The next revolution in computing will be driven not only by hardware but also by Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). The cloud technology offers various benefits that can help businesses. It's easy, fast and cost effective. But how does it work and what steps should be followed to offer an efficient SaaS service? Let’s look at some of them now!
When we talk about cloud applications or online services, there are two types - Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). PaaS provides developers with all necessary tools they need to design, test & deploy their web apps. On the other hand, IaaS gives users access to servers without worrying about any technical details like security, performance, etc. Since both these services require different skill sets, choosing one over another depends on the type of project. Generally speaking, if you want to launch a new website then go for PaaS. If you already have a strong foundation of programming skills, you may prefer to use IaaS instead of PaaS. Here’s what you need to know before making this choice:
As mentioned earlier, SaaS means providing end users with readymade solutions rather than developing them from scratch. You can either choose to open source such projects or keep them private. Open sourcing allows anyone to view and edit the code freely. However, keeping everything confidential protects intellectual property rights. Both approaches come with pros and cons. For example, you may get more attention when you release your app under GPL license. At the same time, others would love to contribute towards building up your community. So, which approach suits better for you? As per my experience, every developer has something unique to add to the existing code base. Giving everyone equal opportunity is good practice. That said, releasing the core framework publicly while maintaining confidentiality helps you receive valuable feedback from several people around the world. Hence, deciding whether to open source or close source comes down to personal preference.
In general, launching products/services privately is easier than doing so openly because there aren't many competitors in the market who could steal ideas. Besides, it takes less time to bring out innovative concepts when no one knows about them yet. Moreover, it becomes difficult to monetize your idea if it stays hidden forever.
On the contrary, when you give away the entire codebase, you'll lose control over the final product. This implies that someone else might take advantage of your hardwork and start competing against you. So, don't expect too much privacy unless you're working alone.
However, if you think that sharing your product will increase its visibility then you shouldn't hesitate to show off your creation. After all, transparency leads to trust and trust makes collaboration easier.
A successful SaaS startup needs proper planning and execution. From ideation to actual delivery, here are four key phases you must follow:
Ideation phase — When you first decide to set up a SaaS app, brainstorming sessions become crucial. Brainstorming involves collecting thoughts and opinions of experts. In addition, having an objective viewpoint during meetings prevents divergent thinking. Therefore, consider every possible scenario and prepare multiple plans for each event. Also, ask yourself questions like "Who our target audience will be?" and "What features will attract potential buyers?". Finally, write down your goals and objectives before going ahead with further development.
Design phase — Now that we've got an outline of things to be done, it's time to plan the structure of the system. Designers usually sketch wireframes and mockups to visualize the user interface. They also draw flow charts showing the sequence of events. Once the designs are finalized, programmers convert those sketches into executable files called screens or UIs. Then testers run through those screens to identify bugs. While designing, always remember that functionality matters more than anything else.
Development phase — During this stage, programmers implement functionalities using languages like Java, C++, PHP, Python, NodeJS, Ruby, etc. Testers provide real-time feedback to improve usability and efficiency. Developers utilize agile methodologies to deliver the best results within deadlines. Agile methodology encourages frequent releases to meet customer requirements efficiently. And this saves lots of money since you won't invest heavily in long term infrastructure costs.
Testing phase — Before delivering the final version to clients, testing plays an important role in ensuring quality. Usually, QA engineers perform thorough tests to check whether the program works properly on computers, tablets, and phones. According to Google, 37% of mobile apps fail after being released on Play Store due to bug errors. To avoid such issues, you can hire dedicated professionals who regularly scan for glitches and report back to you regarding problems found. Apart from manual testing, automated testing tools also play a vital part. These platforms allow automatic evaluation of critical factors such as speed & stability. Such programs save hours of human efforts and lower maintenance costs significantly.
Nowadays, almost all industries rely on Cloud Computing to streamline operations. Thus, creating a SaaS application doesn't seem impossible anymore. All you need to do is to decide where to host your data and execute the abovementioned steps accordingly. There are various options available depending upon your requirements. Following are few popular choices:
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): This model lets companies sell subscriptions via websites. Users pay fees based on usage. Popular examples include Dropbox, Zoho, Salesforce, Trello, Office 365, Evernote, Basecamp, etc. Companies offering SaaS often charge monthly subscription rates ranging between $5-$10. Depending upon targeted clientele, pricing varies greatly.
Platform-as-a-service(PaaS): Similarly, providers let third parties customize their platform according to specific requirements. Examples include Heroku, Azure, AWS, Google App Engine, DotNetNuke, Rails, DjangoStack, among others. Unlike SaaS, PaaS typically charges extra for additional customization. Pricing for PaaS varies widely across different providers.
Infrastructure-as-a-service(IaaS): Like PaaS, IaaS too enables organizations to rent space in remote locations. Additionally, unlike PaaS, IaaS vendors store data remotely and hence don’t pass along storage overhead to consumers. Some notable examples include Rackspace, DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services, Firestack, VMWare, Microsoft Azure, and IBM Cloud.
Containerized environment: Containerization refers to packaging processes inside lightweight virtual machines. Today, nearly every major tech company uses container technologies to boost scalability and reliability. Examples include Docker, Kubernetes, Rocket, Mesos, Singularity, Swarm, etc. Most startups prefer to spin up containers manually or even automate deployment process using DevOps tools.
Once you understand the concept behind SaaS technology, it's quite clear why the majority of top players in tech industry opt for this form of hosting. With SaaS, you don't have to worry about managing separate systems. Instead, you just focus on enhancing revenue streams. Though, learning about various modes of SaaS is essential. By knowing about these, you'll be able to choose the right option for your project.
We've put together some tips for those looking to enter the world of SaaS development, from building their first prototype to launching their first beta test. This article covers everything you need to know before diving into the exciting field of developing apps on the Web.
It's possible! There are many different ways to build applications, depending on your skill set or knowledge base. If you're familiar with certain languages such as Java, Ruby, PHP, C++, Python, Swift, Objective-C, Go, Scala, Lua, ASP.NET, Node.js, ReactJS, Express.js, Angular.js, Ember.js, Knockout.js, Bootstrap 3, Backbone.js, Dashing.io, and/or WordPress, then you probably already know something about how to code an application. However, there are other methods out there that require no prior experience with programming whatsoever. These include tools like Adobe Flex, Google Polymer, PhoneGap Build, Sencha Touch, Xamarin Studio, AppMobi, Balsamiq, JQuery Mobile, Kivu, and others. You may even choose to combine multiple approaches to increase your chances of success. For example, if you have little background in programming but would like to learn and understand how things work behind the scenes, consider learning one language well and leveraging frameworks designed specifically for non-programmers. The choice is yours -- whatever works best for you.
One thing worth noting here is that you can leverage existing libraries created by people smarter than you in order to speed up your time when working within these platforms. By doing so, you'll not only save yourself hours of wasted time trying to figure out where to start, but you'll end up producing better results faster. That said, knowing how to program isn't required to be successful at designing, implementing, testing & deploying complex functionality.
For further reading, check out our post outlining 10+ open source projects made with no programming experience. Also, note that these types of solutions aren't recommended for businesses running large scale operations due to limited scalability, which means they won't support larger user bases. They're perfect for small companies, startups, individuals, freelancers, designers, artists, hobbyists, enthusiasts... anything really.
Yes, however, writing your own software doesn't necessarily translate to having users. After all, Apple's iOS was written by programmers but didn't see widespread adoption until Steve Jobs took over as CEO. So why did he succeed where his coders failed? Well, because he understood how to simplify the process of getting things done. He knew exactly which buttons to place where, precisely how long each menu option should last, and which options were most important. When asked why, he answered simply: "Because users hate complexity". Once again, simplicity wins. To achieve similar levels of success, you must think like a user and ask questions like: What problems am I solving? How will I feel once I'm finished? Is this going to solve them quickly and painlessly? Will I enjoy using this solution? Can I trust this company?
In addition to simplifying interactions between users and the backend, keep in mind that it takes less effort to maintain a simple interface versus a complicated one. Users tend to bounce around much quicker on simpler interfaces, since it requires less cognitive overhead. Therefore, keeping things clean and uncluttered creates a positive feedback loop effect. It helps users focus on accomplishing tasks rather than spending countless minutes searching through menus for a particular function. Of course, if you plan on providing advanced features, you'll still need to provide clear instructions for navigating through menus and functions. Otherwise, users might hit dead ends, making them wonder where to begin.
If you're willing to accept a lower level of quality, you could potentially produce something that feels a lot smoother and easier to navigate. However, you'd eventually run into performance issues down the road and lose market share to competitors offering higher standards. Again, balance usability vs. feature depth. As far as design goes, try experimenting with color palettes, fonts, images, shapes, icons, animations, transitions, backgrounds, typography, spacing, navigation structure, button placement, image sizes, menu locations, etc., based on your answers to question #1 above. Keep in mind that what looks great to you might look completely off-putting to someone else. Be prepared to adjust accordingly.
Finally, remember that users often spend way too much time inside applications waiting for pages to load, freezing screens, opening multiple tabs, refreshing browsers, and clicking back buttons. Don't force them to wait forever. Make sure your app loads fast and provides instant gratification by loading content dynamically instead of displaying static page refreshes. Think progressive enhancement, graceful degradation, and responsive designs.
Sure! All it takes is passion, persistence, creativity, planning, patience, hard work, and a willingness to grow. Just follow these three steps: 1. Identify a problem 2. Find a solution 3. Create a prototype.
When you identify a problem, you should always seek out potential solutions. Start with asking yourself: What kinds of problems do I help everyday? Then turn yourself inward and answer: What kind of person solves those problems? Finally, ask yourself: Who needs to solve those problems? Now imagine a person sitting across from you describing her frustrations and challenges. She wants to know how you came up with a solution to fix her problem. The key to finding a customer is understanding how she thinks and feeling comfortable talking to her directly.
Once you've identified your target audience, decide whether you want to sell a premium version or offer a complimentary trial period. Either approach will bring in revenue sooner than later. Depending on your goals, platform availability, pricing, and distribution channel, you can determine which route to take. One thing worth mentioning here is that the majority of mobile device manufacturers today offer developer kits for every major operating system including Android, iPhone, Windows 8, Blackberry OS, and more. If you're curious, you can purchase them starting at $99.95 per month.
Now comes the fun part: Creating a Prototype. A good prototype allows you to show off your idea during pitch meetings, demonstrate your concept via video, give presentations, and perform technical demos. Furthermore, prototypes allow you to gauge user interest and gather valuable feedback before investing tons of money into full production costs. Prototypes serve as the foundation for real products and services. Without one, you wouldn't have been able to come up with ideas, formulate concepts, visualize solutions, or refine functionalities.
Developing a high quality prototype typically consists of four main phases: exploration, research, creation, and evaluation. During exploration phase, you'll discover various aspects surrounding your project, such as identifying core concepts, discovering trends, researching competition, brainstorming ideas, determining feasibility, defining scope, sketching wireframes, prototyping layouts, creating mockups, and performing early simulations. Exploration is extremely crucial for coming up with innovative solutions.
During the next phase, called research, you'll conduct extensive interviews with prospective clients to gain deeper insights into their needs, desires, requirements, expectations, concerns, motivations, pains, and habits. Research lets you establish realistic timelines, anticipate obstacles, and avoid common pitfalls. Next, you'll move onto creating actual components that you want to include in your final product. Here, you'll draw inspiration from current examples, compare alternative approaches, analyze data, create unique variations, utilize available resources, and integrate third party APIs. Lastly, evaluate your prototype thoroughly to ensure that you haven't missed anything throughout the entire process.
After completing your prototype, it's time to launch it publicly. However, keep in mind that nothing beats real world exposure, especially when dealing with sensitive information. Testimonials, case studies, blog posts, social media updates, press releases, videos, screenshots, infographics, testimonials, white papers, and blogs are a few of the numerous ways you can spread the word about your latest accomplishment. Remember that buzz attracts traffic & attention.
"Saas" means "software as a service". The term Saas was coined by Marc Andreesen, in his paper titled 'A Future That Couldn't Happen' (1997). He said that since the Internet has evolved from being an engineering project into a platform and industry, it's time we start thinking about how things will be done differently. So he introduced the idea of Software as a Service or SaaS.
In this article, you'll learn what exactly is SaaS model, why do people use SaaS? How can one make their own SaaS applications? Let us get started!
There are several types of services offered on the internet today. Some examples include web hosting, content delivery network (CDN), online advertising etc., but there is only one type which comes close to SaaS. This form of offering product/services over internet is called SAAS - Software As A Services.
SAAS stands for providing access to software products via the internet without having to install those packages on users PCs. In other words, SAAS companies provide clients with remote access technology to run their programs remotely while keeping all security risks away. It allows developers to customize these programs according to client requirements and deliver them at affordable cost. Since they don't have to worry about hardware maintenance, server management & IT infrastructure, programmers can focus more on developing new features instead of dealing with technical issues.
So, if you're already working on some sort of program and want to offer it to others through the internet, then probably you need to go for SAAS approach. But before going further, let us see how does SAAS work?
Let me explain using an analogy...
Imagine you are living in two rooms of an apartment building. Room 1 is where you live, room 2 is your office. Now suppose someone built a bridge connecting both rooms together. You cannot enter directly from room1 to room2, because the bridge blocks your way. However, once you build another bridge between room2 and room3, now you can walk freely from room1 to room2, and also from room2 to room 3. Same thing happens when you set up a cloud computing environment. Your computer is like your personal desktop PC. Cloud provider is like room3. Every company needs to keep its information safe, secure and accessible 24 hours, 365 days per year. If not, their data would become vulnerable to hackers. Therefore, they require constant protection, so that vital information remains protected from unauthorized intruders. They rely heavily upon cloud providers who maintain high levels of security.
Now, think about yourself walking across bridges connecting each room of our imaginary apartment building above. When you need to reach room3, you simply click on the bridge and cross it very quickly. Once you step out of the first bridge onto the second bridge, everything becomes seamless and easy. Similarly, whenever you need to move files from one folder to another within your local drive, you just right-click on a file, choose Send To > Other Computer (or Network), select destination directory, and off you go! Right? Well, same applies to accessing any website hosted on servers located anywhere in the world. Whenever you wish to open a site, you may either visit that particular page on your browser OR download the webpage itself to your hard disk drive. There is no hindrance whatsoever.
The problem arises when you try to transfer something from your hard disk drive to your laptop or mobile phone. Suddenly, you realize that the internal memory space available on your device isn't enough to hold such large sized files. For instance, Microsoft Outlook takes approximately 8 GB of free storage space to store emails, contacts, calendar entries, tasks, notes etc. On average, users tend to save attachments separately. Hence, email size tends to grow exponentially every day. Similarly, Adobe Photoshop requires 4GB of RAM to process images. These huge graphics often contain multiple layers and filters. All this causes tremendous strain on system resources resulting poor performance. Also, many popular apps including Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Spotify, Whatsapp, Dropbox, Evernote etc. consume lots of CPU power during running processes. Thus, users end up buying bigger processors and higher amount of storage capacity to enhance overall efficiency.
Therefore, it is obvious that we need better ways to manage big amounts of data efficiently. Cloud computing offers great solutions to the aforementioned problems. Instead of downloading entire websites locally, users can subscribe to various web services provided by cloud providers. Data stored on cloud computers are accessed faster than those kept inside user systems. Because of this reason, cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular among businesses worldwide.
If you've understood the concept behind SaaS well, let us move forward to understand what SaaS actually is.
I mentioned earlier that SaaS refers to providing access to software programs via internet. Here I am giving you an example of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provides access to thousands of software programs via internet. AWS operates its own cloud computing platform. Anybody can register themselves and avail certain level of benefits depending upon subscription plans selected. Users pay monthly fees via credit cards or PayPal accounts. Most common services provided by AWS includes Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Simple Storage System (SSD), Auto Scaling, Virtual Private Server (VPS), DynamoDB NoSQL database, Mobile Hub, Media Transfer Protocol, API Gateway, Cognito User Pools etc. Many individuals prefer paying yearly subscriptions rather than monthly ones.
To sum it all up, SaaS basically gives you remote control over software programs installed on other devices. Whereas, traditional desktop version installs software package locally on your PC. With SaaS, you never have to bother about installing updates manually or maintaining your codebase. Everything gets automatically updated. Moreover, you won't even know whether you have received latest patches or bug fixes released by developer(s).
Most entrepreneurs around the globe consider SaaS as the fastest growing sector nowadays because of following reasons:
It helps cut down development costs significantly. Developers spend less money on R&D activities. Since SaaS doesn't involve complex installation procedures, it saves lot of man hours spent on testing, debugging, troubleshooting, patching bugs etc. Consequently, developers can concentrate more on core programming functions without wasting much of time.
This method boosts productivity tremendously. According to research conducted by Gartner Inc., nearly 50% of total $4 trillion global revenue generated in 2014 came from digital market segment alone. Likewise, it is estimated that SaaS contributed US$12 billion annually towards U.S. GDP growth. Overall, analysts predict that SaaS industry will generate 10 million jobs globally by 2020.
Cloud based systems help organizations gain greater flexibility. Employees can perform their duties anytime irrespective of location. Moreover, companies can easily relocate their critical assets to other regions as soon as required. Finally, employees are able to take advantage of flexible work schedules along with numerous other perks and advantages offered by employers.
However, you must remember that there are pros and cons associated with using SaaS too. One major disadvantage is lack of customization options, especially for enterprise grade projects. Another drawback is that users might face delays due to overloaded networks. Yet again, SaaS providers usually charge hefty rates for bandwidth usage.
Another setback is loss of ownership. While making decisions regarding upgrades, enhancements, modifications, customizations, etc., you lose complete control. Unlike with traditional methods, if you discontinue support for old versions, you're completely dependent on SaaS vendor. Lastly, SaaS platforms sometimes suffer downtime.
As discussed previously, SaaS generally falls under four classes namely Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, Software as a Service, Utility as a Service. Let us discuss each category briefly.
Infrastructure as a Service (IAaS): The main responsibility of IAAS lies in provision of physical capabilities needed to host users' data. Basically, IAAS providers allocate sufficient resources to meet peak demands and ensure maximum uptime. They typically charge low prices and operate on long-term contracts. Examples include Rackspace Hosting and DigitalOcean.
Platform as a Service (PaaS): As the name suggests, PaaS focuses solely on allowing enterprises to deploy and execute applications. Like IAAS, PaaS providers supply bare minimum resources required to execute client codes. Unlike IAAS, PaaS doesn't deal with underlying hardware components, operating systems, databases etc. Examples include Heroku and OpenShift.
Software as a Service (SaaS): Just like SAAS, SaaS runs software programs remotely using dedicated servers. Clients connect to servers via internet and execute programs as usual. Generally speaking, SaaS providers offer basic functionalities to clients. However, unlike with traditional installations, users are charged flat rate regardless of actual consumption. Example includes Zoho Office Suite.
Become CEO of your own lead generation software company, just follow our battle-tested guidelines and rake in the profits.