Our entire approach towards software development is always business centric (or should we say enterprise). Did we just say enterprise? Yes we did. Why? No matter what stage of growth you are at, and no matter the flavor of your Saas model, the end goal is to be a big business isn’t it? So if that is the intent, why not imbibe that very mind set into the software from the get go? That is exactly what we recognized as we worked to get a lot of success for our clients. And that is exactly what we do. We might work with you at a napkin stage, trying to build an MVP, but the objective is to build the MVP with an enterprise spirit in mind. The effort can still stay at an MVP level, but we make sure the rails have already been laid out for seamless expansion of the MVP into a robust, scalable SaaS product.
How do we do it? Like this:
1. We build agnostic components.
Any Saas solution these days is going to be a base of custom development and be dependent on an integration with a ton of third parties for specific needs. Furthermore you will need to integrate with multiple providers that offer the same functionality.
For geo location needs, A SaaS solution may not only need to integrate not just with Google Maps, but with other mapping solutions.
For payment processing needs. You may need to integrate with many payment processors depending on the nature of transactions that you are handling or depending on the fees that you’ve been able to negotiate. We recently implemented integrations with six different payment processors for a recent engagement of ours.
For analytics, a SaaS solution needs to capture anonymous data and hence needs a specific provider such as Google Analytics, and at the same time needs to capture user journeys as well, and so an integration with MixPanel or Amplitude is needed.
The list goes on, but you get the point!
2. We build internal power tools
Saas companies often find asking themselves this – what will really makes a Saas company succeed?. Getting to a high volume scenario is just one part of the story. What you do to ensure that you have continuous success once you get to a high volume scenario is really what decides if you are going to be successful. In such a growth scenario, when the going gets tough, what do you need? Internal power tools that will help you administer your platform on multiple fronts in a very broad stroke manner.
At Fathom, we have always recognised key areas where we can build power tools to enable this. This could be hard core business solutions or large bulk processes, we have done it all – over and over again, and we know exactly how to sniff out the needs and the right time of building such tools.
3. We focus on lean infrastructure A Saas company also often asks themselves – what will really help save costs, especially infrastructure costs? We know a thing or two about this, and we have saved our clients tens of thousands of dollars. When it comes to software development, especially in the initial months of development, our focus is to build software that has the smallest hardware footprint possible. Smaller the footprint, lesser the infrastructure costs. This does not mean that we compromise on features, its just that we build features to be as lean as possible leading to smaller resource and energy consumption and therefore lower costs. This means more funds for marketing, investor relations, usability and PR.
4. We focus on engineering, not over-engineering.
Over-engineering, or should we say, over zealous engineering is a worry that we all live with in today's times. There is a very, very fine line between a well engineered software product and an over engineered one. But fine as it may be, it's a very clear line. Typical tell tale signs of this tend to be increased hardware/infrastructure costs, increased licensing costs (if the Saas integrates with other third party software), and longer than usual times to implement enhancements and change requests.
At Fathom, we always build software that has minimal touch points. New tools are great, but unless we really vett them thoroughly we do not consider applying them to a Saas product. We take this very seriously, and look at a tool as if it's an employee that we are trying to hire, and philosophically apply the same paradigms - especially because we know once a tool is implemented within a Saas product, its very hard to replace it. And as much as we might be able to be successful to replace it, one can never undo the footprint/impact that that tool had on Saas.
5. We are experts at building multi-tenancy with any level of complexity.
Little as it might be discussed, multi-tenancy is a reality that any Saas product has to deal with. We might call it multi-tenancy in a B2B realm, and we might call it a white-label in a B2C realm, but if we are not making a true full copy of a product for parallel use, it is multi-tenancy. What is most important, multi-tenancy is often a direct key performance indicator of a Saas companies growth. When the build of a Saas product commences, multi-tenancy is implied softly, mostly because the immediate focus is to get the core features built out, and the initial version is rolled out. Another reason for this is that there is no knowing how a Saas product will be received, and what opportunities will open up. It is usage of the product that dictates how the product will evolve into a multitenant product.
At Fathom, we have had the opportunity to implement multi-tenancy in many forms into many Saas projects that we worked on. There have been times when B2C Saas began to get inquiries to be used exclusively, and so we started from cloning the solution several fold just to learn what the use cases are and then building a multi-tenant wrapper over the B2C product, essentially converting it to a B2B Saas
Likewise we have had to handle situations where there was an existing, fully mature sales CRM that needed to be converted into a multi-tenant, with minimal changes. Not only were we able to do this successfully, we actually helped our client open up completely new opportunities as a result, and effectively helped them convert from being a services company to being a Saas software company.
Reach out to us to find out how we could build scalable SaaS solutions for your company together.