4 mistakes engineers make when building a SaaS company

Before I joined Loggly as CTO and VP of Engineering, I built seven cloud-based products. From my perspective, four mistakes separated the SaaS companies that stumble from the best.

1. “Adoption for our offering will take time, so we can build fast now and build right later.”
Look at how steep the technology adoption curve has become. Every SaaS product needs to be built for scalability and robustness from the start.


Image courtesy Udayan Banerjee

2. “Our customers have predictable behavior.”
Be ready for something unexpected that will threaten to break your service, and have processes for managing out-of-policy activities. For example, Loggly must deal with customers that send a huge burst of log events, inadvertently or during a fire, 24-7.

3. “We don’t need operations automation.”
Operations is at the heart of every SaaS business, and they shouldn’t be treated like sysadmins. By automating defrag of ElasticSearch, Loggly devops saves about 15 minutes per day. It’s trivial until something else demands urgent attention. 

4. “Operational metrics are optional; let’s just build them after we get the product out the door.”
If you aren’t ready to handle your first outage, it could be your last. Ditto for success-induced failure. Loggly is instrumented to measure every step from log collection to searchable state so we can take immediate action on exceptions.

The best SaaS companies are engineered to be data-driven, and there’s no better place to start than leveraging data in your logs. In fact we’ve engineered that for you with our cloud log management service.

P.S. We’re hiring too!

Manoj Chaudhary, CTO and VP of Engineering, Loggly