Thomas Edison created the light bulb. Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity. Henry Ford changed the way of transportation, from horse-based to car-based. All of these inventions changed the way the world works, in a dramatic way.
In today's world, the majority of businesses (and consumers) use Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). But what is really SaaS? SaaS can be defined as an application that can be accessed through a web browser and is managed and hosted by a third party.
What is the evolution of SaaS?
The idea of SaaS has been around for a long time, just in another name called ASP (Application Service Provider) which expanded during the dot com boom. ASPs provided businesses with the service of hosting and managing business applications with the goal of reducing costs with fast and easy deployment. Sounds quite familiar, right? The main difference was that most ASPs focused on managing and hosting third-party independent software providers while SaaS companies developed and managed their own software. Also, ASPs were mainly installed on a personal computer while SaaS solutions are accessible on the web.
Salesforce - the first real SaaS Company
Salesforce became the first real SaaS company in 1999 and has since then been growing into a SaaS giant with revenue of $13 billion. Salesforce initially started off in the small and medium businesses before moving up to the enterprise which now dominates.
Many entrepreneurs wanted to follow Salesforce success which opened up discussions with enterprise customers who slowly changed their attitude towards SaaS and startups in general. This started off an increase in the number of new SaaS companies that slowly built the ecosystem we see today.
The SaaS industry is expected to reach a market size of $130 billion during 2020 and grow to $185 billion by 2024.
Historically, many SaaS solutions have been used standalone, without any integration. The increased focus on a data-driven approach has forced suppliers and customers to integrate their tech stack in order to utilize all of their products to the fullest, but also to meet customers’ demands. A result of this was Salesforce launching their AppExchange in 2006 making it possible for third-party apps to integrate by using Salesforce´s API. The marketplace hosts more than 3400 (!!) today.
What is the future of SaaS?
According to the New York-based startup Blissfully, the average company with 200 to 500 employees uses about 123 SaaS applications. Companies with 50 or under employees have about 40 applications in total, while those over 1000+ employees have over 200. In order to connect all of these applications, using their data and provide qualitative services, our trend is that we will see more integrations and expansion of providers API.
Two types of SaaS, horizontal and vertical
Horizontal SaaS solutions are generic and target as many clients and fields as possible. An example is, again - Salesforce. Previously, many SaaS solutions started off as a horizontal solution, but there is a strong trend towards specialization and solving a specific business need.
AI is no longer new. The technology has taken the business world by storm, opening up doors that were not possible a decade ago, and is by far the most innovative technology in the modern SaaS market. We are starting to see AI do everything from writing content and powering chatbots to creating its own images, prospecting, and much more.
SaaS - a no-brainer for keeping your team on track!
Over the last decade, businesses have continued to move their sales processes further into the cloud. With constantly evolving SaaS products, they can power their business from anywhere. For some companies, SaaS is a no-brainer for keeping your team on track, both individually and collaboratively. According to a BetterCloud report, 73% of enterprises will run almost entirely on SaaS by 2020. Read our take on 6 most-have SaaS tools foe 2020.