Weighing the benefits of SaaS mobile apps vs custom app development is worthwhile for several reasons. With rapid digitalization underway, every enterprise should consider what type of apps they need. They also need to look at costs, customization, integration, time to implementation, and scalability, to name a few.
Both SaaS and custom apps offer very similar benefits, which makes the decision-making process difficult. While a SaaS solution may be perfect for certain types of businesses, it may not be right for your enterprise. Below, we pinpoint the differences between SaaS and custom apps and what you should consider before coming to a decision.
1. What Are SaaS Mobile Apps?
Most of us know what mobile apps are and know how indispensable they’ve become. But what exactly is SaaS (Software as a Service), and why does it matter? Well, if you’ve used a modern cloud service, you’ve likely made use of a SaaS. Dropbox, Google Docs, and Netflix are good examples of popular SaaS offerings that users find valuable.
And since these services are cloud-based, users don’t have to download and install large executables and packages. Thus, they avoid installation errors and the possibility of their devices becoming infected with malware and viruses. Another side benefit is that users don’t have to worry about updates, as these are done in the cloud. So, enterprises that hire employees that aren’t too technical can hit the ground running.
SaaS mobile apps offer all these benefits to users who mainly or only use smartphones for their daily business activities. As long as they have a reliable connection, they should enjoy uninterrupted service most of the time. However, many SaaS offerings have offline modes allowing users to continue using these services without breaking their workflow.
2. Top SaaS Mobile App Benefits
You may be deliberating whether to develop a SaaS or a custom mobile app. We understand that it’s not always a clear-cut decision if the app should fulfill many vital business functions. Therefore, we’ve listed a few of the benefits that you should be aware of when developing SaaS mobile apps:
- Fast Implementation – If you’re leading a startup or need to deploy services rapidly, then a SaaS is the way to go. A SaaS allows you to bring all your ideas to the market far quicker than taking the custom app development route.
- Simple Customization – SaaS apps are far easier and quicker to customize than custom apps. Furthermore, features are likely to fit your enterprise’s needs since SaaS apps are updated at more regular intervals.
- Integration With Other Apps – Your enterprise probably relies on several third-party applications to function smoothly. A SaaS allows you to quickly and cheaply integrate all these apps since you can access its built-in APIs (application programming interfaces). For a custom app, you’d need to handle all integrations during development and incur additional costs if you integrate them later on.
- Easy To Scale – Small enterprises with approximately 50 employees use between 25-50 SaaS apps. And larger enterprises with over 250 employees utilize more than 100 SaaS offerings. Furthermore, almost 85% of small enterprises have invested in SaaS solutions. The adoption of SaaS is partly due to how easy it’s to scale for enterprises of various sizes.
3. How Does Custom App Development Differ?
Developing a custom mobile app is a more elaborate process than creating a SaaS solution. The developer will have to consider the costs associated with back-end hosting, setting up a developer account, operating system updates, handle user feedback, support new devices, and offer maintenance and support. Of course, some of these costs apply to SaaS mobile apps but to a lesser extent.
But what truly sets a custom mobile app apart is that it makes use of a smartphone’s unique features. For example, a developer can add functionality that takes advantage of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 S Pen. It wouldn’t make sense to add this functionality in a SaaS since it’s meant to work on a wide variety of devices.
4. Top Benefits of Custom App Development
As we’ve already revealed, SaaS mobile apps offer a wide variety of benefits that you ought to consider. The lower costs and quick implementations certainly benefit startups and enterprises operating on a tight budget. However, it would be a mistake to forge ahead without looking at what custom app development brings to the table.
- Full Customization – Both SaaS and custom apps can be customized. But a custom app offers deeper customization since the developer can access more of a device’s APIs, hardware, and operating system.
- Fits Your Needs Perfectly – Your enterprise’s unique needs can’t always be addressed by a SaaS. For example, storing data on the cloud presents certain security risks that you’d like to avoid. But your custom mobile app allows you to store and encrypt data on the device or offline.
- Takes Advantage Of Device Features – Today’s smartphones come with innovative features that set them apart from competitors. And users choose a specific brand and model because they find its unique features desirable or valuable. Thus, you can make your app stand out if you take advantage of a device’s unique features and grow your audience.
- Changes With Your Business – SaaS apps often become monolithic as they grow and mature. When an enterprise’s needs change, it becomes a monumental task to implement changes in such apps. But that’s not the case with custom apps since they don’t require any significant platform changes to adapt to your business.
5. Which Development Strategy Is Best For Your Needs?
Last but not least, you must consider your development strategy that best fits your enterprise’s needs. Developing apps is challenging and is fraught with risk, that’s why it’s important to make the right decisions. We recommend that you look at your costs, time to implement, and customization factors in more detail.
- Costs – Consider all the costs of developing a custom mobile app versus that of a SaaS. Additional features, higher complexity, and sleeker visual elements will inevitably increase costs. And the longer it takes to develop your app, the more expensive it becomes.
- Time To Implement – One of the key benefits of SaaS is how rapidly an enterprise can deploy and implement services. In most cases, a SaaS is the smarter choice for startups and smaller enterprises that don’t have the luxury of time.
- Customization – Smartphones have become more advanced and sport features, which were inconceivable a few years ago. Furthermore, user expectations have risen, and enterprises may want to take advantage of features unique to specific devices. In such scenarios, it’s necessary to develop apps with deep customization in mind. That’s only possible with custom app development because the developer works directly on the hardware and not the cloud.
SaaS solutions have gained traction in recent years as more enterprises embrace the cloud. And many smaller enterprises have invested heavily in SaaS apps, and this trend’s bound to continue. But for enterprises requiring high levels of customization and the ability to take advantage of a device’s unique features, only custom apps will do. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can develop powerful enterprise apps that will boost your business.