SaaS Mobile App Development - 8 Steps to a Great SaaS App

April 19, 2023

Are you struggling to retain customers and increase sales for your Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business?

To do so, you must stand out from the competition and offer quality services. But with every SaaS business aiming for the same, achieving this goal can be challenging.

A SaaS mobile app can make all the difference here.

Most people are using mobile devices to access the internet. To put this in numbers, there were 7.1 billion mobile users worldwide in 2021, and this number is expected to reach close to 7.5 billion by 2025.

By building a mobile application for your SaaS business, you can tap into this wide audience base and attract them to increase your sales.

Keep reading to learn more about how mobile app development can benefit your SaaS business and help you achieve your goals.

What Is Mobile App Development for SaaS?

Mobile app development for SaaS refers to building mobile applications that interact with a cloud-based SaaS platform.

Mobile app development for SaaS involves designing and building a native or hybrid mobile app that integrates with the SaaS platform's APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and databases.

The mobile app may offer additional features and functionality compared to the web-based version of the SaaS platform, such as offline access, push notifications, and native device features like a camera or GPS.

Consider the example of Trello’s mobile app. Trello is a SaaS app that allows teams to manage their tasks efficiently by creating cards. The mobile app offers extended features that the web-based version of the SaaS platform doesn’t.

Specifically, Trello's mobile app allows users to access their boards, cards, and checklists even when they're not connected to the internet, making it easier for users to stay on top of their tasks and deadlines on the go.

It does this by preloading starred boards and important cards. This allows the users to access any Trello board even when they’re offline. The app also offers to push notifications to keep users informed of important updates or changes to their boards and cards.

SaaS Mobile Apps Vs. Standalone Apps

Both SaaS and standalone apps help businesses improve their operations and efficiency. But there are many differences between how they operate.

Some of these differences are as follows:

  • Access: You can access SaaS mobile apps and their services even through a web browser, whereas standalone apps require downloading and installing on the user’s device.
  • Cost: SaaS mobile apps are usually subscription-based, while standalone apps are generally a one-time purchase.
  • Updates: Service providers update SaaS mobile apps for users, whereas users must manually update standalone apps.
  • Storage: SaaS mobile apps store data on the service provider's servers, while standalone apps store data on the user's device.
  • Customization: SaaS mobile apps may offer limited customization options, while standalone apps can be customized much more.

Pros and Cons of SaaS Mobile Apps

SaaS has become very popular in today’s digital and remote world, where teams work across different locations. For example, when companies were shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic, companies used Zoom to keep employees connected. 

That’s why Zoom became so popular during social distancing.

Due to this popularity, the Allied Research Market estimates the global SaaS market to reach a whopping $702.19 billion by 2030 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.82% between 2021 and 2030.

This hype around SaaS apps results from the pros that SaaS mobile apps offer vendors.

Pros of SaaS Mobile Apps

  • Flexible Monetization Model: SaaS mobile apps offer a flexible monetization model. This means that vendors can increase or decrease monthly subscription pricing based on the number of app users and cloud resources required.
  • Scalable Business: Your clients will want to scale their business as it grows, but you don’t have to scale with them. They can simply increase the cloud resources they want, and you can charge them accordingly.
  • Accessible From Anywhere: A SaaS mobile app is easily accessible by your clients from anywhere worldwide, as long as they have an internet connection.
  • Seamless Software Update and Maintenance: You can update the software for all your clients from a single place.
  • Reliable Backup: Your customers don’t have to worry about backups as you will do it for them. And even if your servers encounter problems, your customers can access the previous backup log and the data from anywhere and anytime.

This said, going with SaaS mobile app development has its disadvantages too. 

Here are some to keep in mind:

Cons of SaaS Mobile Apps

  • Security: Data shows that 40% of cloud organizations reported cyberattacks in 2021. Since your clients will be storing sensitive business data on your cloud servers, you must ensure it is safe from potential data breaches.
  • Downtimes: Your servers’ outages can disrupt your clients’ business operations. For example, if Zoom experiences an outage, it will impact all its customers who are using Zoom mobile app for business meetings.
  • Compliance Abidance: You must abide by all government regulations imposed on your clients based on their locations and handle their data and business workflows accordingly. Not following said regulations will result in legal and financial consequences. For example, the government can impose financial penalties for not following state laws that can harm your brand’s image.

Benefits of SaaS Mobile App Development

SaaS mobile app development is beneficial to customers and vendors alike. Here are some standard benefits you get when using SaaS mobile apps.

Customer Benefits

  • Access to the Latest Features: Customers using SaaS mobile apps always have access to the latest features and updates.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Customers can avoid the high upfront costs associated with traditional software by opting for a SaaS mobile app.
  • Accessibility: Customers can access SaaS mobile apps from anywhere, anytime, as long as they have an internet connection.
  • Improved Collaboration: Thanks to SaaS mobile apps’ real-time data update abilities, customers can improve collaboration among team members.

Vendor Benefits

  • Easy Maintenance: Vendors can easily maintain and upgrade their SaaS mobile apps, which saves them time and resources compared to traditional software.
  • Access to Real-Time Data: With SaaS mobile apps, vendors can easily access real-time data on their customer base, allowing them to make informed decisions quickly. For example, they can decide on cloud resources optimization, marketing strategies, pricing model, security implementations, etc., using real-time data.
  • Ability to Plan and Predict Revenue Stream: With SaaS mobile apps, vendors can plan and predict revenue streams based on the resources used by each client.
  • Generate More Income With Scalability: As the number of computing and bandwidth resources or functionalities your clients use increases, the vendor’s cost to maintain them reduces. This allows for increasing revenue.

8 Steps to Build a SaaS Mobile Application

Building a SaaS product is no easy feat. Creating a mobile application that can give your business a competitive advantage takes a lot of time and money. 

However, if you have been thinking about creating your own SaaS mobile app, here are some steps you can take to build one:

#1. Conduct Market Research

Market research is an important step to ensure your SaaS mobile app is successful. 

It helps you better understand the market, your target audience, and your competitors, as well as develop strategies based on the information you collect. 

You can conduct market research in many ways, but the most common methods involve interviewing potential customers and surveying them via email or phone. 

Another way to get feedback on potential ideas for your app is through focus groups, where people come together in person and discuss their opinions about the design or features of a SaaS mobile app. 

The people in focus groups can be potential customers who are likely to use the app, people currently using a similar app or people who have a pain point that the app aims to solve. 

This will help you evaluate if your SaaS product idea will succeed or whether you need to make some changes.

Let's say you have an idea for a new SaaS product providing project management software for remote teams. You want to start by identifying your target audience, which, in this case, includes remote teams in different industries. 

Next, you want to survey your target audience to gather feedback on their current project management tools, pain points, and desired features.

Lastly, you want to conduct in-depth interviews with a few remote team leaders. Collect qualitative feedback on their pain points, team objectives, KPIs, and their available budget for a new project management tool.

All this information will let you understand what your customers want apart from what’s already available and help you build a SaaS product roadmap to streamline your operations.

#2. Determine Your SaaS Mobile Application's Features

Once you have conducted market research and gathered information, the next step is determining your app’s features. You can decide these based on your target market’s pain points and requirements.

As you start working through this list, you must keep two things in mind:

  • How much time and money are required for each feature?
  • What value does each feature add?

Imagine this; you're developing a meal-planning app for busy parents. Based on market research, you've found that one pain point for your target market is finding meals that fit their dietary restrictions.

To address this, you could add a feature that allows users to input their dietary needs and generates meal plans accordingly. However, you'll need to consider the time and cost required to develop this feature and the value it adds to your app.

It's also wise to prioritize your desired features so they're arranged in order of importance. For instance, a feature that allows users to input dietary needs and generate meal plans is more important than tracking users’ physical activities in the meal planning app.

Prioritizing features will let the development team focus on delivering a functional app that meets the core needs of your target market. You can then decide on what additional features you want to include based on the budget, time, and other resources available.

#3. Define a Monetization Model

Next up, you need to define a monetization model. This is the most important part of the SaaS mobile app development process, which you should think through before you start building anything.

Try answering these questions to define a monetization model:

  • How much will people pay for your product?
  • What payment method will they use: credit card, PayPal, or another?
  • Will any free versions of your product be available (with limited functionality), or only paid ones?

#4. Decide on a Cloud Infrastructure and Tech Stack

Cloud providers are the backbone of modern web applications. You'll need to decide whether to host your application on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or any other cloud provider offering SaaS solutions. 

You must also decide whether to use a public, private, or hybrid cloud.

The public cloud refers to cloud resources available to the general public or a large group of people. AWS, GCP, and Azure are all public cloud platforms. Gartner predicts that public cloud end-user spending will reach $600 billion by 2023.

Private cloud refers to cloud resources privately owned and managed by a single company. Meanwhile, a hybrid cloud is a combination of both public and private clouds.

It’s safe to say that a hybrid cloud brings the best of both worlds together. 

For instance, it allows greater flexibility and scalability than a purely private cloud while allowing more control over customers’ data than a public cloud.

The next step is to select an appropriate database system like MongoDB or PostgreSQL and front-end frameworks like ReactJS or AngularJS.

The final step is selecting back-end frameworks like Ruby on Rails or Django and hosting environments like Heroku or Docker Swarm Mode.

#5. Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Once you have planned the app’s design and features and decided on the tech stack, it’s time to develop an MVP for your SaaS mobile app. 

The MVP is the simplest version of your product that can still be considered functional. It lets you test whether there’s demand for your product before moving forward with its development and it also significantly helps you to accelerate your time to market.

For example, if you are considering building a language-learning app, the MVP can include lessons, exercises, and quizzes to help users learn a language. You can then test it with a small group of language learners to validate the idea and gather feedback.

Wondering how much building an MVP will cost you? Read our article to find out! 

#6. Iterate the MVP Based on the Feedback

As you build your MVP, it's important to iterate based on customer feedback. One of the biggest mistakes founders make is assuming they know everything about their customers and the market. 

Often, this leads to building products that don’t solve users’ problems or don't find much of a market.

As such, business leaders need to listen closely to what their customers are saying because it can help improve the product in many ways:

  • Increase your understanding of who your customers are and what they want.
  • Make sure you're building something people need/want/will buy at an affordable price.

#7. Test and Modify the SaaS Product and Continue to the Final Development

The next step is to test and modify your SaaS mobile app. This is an essential step in SaaS product development because it allows you to make changes before going into the final stages of your product and launching it. 

Here are some things that should be tested regarding user experience:

  • The User Interface (UI): Does the UI make sense? Are there any confusing or unnecessary elements? Does it look good on all devices?
  • Security features such as two-factor authentication or password strength requirements: Keep in mind, though, that if your security features are too complicated or inconvenient for users, they can impair user experience. 
  • Functionality: All features and functionalities of the SaaS product should be thoroughly tested to ensure they are working as intended. This includes testing for bugs, glitches, and errors.

#8. Release and Maintain the SaaS App

Now that you've developed your SaaS application, it's time to release it into the wild. You'll want to monitor its performance and usage closely so that you can make any necessary adjustments before releasing a new version of your product.

Should I Develop a SaaS Mobile App?

Whether or not you need to go with SaaS mobile app development requires you to consider many factors within the SaaS development lifecycle

Here are some questions you can ask yourself these questions to decide whether you need a SaaS mobile app:

#1. Does Your Target Audience Primarily Use Mobile?

Almost everyone uses mobiles. According to a recent report, there are over 5.44 billion unique mobile users worldwide. But the question is, will your target audience prefer using your SaaS mobile app?

For example, if you plan to build a SaaS-based fitness app, your target audience will likely use it on a mobile phone. No one will take a desktop to a gym for on-the-go workout plans, tracking, and motivation.

But if you plan to build a complex data visualization or business intelligence tool, it’s less likely that your target audience will use it on mobile. This is because while the end users might be able to see some basic data and charts on the mobile, the experience won’t be that great. Such experiences are more suited for a desktop.

#2. Will Your SaaS Mobile App Development Add Value?

Your mobile app should not just be a mobile-phone version of the web-based app. Instead, it should add value and offer something additional that will motivate your customers to use it. 

Consider the same Trello example mentioned above. The mobile app includes additional features compared to the web-based app, adding value to the mobile app user. This is because offline access is available only for mobile apps.

#3. Do You Have the Bandwidth to Build an App?

Building a mobile app requires significant time, effort, and resources and the cost of your SaaS software development can significantly vary based on these factors. You will need to allocate resources from your team or hire additional software developers to build the app.

Additionally, you must dedicate time to testing and debugging the app and maintaining it after launch. If your team is already stretched thin, it may not be feasible to build a mobile app now.

#4. Do You Have Clear Goals?

What are your goals for developing a mobile app? Are you looking to increase engagement with your product or service? 

Do you want to increase revenue? 

A mobile app may be a good fit if you have clear goals.

Native Vs. Hybrid Vs. Web: Which App Should I Choose for My SaaS Business?

When choosing the right type of app for your SaaS business, there are three main options

  • Native
  • Hybrid
  • Web

Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice will depend on your business needs.

Native apps are built specifically for a particular platform, such as iOS or Android. Users need to download and install these applications on their phone devices.

Native apps offer the best performance, seamless integration with the platform's features, and user experience. However, they can be more expensive to develop and maintain, as well as require separate development for each platform.

Web apps, on the other hand, are essentially websites designed to look and feel like native apps. They do not require installation on users’ devices and are accessed through a web browser.

Web apps are typically the easiest and cheapest to develop and maintain and can be updated instantly without requiring users to download and install a new version. However, they may not offer the same level of performance or integration as native apps.

Lastly, hybrid apps are a mix of native and web apps. They are web apps at the core, wrapped in a native container. They offer a balance between the performance and user experience of native apps and the ease of development and maintenance of web apps.

As you can see, each type has some advantages and disadvantages. So ultimately, it all comes down to your business needs. 

So, before deciding, you should determine your requirements, your budget, and what you want to achieve through the SaaS mobile app development project. This will give you a clear idea of whether to go with a native, web, or hybrid SaaS app.

How Much Does SaaS Mobile App Development Cost?

The cost of SaaS mobile app development can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the app, the features you want to include, the platforms you want to support (iOS, Android, or both), the geographic location of the development team, and the hourly rate of the developers.

That being said, here are some rough estimates:

  • For a basic SaaS mobile app with minimal functionality, you can expect to pay around $10,000 to $20,000.
  • For a more complex app with more advanced features and integrations, the cost can range from $50,000 to $150,000.
  • The cost of developing an iOS and Android app will be higher due to the additional development and testing required. The cost can range from $100,000 to $300,000 or more.

However, note that these are just rough estimates, and the actual cost can vary greatly based on the specific requirements of your app. To get a more accurate estimate, we recommend that you consult a custom software development company and provide them with a detailed project brief.


Mobile app development is becoming increasingly important for SaaS businesses.

With more and more consumers relying on their mobile devices for everyday tasks, having a well-designed mobile app can significantly improve your business's visibility, user engagement, and revenue.

However, developing a mobile app requires a skilled and experienced team of developers who understand the unique challenges and requirements of mobile app development.

At MakeITSimple, we specialize in creating custom mobile apps tailored to meet your SaaS business's needs.

Contact our experts today to learn how we can help you take your business to the next level with mobile app development.

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