Today, we will talk about SaaS Mobile App development in detail. This concept of hosting your servers on remote machines is called SaaS. It helps organizations to save costs, reduce manpower, and scale up either horizontally or vertically.
Mobile SaaS-based applications are also gaining a lot of popularity. Most of the organizations that want to increase their market reach are slowly adopting the SaaS Business Model.
This helps them to save costs, to maintain their servers efficiently, and not worry about scalability. These custom mobile app development company also offer other benefits such as zero privacy breaches, easy access to foreign markets, and delivery automation.
Why Adapt to SaaS-Based Applications?
Almost most of the organizations have now shifted to the SaaS-based platform. It helps in reducing costs, not worrying about the infrastructure, and zero space breach.
It also helps in increasing user engagement and providing real-time experiences. Below is the list of benefits we can reap out of SaaS-based applications.
Once you build a single SaaS mobile application, it can be used instead of multiple mobile applications. This will make your employees productive.
At the same time, you are also saving on the costs. It will enhance standard processes and therefore increase the ROI.
With newer technologies being added every day, it would be impossible for you to add these capabilities to your application.
Whereas with the SaaS Apps, you get all these new features readily available, it might be difficult to add all these in Android or iOS applications.
The requirements keep changing as time progresses. In order to incorporate all these changes, you might need to spend a lot of effort and time.
All these efforts can be easily saved, once you are ready with your SaaS application. Also, SaaS applications can be scaled easily by adding new nodes as and when required.
If you are maintaining servers, you would definitely need an IT team to manage it. Their sole job would be taking care of the servers and at the same install any updates when those are added.
You can save these costs by migrating to SaaS-based applications. The vendor team takes off upgrading the software and adding new features when they are released.
High-Level Data Security
In today’s world, data is the new gold and you should always take care of protecting it. You need to adhere to all compliances and save all the data from attacks.
You need to implement all the required security to prevent the stealing of data. One would also require a dedicated team that can add new security features as new vulnerabilities are discovered.
SaaS applications are well secured. They implement all the necessary features and keep adding a new mechanism to prevent attacks that are discovered later.
It is very difficult to distribute traditional mobile applications. Users typically either need a drive or need to visit a website to download the application. This process may irk a few of the customers and reduce your retention rate.
With the SaaS application being easily available on the play store, all the things that users need are a mobile and internet connection. They can easily download the application and get started very quickly.
Integrates with Existing Software
If you have any software running, SaaS allows you to integrate that software directly into the system without errors. SaaS allows you to easily retain all your existing functionalities and features.
And SaaS offers all these integrations and add-ons at almost zero cost. This will save you a lot of funds which you can utilize to churn out new features.
The biggest challenge with on-premise clusters is its maintenance. You need to always take care of the cluster and hire DevOps who would take care of making sure they are up and running. This would typically incur a lot of costs.
If your application is running on SaaS, you would not need to worry about the cluster. In the case of an outage, the cluster will automatically shift to backup servers in almost real-time. This would be of great help and let you concentrate on core functionality.
Add New Users, Retains the Existing One
With your application now connected to the internet, most of the users can access it 24X7. This would increase the retention of existing customers.
In the recent past, it has been observed that those applications, which are available 24X7, are more liked by customers as compared to those that are available only during business hours.
And you can easily expand your customer base with SaaS mobile application. Thus adopting SaaS adds new customers as well as help in retaining existing customers. That’s where knowing the Customer Acquisition Cost for a SaaS Company plays an important role.
Improves Customer Relationship
When an end-user gets a personalized message, he feels very empowered. The SaaS-based application allows you to send personalized messages. You can send personalized offers based on the needs of the customers.
You can send discount vouchers to specific users. One can send the required information to a specific set of users. All these help in building a good customer relationship and retaining them in the franchise.
Real-time Project Access
Since all the data is now stored on the cloud, all of them can be easily stored and all the team members can easily access it. But, with that Challenges of Cloud Computing comes into play.
Earlier developers had to download the code and share it for review, but now the code can be easily shared among the developers.
This boosts productivity as well as allows you to complete the project at a faster pace. Also, processes are followed further enhancing the overall delivery time.
SaaS Takes Care of Its Accountability
SaaS takes care of your data. They sign proper privacy documents with you and adhere to those contract terms. Since they aggregate all the data, you can easily track your customer’s behavior using the data provided by them.
They also provide you with good logging mechanisms that can help you to debug your code in case of customer issues. These can help you resolve customer issues early.
Keeps You Competitive
SaaS-based applications help you to be competitive. They provide you with all the latest features that you can easily incorporate in your application.
There are SaaS agencies that can help you market your product. They also help you in finding the right market fit for your product. They can also conduct surveys to help you out.
Key Features of SaaS Mobile Application
One of the major challenges of a traditional mobile application is adopting new features. It becomes very difficult to incorporate newer features.
This does not help us in having a competitive advantage over other organizations. SaaS is of great help when it comes to bridging this gap.
SaaS is now responsible for adding all the newer features that are released in the market. This saves you both costs as well enhances your productivity.
Below are some features which can help you understand how SaaS-based applications are different from traditional applications.
SaaS-based mobile applications are very good when it comes to UI. The UI is very responsive and can be easily personalized.
One more advantage is the ease at which these applications can be used. Your developers can easily deploy applications and test the code or release the code to production.
If you are using a SaaS based mobile application, you can easily add analytics tools to get more insights from your application. SaaS collects all the data related to your application and allows you to easily extract these data.
It also comes with inbuilt analytics tools that you directly use to analyze the data and device important information out of it. You can also get a customer persona using the tool provided by SaaS.
Adapt Your Business Environment
Every application comes with its own set of challenges and requirements. SaaS is very good at solving these challenges and building these requirements.
It is highly configurable and can be set up easily. It can also help you be legally compliant with all the government requirements.
Now that we have a clear picture of a SaaS application, let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of SaaS.
Pros of SaaS AppHaving a clear picture of revenue
Since SaaS is mostly based on a monthly subscription model or Pricing Model, you would always have a clear picture of the revenue that is going to flow. You can clearly estimate the incoming and outgoing expenses based on the number of users and their activity.
Scaling the application
One major advantage of SaaS-based applications is the ease at which you can scale your systems. All vendors mostly support horizontal scaling, and you can even control how many instances of the server should be up and define these scaling policies.
Accessibility for customers
It is very easy for your customers to download the SaaS application. All they need is a device and internet connection. They can easily go to the play store and download the application. It is easily accessible to them.
Upgrades legerity for customers
Another major advantage of the customer perspective is that they do not have to worry about how the machines are maintained.
Are these machines outdated or do they need to be upgraded is the least part customers should be worried about! This helps customers to concentrate on core functionality and not on the infrastructure.
This is also advantageous from a vendor perspective. They need not travel to customer sites to look after the machines. All they have to do is take care of their datacenter and keep it up to date.
In traditional architecture, customers typically used to keep spare servers which can act as a backup in case of failure.
But now with SaaS, customers need not worry about backup servers. All that is directly taken care of by the data center team. Customers can also easily roll back to their previous changes.
As we have seen, SaaS has advantages for both customers as well as vendors. Below we list advantages for each of them:
Benefits for Customer
- Deployment can be done seamlessly
- Fewer risks associated with maintenance
- Easily add new features
- Automatic Switchover during failure
- Cost to be borne monthly instead of initial lump sum amount
- Easily scale up during peak time
Benefits for Vendors
- A clear idea of the inflow and outflow of revenue
- Access and Requests per customer can be tracked
- One single code base for all the customers
- Cost-saving can be achieved by designing datacenter correctly
Cons of SaaS App
Since the customer’s data is not located in-premise servers, there are chances of the data breach. This can bring a bad reputation to the customer.
Mostly all the customer sensitive data is initially encrypted and stored to reduce the chances of the data breach.
We can never rule out the chances of a power outage or major circuit failure. We always discuss the amazon EC2 instance outage incident.
It did cost them dearly. But most data centers now are distributed in nature. As a result of this, switchover takes some time, but in general, it does come up in some time.
Governmental agreement compliance
It is important to understand government compliance regarding sensitive data. Few of these compliances mandate you to store sensitive data on the premises itself. It is the responsibility of the vendor to make customers aware of these compliances.
What Kinds of Mobile App SaaS Brand Can Build?
The moment you start building a mobile application, you should always see what the user experience of the application would be. SaaS mobile application falls into these categories.
The complementary app is very similar to a web app except for the fact that there are few added functionalities present in the web application.
Let us take an example where you need bills to be submitted by the employee for your accounting purposes.
In the case of a web app, the employee should first scan the document using a scanner and then upload the bill using the web app.
In the case of a complementary app, all a user needs to do is click a picture of the bill from his app and upload the same. It is much easier with a complementary app as compared to a web app.
A stand-alone app tries to get in all the functionality by itself. It does not have a dependency on the web app and can be easily managed. Most of the features which are present in the web app are also present in the mobile application.
Trello is an amazing example of a stand-alone mobile application. All the functionality which is provided in the web application is also provided in the Trello app. You can easily create Trello boards from the mobile application and can upload the documents.
In this category, the mobile application contains very limited features. Only core features are being available in the mobile application. Most of the fancy features are kept on the web application itself.
For instance, a CRM application might allow you to send scheduled mail but might not allow you to set up automation sequences.
Always remember, it might initially look to be a daunting task to move from web application to a SaaS-based application. But many companies have done it in the past and the efforts are being lauded across the industry.
Questions to Ask Before Moving Your SaaS Product To Mobile App
When we get a request to build a SaaS-based application, we ask the below five questions to set the expectations right. Next time when you are building any SaaS-based application, ask these 5 questions, to begin with.
What is your product’s core offering?
Before you start building your mobile application, you should always try to understand your core features. You should watch out for what is your main feature. What do customers love the most about your product? What is your actual core offering?
You should understand which all functionality is mostly used by the customer. You should plot a feature vs usage graph to understand in detail. One should then determine which all features should be part of your mobile application.
Remember you should try to build all the features present in the web application inside your mobile application. This will not only make your application heavy but also impact its performance.
Understanding The Issue With Example
Let us take a very simple example. We use Buffer to create all our future social media posts. On the web application, they provide us with features such as calendar view, a scheduler, and a handful of other features that can be used by most of the customers to create social media posts in the future.
But if you look at their mobile application, it provides us with core functionality such as scheduling. You can also manage the message queue using the Buffer mobile app.
They have put in a lot of thoughts while creating a mobile application. They considered the fact that the screen of the mobile application is much smaller compared to the web application. So, they decided to bring only those core features which are important.
Remember you need to add only the core features in your mobile application. This will keep your mobile application fast as well as reliable. For details, you can refer to the Guide Of SaaS Product Development.
Having all the features packed in also makes your application look clumsy. It is very important to make an aesthetic UI.
The user should feel empowered to run the application and at the same time be not confused. The below graph sets the expectations of the user with respect to load time and application response time.
Can you position your app as a value add?
When you create a mobile application, you should always try to build it as a value add. SaaS mobile application allows you to interact with users easily and make an impact.
Let us go back to our example of Buffer, the application provides you with the significant advantage of scheduling posts.
But Instagram still wants users to manually create their posts. To solve this, Buffer just sends you a push notification during the scheduled time frame and reminds you of creating the posts.
Though Buffer did not build a full-featured mobile application, it was still able to make it an asset. A lot of users now prefer mobile applications over the web counterpart.
New functionalities are being added daily in the mobile application front. One of the exciting opportunities coming up is in the field of AR. Apple also has added ARKit for iOS developers. Desktop applications may not be able to set up this feature.
Do you have the bandwidth to build an app?
It is not a simple task to build a mobile application. You just cannot ask any developer to build your application in a day. It requires a completely dedicated team to build a mobile application.
For startups, they have very few resources and they need to plan it accordingly. Also, you need to check if the resources are capable of building a mobile application.
Also, a mobile stack is one important point to consider while building a mobile application. You should choose a tech stack in which your team is comfortable working with.
You should also decide whether you want to build the application for both the Android or iOS platforms and just one of these platforms.
Will you outsource or build in-house?
This is a very tricky question and requires a lot of thinking to be done. It is based on factors such as team capability or the time constraint if you already are maintaining a desktop application.
It would be a good idea to build the mobile application in-house if you have resources available for the same. You should also consider your team capabilities. You can always hire new developers and build a dedicated mobile team.
But for most SaaS-based companies; it might be a good idea to outsource the mobile application development to a 3rd party vendor.
This will save costs to build a SaaS application as well as empower your team to concentrate on the desktop-based application and add important functionalities.
Should you start with Apple, Android, or both?
It is a dilemma that all companies face when they start building a mobile application. Multiple factors impact these decisions.
You should always look to build the application on the platform your team is comfortable with. If your team is comfortable with building iOS apps and you ask them to build the android apps, it would be a big headache for you as well as the team.
This is because both the platforms are completely different from each other.
In this article, we tried to clearly define SaaS-based applications and also differences between SaaS-based applications and stand-alone applications.
We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of SaaS-based applications. We discussed various types of applications that SaaS brands can build.
And lastly, we have covered features of SaaS-based applications. Hope this helps in making better decisions for your company.