According to BetterCloud, approximately 80 percent of mobile applications will be running on mobile software by 2022. Since SaaS will remain an indelible component of business operations for the foreseeable future, myriad opportunities will exist in the future for SaaS platform development. While a number of technical and aesthetic considerations can be taken into consideration when it comes to developing these SaaS platforms, it is always critical to remember two broad, yet mandatory, elements of creating SaaS: Know your market, and know your customer.
Developing Your Platform, Step 1: Know Your Market
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics of SaaS platform development and learned about the various SaaS applications and their corresponding use-values, you can then turn your attention to the market itself. Thorough market research is always recommended for effective SaaS development, including broader macro-considerations alongside niche micro-considerations.
It will be crucial to evaluate the existing competition and conduct a thorough SWOT analysis of all the relevant components of a particular market. Having a strong understanding of potential threats will prove fairly useful in planning, as responses to these threats could be addressed in advance. Equally important considerations include possible opportunities, as new opportunities are some of the best options for new businesses. In doing so, you can determine how to best position your SaaS software as a unique offering that offers advantages other SaaS apps will not.
In addition, you may be fortunate enough to detect an untapped market opportunity, which could provide your SaaS app with a first-mover advantage in such a situation. For example, while MySpace briefly enjoyed a moment of popularity, Facebook became the dominant social media giant through its perceived exclusivity and elegant design. Since Facebook was the only social media platform at the time to offer such an appealing, exclusive networking platform, it had a marvelous first-mover advantage in the then-burgeoning social media industry.
Developing Your Platform, Step 2: Know Your Customer
After you’ve strengthened your knowledge of the existing market, including all the relevant threats and opportunities, you can then delve more deeply into the psyche of your ultimate end-user, the target customer. Your customers will be the ones ultimately driving the longevity of your SaaS software, which is why it is critical to know their existing needs inside out, as well as to anticipate any needs that they might have in the future.
When studying your customer, a number of different analytical approaches can be taken. Basic demographic analysis, which can include information regarding customers’ ages, racial backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and other defining characteristics can help you develop a broader conception of how diverse or not diverse your audience is, which could determine whether or not the SaaS software should include functionality in various languages.
Aside from standard demographic analysis, you could also conduct a psychographic analysis on your target customers, particularly if you’re able to survey them or otherwise gain insight into their thoughts and beliefs. A psychographic analysis, as implied by the name, offers deeper insight into the consumer psyche, which provides valuable guidance to designers, marketers, and other stakeholders in the given SaaS platform development process. In general, a range of approaches can be taken to learn about your customers as thoroughly as possible, and the best approach will vary by individual situation.
Ultimately, successful SaaS platform development involves knowing your target market and target customer as well as possible, in terms of both their present needs and their likely future needs. Through adopting these broader, yet crucial, considerations in your plans for SaaS platform development, you are likely to optimize your chance of success.