SaaS Journey Framework: Building a New SaaS Solution on AWS - SaaS Journey Framework: Building a New SaaS Solution on AWS

SaaS Journey Framework: Building a New SaaS Solution on AWS

Publication date: October 1, 2020 (Document history)

This whitepaper provides guidance for companies building a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) product, transitioning to a SaaS business model from traditional software and technology delivery models, or optimizing an existing SaaS solution. This paper outlines a prescriptive journey framework developed by SaaS experts from Amazon Web Services (AWS), with guidance and best practices based on years of AWS experience, and feedback from thousands of AWS Partners.


The software-as-as-service (SaaS) delivery model has becoming increasingly appealing to a wide range of companies. The agility, innovation, and operational efficiency of SaaS are creating all new competitive advantage to SaaS providers, opening up new opportunities to grow their businesses.

The trends that we see across the industry demonstrate the significant shift that’s happening across the industry. A recent International Data Corporation (IDC) study on customer preference indicated that 72 percent of customers worldwide strongly consider SaaS for new applications, migration of existing applications, or in moving existing apps to SaaS when software contracts renew. While this trend is consistent in the past few years, we find many companies struggle with how to get started with their SaaS journey.

To address the movement to SaaS, AWS has introduced the AWS SaaS Factory Program. This program provides direct access to technical and business content, best practices, solution architects, and SaaS experts that can guide and help you accelerate delivery of SaaS solutions on AWS.

While the value of SaaS is well understood, the journey to a SaaS delivery model can have a large impact on a business. For many, the move to SaaS represents a significant transformational event that requires companies to examine all the moving parts of their business. SaaS often touches every aspect of a business. How products are sold, marketed, built, supported, and monetized—these are amongst a long list of considerations that every company must evaluate as they set out to define, build, and operate an as-a-service business.

A transformation of this nature often requires a fundamental shift in strategic and operational mindset. It often forces companies to rethink roles and responsibilities, define cultural change, and introduce new processes that better align with the best practices of SaaS companies.

To help with this effort, the AWS SaaS Factory team has created a prescriptive framework to guide SaaS companies through this journey, provided targeted guidance that represents the patterns and strategies that we have observed across our efforts to transform other SaaS businesses. The framework helps companies prepare for the transformation through four phases, outlined in Figure 1:

Diagram showing the phases of the SaaS Journey Framework.

Figure 1 - SaaS Journey Framework Phases

The framework is a dynamic working process that is not necessarily linear. While working on the product strategy, for example, you might revisit your business case and update it. Some activities might take place simultaneously. This paper will guide you through the four framework phases and help you build a strategy and execution plan by outlining the key activities and the questions to consider along the SaaS journey.

This paper can be used as a validation point, in whole or in part, to develop your own plan.