Best Practices in Building a SaaS Product


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Some best practices in building SaaS products from our own experiences.

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Best Practices in Building a SaaS Product

  1. 1. © Copyright 2014 Valuehire, All Rights Reserved. by Dhruv Gupta BEST PRACTICES IN BUILDING A SAAS PRODUCT
  2. 2.  Building any software product is challenging as one has to consider everything from design to how customers will be charged for using the product.  The market for SaaS products is growing which means competition is increasing (including that from traditional desktop or client-server products which continue to exist and sell).  Customers can switch from one SaaS product to another at any time, so innovation and ease of use are important in order to retain customers. INTRODUCTION © Copyright 2014 Valuehire, All Rights Reserved.
  3. 3.  UI (user interface) of any product is key. Pick the styles, templates, and colors that will define the look and feel.  Define the screen resolution and choose which browser versions you will support.  Keep UX (user experience) and Usability in mind. Interactions from screens and tabs have to be intuitive as SaaS products need to be “self service”.  Involve your customers during the design process. BEST PRACTICE #1 – DESIGN © Copyright 2014 Valuehire, All Rights Reserved.
  4. 4.  Keep the list of ideas from product team and customer feedback separate.  Prioritize above list in a simple tracking tool. Use something like „Must Do‟, „Nice to Do‟, and „Can do Later‟.  Always discuss with your development team before committing any feature to your customer, and get estimates in advance.  Do impact analysis before implementing any feature. BEST PRACTICE #2 – FEATURES © Copyright 2014 Valuehire, All Rights Reserved.
  5. 5.  Pick your programming languages – PHP, Ruby, Python, or Java, and any relevant frameworks (e.g. Zend).  Decide whether your product will have or interact with APIs in future and promote code reuse. This can influence technical design.  Choose your cloud provider carefully – most companies start off with Amazon AWS, Rackspace, or Azure.  Set up development, staging, and production servers, and SVN to manage the code. BEST PRACTICE #3 – TECHNOLOGY © Copyright 2014 Valuehire, All Rights Reserved.
  6. 6.  SaaS products are delivered using the cloud. Just because the cloud is scalable, doesn‟t mean your application is.  Architect your application and cloud instances to cater to customers from various geographies (if your market is global).  You can scale vertically (by adding more resources to existing instances) or horizontally (by adding more instances). BEST PRACTICE #4 – SCALABILITY © Copyright 2014 Valuehire, All Rights Reserved.
  7. 7.  Data should always be encrypted. Use SSL for login (at a minimum).  Pick trusted and known cloud providers and understand what security measures are taken at their data centers.  Enable server monitoring and logs for everything.  User 3rd party security services like Cloudflare.  Your SaaS application should have an auto logout feature. BEST PRACTICE #5 – SECURITY © Copyright 2014 Valuehire, All Rights Reserved.
  8. 8.  Speed of access to your SaaS application is Internet dependent, so pick your server location(s) wisely.  Optimize your instance configurations as you get more users.  Test your application on different browsers and versions.  Do regular performance and load testing. Look at crowd sourced testing as an option. BEST PRACTICE #6 – PERFORMANCE © Copyright 2014 Valuehire, All Rights Reserved.
  9. 9.  Customers pay a subscription fee (usually monthly) and hence invoicing needs to be built-in.  Build a way to enable, disable, and monitor customer accounts.  There should be options for different plans (e.g. bronze, silver, gold) – and ability to upgrade / downgrade them. BEST PRACTICE #7 – BILLING © Copyright 2014 Valuehire, All Rights Reserved.
  10. 10.  Follow Project Management principles to ensure that the product you build is delivered on time, within budget, and with quality – with the optimal use of resources.  Having a Product Management mindset is also key, and every team member should understand that building a product is very different from working on projects.  Always be Testing. If your customers find too many bugs or issues, then there is a higher chance of them cancelling or not renewing their subscriptions. GENERAL BEST PRACTICES © Copyright 2014 Valuehire, All Rights Reserved.
  11. 11.  Valuehire is an Enterprise SaaS product for recruitment automation.  We help Agency and Corporate recruiters do their work better, resulting in faster hires. © Copyright 2014 Valuehire, All Rights Reserved.