Software as a Service will change how every industry conducts its business. 73% of companies said that by 2020 all of their apps would be SaaS. As this staggering level of growth shows no signs of abating, we look at where the SaaS industry is heading, and how to prepare your own business for it.

A massive increase in SaaS Companies

The most significant course for SaaS in the 2020s will be new start-ups continuing to enter the market and massively expand the sector. There are always tasks considered too slow and cumbersome, restricting productivity. This means there is still an opening for new SaaS companies. Einar Vollset, founder of Discretion Capital and TinySeed, predicts there could be a 100-fold increase in SaaS companies over the next decade.

All-in-one software makes a comeback

The trend in recent years has been for SaaS to focus on specific uses and offer integration with other software. While this trend will continue in more sophisticated industries, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs will go in the other direction. For them, an all-in-one model offers simplicity, efficiency, and affordability.

Greater use of AI and machine learning

Despite the considerable growth in adopting SaaS, there is little utilisation of AI and machine learning. This leaves a highly profitable gap in the market. Automation is the most straightforward way for a business to improve its productivity. Over the next decade, we will see increasing use of AI and machine learning SaaS, particularly in marketing personalisation, security and healthcare.

SaaS goes mobile

Providing a mobile version of their software is critical for the continued growth of SaaS companies over the next decade. Increasingly people use a variety of devices to do their work. Offering a seamless transition from one device to another will be a key motivating factor for buyers.

Micro SaaS

As the new decade brings more growth, and more opportunities for SaaS, new competitors will arrive on the scene. What will be different about these start-ups is that instead of being large conglomerates and corporations, they are increasingly likely to be run by small teams and individuals looking to cash in on the growth potential.

Preparing your business for SaaS

Customising SaaS is more of an art than just tweaking a setting here and there. Most SaaS vendors target as many customers as possible, and it is normal for organisations to want to make things their own.

The challenge with customisation

Customisation may go as far as tinkering with the code of a SaaS platform to introduce custom features. The thing is that it’s complicated, if not impossible, to customise SaaS completely. The reason behind it is the very nature of the platform – it is meant to cater to a broad scope of clientele. This vast scope makes it difficult to allow individual organisations to tinker with the code of the platform to make it their own. The integrity, functionality, and efficiency of the system will be compromised. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to most SaaS providers to deliver subpar services to please a few customers.

The most that can be achieved in terms of customisation on a SaaS platform is through APIs and third-party plugins that are compatible with the SaaS platform in question. Otherwise, your company will only be limited to what the SaaS vendor has provided.

It’s more about configuration than customisation

Configuration necessarily entails working with the already present settings and features on a SaaS platform. Therefore, the best strategy for feeling at home on the platform is through thorough research and a good understanding of what your company needs. It will involve comparing several vendors to determine what they offer. Based on that information, you’ll then decide what features are a must-have and what features you can live with.

If you are completely new to SaaS, part of your research approach may involve choosing any suitable vendor and using their platform for a while to have an experience of what it is like using SaaS in general. Eventually, you’ll have a feel for your likes and dislikes. Then you’ll be able to determine what to keep, what to tinker with, and what to shun.

To sum things up

If you intend to customise SaaS from the inside out, you are going to have a tough time because the current technology doesn’t make it possible. To customise SaaS effectively, you’ll initially need to determine the features your organisation needs and then choose a SaaS provider that offers as many of those features as possible.