Our Collaborative Processes that Guide SaaS Development
Creating a custom SaaS application with intuitive SaaS platform development can take your business to the next level, providing customers and internal users with a robust product that solves their daily issues, streamlines operations, and simplifies tasks.
Experts like the development crew at High Seas, a trusted SaaS application development company, are ready to help you begin your SaaS project with proven processes and project phases that ultimately lead to a slick, highly responsive SaaS application.
The discovery phase of the SaaS development process is a crucial component that is all about information gathering and assessment processes designed to clarify your business, brand, and marketing problems to solve and augment.
With the help of our development team, we’ll strategize a plan to determine timelines, cost estimates, budgets, and the total project requirements. This phase is critical to your project’s success, and at High Seas, we recommend that our clients take the time to clarify their business goals to reduce software development risks of going over budget and not meeting project expectations.
During the discovery phase of the SaaS development life cycle, the crew at High Seas conducts market, client, and competitive analyses. Some of the preliminary questions we ask are:
- What sector of the market are you targeting (finance, marketing, management, IT, etc.)?
- What are your expectations regarding scaling your business in the future? How big will you go?
- Who are the top players in your market? What types of strategies and monetization models do they use?
- How does a supply-demand graph for similar SaaS applications in the market includes the past five to ten years’ market value and growth rate?
Then, we’ll pinpoint which SaaS development tool best suits your business goals. Options include:
- CRM Software: SaaS product development for customer relationship management helps companies maintain and update customer databases, manage incoming leads and current marketing campaigns, forecast sales projections, create dashboards with information on sales activities, and automate marketing initiatives.
- ERP System: An Enterprise Resource Planning system is a type of SaaS that businesses can use to manage day-to-day business activities. ERP Systems handle accounting, procurement, project management tasks, risk management and compliance, and supply chain operations.
- Front-End Custom Application: High Seas designs and develops the front-end data of custom applications, which entails everything a user sees and interacts with when using a SaaS product. For example, see how we helped design and develop high-end SaaS applications for MediScripts and Katana Graph that streamlined their business operations and provided users more flexibility and options for accessing their services.
- eCommerce System: As digitalization continues to grow and more businesses shift to an online-first market presence, the demand for SaaS product development to manage online stores continues to rise.
- Project Management Tools: Teams can better organize and manage projects and tasks with project management tools created and customized for your business’s needs by a SaaS development company.
- Collaboration System: With a collaboration system, users can communicate and share documents instantly in a secure digital space. Using a collaboration system helps companies solve work-related issues, such as chaotic communications and paperwork-heavy processes, and offer telecommuting opportunities for remote workers.
- Marketing Tools: Using the software development life cycle to implement marketing tools helps drive clients to a business, which ultimately leads to business development and audience growth.
- Streaming Service: Popular examples of SaaS B2C (business-to-consumer) models are Netflix and Spotify, which allow customers to discover, access, and save songs and movies in every genre imaginable in one centralized application.
- E-Learning: Another common example of a SaaS B2C model is an e-learning system. A popular example is Duolingo, which offers users two plans to choose from—free and Plus accounts. A Plus subscription offers extended functionalities such as unlimited Duolingo access, mastery quizzes, and an ad-free user experience and user interface.
Next, you’ll choose your desired app monetization model:
- Freemium: A standard monetization model, freemium SaaS applications are free to download and use basic features, but the premium features are only available to paid users.
- Transaction or Selling Fee: Digital marketplaces can augment monetization with transaction and selling fees. Users pay the owner of the SaaS digital marketplace a commission when they use the application to sell items. You’ll also get a small transaction fee when users transfer money from the app to their bank account.
Marketplaces like Amazon, the most prominent digital marketplace in the world, use this model to generate incredible amounts of revenue.
- Advertisements: Advertisements on SaaS applications give users free access to apps in exchange for viewing ads. The SaaS app owner is paid proportionally to the number of clicks and views. This is a common monetization model for everything from mobile games to news websites.
- Subscription or Licensing: For niche-specific SaaS applications, subscription or licensing monetization models are common. After your target market uses your SaaS application for a cheap or free trial period and realizes its value, users will be prompted to pay a licensing fee or subscription. This might be a one-time, monthly, quarterly, or yearly fee, which is common with magazines, newspapers, streaming services, and internet service providers.
Finally, we’ll gather your project requirements:
- Business goals, systems, regulatory constraints, and target audience & customers
- Brand story and guidelines
- Existing technology, structure, functionality, content, and more
- Current marketing efforts, tools, and materials
- Communication channels (campaigns, social, blogs, and more)
Schedules and Timelines
During the discovery phase of the software development process, the schedule and project timeline is a flexible, adaptive plan that depends on many factors, such as the complexity of the SaaS application and the knowledge and expertise of the development team.
- Before the software development life cycle begins the next stage, we’ll set a price range for your SaaS application development services, along with the range for an estimated delivery schedule.
- Cost estimation ensures the time range and price to develop a new SaaS app fits within your business’s expectations and financial plan.
During the discovery stage of the software development process, we’ll also help you answer crucial questions that will guide your new SaaS project from concept to completion.
When we reach the defining phase of the SaaS development life cycle, our development team will conduct research and surveys, make observations, interview key stakeholders and customers, and use questionnaires, card sorts/tree tests, usability tests, and UX/UI A/B tests.
These processes and testing strategies are vital to organizing measurable plans and outcomes that are directly related to strategic goals such as growing brand awareness, increasing sales, and amplifying engagement for a product, service, and brand.
When creating a web app design, you’ll need to carefully consider the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) to create an intuitive design that is best suited to your users’ needs. A UI and UX based on different users’ workflows will require multiple application paths. Before building your SaaS product development, we’ll decide on the best UI and UX to meet the needs of your target audience.
The plan for your software development process will include the following components and associated outcomes:
- Project vision and summary
- Competitive analysis and positioning
- Category/keyword research and data analysis
- Strategic goals
- Target audiences, customer personas, and journey mapping
- Key messaging points & architecture
- Development methods to be used, such as Agile, Hybrid, or Waterfall
Before the SaaS development life cycle begins, your company’s key stakeholders should review and approve the project plan, which is composed of quantifiable and verifiable software requirements derived from user needs, hardware and system constraints, and human factors.
The software development process can look different depending on each project’s requirements. Our SaaS development company takes the documented project requirements from the planning and defining phases and uses them to guide the software development life cycle and begin coding your SaaS software application.
Our SaaS developers translate your software design and project requirements into the source code and begin putting all of the software’s components into action. We value transparency at High Seas, and your company’s project manager is welcome to monitor the development process during each sprint to ensure that every aspect runs smoothly and according to the expected timeline.
Site Structure and Blueprints
Our SaaS developers will determine the best site architecture for your SaaS project, including main user navigation, content types, features, components, and any recommendations they have that could benefit your SaaS project.
Site architecture will include:
- Visual Site Map: We’ll create high-level site diagrams that define basic user roles, motivations for actions, conditions present & desired goals, and function per section or system.
- Content Model: The iterative process of defining content elements and how they relate to each other to support the user experience begins.
- Information Architecture: The IA describes how the information flows on your SaaS application and how users will navigate from screen to screen.
- High-Level Wireframe: Comprehensive user testing sometimes requires high-level wireframes, depending on the goals of the wireframe.
The next stage of the SaaS development life cycle is the creation of detail-level wireframes and prototypes that will determine which pieces of content appear on each screen, how it’s organized on the screen, and how users will navigate your SaaS application. A prototype serves as a proof of concept that gives users and company stakeholders a taste of what your SaaS product will offer and how it will look.
Another type of prototype is known as a Lean prototype, the purpose of which is to create early models of a product or software release to test the functionality of a concept or process.
Processes included in the prototyping stage:
- Identifying base level user roles and functions
- Identifying the intent and underlying system
- Establishing content, relationships, and pathways
Visual Design System
SaaS developers use the visual design system to guide and enhance the user experience. The components included in the visual design system are:
- A unique, high-level brand voice suited to your business, as well as the positioning, messaging, and most compelling content to drive measurable results
- Photography and video, any illustrations, and all the motion and visual effects
Front-End SaaS Development
Front-end SaaS development is when front-end SaaS platform development professionals take the designs created by the design team and turn them into something semi-functional that can be clicked and loaded as a web page or in the app. This often occurs with surface-level functionality as developers continue to work on adding components to your SaaS project.
Front-end SaaS product development begins with strategizing implementation procedures with the UX and design teams and coordinating with content management system (CMS) developers to inform project requirements, run technology assessments, and implement the optimal technical architecture.
In this stage of the SaaS development process, High Seas developers use implementation strategies such as:
- Technology Assessments: These are used to determine the optimal technical architecture and approach.
- Iterative Design and Development: Deliverables are created through researching, prototyping, testing, validation by end users, and the refinement of software features.
- Coordination with CMS Developers: Front-end developers coordinate with CMS developers and the design and development teams to ensure designs can be fully translated into functional elements.
- Establishing the Development Process and Schedule: High Seas developers will work with your company’s key stakeholders to plan a schedule that fits within your budget and timeline.
With the above strategies in mind, and using integrated and iterative testing and quality control throughout each SaaS product development phase, the High Seas crew will begin working on:
- Front-end development for custom applications and most CMS platforms
- Develop the initial code for interactive, animated, and parallax software elements
- Integrate the custom front end with CMS platforms to set up the information architecture, content blocks and their designs, and automated content flow
- Begin developing SCSS files for all page elements from mobile to desktop
Back-end SaaS application development services will usually begin with determining the best setup for a platform, getting the information set up, and coding the system. If your software development life cycle requires different types of developers, different back-end dev crew members will be assigned different responsibilities. For example, if your software system will eventually become an app, you may require additional developers with skills in those technologies along with developers with web-app building specialties.
At High Seas, our SaaS application development company creates an application’s back end with full-stack web and mobile app development that supports all major databases and data sources, including 3rd-party data integration, business logic, and data access abstractions.
Custom web and mobile development from High Seas may include:
- Full-stack web application and mobile app development
- Most major web and mobile custom application technologies and platforms. These include PHP, Java, Ruby on Rails, Node.js, ASP.NET, Python, native Android and iOS, React Native, and more
- Database and data architecture design and development including SQL, NoSQL, graph databases, and data platforms like Firebase, AWS, and Azure
- Shared web, mobile, and native application back ends
- Custom API and 3rd-party systems integrations
- Bluetooth, network connectivity, and firmware update support for IoT, connected devices, and wearables
Platform back-end development may include:
- Custom CMS platform development integration with WordPress, Drupal, Concrete5, and more
- Headless CMS development
- eCommerce integrations with WooCommerce, Drupal Commerce, Shopify, and Magento
- Custom plugin and module development
- Plugin and module setup and implementation for any scenario
- All major databases and data sources are supported along with 3rd-party data integrations
- Upon request, High Seas can provide security system monitoring, updates, and ongoing maintenance
Quality Control and Testing
As part of every SaaS development life cycle, your developers will use established criteria to discover, identify, and fix any design and development issues during UI/UX testing and gauging.
SaaS code needs to go through various tests to ensure it meets High Seas’ strict development standards. These tests and processes include:
A vital component of the SaaS development life cycle, usability testing is used for gathering real-world data and feedback regarding a software application’s user experience. Usually developers will work with a segment of your customer or user base to gain the most accurate data and feedback.
Developers observe users attempting to complete tasks using your SaaS platform and perform analyses of user feedback to form hypotheses that will guide subsequent software iterations.
Simple A/B Testing
Our SaaS application development company will do several rounds of A/B testing, presenting small user groups with two or more variations of a page. Using statistical analysis of each user’s preferred page variant, SaaS developers can find which variant performs the best for a given conversion goal.
A more complex version of A/B testing, multivariate tests show multiple combinations of page variants at the same time to find the best combination of features and user experiences.
High Seas developers thoroughly analyze your SaaS application’s code to find and eliminate any bugs. This ensures the final, finished product is up to standards and meets project requirements.
During unit testing, developers break a SaaS application into the smallest executable components, known as “units.” Once these units are isolated, they are individually validated to ensure proper orientation and functionality.
Individual units are combined into larger groups to be tested as a whole, ensuring coordinated units are working correctly in relation to one another to uncover any errors with cooperative functionalities.
SaaS applications are validated against their prescribed functionalities and requirements, testing each function of the SaaS application by providing the appropriate input. If each output meets the functional requirements of your application, the software passes the test.
SaaS models come with many associated security risks and reliability issues. It is essential that reliable cloud service providers, such as AWS, are contracted, as these will be the best option for safeguarding user data from malicious attacks.
Software and App Deployment
During SaaS product development, the testing and code implementation phases are often intermingled. Developers add code, then test it. If the test reveals any issues, the developers will rewrite the code. Once the code is functioning as intended, developers break the iterative loop and deploy the software for real user testing.
Users then try your new SaaS application to see if it meets functionality and UX expectations. Any bugs that were missed during the testing phase are then fixed.
Maintenance and Updates
Once a SaaS development project goes live to real users, that doesn’t mean the development process is complete. Often problems that were missed during the SaaS development life cycle are revealed once the product is implemented into daily use.
It’s necessary to prepare for ongoing maintenance and software updates to sustain your SaaS application’s intended levels of functionality and security. We also find that after users have a chance to use a SaaS product for a bit of time in their daily tasks, businesses may want to implement new updates that will result in better functionality.
Launch Your SaaS Project with High Seas
Your SaaS product development doesn’t have to be complex, filled with problem after problem that you have to wade through alone, nor should you overburden busy in-house developers with a brand-new project. The crew at High Seas are experts in full-stack SaaS development with a history of successful project completion. We’d be happy to help you get the ship sailing on your custom SaaS development project..
Contact the SaaS developers at High Seas to set sail on your custom software project.