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02 May '15 | Debjyoti Paul

German Shoppers: Meet Them in the Fast Lane to Phy-gital

15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

Shoppers Will Share Personal Information (But They Don’t Want to be “Friends”)

15 January '15 | Anil Venkat

Modernize or Perish: Property and Casualty Insurers and IT Solutions

14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

Benelux Reaches the Phy-gital Tipping Point: Omnichannel Readiness is Crucial

13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

Beacon of Hope: Serving Growth and Customer Satisfaction

05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

What You Sold Us On – eCommerce Award Finalist Selections

17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

04 June '14 | Koushik Ramani

8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

What does a mobile user want?

03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

SaaS and Agile – Match made in heaven

Posted on: 06 April '11

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is gaining ground and so is Agile. In fact, based on a recent survey conducted on SaaS companies 66% said that their company implements Agile methodology in R&D. Really interesting, isn’t it! So what makes Agile so popular among these SaaS companies? Or, maybe we can put the question this way – which came first – SaaS or Agile? A lot has been said on this topic and I thought it will be interesting to summarize. Below is what I have gathered, understood and want to highlight in this regard.

  • Dynamism – Agile development cycles or sprints are mostly 2-3 weeks and provide in-built dynamism in product development. In SaaS, frequent updates are the norm. Any SaaS application must be dynamic in understanding customer needs and rolling out features. In fact, shorter release cycles have been the backbone of success of SaaS applications.
  • ROI – Agile methodology gives you a preview of the features and implementations quickly, which gives more insight into the ROI resulting in greater executive support. Whereas in SaaS, the principle of “changing the tyres while car is running” is applicable, and gets quick insight and feedback from the stakeholders and customer.
  • Open Design – In Agile methodology design is spread out over a period of time and relies heavily on pluggable interfaces to let the product evolve, and reduce the rework. On the other hand, SaaS works in principle where quick release and design must be scalable to plug in new features/enhancements. SOA allows the components to be designed and implemented in real time while the system is up and running.
  • Integration – Demo in agile process needs early integration and hence challenges in integration are identified early and closer to development cycle. Success of a SaaS application depends on how much business process automation is achieved and integration with third party systems is always a challenge. Finding the integration challenges upfront in the engineering cycle will help the SaaS companies to update the software or the platform more easily and quickly.
  • Relationship – Though Agile depends heavily on individuals and interactions, increased Customer and Vendor relationship is what makes SaaS a success.
  • Working Software – Working Software is what Agile process wants to achieve while working software that is always available is what matters most in SaaS.
  • Managing changes – Managing change is the core of Agile methodology and everything moves around it. In SaaS, a vendor needs to be agile to understand and serve the customer’s changing needs. It needs to be agile to ensure that upgrades are done, scalability issues are handled as and when they occur. Agility is also required when responding to issues and fixing it, and it comes handy in demonstrating the feature to customers before it is released so that early feedback can be analyzed and implemented, if need be.

Doesn’t it look like a match made in heaven?

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  • Thanks for a great post. I have been interested in the correlation between SaaS and Agile and this is a great summary. I think the use of customer information and feedback in the development process and the ability to not only deal with, but embrace, rapid changes are the two key items which make this a good match.

  • Ranjan

    Well said Paul.

  • Eilon Reshef

    Thanks for this post. A few months ago I’ve started a blog on SaaS and provided similar arguments advocating the use of Agile for SaaS development.

    Link here: