Creating MVP for SaaS

18 Nov · 6 min read

 Creating MVP for SaaS

The word cloud is now everywhere. The concept has even made it into pop culture, in films like “Creed” with Sylvester Stallone. In the sense of the Internet, it isn't that old, as we call "cloud" now already existed 20+ years ago. Moreover, clouds have become an Internet symbol since the phrase “computational cloud” was coined. Nowadays, the term cloud goes hand-in-hand with the Internet. 

What is SaaS?

The Software as a Service (SaaS) paradigm relies on a computational cloud, allowing users to connect directly to external apps. Common SaaS examples are Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google's G Suit bundle. Terms such as PaaS (Platform as a Service, or virtual work environment) or IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) may be also used based on the functionality, but they all follow the same principle. 

How much are cloud apps worth?

Around two-thirds of the cloud data processing market's income comes from SaaS. In 2017, SaaS apps generated 21% more revenue (about $60 billion) than in 2016. Statista.com estimates over $300 billion in SaaS earnings by 2025. A Software as a Service firm might earn an average of $58,000 per month when trying to raise capital. 

Why is cloud computing gaining popularity?

SaaS has several benefits. From the user's perspective, here are a few: 

  • Low total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • Fixed, low subscription costs
  • Low app installation costs and
  • No infrastructure costs
  • Minimal risk and rapid implementation
  • Secure and standardized solutions
  • Easy remote data access
  • Always-updated software
  • Easily scalable, no user limit

The primary benefits for software providers are: 

  • Easy access to clients
  • Global distribution
  • No restrictions on hardware, software, or supported platforms
  • No software fragmentation
  • No usage of unauthorised software copies

Idea validation with SaaS

The SaaS (Software as a Service) approach allows us to test our ideas even before we build the app. One well-known example is buffer.com. It started as just a landing page explaining how the app works and inviting visitors to sign up for the newsletter. The page was then updated with monthly subscription pricing even before the app was in development. The authors of buffer.com reached future potential clients who had a big impact on the future of this programme. So the project and first prototype had almost little risk. 

Another good example is zappos.com. Nick Swinmurn, one of the project's founders, opened an online shoe store in 1999. When a client made a purchase, Nick would personally buy the shoes and ship them to them. Zappos began without any facilities, both in terms of their own warehouse and the page backend. Ten years later, it was purchased by Amazon for 1.2 billion dollars. 

Why start with an MVP?

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a product that is ready to be launched into the market. It is the simplest product that can be created cheaply and presented to potential customers. In a world where we are always hearing about new tech firms, the time it takes to develop a concept should be as fast as possible. 

The term Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is sometimes confused with a mockup due to its broad definition. It's critical to remember the concept's foundation: 

Minimum - not the product's size, but its complexity. As an example, zappos.com's minimum was the concept, achieved with the least expensive and simplest techniques. 

Viable means “feasible, possible”. An MVP product is one that can be sold. So, if we can just find a willing buyer, the product fits these criteria. 

Product – the sole item sold at a definite value. It is the solution we offer to the client's problem. 

What matters during MVP creation?

A few golden rules might help you design the best MVP (Minimum Viable Product). First, in today's fast-paced startup market, it's best not to delay sales. A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a way to test an idea, not a finished product. While you're waiting for the perfect moment, someone may sneak up on you. 

Secondly, if you've previously identified your necessary minimum, consider implementing your idea using half the means and functionality. With time, the final result becomes considerably different from what we initially envisaged. These adjustments should be driven by client feedback, so listen to their comments and engage in communication wherever possible. 

What technology should be used for a SaaS MVP?

Despite many examples of turning a Minimum Viable Product into a simple website, not all concepts are that simple. Many languages can be used to create your MVP. Most of these languages allow experienced developers to quickly generate a working piece of code. 

Your product's accurate scaling may become a hindrance over time. Not all technologies are suitable for large projects. A full ASP.NET-like framework may provide higher stability and more options. But it demands more effort and experience. Also, because it's a commercial solution, it's possible that an MVP produced in this technology may consume too many resources. 

When to use MVP?

When choosing a programming language, it is vital to initially explore recent and popular solutions. JavaScript is the most significant language, followed by Python and Ruby on Rails. But it's crucial to pick a technology that you believe in or that your experts use. Most experts unanimously opt for Open Source ecosystems. Despite its flaws, open-source software is the most cost-effective way to implement MVP. 

What are the benefits of using ready-made solutions?

A previously produced model may save you a lot of time and money. Payments, reservations, forms, and live chat etc. are a few functionalities that are ready to use. Such solutions are available for free. As the project expands, you can upgrade to custom, commercial options. 

What matters most right away?

When making difficult technical choices for an MVP, you should always consider its future development. The goal is to protect software and its users. Apart from the clients' confidence, ensuring data security is crucial legally, especially with the ever-changing legal restrictions. 

When developing your own cloud software, consider its future. The SaaS model is based on selling the product to as many clients as feasible. As the user base grows, you should always be ready to give a comprehensive product to those eager to actively participate. Even at the MVP level, the chosen architecture must be suitable for scaling. 

A product's efficacy is vital to its future development. It's easy to overlook minor interface flaws or a lack of additional options when the fundamental operations work as expected. Yet, speed is crucial. Despite MVP's minimalism, it is not suggested to take shortcuts. 

Why should you outsource SaaS product development?

Creating an MVP for SaaS can be difficult. That's why it's advised to hire a professional developer. Professionals handling your product allows you to employ languages and tools you wouldn't have otherwise used. Choosing the correct team ensures the finest possible start for your MVP. By collaborating with experts, you can focus on development and sales, saving time and money. Outsourcing ensures your project's continuance. 

Summary

The cloud is expanding. It's gaining popularity among software vendors. Companies are constantly converting existing apps to a SaaS model. Despite the market's rapid expansion, there is still a lot of untapped potentials. Even in a world of harsh competition, good ideas still manage to find a global audience. You may already have an idea that you haven't yet shared with the public. So stop waiting for the perfect moment, stop focusing on those hypothetical functionalities and alternative solutions, and start constructing your own Minimum Viable Product. 

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