The Golden Age of SaaS is here. Gartner research predicted that the worldwide market for public cloud services to be worth $204bn in 2016 — a year-on-year growth rate of 16.5 percent. ‘Cloud application services’ (SaaS) are forecast to comprise 18.5 percent of this (£37.7bn), representing 20.3 percent year-on-year growth.
“The market for public cloud services is continuing to demonstrate high rates of growth across all markets and Gartner expects this to continue through 2017,” said Sid Nag, research director at Gartner. “This strong growth continues reflect a shift away from legacy IT services to cloud-based services, due to increased trend of organizations pursuing a digital business strategy.”
But what is it and how does it help businesses? Software as a Service (SaaS) is a delivery model of how people and business access software. Instead of people owning a copy of the very pricey software, people and business access it from a hosted location via online channels. Software developers had challenges shipping copies of their packed service, of continually handling backend issues and updates regularly.
For most startups, this was not feasible because of the huge capital outlay required. Apart from developers, users want to access as service that software offers but don’t have to own it. Today, many entrepreneurs have embraced online-based SaaS, and have embraced the benefits and opportunities cloud computing brings.
Time is money! SaaS the software (application) is a great time saver from the original software. With SaaS, the software is pre-installed and pre-configured. The user has the advantage of provisioning the server for an instance in cloud and in a couple hours and start using the sofware in a short few hours. Installation and configuration is done for you and ready for deployment .
Since SaaS lives in a shared environment where the hardware and software license costs are lower compared to traditional model, making sofware available to small and mid-size businesses.. Maintenance costs are reduced as well, since the SaaS provider owns the environment and it is split among all customers that use that solution.
SaaS providers provides the upgrades the solution at usually a lower cost than with traditional models. It is often included in the original purchase cost.
Scalability and integration
For the most part, the SaaS solutions lives in cloud environments that are scalable and are integrated with other SaaS offerings. Comparing SaaS with the traditional software model, users are not required to purchase another server or software. They only need to enable a new SaaS offering as needed.
Here are some of the most successful adopters of SaaS.
Marc Benioff of Salesforce
One of the pioneers of the SaaS movement, Benioff is the co-founder and CEO of Salesforce, a cloud computing company. Salesforce offers customer management services to business and individuals. Salesforce is a online platform where clients get an internet-based platform to upload cases and manage their projects. The platform provides more than tracking; you can escalate projects based on priority, route teams or events, among other services. The platform is integrated with social platforms. Marc has made the life for an entrepreneur easy. If you were to own your CRM function within your organization, you are likely to spend a lot, but Salesforce makes sure you don’t have to.
Drew Houston of Dropbox
As an entrepreneur, you will encounter instances where you need to host something. This is because you need to access it on the go, easily and within the most suitable format. To do this, the past meant that you had to host your servers. Arash Ferdowsi and Drew Houston noticed this challenge and rectified by starting Dropbox. All your documents and files can be stored on Dropbox and retrieved from anywhere and anytime. You don’t have to own your server when Dropbox is there. For Drew, Dropbox is your document wallet, convenient, light (just carry your password), and ridiculously cheap.
Daniel Stewart Butterfield of Slack
After succeeding with Flickr, Mr. Butterfield ventured into this venture, Slack. It is a platform where teams can coordinate. It is cloud-based and can be accessed online. Today, it has over 150 integrations that customers can add including Box, Dropbox and Google Drive. The service is remarkable for an entrepreneur who wants to streamline communication between and among teams. The service was meant for the defunct Tiny Speck’s Glitch developers. Teams working on the game communicated using the platform and Daniel thought it was worth taking it to other entrepreneurs and businesses out there. To form a communication team on the platform, all you have to do is invite the members through a link. Afterwards, anyone can now follow through the chats. It powers agile project development technologies.
Rod Drury of Xero
The uniqueness of enterprise cloud computing is that anyone, from anywhere, can assault the global marketplace. That is what Rod Drury is doing. The New Zealand serial entrepreneur founded Xero, accounting software in 2006. Today, it serves clients globally thanks to the SaaS approach. Accounting is not an option for business; it is a requirement. Drury knows that, and that is why he offered a subscription-based model of the proprietary accounting software. In over 180 countries, Xero can do all your accounting needs. Xero brings together all accounting needs notably account feeds, invoicing, payables, asset depreciation, orders, and reporting.
Aaron Levie of Box
Just like Dropbox founders, Aaron and Dylan Smith saw the need for file hosting and cloud storage and capitalized. At least 200 Fortune 500 companies are paying Box for their services. Such a client base is a testament to the need that Box platform offers. Apart from hosting files here, owners can edit, share, or even allot security features on their files. You can have a personal, business or enterprise account depending on your needs. Developers can integrate competition projects through OpenBox.
Software as a service is here to stay as the world moves to cloud-based computing. Conservative estimates put revenues for to 20 Twenty SaaS enterprises at over $20 billion in 2015. This means that the phenomenal growth is sustainable. Entrepreneurs can take advantage of this opportunity either to join in or to use the services offered to grow.
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