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If you are reading this article, chances are that you own a SaaS application or are developing one right now. But with digitalization in full drive, are you addressing the enterprise readiness aspect? While scaling up, the ongoing maintenance work demands grow (for example, user management upgrades), putting your devs and IT teams under added stress to get things done fast. But this work spike impacts productivity and takes the focus off the core technology. So what’s the solution? Let’s take a closer look.
If you are building an enterprise ready SaaS application, it’s most likely that you will be looking to provide a unique value offering and to fill the need of a wide variety of customers and users. Your software product is probably being sold as a recurring subscription model or as a web product. Customers that are paying recurring monthly fees or testing out your basic subscriptions.
As a C level or VP you are constantly looking to present an enterprise ready solution to your design partners and early-stage investors. You are looking at marketing and selling to growth stage companies and maybe have even started peeking at the potential of onboarding some enterprise customers. But more often than not, SaaS offerings are far from enterprise ready.This is a huge business roadblock.
Let’s assume that it does happen one day. You see an email in your inbox from an enterprise customer whom you have been pursuing for quite a while now. They are interested in hearing more about your product and its core functionality. They even want to schedule a demo. Oh wait! I forgot to mention one other small detail. They also want to know if you have customer facing enterprise level features.
That excitement you experienced only seconds earlier is slowly replaced by a deep sense of disappointment and hopelessness because you are not enterprise ready.
You now know for certain that you won’t be able to make the leap towards meeting the demands of this enterprise company in the short timeline they have given you because you lack the resources. You reassure yourself that somehow you’ll figure it out, you take the call, you do the demo, and now you are left staring at a list of demands with a timeline for engagement that is close to impossible to achieve.
This story is retold over and over again in today’s SaaS industry. There are key features and standards that all SaaS products require at some point during their development and yet even if B2B SaaS applications have become standardized, there’s still no platform to accommodate the recurring customer-facing features and functionalities which are now a standard in almost any SaaS product.
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1. Perform a general assessment of what the gaps are between your current status and what features you need to become enterprise ready.
There are a few consulting companies out there, who are focused on advising SaaS products regarding what they need to do to reach the necessary enterprise readiness level of development. They offer outlines of the baseline features that enterprise companies want and need, some open source solutions, and guidelines on how to build your SaaS product for enterprise.
These guidelines of course will take time and resources to execute. Yet, they are great at helping you understand what it is you are lacking in your current SaaS offering. Once you complete a SaaS enterprise readiness gap assessment (check out sites like enterpriseready.io), you will likely know where you stand. Just understand that you aren’t going to fill all the gaps right immediately.
Having a sense of where you stand is a great start. This brings me to my next point.
2. Reach for the lowest hanging fruit first.
If you look closely at exactly what your most relevant enterprise customers need from SaaS applications, you’ll quickly realize that there’s no point building a pool in the winter time, nor is there any real reason to think that every single feature and requirement is an immediate need. Try to get an overall understanding of what the features are that we are talking about before committing time and resources.
For example, some enterprise clients may want audit log capabilities and reporting features, others may ask for SSO or granular notifications. Some just want to know that they have a proper notifications center in their customer facing dashboard for unification across multiple products and platforms. In short, make smart choices and be prudent about your next steps.
3. Think about what resources will support and enhance your core business focus.
Make sure to stand out from the crowd. Sometimes it’s enough to showcase one or two “Enterprise features” on your initial demo call, just to assure the enterprise representative that you’re on top of their segment and are aware of their needs.
Your potential enterprise-level clients should know you are taking things seriously, making it easier for them to believe that you’ll complete the other functionality gaps quickly after that. Just make sure that you aren’t caught fumbling around trying to send reports or show the ease of use of your core product, when you don’t have the business agnostic features to match. This is a trap you should avoid at all costs.
4. Don’t compromise on high standards of security and scale.
From day one, an early-stage SaaS product should aim for high-level enterprise-grade features so that they won’t have to rebuild everything at a later stage. Growth stage companies are focused on accelerating their enterprise readiness. and should be instilling a sense of confidence in their ability to offer scale, security and compliance. That’s the best way to create enterprise SaaS products.
Customers of growth-stage companies will demand a high level of product maturity and advanced features. It’s not enough to offer merely SSO at this stage. Rather you need to start offering a Multi-tenancy model, Automated provisioning, Audit logs, subscription-based billing, and elastic infrastructure. Security is critical at this point and is not just something to be discussed at a later time since the time is now.
5. Ensure a high level of data security:
Firstly, stick to using common industry frameworks (React, Node, etc.). Also, ensure that your business information is protected from corruption and unauthorized access. Keep your data close, encrypted and secure from one tenant to the next. Any features you are using should offer a good key management framework or have the ability to integrate/interface with external Key Management Frameworks.
Also, integration with the CASB (Cloud Access Security Brokers) system will increase confidence with respect to data security. A very strong Role-Based Access Controls need to be ensured in order to protect the data.
Related: Top 10 Passwordless Vendors You Need to Consider in 2021
Many of these issues can be solved quickly even if others require time and resources. If you want to find out more and are interested in completing a FREE SaaS diagnostic assessment, please feel free to reach out to our SaaS diagnostic team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our SaaS experts are standing by, waiting to hear from you and to accelerate your SaaS forwards to the next level of enterprise readiness.
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