What Is Enterprise SaaS?
Enterprise SaaS (or Software as a Service) is a product built to serve companies with many employees, typically over 1,000. The company usually licenses or subscribes to the product at an ongoing rate as opposed to a one-time purchase. Enterprise SaaS offers both the tools needed for running a large company, along with the ease and lower cost of a cloud-based system.
What Is the Difference Between Enterprise SaaS and Conventional SaaS?
The main difference between enterprise SaaS products and other SaaS products is the size of the company they build their products for and, therefore, the functionality they offer. While enterprise companies often adopt software tools for some of the same reasons as smaller businesses, they also need a more tailored solution rather than a one-size-fits-all software package.
It's important that any enterprise SaaS product is easy and intuitive for its end users. Companies that buy enterprise SaaS products have hundreds, if not thousands, of users with varied roles who use multiple applications to complete their daily tasks. They need a product that lets them complete those tasks seamlessly.
Enterprise SaaS solutions are also designed to be secure, scalable, and reliable enough for large corporations that need a lot of security features in place to ensure their data remains safe from hackers or data breaches.
3 Considerations for Building an Enterprise SaaS Product
There are some considerations to make before you start building an enterprise SaaS product. These three considerations --- identifying a unique selling proposition, assessing customer demand, and defining the development process --- can help you determine whether your product will be a good fit for the market.
Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your USP is what differentiates you from your competition as the better product, the product worth paying for. It's highly unlikely that your enterprise SaaS product will have no competition already on the market --- so you have to determine what makes yours different from the rest.
Define your target audience and identify your top competitors. Identify what sets you apart from them. Is it price point, quality, innovativeness, ease of use, or something else? For example, if you want to build a CRM system for salespeople, then your USP might be an innovative function related to sales performance management. Or if you want to build a collaboration tool for project managers, then your USP might be related to managing projects in a more efficient way than current tools on the market.
Assess Customer Demand
Before you start building your product, you need to get validation that your target audience needs it and will buy into it. Your product should answer a need in the market; your target customer has to have a need for a solution or feature that doesn't yet exist on the market.
To assess customer demand, you need to do some research and forecasting. First, identify the market you plan to target (IT services, workflow management, etc.) and figure out what the growth rate and growth potential are. If the particular software market is in decline, it's likely indicative of declining demand.
Check social media and public online customer support forums, too. Your target customer base may be using these channels to hold discussions and ask questions relevant to your product idea.
This information will help you understand how much work it will take to build out the features needed for success with that audience, as well as help set expectations about your product roadmap and the timeline for launch.
Define the Development Process
Before you even start to build your product, think through your vision and create a strong, actionable plan for how to build it. Make sure you have all the resources you need to start development, including enough funding, knowledgeable developers, and software testers.
Your development process could be as simple as creating a spreadsheet with a timeline and milestones, or you may use a specific tool to document it. Whatever form it takes, make sure your development process is specific enough so that everyone on your team knows exactly what they need to be doing at any given time.
With a plan in place, you can identify areas where issues might arise and have actionable steps you can take in case those issues do arise.
3 Examples of Enterprise SaaS Companies
Any SaaS product that targets enterprise-sized companies is considered an enterprise SaaS product. Here are three companies that have succeeded in their enterprise SaaS product lines.
Stream's enterprise chat function helps companies improve their user experiences. Stream targets larger companies that need a live chat solution. With Stream, companies can create any kind of chat messaging experience for internal or external use.
With enhanced features like in-transit encryption and two-factor authentication, Stream is secure and reliable for enterprise companies. Stream is also unique in that it connects to an edge network. This means that performance isn't dependent on the enterprise company's proximity to a regional data center. Companies connected to an edge network generally experience fewer errors caused by poor Wi-Fi or mobile connectivity issues.
Stream is used by companies like Under Armor, SoundCloud, Vidyard, and more.
Workfront is an Adobe-built work management system for enterprise companies. It offers a lot of flexibility and in-depth functionality that allow enterprise companies to set up and manage their day-to-day operations.
Adobe Workfront helps businesses align their strategies and work toward overall business goals by:
- Increasing visibility into projects and timelines, including team bandwidth and potential delays
- Automating certain processes and workflows
- Accelerating approval systems with auditable records
- Vetting current processes against strategies and progress against existing goals
Adobe Workfront is used by enterprise companies like Sage, T-Mobile, and Home Depot.
Oracle is a cloud software system built for enterprise companies. Oracle has two primary solutions for enterprise companies: cloud applications and cloud infrastructure.
Cloud applications: Oracle has a suite of applications to help with the organization of critical business processes, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), supply chain management, human capital management, advertising and customer experience, and more.
Cloud infrastructure: Oracle also offers a complete cloud infrastructure solution that companies can use for company-wide operations.
Enterprise companies use Oracle because it's a complete data management solution with the functions they need on a daily basis. Oracle is used by FedEx, Experian, Xerox, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between enterprise SaaS and micro SaaS?
Enterprise SaaS refers to a SaaS product specifically designed to serve companies with 1,000+ employees.
Micro SaaS products target a niche market. The companies that build micro SaaS products are typically run by just one person, like an entrepreneur, or a small team. Micro SaaS products have a more narrow focus than enterprise SaaS products.
How long does it take to build an enterprise SaaS product?
The time it takes to build depends on experience and the complexity of the product. For more complex products with highly customizable and/or enhanced security features, it can take up to a year, sometimes longer.
With the necessary resources, skills, and experience, it can take as little as three months to build a more simple enterprise SaaS product.
What are the common types of enterprise software?
There are hundreds of different kinds of enterprise software products on the market, but here are five of the most common types:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
- Accounting software
- Project Management software
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software
- Business Intelligence software
Enterprise software vs SaaS, what's the difference?
The difference between enterprise software and other SaaS is the size of the company they build their products for and how big the scope of functionality they offer is. While enterprise companies often adopt software tools for some of the same reasons as smaller businesses, they also need a more tailored solution rather than a one-size-fits-all software package.