Before coming to Hudl in January, I spent more than five years as a developer at Microsoft working on Dynamics AX. It was your very typical, old-school software product. However, in my time here at Hudl, I’ve been thrown into the world of Software as a Service (SaaS) and have come to absolutely love it. There are so many reasons why SaaS is better but here are my top five reasons why developers should switch to building SaaS products.
1. Immediate Releases
Build your new feature and deploy. Within a matter of minutes, all your changes are live to all your users. No more waiting around for months before the next service pack update or major release. This not only leads to happier users but happier developers since they get that immediate satisfaction from seeing their changes go live.
Bonus: responding to user feedback in wicked-fast time and bringing in new technologies or frameworks before anyone else.
Ever wondered how your users were actually using your product? Log to your heart’s content with SaaS. At Hudl, we’ve fallen in love with Splunk, and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to make sense of the mountain of data they are logging.
Bonus: quickly finding bugs your users may not tell you about and learning which parts of your product are most used or least used.
3. A/B Testing
Not sure which interface is better? Quickly experiment different designs with whatever percentage of users you want. Don’t want to build the AB testing infrastructure yourself? Check out Google Content Experiments. It’s free and integrates smoothly with Google Analytics.
Bonus: rolling out new features to a subset of users and laughing at how wrong your initial assumptions were.
4. Just One Version: The Latest
Say goodbye to sustained engineering. Since all users are always hitting the same code base, only one fix is needed to resolve the bug for everyone.
Bonus: no more upgrading users to a newer version and no more merging in bug fixes to different branches.
5. Ownership of the Database
Database schemas are not static. They are always evolving as new features are added. With SaaS, all you have to do is add your new table or field and away you go (pro-tip: check out MongoDB for a great NoSQL database).
Bonus: you control data upgrades and can easily reproduce crazy scenarios from power users by accessing their accounts in a test environment.
Double bonus: Who out there loves to write installer programs? Thanks to SaaS, you don’t have to.
Consider the Switch
For those of you out there still stuck on traditional software projects, I feel your pain. I’ve been there and know how frustrating it can be at times. However, I urge you to speak up and make a case for switching over to SaaS. There are loads of resources available on the internet and a variety of good case studies to dig into. Good luck!