Choosing a SaaS Platform For Your Design Business: The Basics

The days of using Notepad to sketch out lines of code for website design are long gone, as is the need to invest in expensive design software. These days, many website and app designers are turning to the cloud – and in particular, SaaS – or Software-as-a-Service – providers. But the truth is that because of the explosion of the SaaS industry, there is an awful lot of choice. And this can cause a whole bunch of problems for designers who are just starting their businesses. What platforms should you choose, and why should you choose them anyway? There are no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions, of course, but there are some basic principles you can use to ensure you choose the right SaaS provider for your web or app design business. Let’s take a closer look.

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A potted history

The growth of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) businesses has been one of the major shifts in the IT industry in the recent years. And there is a good chance that your web design company will be using plenty of them already. The theory behind using SaaS is that it supposed to be cheaper, more efficient and more reliable using cloud-based services than it is using physical technologies such as servers, databases, and software on CD-Roms. However, it isn’t always the case. In fact, it is vital to research any SaaS business thoroughly before tying yourself in, as there are many risks you need to avoid.

Understanding the options

When you are choosing Saas services, be careful to ensure you are checking everything that is available. Let’s say you are looking for a tool to manage your application performance. Most people will automatically go for one of the industry leaders, purely based on its popularity – take New Relic, for example. However, there are plenty of alternatives to New Relic APM out there, and many of them will offer better value – and more features – for around 80% of all use cases. Spending some time looking at different services and only choosing the ones that match your direct needs will pay off, and help you reduce costs.

The fundamental problem with SaaS

Because the SaaS industry is exploding, there are a lot of businesses clamoring for attention. It puts a lot of pressure on company stakeholders to stand out, and they try to do so with service offerings and enticing price structures. The trouble is, when you work under this business model, you need one thing to make it work: lots of clients. SaaS companies need enormous customer bases to ensure their service is sustainable and they – eventually – can turn profitable. And this fact can lead to a ‘win at all costs’ attitude that means, as a customer, you could end up using a service that either a) fails or b) is too good to be true.

Finding the perfect match

Ultimately, you should be looking at several critical factors before choosing a SaaS provider. Find a product that matches your needs, for a start – if you are a strong designer, for example, you might find it beneficial to choose a platform that serves you coding on a plate. Make sure all your technical bases are covered, too – security, privacy, and compliance are all vital to protect your customer’s businesses – and your reputation. And finally, be careful to choose a service that is capable of growing with your business. As we mentioned above, a low entry price can be tempting, but if the company doesn’t survive beyond the next year, what good is it going to do your business?

Mars Cureg

Web designer by profession, photography hobbyist, T-shirt lover, design blog founder, gamer. Socially and physically awkward, lack of social skills, struggles to communicate with anyone who doesn't have a keyboard. Willing to walk to get to the promised land. Photo and video freelancer, SEO. Check out more on my Google+

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