Manual: From a Traditional Application to SaaS Software

February 16, 2022 • 1282 Views • 14 min read

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Bohdan Vasylkiv

CEO & Co-Founder

Before the gaining growth of SaaS software popularity within the development, IT solutions were pretty obvious: businesses had on-premises applications, which operated on particular servers with a certain volume and other limitations. And developing ones, companies went along with the high fees on maintenance, expenses on manual labor, as well as challenges regarding updating.

However, several years back, when moving to the cloud became possible and easily accessible, such a concept went viral. Every blog was going on and on about the reasons why to invest in SaaS software migration, tips on that, and steps of implementation. Even the banks, with their extremely secure types of data, started to transition. As we can see from the reports, in 2021, cloud data centers will handle 94% of all workloads. Not only that, but SaaS procedures will represent 75% of the overall burden. Given that numbers, you must be wondering why you are still running on-premises, and when or how it’s better to move to the cloud. That is the reason to discover such a possibility. And we are going to start with the comparison.

What distinguishes a SaaS platform from regular software applications?

SaaS is a popular concept for distributing online services wherein the software system is hosted remotely in the cloud by the vendor. The cloud-based SaaS model eliminates the need to build, set up, and manage the system, allowing users to just purchase the desired program for a certain length of time. As a consequence, a service provider handles all administrative responsibilities, leaving the client with merely one thing to manage - stable Wi-Fi access.

The SaaS software differs from typical paid programs in that it is only valid for a limited time and is supplied via a subscription mechanism. Engineers are always operating with this service, upgrading it and modifying it even after it is released, so it is constantly refreshed without requiring customers to purchase the latest versions. To use SaaS hosting provider you need to pay a subscription fee. Besides, there is a possibility to purchase for internal utilizing as a corporate software.

The key difference, that many have called, is that a traditional app is available without interruption, with or without Internet access. Indeed, it’s true, and it’s a major advantage. Nevertheless, although most SaaS apps are accessible through the internet, certain offline models exist. Hence, that shouldn’t be an issue anymore.

Now, when we defined the main aspects of the difference here, let’s move on to the benefits, that SaaS software development might bring to your app. Check the list below, and analyze if that points would fit your solution.

How is SaaS software development beneficial compared to traditional applications?

  • Simplicity

SaaS software is one of the most straightforward methods since they provide pre-built tools for creating a wide range of business products. You can obtain a license key, download executable code, and access a free help center with only a few clicks. As a result, the customers obtain all of the tools they require to run their firm.

  • Cost-efficiency

Because SaaS is frequently hosted in a shared or multi-tenant system, it saves money. As a result, SaaS enables organizations to employ software that they would otherwise be unable to afford due to expensive license costs. Users also save money on maintenance since the expense is shared among all service users.

  • Scalability

You won't have to acquire more software licenses or server hardware when your company expands and so as the system. To handle the additional users, you simply upgrade your ongoing membership plan for the SaaS software. This could also help you determine whether your company has strong adjusting patterns, which will allow you to save money on subscriptions.

  • Automated updating

The traditional application assumes a number of phases over which the service provider has no control. It involves not just the update’s development, but its verification, and just after that - the availability to install them by users. With the proper configured CI/CD pipeline, SaaS software enables to deploy changes every hour.

If all the mentioned advantages comply with the modifications you imagined on your application, go on reading, so you can pre-evaluate and then apply the changes accurately, step-by-step.

Pre-evaluation phase: Is your software ready to move to the cloud?

Changing your app architecture is a challenging process. Even though it can be narrowed down to a few steps, it still takes a lot of time and effort. However, before deciding, you should question yourself:

  • Is my application ready to enter the high-competitive market between SaaS solutions? Can it bring some uniqueness with its features and the overall concept?
  • Does my audience need a SaaS solution? Will a renovated pricing model satisfy their needs?
  • Is my business prepared to be configured within internal operations? Would it be possible at this stage to adjust a team to the new functionality?

Indeed, the benefits we mentioned, the popularity of SaaS, and the temptation to enter a trendy market could be a great motivation. Despite that, not every business could transition into such a model. Some of them, need different audiences, and different merits. To be precise, here are some of the factors, that could stop you from migration:

  1. If running your business requires the constant flow of upfront payments. For the short prospective, the SaaS software payment model may suspend the sustained purchases, since it is more fitted as a long-term solution.
  2. If you want complete control over your data. As with any other third-parties integrated into management operations, SaaS hosting provider has an access to provide updates, which sometimes result in loss of data.
  3. If you cannot provide full-time support. Clients of SaaS software expect to get ongoing solid support within the fee they are purchasing. And if you cannot give one, you might reconsider having a SaaS model.

Otherwise, go ahead and start planning your transition. To help you with that, we are moving to the last and main part of this article - cloud migration steps needed to move from the traditional application.

Cloud Migration Steps to Move from Traditional Application

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1. Set up a roadmap

Make a detailed inventory of all of your on-premises systems and architecture. Any company considering a SaaS migration should first take a close look at their current product and evaluate what features aren't worth keeping.

Draw a diagram of the interrelationships between apps. Such a mapping helps you to define how systems collaborate with each other, and how will you repeat this structure on the cloud. Once you've determined which apps to migrate, the next step is to examine their infrastructure. This comprises storage requirements, statistics, data produced, connections, and projected service level agreements.

Besides the estimation of the existing platforms, you need to focus on the evaluation of the market. Conduct market research, learn the similar products and services within the SaaS concept. Determine features that might add value to your product and plan their implementation. Even though you have an existing app, and it looks like everything you need to do is to move it to the cloud, it is more complicated than that. It’s better to have a proper Discovery phase, such as before the launch of a completely new software product.

2. Prepare to change app architecture

Obviously, with the transition of the business model comes the need to reflect such an approach on a modified app’s structure. Consider the change of app architecture from a monolithic to a microservices structure. For better scaling in future operations, you’d better discover the multi-layered model, consisting of at least functional and data layers, as well as the separate one for the third-parties integration.

Working with microservices enables to conduct changes individually on each layer that is needed. This accelerates the development itself, along with updating.

3. Pick up a SaaS hosting provider

The following step is to specify the requirements for a SaaS hosting provider and pick it up. Think about how much computational power you'll need, how much storage you'll need, and so on. Because cloud and conventional programs may not often communicate effectively with one another, even if they are migrated, they may not provide the greatest results. To avoid future problems, determine if your hosting requires load balancers, outsourced cluster counterparts, or database replication. Remember to think about speedy customer service, a guaranteed SLA, and improved feedback. Then choose a cloud provider that meets all of your needs. Some of the most common ones, that we are working with in our Incora team - are Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure.

4. Delineate data migration process

When migrating your application to a prototype, tenant data representation, compression, and transfer are critical. Tenant data storage options come in a range of shapes and sizes, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The method through which you migrate will be influenced by the solution you choose. There are three of them:

  • Each SaaS user (tenant) has its own dedicated server or infrastructure in a single-tenant architecture. This approach requires no reworking (essentially, the architecture remains the same) and provides end-users with various benefits, including data security and customization capabilities.
  • A layered migration model implies that your solution is migrated layer by layer. With this method, you may gradually transition layers to a shared multi-tenant architecture while keeping other levels single-tenant.
  • Data storage is converted to a multi-tenant scheme in a data migration model, while the other layers use a single-tenant architecture.

Cloud data storage offers up endless possibilities, and cloud integration services are growing to suit those demands, especially cloud storage providers that offer as-a-service solutions for particular hybrid API integration challenges. Check the technical part of the implementation process of Cloud APIs, which we have covered previously in our blog.

Summing up

Moving to SaaS software is a huge step to take, and it requires deep analysis since such a concept doesn’t fit just anyone. Moreover, even if you finally make a decision to start a transition, it would be a long and rough path to achieve the cherished ‘Rule of 40’ in this market. But, we are here to help with that. Drop us a line, and let’s discuss your application further.

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