Much of the excitement surrounding the tech industry focuses on gadgets and hardware, but Software as a Service (SaaS) is the quiet superstar of the digital age. SaaS uses the web to connect clients or users to an application that is managed by a third party. Since SaaS is web-based, it typically doesn’t require installations, thus making it accessible from almost any device and eliminating the need for traditional on-device software; Google Apps, for example, are a form of SaaS because users access it via the web, so it replaces on-device software like Microsoft Word.
SaaS is growing more popular, but despite the opportunities it presents, developing SaaS is a challenging process where success is far from guaranteed. On the other hand, SaaS can also be extremely rewarding–as the Chief Technology Officer at Daric, I’ve enjoyed working on our industry-leading software to help connect lenders with the world’s leading asset management, financial, mortgage, and insurance companies. So with the promise of both high risks and high rewards, what, then, can entrepreneurs do to ensure that their SaaS doesn’t crash and burn?
One of the most important considerations when developing SaaS is its scalability, or how well it can evolve to accommodate increased use or demand. If SaaS isn’t very scalable, it won’t have much of a future since it won’t be able to evolve to either attract or retain new users. With this in mind, there are a number of questions that entrepreneurs can ask themselves to determine if their Saas can scale effectively: Can the technology work for multiple people or just a few? Can it translate across different industries and office environments? Is this a repeatable issue or a one-time solution?
Furthermore, when developing the product, it’s important to treat the customer almost as a product manager because, ultimately, they decide whether or not it works. The success of an SaaS is a function of how customers embrace it, so customers’ demands and interests should be an integral part of the development process. After all, if your customers don’t like the product or don’t have a need for it, then your SaaS won’t have a very long lifespan.