Building SaaS Applications: How we Work With Clients
- You are facing a business challenge but still hesitant to make a tangible step to build the right product.
- You are considering partnering with a vendor but unsure of which points to take into account.
- You are willing to concentrate on your business matters, but you don’t fancy investing your time into getting the hang of technical aspects.
If any of these statements hold true for you, keep on reading.
We created this article to shed some light on building SaaS applications. This concise, yet saturated with most essential information, Guideline will instruct you on how we work with the client to create SaaS Applications, from our first call to the release of a smoothly operating application that will make your business readily available worldwide.
By continuing to read this article, you will get confident in:
- what information you will have to provide for the vendor to best cater to your needs;
- how your application is developed at each stage of our cooperation;
- what benefits modern SaaS applications offer to your business;
- why opt for modern SaaS apps, particularly on AWS.
Table of Contents
7 Stages or How We Work with Clients for Building SaaS Applications
Suppose you are interested in building a SaaS app from scratch in your partnership with a vendor. In that case, you will certainly want to get acquainted with our cooperation regulations that conform to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) certification.
So, the 7 stages of our cooperation with Clients in building SaaS applications are:
- Arrange an Initial Call
We, the Romexsoft team, ask the potential Client to exchange the key information. From our side, we share our relevant experience and expertise in the area of modern application development on AWS, as well as give information on the services we provide and the terms of collaboration. You, in turn, are expected to share your requirements.
Output: a follow-up email with detailed steps of our cooperation, including a comprehensive list of specific questions to help you supply us with the further data needed for efficient work.
- Collect Requirements
We shared the most essential information during our initial call. Yet, to allow for discussing all significant questions arising, we will establish and hold consistent communication between experts or stakeholders from your side and tech experts from our side, primarily via emails and further calls.
Output: clear and accurate understanding of the functional requirements of your serverless application.
- Analyze Requirements
Having received all the necessary data on each of the points vital to the process, our team carefully analyses your requirements so that we can prepare a proposal.
Output: your business logic requirements and expectations are scrutinized to be later incorporated into a proposal for the development of a secure and reliable solution. It will also provide the most comprehensive overview of the working process.
- Prepare the Proposal
What we prepare and present then is a proposal containing the main aspects of cooperation, such as a draft architecture, timeframes, team composition, estimated budget, etc. It will also include your functional requirements discussed at the need analysis stage. Should you be unsure of some, or lack any, our team will help you establish the indispensable functional requirements the solution is supposed to have. Upon presentation, you will be expected to review and comment on the proposal for us to implement the necessary changes.
Output: a proposal which is reviewed by the customer and updated according to their remarks and suggestions. Once the updated proposal is once again reviewed and approved by the customer, a contract is drafted.
- Build the Software Development Team
Guided by the project’s requirements, we weigh up factors like the complexity of your request, deadlines, expected expenditure, and other resources to establish a software development team structure and select the experts that possess the necessary competence and skill.
Output: a right-sized Software Development Team with the best skill set to develop the application that will meet your needs and expectations.
- Build SaaS Application
While developing the solution, our Managed Team sets up the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) that plans and tracks the designing, developing, testing, maintaining, and improving the product. As a result, modern app development on AWS is supervised and controlled, with day-to-day project management ensuring the team’s performance and product quality.
Output: a ready Modern SaaS application (either a web or mobile, or both) that satisfies your demands within time and cost estimates.
- Support SaaS Application
As soon as your application on AWS is developed and deployed, we ensure its steady operation by offering 24×7 AWS DevOps Support. With our assistance, you can focus on your business goals – we will take care of everyday maintenance and support your solution to guarantee the app’s round-the-clock efficiency.
Output: your application is up, it operates smoothly 24/7, and is broadly available at your target audience’s fingertips.
Customer Responsibilities vs Romexsoft Responsibilities
Whatever the type of collaboration may be, understanding your responsibilities and the development company’s responsibilities is of supreme importance. It helps you recognize, adhere to, and use to your advantage the Client’s commitments and the commitments of the Vendor.
What is the required level of Customer involvement?
- provide project vision;
- assist with backlog preparation;
- ensure key stakeholders’ availability;
- participate in intermediate result validation;
- provide feedback.
What are Romexsoft’s responsibilities?
- form an optimal team (team roles & SDLC functions) according to the client’s needs;
- suggest the optimal tech stack & execution plan;
- setup SDLC according to the defined project phases;
- manage the project on a daily basis;
- manage team performance;
- meet quality constraints.
Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail, or What Information Should You Prepare in Advance?
Your goal is to have an application developed. You request a well-functioning app that covers all of your project’s needs, runs without fail and fulfills its business tasks. For this outcome, a clear understanding of the app’s basic criteria is required. Precisely established characteristics result in cost and time savings.
In order to implement the demands the product should inevitably match, they ought to be translated into the tech language. You needn’t be well-versed in the technical field to deliver the essential ideas – the sample questions we provide below will aid you in rendering the crucial aspects of our services. So, the “homework” you’re expected to hand in before contacting the potential vendor you would like to partner with could look the following way.
Questions to New Clients:
- What should your final application look like?
Outcome: a thorough understanding of the type of app in progress – either a web application available on multiple devices or a mobile version; a settled common perception of your design preferences and what job is required to meet the demands.
- How many users will use your application?
Outcome: conducted estimates on the approximate number of intended users that in many respects govern the development process, our team considers high load application utility.
- Shall your application be available globally or regionally?
Outcome: quick access for app users regardless of their location is provided on condition that we receive this information; e.g., for global access, your app could be optimized with the help of such services as CDN CloudFront, global database DynamoDB, etc.
- What services critical for your company should the application include?
Outcome: understanding of the stripped-down features that are still key to the system and ensuring the serverless web app’s functional purpose.
- Should the application be integrated with the 3rd party services?
Outcome: timely instruction in the process of budgeting and building a web app using AWS to enable the app’s integration with the 3rd party systems.
- Do you have any development team on your side?
Outcome: the ultimate optimal team composition from our side, and the workflow which is competently and efficiently planned.
- Do you have any preferences in regards to the coding languages?
Outcome: the fullest consideration and inclusion of your preferences, counseling, and advising as required so that the solution can have the biggest business value.
- What are the timeframes?
Outcome: an accurately set up SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) and the development team composed to address the needs of the product promptly and within means.
Why does Modern World Need Modern SaaS Applications?
Modern SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) Applications, continue to gain ground among business tools. Quite sensibly. In this section, you will uncover the reason for their rank-topping technology investment and leading in global market value over the recent years.
SaaS Applications, alias cloud-based software, are applications built with a combination of new architecture patterns, operational models, and software delivery processes. As a web-based model for digital services distribution, it grants access to information through an internet connection, without regard to a type of device or a need for a special software installed, hence it is accessible. At the same time, SaaS Applications customers take advantage of improved security, swift deployment, scaling, and customizing of their business solutions.
The following information will further illustrate why businesses lean toward building modern applications on AWS.
Modern Apps enable:
- scalability – supporting zero to million users;
- global availability;
- managing up to petabytes of data;
- rapid response in milliseconds.
Why Modern Apps:
- easy maintenance: less time-consuming and demanding maintenance of modern apps makes room for business matters;
- agility: microservice architecture at the apps’ core is easier and faster to develop, test, scale, and upgrade at individual components with a lower risk to the application as a whole, thus speeding up innovation and time to market;
- improved ROI: apart from increased development efficiency, AWS services, such as AWS Lambda or AWS Fargate, prevent overutilization or underutilization of resources as they automatically adjust to the fluctuating workload;
- enhanced use of resources: infrastructure resources are built using serverless technologies, as well as containers, purpose-built data stores, and software automation;
- customizing: most closely tailored to the needs of the customers.
What should you know about the elements of the modern SaaS application?
Modern SaaS applications consist of the following elements:
- Application architecture – either modular or microservice architecture (API and event-driven).The latter is made up of individual independent components which run every application process as a service. Each of them carries out a single function and so can be updated, deployed, and scaled to comply with the requirements for specific functions of the app catering to business capabilities.
- Data architecture – purpose-built and decoupled. It allows independent autonomous task performance that brings about easier data storage and management in contrast to monolithic databases which might be a single point of failure.
- Software delivery – automated. Through continuous integration and continuous delivery, automation generates a repeatable motion to accelerate the software delivery lifecycle. In this way, code of higher quality and speed can be produced more frequently.
- Operations – as serverless as possible. No server management is one of the most significant merits of the serverless approach which contributes to automatic scaling, built-in high availability, and a pay-for-value billing model. Prioritizing automation and opting for serverless means focusing on business matters instead of heavy lifting.
- Management, security, and governance – run through guardrails expressed in code. Guardrails are preventive or detective processes that reduce the occurrence and the blast radius of undesirable application behavior. Such mechanisms ensure further smooth and fast operation with no threat to the business.
Benefits of modern application development:
- Faster to market
Accelerated software lifecycle combined with offloading operational overhead leads to quicker construction of new features by Development teams. This, in addition to automated test and release processes that minimize error rates, produces market-ready solutions faster.
- Increased innovation
With a modular architecture, modern SaaS apps are at much lower risk as changes are integrated at the level of their components. They can also be conducted faster, encouraging developers to experiment.
- Improved reliability
Any issues that arise can be evaluated and addressed in real-time on account of automated testing and consistent monitoring at every stage of the development lifecycle. This is why modern serverless applications are increasingly reliable at deployment.
- Reduced costs
With offloading infrastructure management, the apps’ maintenance costs are lower. On top of that, modern applications decrease the cost of over-provisioning or paying for idle resources as they follow a value-based pricing model.
Why Modern Apps on AWS:
- capabilities offered at any level or transit states to comply with even the strictest security and regulatory demands;
- the most complete portfolio of containers, serverless technologies, and developer tools to build and run applications;
- better security, regulatory compliance, performance, and scaling features if compared with any other provider for modern application services;
- endless possibilities for strategic development;
- high scalability and flexibility.
Our Approach to Building Modern SaaS Applications on AWS
Romexsoft is an AWS Certified Consulting Partner with AWS certified staff. We build and support SaaS products optimized for cost, security, and top performance. With the help of our Managed Software Development Teams (Managed Teams), we deliver incredible experiences to our customers by leveraging our expertise in AWS, Software Development, DevOps, and Managed Services.
Our Managed Teams utilize AWS IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service) for Environments and Applications. Our Managed Teams are autonomous, proactive, and supervised by our AWS certified delivery staff.
Look through some of our Managed Team Benefits:
- Reasonable discovery phase which involves Business Analyst (BA) and AWS specialists Outcome: roadmap and Architecture Design Document;
- Team Structure design and formation
Outcome: a team of the right expertise to accommodate your needs and expectations;
- Project Setup with code and infrastructure
Outcome: on-boarding process improved in speed and quality;
- Cost-effective on-demand allocation of Senior specialists & Architects
Outcome: architecture update based on the project scope change;
- One point of communication and planning
Outcome: predictable team’s speed and reporting;
- HR Services
Outcome: team members’ satisfaction and efficiency.
How We Build Modern SaaS Applications
Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), also known as Software Development Process, is a methodology followed in the development of any solution. As a detailed framework dictating and governing each stage and each task of the process, SDLC ascertains the release of the high-quality products in due time with the most effective resource management. While it may seem complicated in certain regards, we will further describe and illustrate the AWS modern web app development step by step to render a comprehensive understanding of responsibilities and roles at each given stage of crafting the product.
Phase 1. Discovery & Design
Whatever the product may be, properly completed initial stages of detailed estimations and planning are crucial to its success. Transferring the idea to the SDLC, they correspond to the phases of Discovery and Project Structure Setup, respectively.
The Discovery Phase stipulates the following responsibilities:
1) Requirements collection – all requirements are documented by an Architect, a Project Manager (PM), and a Business Analyst (BA);
2) Architecture Design – Requirements are analyzed by the Architect; the deliverable is an Application Architecture Document;
3) Team Composition – a Delivery Manager (DM) and the Architect cooperate to achieve an Optimal Team Composition.
The Project Structure Setup includes the upcoming:
1) Project Setup – the Delivery Manager and the Project Manager setup Collaboration tools and SDLC processes while the Architect and a Team Leader work on the structure and common pattern creation;
2) CI/CD Setup – a DevOps engineer builds a basic AWS environment, Continuous Integration (CI), and Continuous Delivery (CD) process;
3) Team formation and on-boarding – the Architect, together with the Project Manager, interviews applicants and communicates with the Client.
Phase 2. Development
The Development phase is the part corresponding to the actual coding process according to the requirements outlined in the documents during the preceding phase in order to reach the goals set within the resources allocated.
The Development phase proper encompasses:
1) Completed Team Composition – the Delivery Manager cooperates with the Project Manager to lead the team onboarding and knowledge transfer;
2) Application Development:
- the Project Manager and the Team Lead compose the backlog (a prioritized set of tasks needed to achieve a strategic outcome);
- the Team works within the SCRUM model (an ultimate approach to process organization whereby it is divided into sprints with consistent progress tracking and feedback) to deliver the Project features being supervised by the Architect and the Delivery Manager;
- a Quality Assurance Engineer (QA) monitors each sprint’s quality.
3) CI/CD evolving:
- the DevOps engineer’s objective is to keep CI/CD aligned with development needs;
- Separated AWS environments are designed for development and production use.
Phase 3. Production
The focus in this part of the SDLC turns to the implementation of the Project, its optimization, and appropriate maintenance.
The Production Phase comprises:
1) Release to Production – the Team finishes the MVP, and propagates to the Production AWS environment through CI/CD;
2) Production Monitoring and Maintenance:
- the DevOps Team designs Runbooks;
- a monitoring system is set up;
- 24/7 System operators react to emerging alerts and use the Runbooks to resolve them.