How Build Your Own SaaS Platform?
How Build Your Own SaaS Platform?
Software as a service, or SaaS, is one of the fastest growing markets: according to Gartner forecasts, the industry will reach $ 144 billion in 2022, although in 2019 its annual turnover did not exceed $ 95 billion. Below we will tell you how to enter this market by creating your own SaaS platform.
The first step towards building your own SaaS solution is to have a clear understanding of what exactly you want to do, i.e. what problem and how do you want to solve with the help of cloud technologies. This is usually just simplifying things or moving software to the cloud, which frees up hard drive space and gives you access to the product anywhere in the world with a network connection.
The simplest example is Google Docs or Microsoft's Office 365: software for working with documents that previously needed to be installed on a computer was transferred to the cloud. Another simple example is Trello: a cloud-based project management system based on traditional kanban boards.
More complex examples are Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, Squarespace and other e-Commerce solutions. They greatly simplify and speed up the process of creating online stores, thanks to which anyone can launch a marketplace in a few hours (15 minutes, if you know exactly what to do), spending only $ 200 to subscribe and purchase a website template.
The most sophisticated SaaS solutions are projects such as TradeLens and MediLedger, which combine supply chain participants into one ecosystem with a common database, workflow, payment solutions, cargo tracking and process automation. More on this in the Maersk blockchain use case.
If you analyze the above examples and other commercially successful SaaS solutions, you will notice that at the heart of their business ideas there is something in common:
The next step after you understand what kind of SaaS platform you want to launch is competitor analysis: design, features, marketing and advertising, pricing, etc. This will help you understand how other startups have implemented a similar idea to yours, what the target audience expects, what functions and design decisions were taken positively, and what caused rejection.
If some competitors managed to conquer the market, becoming its face, like Amazon, Spotify or Uber, then when launching SaaS it would be reasonable to focus on such projects, but either bet on a narrower niche, or implement everything at a higher level. Launching a niche SaaS project is faster, cheaper, and less risky. It is longer, more expensive and risky to create an improved analogue of an existing project, but if it is successful, you can get much more profit.
Here are the most popular SaaS solutions by industry:
If you are planning to launch a commercial platform, you need to decide in advance on its monetization in order to immediately implement the corresponding functions in your SaaS product. This is how most cloud projects make money:
Simplify registration. When implementing the registration process, ask only the most important information in advance. In many cases, an email address or telephone will be enough. If your niche requires more information, then divide the registration into several simple steps.
Having decided what your platform should be and what monetization model you will use, you can start developing the minimum viable product (MVP). The goal of an MVP is to spend the least amount of time and money on proof of concept and whether users will agree to pay money for it. You can create an MVP yourself or with the help of an outsourcing company.
To create a small SaaS solution yourself, you will need a product manager and two software engineers who will work on the project 40 hours a month for six months. Depending on the country, it will cost from 20 thousand dollars (Eastern Europe) to 100 thousand dollars (USA, Western Europe). This is the budget for projects like Qualified and Vested.
For more complex projects, it is better to hire a development company with experience in developing SaaS projects and understanding the specifics of the chosen niche. How to find such a partner is described in the article: «How to choose a Development Company». Here is the estimated development cost depending on the complexity of the project.