DevOps is an abbreviated integration of “development” and “operations,” a software and web development approach that promotes better collaboration between the development and operations teams. SaaS businesses often create the DevOps culture to build, test, and release software more rapidly, reliably, and accurately.
SaaS applications like G-Suite, HubSpot CRM, Quickbooks, Asana etc., are unique in their demands as they need continuous improvement, integration, delivery, and swift issue resolution, all of which are hallmarks of DevOps.
Therefore, DevOps is significant for SaaS firms to ensure that the software is continuously improved and bugs are fixed quickly for a seamless user experience (UX), thus helping the SaaS customer onboarding process.
Remember, as many as 23% of customers’ average SaaS churn is due to poor onboarding. Having the DevOps team well set up during the product rollout can help quickly fix the features that crash whenever users try moving forward in the onboarding process.
DevOps can thus drive innovation at an unprecedented rate, bringing in the synergy where rapid, continuous deployment and streamlined operations are required.
Why do SaaS firms need DevOps?
The Acumen research and consultancy suggested the worldwide DevOps Market was worth $7,398 million in 2021 and is projected to reach $37,227 million by 2030. It is bound to grow at a staggering CAGR of 20% between 2022 and 2030. This is why businesses operating in the SaaS industry should focus on developing and releasing the software faster.
Development and Operations teams should, therefore provide top-notch features that take the front and center for modern SaaS companies to simplify SaaS product adoption. Here, DevOps connects the tech teams who build the software and the operation professionals who keep it running smoothly. It makes function much easier and quicker, especially regarding continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD).
Ultimately, SaaS firms need DevOps to keep everything flowing smoothly, ensuring that new features are added quickly, bugs are resolved quickly, and the whole app stays reliable as it can be.
Let’s explore further reasons.
1. Better collaboration
With DevOps, there’s an ongoing, cooperative dialogue between these development and operational teams. They’ll need to work in tandem initially, right from sharing ideas, understanding each other’s concerns, and aligning their goals. This will unlock a faster, smoother, and more efficient delivery process.
DevOps also brings a collaborative work culture that helps solve common data silo problems. Such accelerated cooperation significantly expedites the software delivery process in the SaaS industry. This is especially useful when timely delivery and regular updates are crucial since increased speed directly translates to better customer satisfaction and retention.
Faster release times allow SaaS companies to respond swiftly to issues or bugs. With a traditional release cycle, fixing a bug requires waiting for the next release, which could be weeks or months away. But with collaboration-driven DevOps that enables faster release cycles, it is possible to address such issues almost immediately.
2. Enhanced operational efficiency
At its core, DevOps is all about maximizing efficiency in software development and deployment processes. It encourages a collaborative environment between development and operations teams (as mentioned earlier), which leads to minimizing redundant tasks.
The constant communication between the two teams from the start will enable everyone to stay on the same page about requirements and constraints, reducing chances of rework and redundancy.
Another wastage of resources that DevOps combat is the wait time. A traditional waterfall model will pass a code from the developers to the operations team, leading to significant waiting time while the operations team prepares the software for release. But with DevOps’s continuous integration and delivery aspect, new code is constantly being tested, integrated, and made ready for deployment, significantly reducing this waiting time.
Moreover, DevOps in SaaS relies on automated testing and continuous monitoring, allowing teams to detect bugs and other issues early on. Rather than waiting to discover the bug at the end of the process, or worse, get it reported by the end-user, DevOps ensures catching and resolving issues as they occur.
Such significant (near-to) real-time process integrations can reduce redundancy and waste. It ultimately allows SaaS companies to price their services more competitively by amping operational efficiency.
3. Ensure frequent updates
The SaaS industry requires companies to stay updated and provide regular improvements as customers expect issue resolution and consistent value-addition. Therefore, DevOps can focus on continuous integration and delivery, providing a structured process for these updates. It encourages frequent code checks, thus minimizing software usage issues and improving the overall quality of the application.
Also, regular updates help keep the software secure amidst the ever-evolving cyber threat. SaaS firms should embrace software updates to weed out potential vulnerabilities. Without these updates, a SaaS application might become an easy target for cybercriminals, leading to data breaches and significant loss of customer trust.
DevOps practices push developers to blend software changes into a shared repository several times daily. Here, they can test each check-in, enabling teams to detect problems early. Regular integration helps developers spot mistakes, avoiding last-minute chaos before a software release. This ensures better quality control and minimizes software usage issues.
SaaS companies that nurture DevOps also promote a culture of shared responsibility for maintaining the quality of the application. Instead of treating operations as an afterthought, developers consider operational requirements and software maintenance right at the start of the development cycle, a proactive approach that prevents issues from getting embedded in the code.
4. Continuous Integration and Delivery
The principles of continuous integration and delivery form the backbone of the DevOps culture. First, continuous integration (CI) is one practice where all the working copies of developers’ code are shared over the mainline multiple times daily. This is to catch integration issues early and often at the end of a development cycle. It requires automated testing to address bugs, software regressions, and other issues.
Conversely, continuous delivery (CD) involves various SaaS business activities that ensure production release at any time. It extends the practice of continuous integration by deploying all code changes to a testing environment and production environment after the build stage. The goal is to have a production-ready build at any given moment that can be released at any time.
CI/CD enables developers to integrate their changes into a shared repository daily. Here, each check-in is tested automatically, wherein teams can detect problems proactively. SaaS applications can thus respond highly to customer feedback and market changes to drive customer success.
Overall, the DevOps function in SaaS applications is certainly less than a game-changer for SaaS applications. It enhances collaboration, optimizes operations, ensures frequent updates, and empowers continuous integration and delivery. The abovementioned factors are just the tip of the iceberg when understanding DevOps’s importance in SaaS development.
As SaaS businesses get competitive with time and demand rises, many businesses turn to DevOps. SaaS providers looking to thrive in this competitive market will not just need to implement DevOps practices but keep monitoring those for optimum results.
Disclaimer: The author is completely responsible for the content of this article. The opinions expressed are their own and do not represent IEEE’s position nor that of the Computer Society nor its Leadership.