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SaaS Development Trends to Watch in 2023 and Beyond

Software as a service (SaaS) is a software distribution model that presupposes using a cloud provider to host applications for end users or independent software vendors (ISVs). The demand for such services has recently skyrocketed, which proves their enormous — and ever-increasing — business value.

To wit, in 2021, the SaaS market was estimated to be about $146 billion, and by 2023, this number is projected to reach $195 billion. Such a trend is due to a number of advantages the SaaS model offers.

Unlike its cloud computing siblings — platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) — SaaS models focus on both B2C and B2B markets. Moreover, it does not require any setup or maintenance, or related hardware acquisition, provisioning, or support costs. Users just need a reliable network connection and have to pay a subscription fee to access the provider’s ready-made solution.

Besides cost efficiency and accessibility, SaaS offerings provide scalability, allowing businesses to access more on-demand features as the application grows. Companies can also gain additional value and reinforce their own business by customizing SaaS applications or integrating SaaS services with their enterprise-grade software via an API.

The reverse side is that being a cloud computing service renders the SaaS model prone to security breaches, and as a result — possible data loss for both vendor and client. Furthermore, since the whole software logic is on the provider’s side, businesses have less control when compared to in-house software solutions.

In this article, we will evaluate whether the business value of using SaaS exceeds the disadvantages and risks mentioned above. Here is the list of cutting-edge SaaS trends to sharpen your competitive advantage.

Digital Collaboration for a Remote and Hybrid Workforce

The most frenetic growth of SaaS arose due to the pandemic, and there is a clear reason why. As the majority of businesses across industries pivoted their workforce into either online or hybrid mode, the demand for online collaboration tools became much higher — and with that came the adoption of SaaS services that allow for such digital transformation.

The proof is in the stats: According to a 2021 ISG report, in the HR sphere alone, 46% of the respondents used HR SaaS platforms, which is a 20% increase when compared to 2019. This adoption led to higher productivity in 64% of cases, which is 23% more than in previous research.

Video conferencing, voice chats, online education apps, CRMs — these and other SaaS applications have started gaining more and more traction, offering ready-made solutions like Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Skype for Business, Slack, Google Workspace, Zoom, and many more.

Powered by Infopulse, Digital Workplace Platform (DWP) is a custom-made, multi-purpose collaboration tool that unites the best of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Viva to enable next-level remote or hybrid collaboration from a single access point. Delivering smooth communication channels — including video chatting, screen sharing, and file exchange — along with online education and training, the DWP gives companies all the necessary tools for revamping business operations and enhancing productivity.

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Smoothly and securely integrated with in-house business applications, DWP also provides detailed, timely information on salary specifications, vacation, loyalty program perks, book assets, corporate news, etc. Moreover, its intelligent analytics module allows for predictive analytics features as well as transparent, data-driven insights into personal employee productivity.

Underpinned by enterprise-grade security — such as sensitive data protection and fine-grained access control — the Digital Workplace Platform ensures a security-rich digital environment. Its tailor-made storage policies as well as centralized management and support deliver a considerable competitive advantage when compared to other SaaS applications.

In addition, seamlessly integrated chatbots and smart assistants enable greater automation and, in turn, faster and more meaningful business outcomes.

A case in point: Infopulse helped a telco giant with the transition to the Azure cloud that allowed not only modernizing the client’s existing IT infrastructure but also building a truly productive digital workplace with 24/7 access from any device.

Using AI and ML to Drive SaaS Forward

Artificial intelligence is set to take businesses to the next level, bringing automation, brand-new features, game-changing analytics, and more. Its growth across industries is fast and shows no signs of stopping. According to Grand View Research, the AI market was estimated to be $11.4 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 34.6% from 2022 to 2030.

Businesses across industries start leveraging AI and ML to revamp their business workflows, as well as enhance their products or services. The SaaS sector is no exception. AI can change the way the SaaS world functions in a number of ways.

Namely, by reinforcing analytics. Hyper-personalization for exceeding clients’ expectations, fast strategic decision-making to boost business growth, multiple problem-solving, bias elimination — these are only some examples of the extra value that AI can add to data analytics. All these are underpinned by custom audit scenarios, concise data visualization, detailed analytical reports, and actionable dashboards — the world becomes your analytics oyster, so to speak.

Besides helping automate key business processes in customer service, HR, and sales, AI helps SaaS climb to new heights of efficiency in terms of quality control — through real-time anomaly detection.

By proactively identifying abnormal equipment performance on industrial sites or controlling energy consumption in an automated, human error-free way, businesses can significantly improve their manufacturing processes, ensure better safety, and increase the quality of their products and services.

Advanced Cloud-based Analytics

As mentioned above, powerful data analytics enhance SaaS in a number of ways, helping businesses become more competitive in their particular niche.

How, exactly? By aggregating and managing unprecedented volumes of data much more efficiently — data coming from enterprise-grade systems, social media, and other internal and third-party sources. By unveiling the true value of data to solve the most strict market demands and address external disruptive factors.

And that is not all — such SaaS-based data analytics facilitate specific benefits like a larger choice of data platform configurations, the ability to rapidly scale up or down resources on demand, enhanced flexibility, optimized total cost of ownership (TCO), as well as improved data availability and democratization.

Some of the ready-made analytics toolkits you can use for both real-time and predictive analytics include Azure Synapse Analytics, Power BI, Tableau, Qlik Sense, Amazon Redshift, QuickSight, Google Cloud Platform services, and SAP Analytics Cloud. Customized to your specific business needs, these SaaS solutions will give you eye-opening results.

A case in point: Infopulse’s cloud experts and business analysts delivered a complex Azure DWH solution fueled by the Power BI suite — to help the client, a large European alarm company, reinforce data analytics, enhance key business workflows, and therefore strengthen their market position.

Microservices and APIs for First-class SaaS Development

Among other SaaS trends worth paying attention to are microservices and APIs. According to stats from the 2021 Google’s State of API Economy report, 56% of IT decision-makers have already started banking on APIs to strengthen their products and services, confirming that it helps them accelerate innovation.

Indeed, as microservices enable modularity, developers can effectively work on standalone components of a larger application, and do so without the need to build the whole solution at once from the ground up. In addition, each particular service can be upgraded, changed, or removed independently without sacrificing application performance.

Another key reason why APIs and microservices-based infrastructures are gaining popularity right now is scalability. Considering the fact that each service functions as an independent component, developers can easily scale up a single function on demand without having to scale the entire application. As a result, the product becomes more agile, ready to handle fluctuations in a constantly shifting market.

This smart combination of microservices and SaaS allows for flexibility and robust resiliency. More specifically, its fault isolation ensures that if one component of the microservices-based architecture fails, this will not lead to the disruption of the entire application. With an additional layer of resiliency in place, the software capacity is restored in seconds, as a new container will start automatically should any existing ones fail.

Among the other tech and business benefits of microservices are rock-solid security, no vendor/technology lock-in, and better software productivity.

A case in point: Infopulse helped a professional service firm (the Big Four) notably improve employee productivity via a scalable IoT solution to effectively manage office space, track location of employees, book meeting rooms, automate check-ins, etc. Hosted on Microsoft Azure, the SaaS platform enables 24/7 accessibility and minimal latency — without downtimes. Coupled with Cisco’s CMX API, the platform can easily aggregate location data coming from different sensors and devices.

Low Code-platforms for SaaS Development with Little to No Tech Skills

Considering the recent shift to application assembly and integration, the popularity of low-code (LCAP) / no-code solutions is becoming more tangible. Thus, according to Global Newswire’s findings, this market is projected to grow from $10.3 billion in 2019 to around $187 billion by 2030.

Also noteworthy: Gartner predicts that by 2025, 70% of all applications will be built mainly in low-code environments, as compared to just 25% in 2020.

The trend is gaining serious momentum, because enterprises can not only significantly increase time to market for their new products and services, but also bring existing projects back on track — all while lowering costs and decreasing technical barriers to entry.

With this model in place, the control is in the business teams’ hands. In other words, the stakeholders do not have to wait for software provision from the IT department; rather, they just use the most suitable SaaS options for key business operations or analytics.

Business teams, conversely, are empowered to build their own applications that will streamline repetitive low-value tasks and enhance operational efficiencies. This might include project management, database management, customer engagement, employee onboarding and other types of applications that have a standard business use case supported by LCAP.

The very development can be done through the low-code Microsoft Power Apps and its customization by Infopulse. A fast PoC within a week, custom UI extensions, test automation powered by CI/CD, enterprise integration with other services, powerful BI capabilities — the path to low-code development has never been so easy, fast, and high-quality at the same time.

A case in point: Infopulse leveraged the low-code/no-code methodology to build a robust workspace booking application for a leading agricultural producer. Built with Microsoft Power Apps, the solution enabled workflow automation and outstanding business user experiences, all while helping the client decrease development costs.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Digital collaboration capabilities, AI-powered functionality, cutting-edge cloud-based analytics, microservices and APIs, low-code and no-code development — these SaaS trends are set to disrupt the SaaS world. However, the strategy businesses will use to adapt these trends to their particular needs is crucial.

For example, to mitigate the SaaS disadvantages and risks mentioned above, cutting-edge companies will almost certainly require a layer of customization. Implemented right, this will bring never-before-seen outcomes, while ensuring business continuity even in the most turbulent times.

As a full-fledged software development company with 30 years of IT experience and decade-long collaboration with first-class SaaS providers, Infopulse can help with SaaS, implementation, customization, and support.

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