SaaS (or Software as a Service) has been widely adopted over the past few years. SaaS, which is typically marketed as a subscription model is different from traditional models that sell software with a lifetime license and then get updates over the years.
SaaS offers many advantages for both the provider and end-user. They are far more appealing than traditional software licensing and implementation. SaaS applications are gaining in popularity, which is not surprising.
SaaS can be hosted in the cloud, so it doesn’t need to be implemented in your own systems. The cloud eliminates the need for expensive hardware and only requires that the resources be used to run the application. Cost-efficiency is one of the benefits. SaaS runs on the cloud and is accessible from a variety of servers. This makes reliability a non-issue. SaaS has lower upfront costs, which means end-users only pay for what is used. Developers can also make a steady source of revenue with SaaS over time.
We will now take a look at the key steps to implement SaaS as a business model.
1. Compare SaaS and On-Prem
A business must first weigh the benefits of SaaS implementation. Consider the following points when evaluating the SaaS and on-premises models for businesses.
- SaaS is a good fit?
- Implementation costs.
- The flexibility of the SaaS model
- SaaS-based apps could pose potential risks
- Questions concerning licensing.
- Capacity for storage
- Vendors provide support.
A business will most likely choose SaaS implementation after comparing all points and evaluating their requirements.
2. Identify your requirements
Understanding the needs of end-users is a key task before you start any type of development. Without a solid understanding of the business requirements, it is virtually impossible to create a functional application. These are the first steps one should take to understand the business requirements. Understanding the requirements is essential because it allows you to identify the most important solutions and distinguish them from the ‘nice to have features. Non-essentials can increase complexity, cost, delay, or both. It is important to have a clear understanding of the project parameters.
You should think about the app’s scalability, security, and how challenges and failures will be handled.
3. Encourage employee adoption
To build anything worthwhile, it is essential that you work in a team. This principle is also applicable here. A team with enough experience and fluency across various technologies is a key ingredient in creating the right application for all stakeholders. To implement industry best practices, team members must engage in continuous learning.
Everyone should be involved in the adoption of SaaS. Management should communicate clearly and highlight the SaaS benefits. This will encourage everyone to adopt the system faster and get involved. To make employees feel comfortable with the new system, it is important to provide proper training.
4. Procure Scalable SaaS Components
The next step is to design the infrastructure once the application’s objectives have been clarified. It is best to choose a reliable, scalable, and well-networked network infrastructure. It is important to have a reliable data center with backup facilities and monitoring tools.
Your developers must have the right tools and knowledge to build a robust platform. You must account for both client-facing as well as server-side. Backend data storage will be done using a relational database (MySQL/PostgreSQL).
In order to optimize infrastructure for all costs, it should be optimized and backed by Service Level Agreements clearly defined. Additionally, stringent security measures should be taken.
The component procurement phase follows the completion of the design phases of SaaS implementation. It is important to ensure that components are reliable and functional. It is important to carefully implement their deployment and configuration according to requirements.
5. Bandwidth and Hosting
One of the most critical aspects of SaaS is connectivity. The backbone of any service model is connected, so it is essential to choose the right host service provider.
It is important to be able to target the lowest hops between the user’s end and the hosting facility. However, it is also necessary to provide multiple connectivity points to the data center to ensure that services are available without any hiccups.
6. Assess Performance and Quality
Platform performance is another important aspect of SaaS. The developer will know how the application performs locally but it is crucial that the end-users have the same experience. This will depend on many factors such as bandwidth, reliability, and, most importantly, the best point of delivery. This last is the most difficult and requires a lot of fine-tuning.
7. Secure Data Management and Security
Security is crucial right from the beginning! End-users should feel secure in their Intellectual Property data and privacy. This is a recipe for disaster. Security would include two components: data in transit.
You should request details from the SaaS provider about the security level of their data centers. You should also ensure that access rights and roles are identical to your on-premise systems (for projects like migration). It should also match your guidelines for a new project.
8. Investigate Disaster Recovery Solutions
Any disaster can strike at any time and in any form. A disaster recovery solution is essential to ensure that the application is available at all times. It is also important to ensure that there is a fast turnaround time in case of service disruptions.
9. Monitor Customer Support and Monitoring
Customer support quality and availability are key components of a good service experience. This is often what distinguishes a great service from one that is quite poor.
One way to achieve this is by having a responsive customer support system such as a ticket system that connects to the call center. A support system via email may also be a good option. No matter how complex the process, seamless availability is the key parameter for customer support.
A comprehensive monitoring system can help you keep track of all events. This allows for prompt intervention and helps prevent disasters from happening.
Monitoring systems must also consider things such as CPU and memory consumption, OS and application event logs, and other components like databases, network features, and so on.
10. Analyze SLA & Documentation
Before signing any contracts, it is important to review the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA clearly defines the SaaS vendor’s offering and the consequences for any failure. The next step should be taken if the SLA is accepted by the business.
Application development is not complete without documentation. Documentation is essential for all aspects of infrastructure. It also serves as the bible for any future changes.
SaaS is the preferred method for development and has proven to be a success. SaaS clearly has its benefits over traditional software licensing models. The steps above can be a useful checklist.
11. Develop exit strategies
A good exit strategy is a key aspect of any new adoption. If the business wants to exit the SaaS provider at any time, it should have an exit strategy. These are the points to consider when creating an exit plan.
- How do I return to SaaS software on-premises or another SaaS service?
- What happens to data stored in SaaS
- What is the migration process?
- Is there a cost?
Every new change has its obstacles. This is true even for SaaS adoption. The business/management must prepare a detailed implementation plan that considers the goals, costs, and other factors. The rest of the implementation process will be simplified once the first phase is completed. For its long-term success, however, it is important to monitor the process closely.