing.
You need to have a proper budget in place to fund the several marketing activities needed to reach your user base.
If you have addressed the first two factors, you may be able to reduce your budget at a later time, when the users take on the onus of marketing for you through word of mouth.
And there’s no better marketing than that, is there?
It’s great if you’ve decided to build a Saas product.
After all, the ‘Saas graph’ has been on the rise for decades now and trends show that things are only looking up in the foreseeable future.
If you can take care of the factors mentioned in this article, the chances of your success are guaranteed to be high.
Frankly, we love building products and since we’ve spent so much time doing it and discussing it, there are few people who could beat us at Saas nerdiness!
If you are building a Saas product and you want to have an open discussion, please feel free to get in touch with us.