Best Practices for Running a SaaS on a Budget
SaaS, or Software as a Service, is a model of licensing and providing software that is subscription-based and centrally hosted, commonly used as a cloud deliver model targeted at the end-user. Also called “on-demand software,” SaaS is usually used for business applications like payroll processing, accounting, invoicing, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, human resource management, CAD, office messaging, software development, content management, and service desk management.
Because of its advantages, SaaS is a recommended solution for many businesses that seek low barriers to entry along with scalability. An ideal SaaS solution helps control costs on software needs. However, a SaaS solution doesn’t always result in cost efficiency or may not always be used at its maximum potential. The following best practices will serve as guides on attaining cost efficiency in running a SaaS on a budget.
Multitenancy is an approach that enables companies to scale their resources as quickly and as much as needed. It is a principle in software architecture wherein only one instance of the software runs on a server but is capable of serving multiple tenants. Tenants here refer to a group of users sharing the same view of the software being used. Under this approach, developers can support several customers using just a single version of a software product. This naturally results in cost-efficiency. It eliminates the need for replacing expensive infrastructure or adding new IT staff.
Multitenancy is generally an essential attribute in the implementation of SaaS solutions so it may not be that appropriate to list it as a best practice since it is itself the prevailing or ubiquitous practice. Still, it is worth emphasizing it as one of the concepts that make SaaS a cost-effective, budget-friendly solution.
Choose a Widely Used and Open Technology
It is preferable to choose a SaaS solution that is popular and widely used. This is to ensure that what you are using is something that will last for the long-term and will be well-supported. Having more users translates to a wider base of customers that can encourage further development in the software, as well as quick detection and remediation of issues. Moreover, it is advisable to choose open technologies. Something like NodeJS, PHP or Java would generally be preferable to a closed technology to avoid getting locked on something controlled by one provider. Do note, however, that Microsoft is now starting to open-source parts of the .NET framework, which will be a good thing for developers who prefer this platform.
Stick to Industry Standards
Industry standards exist for many reasons. One of which is to make technology adoption and integration easier. Industry standards-based choices usually mean straightforward and standard models for SaaS solutions. Moreover, these entail efficiency and consideration for various issues that may affect the solutions being implemented.
Security-centered Industry standards also need to be constantly kept in mind. After all, the advantages in having SaaS becomes senseless if security is easily compromised. It’s necessary to meticulously ensure that the following standards are guaranteed: data segregation, data breach prevention, data confidentiality, web application security, data locality, network security, authentication and authorization.
Use the Cloud From Day One
Transitioning to SaaS only after belatedly realizing its advantages is not necessarily difficult, but will not be easy either. Having already spent on non-SaaS solutions before deciding to do a shift will entail some significant upfront costs. A stark example is the high capital expenditure required for an on-premises vis-à-vis a purely cloud approach. Servers and colocation space can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, while an AWS or Azure subscription comes with a pay-per use model, which can even start as a free service.
This is also evident in technologies like load balancing. Appliances from Citrix will cost tens of thousands of dollars for each single point of deployment. Meanwhile, purely cloud-based platforms, such as thecloud-based load balancing from Incapsula can do a good job in ensuring high availability across different points. This will help prevent instances of overloading and downtimes. Ensuring high availability will reduce potential slowdowns or disruptions that can lead to decreased sales, lost opportunities or poor efficiency.
Use Money-Saving and Revenue-Assuring Technologies
There are several money-saving technologies that can help lower the operating costs of a business. These include cloud-based messaging and call clients like Lync and Skype can be used for cross-platform communications as well as collaboration applications that significantly improve the way users work together.
The range of cost efficient technology solutions available at present offers advantages that should not be ignored. From the small-scale to enterprise-grade cloud-based solutions, there are benefits in using them for the sake of efficiency, fast access and high availability. Software as a Service, in particular, provides the advantages of relatively low cost in using the software, quick deployment, scalability, easy integration, fast and regular software upgrades or access to new versions, and easy to use and perform proofs of concept.
The best practices discussed here facilitate the budget-friendly deployment of SaaS solutions. These best practices lead to decisions that help businesses of all sizes in implementing SaaS solutions while staying within budgetary limitations.