The word cloud has recently made it big. Not so long ago, the media loudly commented on the celebrity data leak from iCloud, and the very notion penetrated the pop culture, making its way, among other things, to cinema productions such as “Sextape” with Cameron Diaz or “Creed” with Sylvester Stallone.
In the mere context of the Internet, it hasn’t been around for that long, though what we call a “cloud” today in fact existed as much as 20 years ago. On top of that, clouds are an Internet pictogram of sorts since the time when the IT field saw the accurate term of “computational cloud”. Today, for many the cloud has even become synonymous with the Internet.
What is SasS (Software as a Service)?
The SaaS model, or Software as a Service, is based upon a computational cloud, where the user uses the network to make a direct connection with external apps. The simplest examples of SaaS (Software as a Service), where the Internet is in fact only an interface, are portals such as Dropbox, OneDrive or the Google-based G Suit package.
There are multiple kinds of services in the cloud, therefore we might come across terms such as PaaS (Platform as a Service, or a virtual work environment) or IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), however all are based upon the same principle.
How much are apps in the cloud worth?
Software as a Service generates around two thirds of revenue from the cloud data processing market. In 2017 SaaS apps have brought 21% more income (approx. 60 billion dollars) compared to 2016 (approx. 47 billion dollars). According to gartner.com, in 2018 the increase in revenue should reach as far up as 22.2% giving nearly 74 billion dollars. Statista.com predicts that in 2025 SaaS will bring nearly 300 billion in earnings.
What is the income of SaaS developers?
Let’s take a look at the numbers connected with SaaS at a slightly smaller scale. Browsing pitch decks for investors of Venture capital https://500.co/, one may stumble across interesting data about 30 SaaS startups at an early growth phase. On average, a Software as a Service startup obtained monthly income at a level of 58,000 dollars at the moment of attempting to raise capital.
Where is this growing interest in cloud computing coming from?
SaaS comes with many advantages. From the user’s point of view, we can mention:
- Low total cost of ownership (TCO)
- Fixed low subscription and costs in time, without a one-off license purchase
- Low costs of app implementation and no expenses related with IT infrastructure
- Marginal risk and quick deployment time
- Greater standardization and safety
- Easier remote work and access to data
- Software that is always up to date
- Large scalability and no limit on the number of users
From the software supplier’s point of view, the key advantages are:
- Easier access to clients, global distribution
- No major limitations associated with hardware and software requirements and type of supported platforms
- No software fragmentation, all users use the same version at all times
- No possibility to use unauthorized copies of the software
An enormous advantage of the SaaS (Software as a Service) model is that it’s possible to validate our idea even before the app is made. One of the best-known examples are:
The company started off with creating a landing page which explained how the app works offering the possibility to sign up for the newsletter. Next, the page was expanded with price plans for a monthly subscription. However, the app itself wasn’t even in the stage of production. This way, the creators of buffer.com reached their future potential clients, who had a huge impact on how this software would look in the future. So, the risk associated with the project and first prototype was close to zero.
The story of zappos.com is just as interesting. In 1999 one of the project’s founders, Nick Swinmurn, decided to open up an online shoe store. When someone made a purchase, Nick would personally buy the chosen shoes at the local store and send them to the client. The story of Zappos started off without any facility whatsoever, just as much in terms of their own warehouse as the page backend. Ten years later, as a well-known clothing store, it was accepted to Amazon for 1.2 billion dollars.
Why is it worth starting with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
MVP, or Minimum Viable Product is another name for a product that has a minimum degree of readiness to be introduced to the market. In practice, this means possibly the least complex product that can be made at a low outlay and presented to the potential clientage.
In times when we hear about new tech startups practically every day, the time in which an idea is turned into a ready product should be as short as possible. MVP is created for various products in many branches. In case of Software as a Service, its implementation is highly demanded and if only possible, recommended.
The definition of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is quite extensive, so it is often difficult to distinguish it from a mock up. It’s important to focus on what forms the basis of this concept:
Minimum - we’re not referring to the scale of the product here, but rather its complexity. Going back to our earlier example zappos.com - their minimum was basically the very concept, implemented with the least outlay and the simplest possible methods.
Viable – in literal translation this means “feasible, possible”. In the context of MVP, we may speak of such a product if it’s possible to sell it. So, if we are only able to find a client who is ready to pay for it, the product meets this condition.
Product - the product of sale alone. Value, which we can comprehensibly define. The answer to the client’s problem, the solution that we can offer.
What is important when creating MVP?
To create possibly the best MVP (Minimum Viable Product), it is worth applying a few golden rules here and there.
First off, in this rushing world of startups, it is not advisable to wait too long to launch sales. Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is not meant to be a perfected, full-functionality software, but a means to verify our idea. While you’re waiting for that right moment, working on all the fine details, someone might just make a step ahead.
Second of all, if you’ve already defined your essential minimum, have a think about whether it’s possible to implement your idea with half the means and functions. If the answer is yes, do it!
The most important lesson we can get is that from our users. With time, the final product turns out to be quite different from how we’ve imagined it at the starting point. These changes should be our answer to what the customers want, which is why it’s worth tuning in to their suggestions, and when possible, engaging in a dialogue.
What technology is best to create MVP SaaS?
Despite many examples, where Minimum Viable Product was made into an “ordinary” website, not all ideas can be validated as simply as that. There are many languages fit for our MVP. Most of these languages, if only used by experienced developers, allow to create an operative piece of code quite quickly.
With time, an obstacle to further development of your product may turn out to be its accurate scaling. Not all technologies are efficient enough for complex projects. A comprehensive ASP.NET-type framework may give us much greater reliability, offering many more possibilities. It’s an environment where work requires a greater effort and experience. Looking at the above and the fact that it is a commercial solution, it may just turn out that MVP made in a technology of this sort will absorb way too many resources.
Which programming language is best for MVP?
But it is most important to choose a technology in which we feel the strongest, or which is the main technology of our specialists. It’s difficult to specifically choose one language, nevertheless all specialists point towards Open Source environments. In spite of its limitations, open software is usually the cheapest and most effective in deploying MVP.
Why is it worth benefiting from readymade solutions?
If a model was created before, its use may spare you a lot of time and money. Integration of payments, reservations, forms or live chat; if only this is what our MVP (Minimum Viable Product) requires, it may be really simple with the use of the right language.
We can search for readymade solutions in free databases. Management systems like MySQL are supported by many other platforms and allow for agile MPV data handling for a large number of users. As our project grows, it’s always possible to move to a more extensive commercial solution.
What is most important from the start?
When making difficult choices connected with technology dedicated to our Minimum Viable Product, we should always keep in mind the future development of our product. The basis here is to ensure the right protection of software and its users. We’ve already mentioned that the cloud has become a popular concept partly due to the data leak of iCloud users. Getting the right data security, apart from the clients’ trusts, is also key in legal terms, particularly in the light of the ever-changing legal regulations.
When taking on the creation of your own cloud software, you should always keep its future in mind. An important aspect of the chosen technology is its scalability. Like in most classical business models, the sales of our product to the biggest number of clients possible lies at the basis of the SaaS (Software as a Service) model. Having in mind how our user database may grow with time, we should always be ready to provide a comprehensive product to all those willing to actively engage. Even at the MVP stage, the chosen architecture must to some degree be ready for a further increase of the number of our customers.
The effectiveness of our product is also important for its future development. Our software’s stability may to a greater extent be threatened, and not by the growing number of users, but rather the quality of its optimization. It is easier to turn a blind eye to mild imperfections of our interface or lack of additional options, when the basic functions are working just like we expect them to. Performance is key here. That is why, despite the whole minimalism of MVP, it’s not recommended to take shortcuts.
Why is it worth outsourcing the development of a SaaS product?
Developing an MVP for our SaaS (Software as a Service) on our own may turn out to be quite a challenge. That’s why it is good to benefit from the talent and experience of an external developer. Outsourcing our product and giving it into the hands of professionals allows for implementation of languages and tools which we wouldn’t have used optimally ourselves. Choosing the right crew, we ensure the best possible start of our Minimum Viable Product. Creating MVP in cooperation with specialists, we may focus on its development and sales, saving time and money.
A developer who understands the specifics of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for the SaaS model may give us fast development of the app while retaining high quality of the code. It’s much easier to find a qualified company that will bring our idea to life, than hire your own employees full time. Recruiting on this competitive IT market is difficult and time consuming, and hiring any additional person is a serious commitment. Often times, when a key developer resigns, further work on our Minimum Viable Product has to be put on hold.
Outsourcing gives us that continuity in work on our project. Even when our product leaves the MVP phase, and our dynamically operating startup has its own team at hand, we may still use the help of an external developer if necessary.
The cloud is still growing. More and more software suppliers are leaning towards it. Every day, companies try to move the already existing apps to a Software as a Service model.
Despite the dynamic growth of this market, there’s still some tremendous, untapped potential there. Even with such fierce competition, good ideas have their way of making it big and finding an audience across the entire world. It’s possible that you already have an idea and keep pondering on it... One that you haven’t presented to the world yet. We hope that this will be enough to convince you to stop waiting for the perfect moment, stop working on those hypothetical functions and possible solutions, and actually test it in real life developing your own Minimum Viable Product.