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Why Make the Move to the Software as a Service Model?
There are numerous benefits to adding a SaaS model to your business strategy. SaaS can allow you to target completely new markets, as many consumers are demanding subscription based software. For example, many smaller companies only want to pay for what they use, allowing them to add services or storage only as they need them. Offering a SaaS model allows you to cater directly to the needs of consumers, growing with them as they expand.
SaaS models can offer more predictable revenue streams when compared to the traditional, up-and-down licensing sales associated with purchasing software as a product. You have the control to create pricing models – like per-user or per-month – with a SaaS model.
You can also lower costs by moving to a software as a service model, because your customers are sharing a copy of the code in a cloud datacenter. Traditionally, you’d have to support a separate software instance at each customer datacenter.
Build your SaaS Architecture
There are some key factors to consider when constructing your software as a service model. You’ll first have to decide whether you want a single-tenant or multi-tenant architecture. In a single-tenant SaaS model, each end user has its own instance of the software and supporting infrastructure. A multi-tenant SaaS model involves a single software instance that’s partitioned and accessed by many different end users.
Investing in a single-tenant SaaS model can be more expensive, but allows you to customize solutions for individual customers and has a lower risk that an update will bring down the software for all users. A multi-tenant SaaS model is much cheaper and more manageable because it only requires maintaining a single application, database and supporting infrastructure.
You’ll want to make your SaaS easily scalable and available on the cloud. A SaaS model also changes the way that software is updated. Because software is hosted on the cloud, you’ll be able to update more frequently. Customers have this expectation when searching for a SaaS provider.
Choose or Build a Reliable Host
Choosing a reliable host is crucial. This will be the foundation for the rest of your SaaS model. Supporting an application that could potentially serve thousands of simultaneous users in many different regions requires reliability. You need the flexibility to scale up or down to handle the load generated by your customers. There are many different options, ranging in required management and control.
Colocation, dedicated/managed servers, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) are all options. Colocation requires the most management, while PaaS requires the least. It’s important to decide how much control you want and are capable of managing.
Think of the Customer
Customers have different expectations with software as a service. In order to succeed, you can’t get caught up in more traditional demands. Consumers associate SaaS with lower costs versus licensed software. This includes subscription costs, professional services costs, and application support costs.
Successful SaaS models will include a shorter implementation time. Once they are up and running, customers want to be able to easily and quickly get technical solutions from skilled technicians. Customer service can make or break your business, so always communicate with your customers during outages and provide consistent support to give your business the competitive edge it needs.
Moving to a SaaS model can prove to have numerous benefits, but first you have to understand your needs and develop a strong plan of action.