SAAS INTEGRATION: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Mar 21 2022
The idea of Software as a Service (SaaS) has always been there, but the right technologies appeared in the late 1990s. Are you interested in this technology? Would you like to build a SaaS product and become a vendor, or would you care for a custom solution to use within your company? We prepared FAQs on SaaS integration for your business.
ARE SAAS AND CLOUD THE SAME TECHNOLOGY?
A cloud is an immensely complicated infrastructure technology that consists of connected computers, servers, and databases. Users can lease access to this power to store their data securely and use it when needed. The cloud environment usually means anything you host remotely and deliver through the Internet, while the term “SaaS” refers to software applications that are delivered via the cloud and used specifically for business needs. How does a SaaS solution work? Let’s take, for example, Google Docs – a free service for working with text documents, tables, and presentations. You can run it from any place in the world where there is an Internet connection to enter your Google account. This SaaS product makes it easy to cooperate with colleagues remotely, share your work with anyone via a direct link, give different access levels, etc. Cloud technologies offer you practically unlimited opportunities. You can use modern technology to either apply SaaS for your own projects or to become a company that provides these services for others.
The idea of SaaS isn't new
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN TO APPLY SAAS?
There are several factors signifying that your company may benefit from cloud software. Let's discover the most prominent reasons to apply SaaS. The first factor is the complexity of your business. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is our company’s specialization? Are we significantly different from others within the industry?
- What functionality do we need from a SaaS platform? Will a standard, one-size-fits-all solution fulfill these needs?
- If we choose customized software, what functions should it have?
The answers to these questions will show if your business is complex and unique enough to require SaaS. The second factor to consider is your budget. Small-sized companies will benefit from cooperation with trustworthy SaaS vendors by paying small sums regularly. Medium-sized and large enterprises may apply a custom, on-premise SaaS platform to achieve their specific business objectives.
HOW DO I MONETIZE SAAS AS A VENDOR?
The popularity of Software as a Service is continuously growing – the market value increased by 21,7% in 2019. It’s predicted to grow further, which is not surprising because people get the functionality they need and don’t bother themselves with equipment and maintenance. This convenience is the main reason to apply SaaS. If you want to develop a SaaS solution to become a vendor for other companies, here are some monetization strategies for you to know. Many providers use different kinds of subscriptions for their customers.
|Subscription type||How it works|
|Freemium||The SaaS solution has a free entry-level tier. If customers want to lift functional restrictions, they upgrade to a paid tier.|
|Ad-based||The service is free for users while you as a provider generate revenue through paid advertising for other businesses. As an option, customers upgrade to a paid tier and use SaaS without ads.|
|Functionality tiers||The cost of SaaS for a customer will depend on the feature set. Usually, companies offer the minimum, medium, and maximum functionality.|
|Storage tiers||Customers use the service freely but with limited storage, which means they have to pay to continue using the product.|
|Flat rate||Customers pay a fixed monthly or annual fee and get access to the full functionality.|
|User tiers||Pricing is determined by the number of people using the SaaS service. Sometimes the price is based on the number of active users.|
|Usage tiers||The more customers use a SaaS platform, the more they pay – and vice versa.|
If you want to apply SaaS and become a vendor, you can choose one of these models or combine them within your monetization strategy.
HOW CAN SAAS HELP MY WORK?
If you’re planning to apply SaaS, it means you already know why it’s beneficial for a business. Let’s have a quick look through the list of the most significant advantages.
Many benefits to make your work easier
- Increasing productivity by the trouble-free connection for the entire company.
- Cost-effectiveness for end-users, as they don’t need to equip, license, and maintain their own data centers.
- Flexibility in usage and paying because users purchase a subscription to apply SaaS.
- Customization opportunities give integrations with numerous business applications and enable additional functions, fully covering the cost to develop SaaS.
- Trouble-free experience since a vendor provides everything from installation to maintenance.
- Automatic updates from a SaaS provider are convenient for customers.
- Vertical scalability, meaning that users get services or features on-demand and as many as they want.
- Easy access from any device or location because the only thing your customers need is a stable connection to the Internet.
You can benefit from all these opportunities, whether developing a custom SaaS platform for your own needs or applying SaaS to provide B2B.
IS MY DATA SAFE WITH SAAS?
This question is essential if you’re determined to apply SaaS. With traditional software, it’s up to users to make their network secure. SaaS integration means that a software vendor and cloud provider become responsible for data protection. Though cloud-based technology is rapidly evolving and adapting today, there are still some security and privacy difficulties.
Many issues to consider
What data safety challenges you may encounter when applying SaaS:
- Security monitoring;
- Data encryption;
- Key management;
- Data privacy;
- Data residency;
- IAM (Identity and Access Management);
- Incident response;
- Integration with other security environments in a company;
- Additional expenses (e.g., third-party tools to compensate risks) increasing SaaS development cost;
- Poor communication with B2B SaaS technical experts leaves unanswered questions or misunderstandings.
Knowing what kinds of weak spots may occur, you are ready to strengthen them and prevent security risks. Now you’ve become more prepared to apply SaaS.
WHAT ARE SOME POPULAR EXAMPLES OF SAAS PLATFORMS?
An outbreak of COVID made companies switch to remote work since 2020. As a result, a wide selection of online collaboration tools, from online conferencing and chats to file sharing and data storage, became a must-have. There are two main ways to apply SaaS solutions – horizontal and vertical. Some well-known horizontal SaaS platforms satisfy the customers’ universal needs. Whether it’s an individual user or a whole company, anyone can benefit from such products. Horizontal SaaS solutions include:
- Video conferencing platforms like Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts;
- Online chats like Slack, Wire, or Chanty;
- Time-tracking tools like Harvest, Time Doctor, or Everhour;
- Cloud storage and file-sharing apps like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox;
- Project management and collaboration platforms like Trello, Asana, or Jira.
Jira is a SaaS solution for project management
On the other hand, vertical SaaS products serve business needs within a specific, niche industry. The most prominent players in the vertical SaaS market are:
- Cox Automotive (car manufacturing);
- Guidewire (property insurance);
- Lufax (banking and insurance);
- Veeva (pharmaceutical management);
- Innovaccer (healthcare);
- Infor (manufacturing and other industries).
Infor is an international SaaS platform for lots of industries
Platforms like these are also called “SaaS ERP solutions.” You can read more about them in our blog post.
SHOULD I CHOOSE A BASIC OR CUSTOMIZED SAAS SOLUTION?
The market offers plenty of ways to apply SaaS to your work processes – you can purchase any kind of subscription from an independent vendor or, alternatively, go for custom SaaS development. Let’s compare these two main approaches.
|Basic SaaS integration||Custom SaaS development|
|Benefits||1. Trouble-free experience for a customer
2. Unlimited access to your data
3. Jointed work and smooth communication
|1. Individual approach and unique functionality
2. On-demand changes and improvements
3. You have total control over data storage and security
|Challenges||1. A vendor may go away from the market
2. Security breaches, service disruptions, and other problems beyond your control
3. There is nothing you can do if a new version of a SaaS application turns out to be unsatisfying or inconvenient to use
4. Changing SaaS vendors is a long technical process with large data migration
|1. You need to select the right functionality for your business goals
2. Cost to develop SaaS may be too high for a smaller company
We hope our little FAQ list has given you the basic understanding of SaaS products and their capabilities. Whether you are developing a solution for your own needs or starting a subscription business, you can consider all pros and cons to make an informed decision. Many of our clients chose to build SaaS products. Check out the portfolio to see new case studies.
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