Skilling up in SaaS with AWS Training and Certification
There are three main models of cloud computing. Each model represents a different part of the cloud computing stack. Each type of cloud service and deployment method provides you with different levels of control, flexibility, and management. As businesses aim to focus more on their core competencies, they increasingly turn to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to handle the undifferentiated heavy lifting.
In today’s blog post, we will focus on the available training from AWS Training and Certification to help support you on your SaaS journey, how to familiarize yourself with the challenges of operating a SaaS business model, and how to think through these problems from the SaaS lens.
What is SaaS?
SaaS is a business and software delivery model that enables organizations to offer their solution in a low-friction, service-centric approach. SaaS provides customers with a completed product that is run and managed by the service provider. In most cases, people referring to SaaS are referring to end-user applications. With a SaaS offering customers don’t have to think about how the service is maintained or how the underlying infrastructure is managed; customers only need to think about how they will use that particular piece of software.
Why tech professionals should consider SaaS training?
Over the last 10 years, the worldwide market cap for SaaS has grown from $31.4B in 2015 to $167.34B in 2023 (Source: Statista). In 2022, there were approximately 17,000 SaaS companies in the United States alone (Source: Statista). Demand for SaaS applications is accelerating and software builders are looking at SaaS as a primary business model to reach customers and scale their growth. As this demand continues to grow, the need for individuals with SaaS expertise grows with it. SaaS businesses face unique problems ranging from tenant management, compliance, cost attribution, automation, and more.
AWS Skill Builder and relevant training from AWS
The AWS SaaS Factory Program helps AWS Partners at any stage of the SaaS journey—whether you are looking to build new products, migrate existing applications, or optimize SaaS solutions on AWS. And AWS Training and Certification provides more than 600 free, on-demand cloud skills training courses across 30+ AWS service areas, including SaaS, via AWS Skill Builder.
Explore the following curated courses to build your skills in either the business or technical side of SaaS. However, we recommend taking both to help you understand the whole picture.
For individuals focused on the business aspect of SaaS on AWS:
- SaaS Business Fundamentals. This course offers a comprehensive understanding of the SaaS delivery model, emphasizing its increasing importance due to changing consumption trends. The course covers the key business dynamics involved in SaaS and guides you through the organizational changes needed for a successful transition to this model. Real-world case studies are also reviewed to provide practical insights.
- SaaS Business Transformation. This is a follow up to SaaS Business Fundamentals and focuses on the comprehensive transformation a company must undergo to successfully transition to a SaaS business model. The course provides a detailed roadmap that encompasses changes required in various functions of an organization to become a thriving SaaS provider. From planning and development of a SaaS offering to transforming the sales model and operations, the course offers a holistic view including real-world examples of partners who have successfully made the transition. By the end of the course, you’ll be equipped to understand the SaaS business model, plan and implement a SaaS transformation, develop a SaaS offering, revamp your sales strategy, operate a SaaS business, and guide your organization through the necessary changes for SaaS delivery.
For individuals focused on the technical implementation of SaaS on AWS:
- SaaS Factory Architecture Track 101. The first course in a five-part series, SaaS Factory Architecture Track 101 introduces you to the fundamental concepts, strategies, and architectural patterns involved in building SaaS products on AWS. The course sets the groundwork for deeper exploration into SaaS by establishing a core vocabulary and mental model. It starts by explaining the foundational principles of SaaS and the reasons behind an organization’s shift to this delivery model, mainly focusing on agility. The course also covers operational best practices for SaaS before delving into the key architectural elements of a SaaS environment.
- AWS SaaS Factory Architecture Track: SaaS Identity and Onboarding. The second course focuses on the critical aspects of identity and onboarding in the construction of a SaaS solution. You’ll learn how to navigate the end-to-end onboarding process, with particular emphasis on establishing a robust SaaS identity and onboarding experience. The course guides you through the intricacies of tenant provisioning, creating and implementing SaaS identity, and linking identity with policies and roles. You’ll also explore a specific approach leveraging OpenID Connect for embedding tenant context into identity tokens. These tokens can then be used to define access scopes for tenant-specific resources. You’ll also explore broader elements of onboarding such as setting up billing relationships and configuring the tenant environment.
- AWS SaaS Factory Architecture Track: Multi-Tenant Data Partitioning. The third course dives deep into data storage and partitioning in SaaS applications, with a special focus on Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon RDS, Amazon Redshift, and Amazon S3. You’ll learn basic concepts of data partitioning as well as the complexities of managing and controlling access to tenant data. It also covers pragmatic implementation and fine-tuning strategies, tackling issues like fluctuating tenant load and varying data sizes. Upon completion, you’ll be fully equipped to adeptly implement and optimize data partitioning schemes in SaaS setups using AWS offerings.
- AWS SaaS Factory Architecture Track: Tenant Isolation. The fourth course zeroes in on key decisions regarding deployment and isolation models for multi-tenancy. It scrutinizes the pros and cons of varying isolation approaches, like individual resource stacks versus shared infrastructure. Utilizing AWS, the course elucidates how these models can be actualized and introduces methods to prevent cross-tenant interference.
- AWS SaaS Factory Architecture Track: SaaS Migration Strategies. The last course in the series aims to aid independent software vendors (ISVs) in moving from a single-tenant to a multi-tenant SaaS model. It offers a variety of common strategies and transformation patterns to steer this shift. The curriculum delves into crucial considerations for transitioning, the bedrock elements of crafting a SaaS solution, and varied migration approaches from ‘lift and shift’ to the integration of multi-tenant-aware microservices.
If you’re interested in further exploration of SaaS and best practices, check out the Well-Architect SaaS lens whitepaper, as well as the AWS SaaS Factory Insights Hub where you can get access to a growing library of business and technical content, such as whitepapers, case studies, and best practices. Whether you’re new to SaaS or about to launch your first product, the Journey to SaaS guide is designed to help you on you build, migrate, secure, and optimize solutions on AWS.
Validate and showcase your knowledge with AWS Certifications
So, you’ve been diving deep into the world of SaaS, and are thinking about validating your expertise with an industry certification. Our 12 industry-recognized AWS Certifications validate AWS knowledge and skills, build credibility and confidence, and make it easier for employers to recognize your expertise.
The best place to start is with the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification. This certification validates your skills in designing scalable, reliable, and cost-effective architectures on AWS, which is crucial for SaaS solutions. It covers a wide range of AWS services, networking concepts, security considerations, and application deployment strategies. As a SaaS builder, you’ll need to understand how to create architectures that can handle varying levels of user demand, maintain high availability, and scale efficiently.
Already got your cloud basics down and want to level up? Jump into the AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional. Building a SaaS solution requires a strong focus on automation, continuous integration, and continuous delivery (CI/CD) processes. This certification goes deeper into DevOps practices, including infrastructure as code (IaC), configuration management, monitoring, and performance optimization. You will learn how to implement DevOps practices to manage your infrastructure efficiently.
Given the sensitivity and significance of data in the SaaS environment, the AWS Certified Security – Specialty plays a big role. Whether it’s protecting user data, ensuring regulatory compliance, or preventing breaches, a deep understanding of AWS security practices and tools is essential. This certification delves into topics like encryption, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), and monitoring, all of which are vital for SaaS platforms. Customers trust SaaS providers with their data, and a breach or compliance violation can damage that trust and the provider’s reputation. Read more on security careers in the cloud.
SaaS is a business model. This means that—above all else—adoption of a SaaS delivery model is directly driven by a set of business objectives. That is why leveling up in SaaS does not only make you a better technologist, but also puts in place a mindset and model that targets a specific set of business objectives. Equipped with the tools to understand both the business and technology implementation of SaaS on the cloud, you will be ready to go out and make informed decisions for your organization, whether it’s transitioning to a SaaS model, optimizing existing cloud infrastructure, or launching new SaaS solutions.
For further reading, keep tabs on the AWS Training and Certification Blog, participate in the AWS SaaS community forums and be sure to share your AWS Certificate credentials when you earn them (tag #AWSTraining!). We can’t wait to cheer you on.