Over the past several years, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) adoption has accelerated at a record-breaking pace, and many predict the momentum around SaaS cloud services won’t be slowing down anytime soon. A survey by Cisco reports that 2018 will see SaaS solutions take the lead as the most highly deployed cloud service globally. The study also suggested that SaaS will account for 60% of all cloud-based workloads. Instead of building the server and installing and configuring the applications, SaaS allows organizations to get applications that are already installed and configured, which reduces time to benefit and means organizations can begin using the apps in a matter of hours, not days or weeks. SaaS also lowers capital and maintenance costs and improves scalability.
Looking ahead, SaaS cloud services will continue to evolve in many innovative and exciting ways. The trick for businesses is to determine how to best incorporate the growing number of specialized SaaS applications into their application network, so they work together in unison, instead of in a fragmented and point-to-point way. Companies that are mapping out their SaaS cloud strategy for the latter half of 2018 should reflect on these major trends unfolding in the SaaS space.
- Blending a flexible application network with centralized policy enforcement- If your organizations is a Small or Medium-size business (SMB), and you’re working with a managed service provider or a SaaS, cloud provider, make sure the provider can support the company’s prioritized business functions, such as CRM, Finance, Human Resources (HR), or Unified Communications (UC). Those apps like Salesforce Sales Cloud, and Google’s G Suite that lives in the cloud instead of on an individual’s hard drive, can be optimized for improved performance as well as streamlined management. Similarly, if the business is a Microsoft shop, make sure the cloud provider has the expertise and offers optimization for Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Azure, Dynamics CRM Online, etc. While the number of SaaS apps being introduced skyrockets− in 2017 there were 5000-plus marketing SaaS apps alone− there’s also a move to bring centralized policy and enforcement of rules for controlling how data is shared and exposed. Centralized systems protect corporate information and save application deployment time and management
- The emergence of vertical SaaS- In contrast to the traditional horizontal SaaS market that offers cloud services covering essential business functions, vertical SaaS software is targeted to a specific industry. Vertical SaaS application examples may include retail analytics software or logistics analytics aimed at manufacturers or distributors. Often these cloud applications focus on obtaining targeted customer data and intelligence to gain actionable insight about shaping new product offerings, omnichannel marketing tactics or increasing customer retention or acquisition. These applications also generally include predefined, industry-specific metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Embedded KPIs means less configuration or customization is required for organizations to start using the app to address performance issues and move toward meeting goals.
- Greater focus on integration through APIs- In today’s network environments, it’s more important than ever for organizations to be able to integrate SaaS components into their existing application network for a more harmonized infrastructure. Today, instead of relying on third-party integrations to link cloud solutions with current systems, SaaS providers are introducing pre-built integrations using APIs (Application Programming Interface). APIs shorten time to cloud-deployment and ensures companies can focus on critical tasks at hand.
- Machine learning and AI are being baked in- Over the coming months and years, cloud and SaaS providers will continue to expand their offerings with AI and machine learning capabilities combined into other applications. For instance, Salesforce’s introduction of AI-infused sales, which they call Einstein, demonstrates this shift. This includes packaging a layer of artificial intelligence to predictions and recommendations based on analyzing customer data. These advanced, intelligent SaaS apps can search through massive data sets that apps are processing, creating, and learning from behind the scenes. By applying algorithms, these analytics applications will offer more customized product recommendations in real-time, factoring in multiple variables about customer tastes, preferences or histories. AI-powered SaaS apps can then recommend dynamic content, delivered over the course of the buying cycle, for example. Oracle’s stronghold in the SaaS market spans everything from ERP, CRM, supply chain management and more. As big players like Oracle jump on AI and machine learning to help turn companies into data-driven enterprises, other SaaS providers will too.
Companies looking to accelerate innovation and become more data-driven should take a closer look at next-gen SaaS services. Talk to Telapprise today about how to execute a SaaS strategy built on an adaptive application network environment that connects applications, data, and devices. Together, we can help you reduce network and application costs and achieve digital transformation.