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What is a SaaS platform? The Complete Guide

By July 17, 2023January 24th, 2024Software Development
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Here at BitCot, we build SaaS Software & applications for entrepreneurs and other organizations that need tech solutions.

If you have an idea, we can build it.

We have built SaaS platforms and apps for dozens of clients and startups.

We get many of the same questions when talking to clients about turning their ideas into businesses, so we’ve put together this complete guide to SaaS platforms.

[Also Read: 10 Tips on How You Can Outsource SaaS Development]

What is a SaaS platform?

If you are thinking about building an app or website, you may have heard the term, but what exactly is a SaaS platform?

The term SaaS stands for software as a service software. The easiest way to describe a SaaS platform is by saying it’s “software sold as a subscription” or “software accessed through a web browser.”

This means that if you are planning on building some kind of application, the SaaS model is probably your best choice – anyone in the world with an internet connection is a potential customer.

If you think about it, many modern-day “websites” are actually SaaS products.

Netflix, Dropbox, Google Apps – they all provide some sort of software as a service.

Now that you know what SaaS is, let’s look at some of the advantages and benefits of building a SaaS cloud platform.

 

SaaS platform

The Evolution of SaaS Platforms: A Brief History

The term “SaaS platform” has become increasingly common in the tech industry in recent years. But what exactly is a SaaS platform, and how did it come to be? In this brief history of the SaaS platform, we’ll explore the key milestones in its development and how it has transformed the software industry.
Software as a Service (SaaS) has been around for several decades, but it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that the term “SaaS platform” gained traction. A SaaS platform is a cloud-based software delivery model that allows businesses to access a wide range of software applications and services through a single, unified platform.

One of the earliest examples of a SaaS platform was Salesforce.com’s AppExchange, launched in 2005. AppExchange allowed third-party developers to create and share applications that could be easily integrated with Salesforce’s core CRM software, providing customers with a flexible and customizable platform for managing their sales and marketing efforts.

However, the launch of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2006 truly paved the way for the modern SaaS platform. AWS provided businesses with a scalable and cost-effective cloud computing platform, allowing them to build and deploy software applications without expensive hardware and infrastructure.

As the SaaS platform market grew, new players, including Microsoft’s Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM’s Bluemix, entered the fray. These platforms offered a wide range of tools and services, including data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, allowing businesses to leverage the power of these technologies to drive innovation and growth.

Today, the SaaS platform market is thriving, with a wide range of platforms and services available to businesses of all sizes. From enterprise-level platforms like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics to more specialized platforms like Shopify and Squarespace, there are SaaS platforms available to meet virtually every business need.

Looking to the future, the SaaS platform market is poised for continued growth as businesses recognize the benefits of cloud-based software and its flexibility and scalability. As technology continues to evolve, we expect to see new and innovative SaaS platforms emerge, transforming how we work and do business.

The history of the SaaS platform is a testament to the power of innovation and the transformative impact of technology. From its early beginnings in the mid-2000s to its current status as a critical component of modern business, the SaaS platform has come a long way, and its future looks brighter than ever.

Why should you build a SaaS Software?

Building a SaaS product instead of “traditional” software has many advantages. The main advantages of building a SaaS product are:

  • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
  • Flexibility
  • Future-proofing
  • Taking advantage of the cloud
  • Opportunity for a big exit

Monthly Recurring Revenue with SaaS

Predictable monthly cash flow is one of the biggest advantages of creating a SaaS platform. Traditional software is often a one-time purchase from customers, but the ability to offer monthly or yearly subscriptions with SaaS makes financial planning for your business much less risky.

Think about that.

What could your business do if you had a steady stream of income month after month? Business planning would be much easier, and you would be able to plan ahead of time – no surprises.

This is in stark contrast to the traditional software model where your customers purchase one time and you have to twist their arms to get them to upgrade later.

The SaaS model has the same customers buying from you every single month.

SaaS Solutions are flexible

SaaS is flexible. The ability to create a minimal viable product (MVP) is another great advantage of building a SaaS platform, an entrepreneur has the ability to listen to customers and develop an application that will make sales right away.

This is a great alternative to traditional software where an entrepreneur or business would spend months or years developing software only to find out that customers aren’t interested.

With SaaS, the entrepreneur has the ability to make a much smaller investment at first. After building out an MVP and getting customer feedback, the entrepreneur can then add features to the platform while at the same time receiving cash flow from current customers.

When done correctly, SaaS development pays for itself.

Future-proof with a SaaS Software

When you choose to build software, you must plan ahead. After all, you don’t want to put money, time, and resources into your SaaS product and then not have it work later down the road. SaaS platforms offer the ability to continuously improve and make sure that your app is using the most up-to-date technology.

SaaS has the huge advantage of being able to deploy almost anywhere. Once the “backbone” of a SaaS platform is built out, it can be used to make apps for smartphones, tablets, and anything else that has a connection to the internet.

When you build your SaaS application today, it will be around for years.

SaaS takes advantage of the cloud

SaaS applications use cloud computing. What does that mean? It means that you and anyone else using your SaaS has access to the best computing power in the world.

And the best part is you don’t have to worry about any hardware maintenance.

That means you can focus more time on your business, instead of trying to troubleshoot hardware issues.

The SaaS model is great for entrepreneurs and businesses, but it’s also great for customers and users as well.

 

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SaaS companies have huge exit opportunities

A SaaS company’s valuation is often based on revenue instead of profit. Some SaaS companies are even trading at 20-30x of their sales. This provides a great opportunity when thinking about an exit.

User benefits of SaaS platforms

Customers prefer the SaaS model over traditional models because:

  • Lower capital investment
  • SaaS is flexible
  • Ability to access the software from anywhere in the world
  • Similar experience to browsing the web
  • Ongoing training

SaaS requires lower capital investment

Customers love buying from SaaS companies because of the much lower initial cost. Because the costs of using SaaS apps are spread out over time, customers have the ability to use your product and have more capital on their books.

This is great for customers because they have the option of subscribing when they need the service and then canceling the subscription if they no longer need it.

SaaS is flexible

Quality SaaS products offer the user flexibility. Many SaaS products have various tiers that allow users to only pay for what they are using. This flexibility means that the service is tailored to the customers’ exact needs and they are not wasting any money.

With traditional software, upgrades could be costly for a consuer and once an upgrade was paid for, it wasn’t possible to get that money back.

With a SaaS product, users can change plans and usage to see what is going to work for them. If one plan or upgrade is more than they need, the customer can revert to a smaller, lower-priced plan.

SaaS can be used anywhere in the world

Gone are the days when you had to make sure that software is compatible with your computer’s operating system. Most SaaS products are made so they can be accessed from any browser.

Desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones – chances are, if it’s a SaaS product, you’ll be able to use it if you have access to a web browser.

Client meetings are a breeze when you can pull up a SaaS app on your phone and show off what you can do for them.

Using SaaS Software is just like surfing the web

Because SaaS platforms are accessible from most browsers, the learning curve to use them is low.

Pretty much anyone that has surfed the internet will be able to use a SaaS app.

If you can use Facebook, you can use a SaaS App.

Facebook is one type of SaaS platform, but what are some other examples?

SaaS Solutions often include training

If users find a SaaS product difficult to use, there are usually many training options, both free and paid. Some SaaS companies even provide weekly blog articles and videos to teach customers the best way to use their products.

What are some SaaS platform examples?

Modern-day offices rely on SaaS products and they are already used to them. How are SaaS platforms currently being used? Pretty much any software idea you have can be made into a SaaS app. Here are some examples of how SaaS platforms are being used:

  • Office communication
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Almost any business process

Office communication

One of the most successful office communication SaaS providers in the last few years has been Slack. Slack reports that over 10 million people use their products every day.

That’s over 85,000 organizations paying for Slack every single month.

Slack started in 2013.

In a few short years, Slack has become worth more than $20 million.

And slack isn’t the only SaaS with explosive growth.

Customer relationship management

You have probably used a customer relationship management (CRM) SaaS product before. One example is Salesforce. Salesforce is a popular CRM SaaS that has been around for years. If you know anyone in sales, they probably have used Salesforce before.

Salesforce is making over $16 billion a year and continues to break records.

What if your SaaS product had a small share of that?

Business-critical processes

Many businesses are already used to using SaaS every day. Microsoft, with its Microsoft Office 365, has been successfully moving many of its customers over to the SaaS model. In fact, over 120 million people use Microsoft Office 365 every month.

Think of every office you have ever been in – every single one of those computers was most likely running some version of Microsoft Office.

Now think about how many other devices are in those offices – smartphones, tablets, pretty much anything connected to the internet. Because SaaS platforms are usually platform-agnostic, all of those devices could be running SaaS products – each one providing a steady stream of income to those SaaS companies.

These are just some examples of the potential with the SaaS model, but what it the process of building out a SaaS product?

How are SaaS platforms built?

Here at BitCot, we have developed over 100 SaaS platforms and applications. While turning so many ideas into businesses we have developed a five-step process for developing SaaS platforms. Our comprehensive process for developing your SaaS product includes:

  • Discovery
  • UI and UX
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Launch

All of these steps are vital in turning your idea into reality.

With our streamlined process, we can turn your idea into an app in no time, but how long does it actually take to build a SaaS product?

Saas process

 

 

How long does it take to build a SaaS product?

With the traditional model of software development, it could take years before a product was released; however, the SaaS model completely changes the game. Every business case is unique, but we have built SaaS platforms in as little as a few months.

That means you can start getting customer feedback and start generating revenue in almost no time.

But in order to get a more realistic estimate of the timeframe, it would take to build your SaaS product, you would need to contact us to get started.

What are you waiting for?

The SaaS market is predicted to hit $100 billion this year. Major companies like Microsoft and Adobe are already building and using SaaS applications.

The future of software and tech is SaaS.

Are you ready to build a SaaS platform and get your piece of the pie?

When you’re ready to build your SaaS platform, contact us for a free consultation.

FAQs About SaaS platform

Q. What is a SaaS platform?

A SaaS platform is a cloud-based software delivery model that provides businesses access to multiple software applications and services through a single, unified platform.

Q. How does a SaaS platform work?

SaaS platforms are hosted in the cloud and are accessible via the internet. Users can access a wide range of software applications and services through a single platform without expensive hardware and infrastructure.

Q. What are the benefits of using a SaaS platform?

SaaS platforms offer many benefits, including scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. They allow businesses to leverage the latest software applications and services without significant upfront investment in hardware and IT infrastructure.

Q. What types of businesses can benefit from using a SaaS platform?

SaaS platforms are suitable for businesses of all sizes and industries. They benefit small and medium-sized businesses that may need more resources to invest in expensive hardware and infrastructure.

Q. What are some examples of SaaS platforms?

Some popular examples of SaaS platforms include Salesforce, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Shopify, and Squarespace. However, many other SaaS platforms are available to meet a wide range of business needs.

Q. Are there any downsides to using a SaaS platform?

While SaaS platforms offer numerous benefits, there are some potential downsides to consider. These include concerns around data privacy and security, vendor lock-in potential, and reduced control over software customization and development.

Q. How can businesses choose the right SaaS platform for their needs?

Choosing the right SaaS platform requires careful consideration of cost, scalability, features, and integration capabilities. It is essential to thoroughly evaluate different platforms and choose one that aligns with your business goals and needs.

 

Raj Sanghvi

Raj Sanghvi is a technologist and founder of BitCot, a full-service award-winning software development company. With over 15 years of innovative coding experience creating complex technology solutions for businesses like IBM, Sony, Nissan, Micron, Dicks Sporting Goods, HDSupply, Bombardier and more, Sanghvi helps build for both major brands and entrepreneurs to launch their own technologies platforms. Visit Raj Sanghvi on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter. View Full Bio