Disclaimer: Before anyone does a Google search for SaaA I should probably make clear that it isn’t a recognised acronym (at least the last time I checked) —It’s coined to give this article clearer context…
Over recent years SaaS (Software as a Service) products have skyrocketed their way onto every device and into virtually any vertical you can think of. We use SaaS products in businesses and as consumers – it’s fair to say that in almost every case they are advantageous BUT what about when they aren’t?
To be clear, I’m not writing this post to knock the SaaS model, after all it would be a contradiction for us to do so since we have and promote our own range of products too. The objective is to shine a light on an interesting oversight that many businesses could significantly benefit from by creating their own software products.
There are distinctions between the types of products and solutions a business should and shouldn’t build for example, its probably not a wise idea for an SMB to develop their own email platform to keep in touch with their customers. Besides development costs, they would need to consider how they would deal with server reputation, blacklisting and making sure they’re sending messages that comply with correct formatting standards, just so that their emails could reach a few inboxes. In this case it would make much better sense for said business to use SaaS vendors like Mailchimp which start off costing nothing per month, tick all of the above boxes and allow you to upgrade/downgrade whenever you like.
When should a business consider building software products?
1. You have access to an audience, members or an existing customer base.
The biggest challenge for SaaS companies (especially start ups) is getting signups. If you already have access to customers or potential user’s you are already at a huge advantage. Building your own platform can help you increase retention, grow your orders or enable you to offer better customer experiences.
In 2018 we were approached by an events company that were using a mix of SaaS products on subscription and enterprise licenses. By developing them a bespoke solution we were not only able to save them money and consolidate the functions of many apps into one, we were also able to raise engagement with their customers through tailored features which supported an increased turnover from >£350,000 to £1M+ in the first year of launching.
2. Your business has a specific requirement.
We all know that there is no such thing as one size fits all. Despite what any product says it can do on the tin, if it can’t do it the way you need it to then the side effects can quickly become visible in any sized operation. Whilst accomplishing this might not fall off a shelf, developing a bespoke solution can bring a competitive edge and reduce friction when it comes to adoption.
3. Industry innovators
Building a SaaS company is no joke it’s a highly competitive space with every unicorn and their VC bidding up the price of paid advertising. You have to know your niche, be granular about goals and financials and above all have a good route to market. If you know a particular industry well enough and already know who you can sell to then you’re at an advantage and have a decent foundation to start working with.
Technology has evolved so that we are able to develop solutions rapidly, securely and host them for next to nothing, in successfully doing so you have an asset that potentially increases the valuation of your entire company (hence the acronym in the title). There are and always will be good reasons for using SaaS products so always take careful consideration and seek expert advice before undergoing development of your own solutions.