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Software as a Service

Defining Software as a Service

When we talk about SaaS products, we're referring to a special type of web application in which software is licensed on a subscription basis. While there are similarities between SaaS products and traditional web applications, we differentiate them from one another to underscore the importance of several key steps required for SaaS products to be successful.

One big difference is that SaaS products are generally outward focused, while web applications are usually inward focused. SaaS products are built to reach the masses, while web applications are built to serve a business's existing customers. SaaS products are usually led by entrepreneurs with a startup mentality.

Web applications are usually commissioned by business owners looking to automate business processes or move some aspect of their business from paper to digital (e.g., a doctor's office moving from paper-based intake forms to web-based forms). SaaS products usually charge a monthly or yearly fee in exchange for an online service, while web applications usually complement an existing business model.

Market Research & Pricing Strategy

Understanding the needs and wants of your target market can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to building SaaS products. Each year we have the opportunity to evaluate multiple new ideas for SaaS products. Time and time again we see that the most successful SaaS products base their decisions around quantitative data collected during the market research phase. This includes data on their customers' geographical location, interests, preferences, and buying habits.

Directly on the heels of market research is pricing strategy. Over the years we've seen incredible ideas struggle to gain traction simply due to pricing strategy. Same people, same service, same technology, but throw in a slight adjustment to pricing models and a Saas product can skyrocket to success.

We love working closely with our clients to evaluate market research and competitor pricing to formulate a pricing strategy that will be embraced by their target audience.

APIs & Integrations

SaaS products are never built in a vacuum. From day one companies must determine how they will allow their product to communicate with other platforms and services across a wide variety of hardware devices. Using the API Blueprint and JSON API specifications, we make sure your APIs are always well-designed and well-documented in a highly standard manner.

In 1623 the English poet John Donne coined the phrase "No man is an island." This phrase is an expression emphasizing a person's need to be connected to his or her surroundings and/or other persons. We believe it applies in a similar manner to SaaS products in that it's incredibly rare for a SaaS product not to integrate and connect with other services. From single sign-on to social sharing to online payments, almost all SaaS products integrate with other Saas products as a convenience to users.

Native Mobile Development

Once a SaaS product has gained an initial following in the desktop browser market, a native mobile application can be considered. Since all of our web applications use responsive design from the beginning, multi-platform access is available from day one. But as vital feedback is collected from paying customers interacting with the application, it may be determined that a native mobile application is strongly desired as they offer an enhanced mobile experience compared to a responsive web application.

The good news is, half the battle is already over given our API-first approach to software engineering. Instead of starting from scratch, we start with the entire back-end API already complete. The mobile application uses the same API used by the web application. This is just one small example of the many gains achieved by using a distributed architecture when building software.

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