Transitioning to SaaS Model- A design guide



The global adoption of the ‘Work from home’ model after the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated cloud growth. Companies depend highly on web-based public cloud services for their day-to-day activities and connecting with their remote employees.

Furthermore, the global Software as a Service market is projected to touch $623 billion by 2023. It means there will be considerably more SaaS products in the future. If there were any opportune time to transition to the SaaS model, it is now. The industry is experiencing significant changes, and it is booming. If you have been thinking of moving to the SaaS model, this blog aims to get you started.

What is a SaaS app? Why consider moving to a SaaS model?

SaaS means software maintenance and delivery through a subscription model. It is a product hosted in the cloud and doesn’t need to be installed on a computer. As a result, users of SaaS software don’t have to deal with any complicated configurations and updates. Such tools can also be used from any web browser or device with an Internet connection. Here are some of the reasons why SaaS model management is intriguing, and you can consider transitioning to the same:

1. Scalability:

There’s no need to worry about capacity due to increased tool users or usage. Transitioning to a SaaS model means enterprises can constantly add users without thinking about getting new hardware or other infrastructure components. With a cloud-based deployment model, they can get additional bandwidth or space with a simple push of a button.

2. Time to launch:

SaaS apps are already configured and installed in the cloud, reducing common delays related to lengthy time to market processes that arise from traditional software deployment processes. Once you’ve finished with the development and deployment of the tool, it is ready to be used by your target audience. There’s no need to wait for installation or to solve specific deployment issues for every user.

3. Costs:

The total cost of ownership is low due to a combination of significantly lower hardware costs when compared to a traditional development process. The tool does not even lose its efficacy for years. Furthermore, you do not need to maintain physical space to hold servers or critical hardware components.

So, if you are considering moving to the SaaS model, you need to evaluate your SaaS strategies. You have to consider the competitive dynamics of your market and think of your customer. For example, you may choose to become a SaaS-only business, which means your existing products won’t be sold as perpetual licenses anymore, and new products will be rolled out in SaaS forms. Alternately, you may want to appease your existing customers and continue with your traditional licensing model while offering SaaS products.

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Is a SaaS model right for your company?

The SaaS model is suitable for your company if you’re looking to lower costs, reduce your time to benefit, expand to new markets, make your software easier to use and have a more predictable and stable business model. But if you fall in any one of the categories below, you may want to rethink transitioning to a SaaS model.

I. Total control of data:

In-house software apps offer businesses a higher degree of control than hosted solutions. Hosted solutions are usually dependent on third-party technologies. Ideally, everyone must use the latest software version, and users cannot defer changes or upgrades in the features. This can result in a loss of certain features or data that a client may depend on a core function.

II. Upfront payment requirements:

Over time, SaaS makes future cash flows and revenue projection forecasting easier. But in the short term, it can leave gaps in cash flow. If you are dependent on upfront payments to cover ongoing operational expenses or development costs, it might be too early for you to switch to a SaaS model.

III. Lack of ongoing support:

After the initial onboarding process, software owners must provide a higher level of continuing support. Otherwise, users won’t feel they’re getting their money’s worth and will seek to change providers. So, if you are unable to offer ongoing and prompt support to the users, you might not be ready for moving to a SaaS model. Your SaaS model is only as successful as the customer support and experience you can offer your users. Otherwise, they’ll look elsewhere.

IV. Accelerated revenue recognition:

The difference between OPS and SaaS is that OPS vendors can recognize license fees upon delivery and service implementation. Under a SaaS model, up-front payments for implementation and licenses don’t have stand-alone value, and both are deferred until the go-live date. Revenue is recognized over the estimated life of the user. So, if cash flow is a concern, moving to a SaaS model may hurt your bottom line.

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Design considerations for transitioning to the SaaS model

1. Pre-design

The process of designing a SaaS product starts before the actual design of the product. It is crucial to know the context and understand the end-users for creating a valuable product. Therefore, the process starts from setting up customer interviews and understanding the target audience’s needs, wants, and pain points.

The next step to gathering customer information is validating their pain points by creating a minimum viable product or MVP. Here, it is crucial to identify the touchpoints where users will interact with the SaaS product. Some of them might be customer reviews, social media, live chat, website/app design, chatbots, etc.

Then, you need to identify the customer persona and ideate a persona-based design for your SaaS model that will diversify your revenues faster.

2. UX design

UX design is that part of the design that influences how a customer interacts with the software. In designing the UX, you can streamline the process by creating a mind map. A mind map refers to a visual representation of your software idea. Next, you have to check if transitioning to a SaaS model is feasible. For that, determine the usability of the software by creating low and high-fidelity prototypes. While low fidelity is the basic model of the software, high fidelity is the closest mimic of the finished SaaS product.

Then, you need to test the prototypes before releasing the final product in the market. You must take your time throughout the designing process and not rush into finalizing anything. Your SaaS product must meet the functional requirements of the users and offer a great user experience.

After the product’s design is finalized, the next step is to focus on UX writing to accentuate signups on your software. UX writing is the art of guiding users when they’re using your product and helping them interact with your software. The writing is simple but effective.

3. UI design

UI design is aimed at increasing the engagement and attractiveness of the software. Therefore, the user interface of your SaaS model must be a neat visual representation of the functionality of your product.

SaaS UX design best practices

1. Minimalism

Minimalism is a raging UI/UX design trend when it comes to designing a SaaS product. That’s because users don’t want a product they don’t understand. Therefore, the design must be simple and offer users as much information they need about the software.

2. AI-powered chatbots

Chatbots are a huge part of everyone’s lives today, and people interact with them regularly when they use online banking services or use Facebook. So, it is only logical to include AI-powered chatbots as a part of your SaaS product design. It reduces the need for human involvement when conducting customer interactions. Also, chatbots offer personalized attention to customers.

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3. Clear value proposition

The goal is to convince customers that your Saas tool is for them and will provide the solutions they need. Therefore, the value proposition of your software must be right on the page and highlighted to draw user attention.

4. Simple navigation

Providing an intuitive interface and simple navigation are the most crucial steps to designing a SaaS platform. Users must be able to easily navigate through your SaaS product without the hassle and not find themselves confused or frustrated.

Ideally, a SaaS dashboard contains all the essential links and features so users can easily understand and find what they need. You can lay out the menu bar vertically or horizontally.

5. Video tutorials

If you cannot simplify the interface due to its initial complexity, it is best to avoid creating long-read guides. Instead, you can create video tutorials explaining to users how to use your software and find what they need.

6. Simple and comprehensible illustrations

Many SaaS tools utilize soft illustrations on their front page to get their customer’s attention. Comprehensible and simple illustrations get the message across and make navigation easy without distractions.

7. Dynamic sorting

It is a frustrating experience for the users if they have to sort through tons of irrelevant data. That’s where dynamic sorting comes in handy and solves the problem by allowing users to refine their searches, so they only get the information they need. For the users’ convenience, the search bar is at the top of the page. You can even add it into the drop-down menu bar of the previous section so that the interface is not cluttered.

8. Stress-free onboarding

A simple and hassle-free onboarding experience is crucial as it not only teaches users how to use your product but makes them feel welcomed and valued. At the end of the day, it enhances the user retention rate.

B2B SaaS models are gaining the majority of the market share of business apps because they offer significant benefits to both users and developers. While transitioning to a SaaS model may require an overhaul of your overall business strategy, it will most likely augment your odds of long-term success.

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