How to Implement SaaS in Your Business?
Along with platform as a service (Paas) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Software as a service (SaaS) is one of the three main elements of cloud computing. SaaS helps businesses leverage the benefit of a variety of applications such as Slack, Google Workspace, Dropbox, and more without needing to install and maintain them.
Businesses just need to access the applications through the internet. These applications are run and maintained by SaaS providers. From making applications accessible to businesses to keep them secure, updated, and performance-oriented, the SaaS providers free up businesses from the complexities of managing and maintaining software and hardware.
Simply put, the SaaS providers continuously develop and run the applications on their infrastructure. This, in turn, can help organizations empower themselves by investing their time and resources in other core competencies such as marketing and innovation. No wonder the SaaS market has reached a whopping 145.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2021!
The SaaS market is expected to grow by bounds and leaps between the years 2020 and 2025 with the United States experiencing the largest increase from 92 billion euros to 191 billion euros in 2025. Here's a look at the key SaaS figures highlighting its importance:
Advantages of Incorporating SaaS in Your Business
Before going into the practical details of implementing SaaS in your business, let's see how it can benefit your organization eventually.
When it comes to pricing, SaaS usually works on a pay-as-you-go model or usage-based pricing. As the name itself suggests, with a pay-as-you-go model, you only need to pay for the services you use. Simply put, the larger the use, the higher would the price and vice versa.
For instance, if you run a software company and have implemented SaaS in your business, the SaaS provider will charge you for the amount of data used, the number of API requests processed, and more. The direct proportional relationship between price and usage makes the whole pricing process reasonable.
As mentioned already, with SaaS, you don't need to install software, servers, and operating systems in your business or hire professionals to maintain them. As a result, you can save hugely on the initial investment required for running and maintaining the software and servers. In fact, 35% of businesses consider adopting SaaS because of its lower overall cost.
Round the Clock Availability
SaaS providers have an initiative-taking approach when dealing with customer grievances. Their customer support system is easily available through an instant ticketing system. They even have live chat support to ensure that they are available for their customers 24*7. This, in turn, ensures that small issues such as power outages, system failure are resolved by the customer support immediately without them turning into major catastrophes.
SaaS software, as already mentioned above, is hosted in the cloud. As a result, they can manage umpteenth users single-handedly. So, while you work towards growing your business and hiring more employees, the need of buying new software for the employees is eliminated.
The average cost of a data breach was $3.86 million in 2020. No wonder companies are spending a sizable chunk of their IT expenses on cybersecurity! The U.S alone has increased its IT expenses from 14% in 2020 to 23% in 2021.
However, with SaaS solutions, businesses across the globe can work seamlessly without worrying about data breaches and cybersecurity attacks. From redundant cloud data backup and end-to-end data encryption to incorporating Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) and regular software patches, these are a few of the many ways that SaaS providers leverage to ensure impeccable data security.
Best Practices for SaaS Implementation
The United States alone had 15,000 software as a service (SaaS) companies with a huge global customer base of 179 million in the year 2020. The United Kingdom bagged second place with 2,000 companies and 231,000 customers across the globe. Overall, SaaS is certainly disrupting the way businesses function and is a trend that's here to stay.
Here are a few effortless steps that can help you smoothly implement SaaS in your business:
Analyze and Identify the Needs and Objectives of Your Business
The first step is to understand your organization’s requirements. Setting up concrete goals and objectives will ensure that the SaaS solution you incorporate in your business aligns with your company’s long-term goals. For instance, if you run an e-commerce business and want to improve your customer’s user experience, incorporating a smooth cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software will help you achieve your goal. The customer data that CRM collects will give you a deep insight into the behavioral pattern of your customer, thereby helping you create highly personalized customer retention strategies.
Also, you must consider aspects such as security and scalability while integrating a SaaS solution in your business. For instance, while incorporating CRM software, make sure you include multi-factor authentication, RBAC, and end-point encryption to keep sensitive customer data safe from cyber-attacks and breaches.
In short, recognizing your business’s needs at an early stage will help you choose a SaaS solution that will pave new avenues of success for your organization.
Make Sure Your Team Is Technically Sound
Once you know what you want in your SaaS solution and how you are going to implement it, the next step is to get on board a team of skilled developers who are well-versed with diverse types of SaaS solutions.
Simply put, your team should have in-depth and clear knowledge about implementing SaaS and the various kinds of technologies that come along with it. For instance, having comprehensive knowledge about the configuration of major SaaS applications such as Dropbox and Salesforce will give your team a clear perspective of how various SaaS applications function and how they can use this knowledge in implementing their own SaaS solution.
Create a Flexible Infrastructure
From a robust data center consisting of servers and firewalls to a smooth network infrastructure consisting of wireless routers and cables, you need to develop an infrastructure that has the ability to scale as your business grows. You should also consider Service Level Agreement (SLA) and the clauses, pricing model mentioned in it by the SaaS provider. In addition, you should incorporate a clear approach to disaster recovery and security management.
Ensure Proper Hosting of Infrastructure
Your business premises must have strong wi-fi connectivity with proper bandwidth. Also, while some of your employees might be working from the office, others might be on the go or working from distinct locations. So, it becomes critical to have multiple network connections to reduce network redundancy.
Use Reliable and Smooth Functioning Infrastructure Components
You must ensure that the infrastructure components such as servers, data storage, and network equipment function smoothly and have a demonstrated history of working reliably. It will make sure that your SaaS solution delivers high-end services to your customer base. Also, it becomes imperative to know that the selected components are delivered by SaaS providers for proper implementation within your business’s timeline.
Make Way for Proper SaaS Deployment
Now, since you have hosted your SaaS infrastructure and brought onboard high-end infrastructure components, the next step is to work on the deployment of SaaS components. While you should rack and configure the servers, you should also install the operating systems as and when required. Further, you should update and configure firewalls, anti-virus, and other security devices such as Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Have a handy Disaster Recovery and Continuity Plan
After implementing a SaaS solution in your business, do produce a robust disaster recovery and business continuity plan to deal with unprecedented situations like internet failure and sudden downtime. The disaster recovery and business continuity plan should cover the following steps:
Analyze the risks associated with your business
Determine your business's Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
Choose preventive strategies to counter the risks
Always update your disaster recovery and business continuity plan
Create a Proper Customer Support Center
A well-maintained customer support system will ensure a seamless user experience. From a proper ticketing system to an instant emailing system, your customer support center should be just a click away.
Maintain in-Depth Documentation of the Whole SaaS Infrastructure
The last step is to create detailed documentation of your SaaS solution. From the infrastructure to the components included, the documentation should contain every single detail. Such documentation helps anyone, and everyone understands the application in a better way. Also, documentation comes in handy when dealing with modifications and alterations within the SaaS software.
From figuring out your company's requirements to properly documenting each step, a smooth SaaS integration can help your business grow and have a competitive edge over others.
Briefly, a proper SaaS infrastructure wouldn't only help you scale your business as and when needed, but also improve your customer's user experience.
So, go ahead, follow the steps mentioned above and see how implementing SaaS in your business becomes seamless.
An MBA in marketing, Sheerin Naz is a content writer. She writes diverse content on various niches ranging from SaaS, email marketing, startups, lifestyle, and travel. When not writing professionally, she spends her time reading books and inking her thoughts on her personal blog. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.