As seen in eMerge: Disrupting the System
Interview: Our leaders talk challenging the status quo with our unique product and how 8base is revolutionizing the way companies leverage technology to conduct business
The first thing you need in order to create a SaaS application is to choose the correct low-code platform. You will get 3-5X development speed, but the most important thing is never getting locked into any platform.
Because many of them will offer you higher development speed, only a rare low-code platform will allow you to move your code if necessary. And this is only possible because it's built on top of the most popular and widespread technologies today: JS/TS, MySQL, AWS, GraphQL, etc.
Besides that, it is important to get full extensibility and complete customization. Otherwise, the speed you're getting from a low-code platform is not worth it. Luckily, this is not the case with the 8base platform. Even though you have pre-built components, you can always customize and create your own.
Every project usually consists of the backend/database and the frontend/app parts. 8base allows you to build both, but it works perfectly well with existing systems.
For example, the App Builder can easily connect to any existing database. And you can choose to only build the frontend app.
At the same time, 8base Backend can build your database quickly and easily by just defining the tables through a visual editor in your browser. And your existing frontend or mobile app can simply connect through the GraphQL interface.
Designing SaaS architecture and building scalable web applications, in general, is not an easy task. But what if you could have scaling enabled out of the box in your app?
This is exactly what the 8base low-code platform does. As you build it, you can automatically scale from one to a million users (and beyond). And your development team doesn't have to do anything special.
And this is great because you don't need to hire and pay for scaling before you actually need it. On the other hand, you don't have to panic if you get a sudden influx of new users. Whatever your growth requirements, the low-code platform will match them.
Overall, this makes technical debt management much easier. Because apps built with low-code inherently have lower risk, complexity, and costs.
To understand how this auto-scaling is possible, you need to know how the 8base low-code platform was built. It is not some closed, custom system. Instead, it is built upon AWS and other popular technologies like JS/TS, MySQL, and GraphQL.
So you never have to worry about running out of computing power and giving your users a bad experience caused by a high latency (or crashing your server completely). And at the same time, you don't have to overpay for the architecture you don't need or use.
If you develop your SaaS using a low-code platform, you can do most things with a simple-to-use graphical interface. This interface allows you to use drag-and-drop functionality to build frontend apps and backend database tables. And overall, there is not a lot of coding.
Creating a SaaS application is one thing, but turning it into a product is yet another. Simply put, any programmer can create SaaS software. But we can only call it a product if it solves an actual problem for real-life users.
We already covered how to build the software using a low-code platform. But before you start working on building it, you need to make sure people will want your product.
Any work experience you have (in any industry) can help you identify the biggest problems and inefficiencies. And those are the things you can solve with your SaaS product.
If you recall any process that didn't make much sense or a task that unnecessarily took too long - those are your biggest opportunities. Because they are probably bothering other people as well.
And those people who are bothered, annoyed, and frustrated are your ideal customers. Because they are willing to pay not to feel like that anymore.
And the business owners are probably willing to solve their business inefficiencies. Since every process they optimize ends up increasing their profits.
For example, developers might notice they often need to implement simple, repetitive code. Or spend a lot of time designing scalable architecture. And as a result, they might decide to build a low-code SaaS platform that saves them time and increases their productivity by 3-5X.
Maybe you were exposed to the customers of a business you worked for in the past. Either as a salesperson or customer support. And you may have heard a lot of them experiencing the same problems.
If these problems are big enough, you can create SaaS software that solves them. Then you can offer it to those people directly or the businesses themselves. Because any objection or problem their customers have translates into lower profits for the company.
Develop a habit of listening to people complaining. This is something people like to avoid and even get annoyed by it. But the truth is - every complaint is a potential business opportunity.
In business, you only get paid for solving problems. And the bigger the problem, the higher the amount you can charge for your product.
Many different tools can solve various kinds of problems. However, the software proved to be one of the most versatile problem-solving tools ever invented.
So building a SaaS application (especially using low-code tools) could be one of the quickest ways to create a product that solves a real-world problem.