Top features which must be present in Every SaaS application
Every software as a service application (SaaS) are built to solve certain problem, to ease the life of users and to help drive the business of users, all without having them invest thousand of dollars in software development, maintenance, upgradation and hardware cost.
Despite having vast useful industry specific features, many lags some small common feature which if added can increase their customer base multi folds and will provide better user satistication.
What is Saas:
SaaS (Software as a service) is a software distribution model in which a 3rd party (owner) centrally host the application and provides subscription based licensing (monthly, yearly) to customer for there on-demand use. The 3rd party incurs all cost of development and maintenance of the application.
SaaS has become a common delivery model for many business applications, including office and messaging software, payroll processing software, DBMS software, management software, development software, accounting, collaboration, Project management system (PMS), customer relationship management (CRM), management information systems (MIS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), invoicing, human resource management (HRM), content management (CM) and service desk management.
Some popular application are : linkedIn (professional networking), Jira (Project management system), Dropbox (cloud storage), Twitter, Quickbooks, Google Apps and many more.
Truth being said, “Not all SaaS application becomes succesful, to make it success needs right blend of technology / innovation / marketing / right feature at right time.”
Common must have features in SaaS application
Documentation / help guide / Knowledge base:
SaaS applications are developed over years, and have some complex features to meet business specific needs. But these features are useless if the end-user aren’t aware about it or finds difficult to understand it.
A well documented guide helps user know about various features present in the application, helps them understand the complex features without wasting their time and can also provide shortcuts / tips for using the application in better way.
Settting up a documentation is very easy. You can create a sub-domain (like help.thewebfosters.com) and install popular CMS like WordPress, and setup a clean theme to it. Having text-based documentation is good, having it with relevant annotated images is better, having a video explaining the feature is the best.
Imagine you sign up an application and lands to the dashboard with some complex stats, graphs and sidebar with many options. You may think for a sec how to get started with it now and personalize it for my use, this happens isn’t it ?
This is where a tour guide come to rescue.
When a user logins for first time, instead of them visiting pages and discovering feature of application themselves; A Tour guide automatically takes user to important pages, shows them meaningful description about the various section of pages and helps them personalize the application for themselves. Having a Tour guide is definite worth it features as it gives a positive first impression when the user lands to dashboard and gives the application an extra premium look.
Support system and help-desk:
Many times it happens that users get stuck with some feature in application. In that case having a support system or help forum will be a great help to them.
Also users may have certain questions about the features in application before they start paying for it, in that case contacting the helpdesk will be a good option for them.
You can integrate a live chat application ( like zendesk chat ) into the application, which is the fastest and instantaneous way for user to get responses for their queries.
Also widgets like uservoice can be integrated into system which even allows users to take snapshot of current page and add it as attachment.
Feedback, suggestion and rating system:
Most SaaS application follow Agile methodology for development, which allows them to response to the changes and add new features as suggested by end-users. Which in fact helps the application grow according to the market trends.
So having a feature suggestions, improvement and rating system is useful. Users can add suggestions, can vote for feature which they need the most. Feature which gets highest voting gets priority. This helps to properly prioritize the feature.
Using paid modules like uservoice is a great options or having a Forum is a good alternative.
Every application MUST have a free trial package available for end-users to try before paying some amount to use it.
Custom Package option:
Complex applications like for example POS (point of sale) system has many modules like SMS module, Offers & Discount modules, Inventory import module, purchase-sale import export modules. Not every end-users will need all modules. So it should be possible for user to choose modules they need and create a custom package for themselves. In this way user doesn’t ends up paying extra price for modules which they don’t need, pays only for feature they use.
Analytic for admin:
Statistics helps to make better decision. It give a detailed look at what management must focus on to drive a successful SaaS business. Different SaaS application needs different set of key metrics. Metrics like, which location is getting better traction, or Which department of people are using it most, which feature is getting used most, Revenue and many more can be added in admin site.
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Have something more to add ? feel free to post below.
If you’re already using any of these feature or have decided to go with any of these, We would love to hear how it goes out and how effective it proved to be.
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Excelent post2016-12-30 20:09:29
Thanks Raul. Try some of them and let us how it went.2016-12-30 22:39:47
Do share it among your peers too.