SaaS Trends for 2013

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Software as a Service or SaaS is a technology that is attracting many business customers looking for new paradigms in order to source software functionality in new ways. Web delivered or cloud hosted SaaS options can allow for more scalability, leaner IT budgets, more efficient business processes, and a “buy what you need” approach to specialized IT architectures. Here are some of the big changes that experts are predicting for the coming year in SaaS markets.

U.S. and “Emerging Markets” Customers

In general, many with an eye on the industry are expecting growth of SaaS usage in newer markets to outstrip demand in established regional markets like that of Europe – for example, this OpenView item from Jan. 15 shows how SaaS in emerging markets is expected to provide for the majority of growth, and projects current U.S. growth rates of over 5% per year, contrasting both to a more stagnant European enterprise demand.

Industry Leaders

Experts who are looking closely at the SaaS landscape are also identifying some top providers like SAP and Salesforce.com – while these vendors may not be the first choice for each and every client, they are getting recognized for specific kinds of use and prominent demand as executives and business leaders figure out exactly what each kind of web-delivered platform or service does.

PaaS and Cloud Hosting

Within the greater realm of SaaS, the idea of PaaS is also gaining traction. Platform as a Service is used specifically within SaaS to refer to a situation where the provided web-delivered software has the functionality of a platform, or in other words, the ability to support development or some other kinds of engineering. This Forbes article headlines the use of PaaS, which author Anthony Kosner calls “rentable backend platforms,” to allow developers better access to environments for building mobile apps, which leads to another main prediction for future SaaS markets.

The Mobile Revolution

In a very general sense, and also in more specific ways, lots of analysts are expecting mobile device technology to drive SaaS. This includes the idea, as mentioned above, that a lot of the ordered SaaS services will be used to create mobile apps or perform mobile marketing, and that so much of what used to be based on a desktop model will be put into 4G-capable environment that travel well with individual users. This includes not just consumer services, but internal business software, as Bring Your Own Device and other phenomena incentivize enterprise systems to move to a mobile venue.

Bypassing Internal IT Departments

Some might see this as a given, but it’s worth noting that part of using SaaS options inherently involves replacing an “internal IT” model where local techies employed directly by a company tweak elements of its software architecture as necessary. Therefore, it’s also a pretty sure thing that the internal IT departments of many businesses will start to look leaner, and that companies using SaaS will be able to simply call vendors for fixes, upgrades or improvements. There’s also the related idea that more companies will be paying by the month or by the year for software functionally, instead of buying conventional “in perpetuity” licenses and installing everything onto local networks.

All of this is part of how industry pros are reading the tea leaves for a tech change that’s currently  taking the business world by storm. Think about what an SaaS approach can do for nearly any kind of evolved business process.

Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer covering technology and business solutions at Techopedia, Business Finance Store and Ringio, focusing on emerging trends in IT services.

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