List of tools to run a SaaS company

The web is flooded with a gazillion apps that promise to make your company more agile and efficient. It’s true. Yeah, seriously. Why create something (unless you are in the business of cloning software) when someone else is providing you with the tools to help you run your business smoother. Every company in this world needs to use SaaS tools to get real.

If you are a SaaS company you better walk the talk and practice what you preach. I love using SaaS tools to automate my business.

  • I can concentrate on running my business rather than worrying about installing and taking care of software that we haven’t rewritten. Imagine if Apple made every component in the iPhone. You gotta use the best of all the worlds.

  • The low monthly cost of a SaaS app. The productivity gain from using all the apps is much more than what I pay for it monthly. Today, we spend less than a few hundred dollars to power up our business. Back in 2008, it was probably around $50. As your business grows you can up the usage of your SaaS apps.

Someone on Twitter reccomeneded I write a blog post on the tools to run a SaaS company. So, here it is…this is what the fantastic team at DeskAway uses…

Email

A no-brainer. I would reccomend every business to get on Google Apps. I know for a fact that most startups these days are on Google Apps. Plus, Google Docs is a great alternative for Microsoft Office. Unless you are an investment banker you can really do without Microsoft Excel.

Helpdesk/ Support

You want to have an efficient way to track incoming requests (problems, bugs, feature requests, praise) from customers. We use Zendesk to track each email and assign it a ticket #. This way anyone from the team can pick up that ticket and reply to the customer.

We also use GetSatisfaction as our open forum to get feature requests and have people vote on ideas. This way an idea that has got a lot of votes gets our attention (and possibly get included in the app if it aligns with our vision of the product).

Email Marketing

We used to use iContact (since it was built by my friends from Carolina and I have seen them grow from their tiny office on Franklin St. to this huge multi-million dollar company) but have recently moved to MailChimp because of their snappier user-interface.

Project Management

Can you guess what we use to organize, manage and track our work? ’Nuff said.

Website Monitoring

Pingdom is a good and inexpensive tool to monitor your website uptime. They even have an iPhone app and Twitter integration but we rarely use those. Our servers have internal tools that we also use. We plan on giving NewRelic a shot in the near future. I have heard it is super good.

Analytics

We have built our own analytics dashboard over the last few years. In addition, we use Google Analytics to track website visitors and MixPanel to see what features people are using the most.

We will probably give KissMetrics a shot in the near future. I wish Google Analytics would come up with event tracking so we don’t have to use so many differnet tools.

Version Control

Last year we moved to GIT (from SVN) and started using Beanstalk to host our code. Freaking fantastic software and Wildbit (the makers of Beanstalk) is one company that I admire!

Transactional Email

Another super awesome piece of software from the Wildbit team is Postmark. We have been using this service since the last few months for several parts of the DeskAway app.

Blogging

We used to host our own WordPress blog. Then moved to Posterous last year (bad move). This month I will be working on getting the DeskAway blog back on WordPress hosted site. I debated about hosting our blog vs using a SaaS service and in the end we decided to allow WordPress to manage our blog - heck, what was I even thinking!

Other services that power our business are Adobe BrowserLabs, Wufoo, Dropbox, Youtube and Slideshare.

Today, there is no excuse NOT be productive and data-driven. Every tool that we need to start, run and grow our companies is available. Our generation of startups are in a unique advantage to concentrate 100% on our core ideas and leave the monotony of non-core work to the gazillion apps out there.

All the best!